File Preparation

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File Preparation 2017-11-23T16:08:55+00:00

How do I set my artwork up for printing?

File formats:

All files must be supplied in a PDF (portable document file) format described below. Orders supplied with incorrect files cannot be processed until suitable replacements have been provided.

To ensure you supply your artwork in the correct specification please download the pdf spec sheet and follow the simple guidelines.

PDF’s are our preferred file format. We suggest that the best way to create a PDF is to use Adobe Acrobat Distiller to convert or “distil’’ an eps or postscript file exported from your original document. We recommend that only “Press quality” or “Print quality” conversion settings should be used as other options may produce inferior print.

If you have created your original artwork using an Adobe application such as InDesign or Illustrator you can export directly from these programmes in PDF format, but you will need to pay careful attention to the export settings to ensure that they match our checklist below.

Please note: PDF files exported directly from programmes such as Word and PowerPoint often have printing errors or produce inferior results.

Essential PDF checklist:

  • Use Quark Express, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop or Freehand to create your original artwork, then export in eps format
  • All fonts should be properly embedded in the pdf or outlined first (convert to paths)
  • For full colour printing, images should be in CMYK not RGB colour mode
  • Convert any spot colours to CMYK
  • Ensure that all images in the original document are the correct resolution
  • Include the correct amount of bleed (see example below)
  • Flatten layers and transparencies in the original document before creating the pdf
  • Specify “print quality” or ”press quality” conversion settings



If you have any item in your design that touches or goes over the edge of the document you will need to add bleed to the file for printing purposes.

Bleed is the extra part of your artwork which gets trimmed off after it has been printed. As guillotining has certain tolerances and cannot be guaranteed 100% perfect we add bleed to artwork to prevent any unwanted white edges being left on the finished work.

Bleed: Bleed line:

The extra 3 mm on each side of your artwork that bleeds off the edge of the piece and ensures your piece will not end up with white borders.

Trim: Cut Line:

The final size the printed piece will be.

Safe: Safe Line:

The 3mm area from the final trim size. Do not place text or important imagery beyond the safe line to avoid it getting
cut off when the finished piece is trimmed to final size.


All final artwork should have a resolution of at least 300dpi.

The photos that are from the web are low resolution at 72dpi.

Printed images always need to be at least 300dpi