In this guide we cover bleed, cut line, designing for print, creating production ready artwork and what is a print ready PDF.


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.

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.


What is a Print Ready PDF?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. Supplying a print ready PDF not only eliminates all of the extra files you would have traditionally sent to a printing company, it will also speed your file through our pre-press department as we won’t need to load everything into our system.

By supplying a print ready PDF you create a simple workflow between you and us, enabling a hassle free transition from design through to print and delivery.

A Print ready PDF must meet certain criteria for your file to print without problems. All print ready PDFs need to contain the following:

Essential PDF checklist:

  • Artwork must be supplied at 100%
  • Artwork must have corner ticks or a key line showing the dimensions and/or shape of the label
  • All fonts should be properly embedded in the pdf or outlined first (convert to paths). Or send font files separately
  • All fonts should be properly embedded in the pdf or outlined first (convert to paths). Or send font files separately
  • 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
  • All final artwork should have a resolution of at least 300dpi
  • Include the correct amount of bleed has been applied minimum of 2mm (see example below) if required
  • Flatten layers and transparencies in the original document before creating the pdf
  • Specify only “print quality” or ”press quality” conversion settings should be used as other options may produce inferior print.


Our Cut Line / Bleed

We use a specific cutline for all of our stickers and labels and we ask that you use our cutline where possible.

This is not critical but will assist us and speed up your order.

Cutline Specification:

  • Colour: 100% Magenta
  • Spot Colour Name: CutContour. (Must be spelt the same with capital letters where shown).
  • Stroke / Line Weight: 0.26pt (hairline)


Bleed

Any parts of the design which are intended to print to the trimmed edge of the sticker or label should be extended 2mm minimum beyond the cut line to give a 'bleed' (which allows for tolerance in the production process).

General Information - Visual:

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. All cutting / finishing has certain tolerances and cannot be guaranteed 100% perfect, therefore bleed is added to artwork to prevent any unwanted white edges being left on the finished work.

If bleed is not required as your artwork falls within the final finished size, please do not place text or important imagery within 2 or 3mm of the outside edge, to avoid it getting cut off when the finished piece is trimmed to final size.



Bleed: Bleed line: (2mm minimum please)

The extra 2 or 3mm 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 2 or 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.


Using fonts at small sizes


Be careful when using small font sizes. We don’t recommend smaller than 5pt for small format work up to A3 and 11pt for large format above A3. Remember, the smaller the text the harder it is to keep in register. If you have to use small text we recommend you use 100% black to eliminate any registration problems.


Images

All images should be 300dpi. DPI is the amount of ink dots per inch: 300 dots per inch is the required standard for printed material.

Images should also be placed at 100% size in your final document. For example, if your image is 50mm x 50mm at 300dpi, then it is also that size when placed in your document. Lower resolution compromises image quality and may result in pixilation (where the pixels, tiny squares or dots that make up the image, are apparent when printed).

Please note that opening a 72dpi image in Photoshop and simply changing the dpi to 300 will not increase the quality of the image.



Resolution:


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

Example



Designing for Digital Print

What is the difference between CMYK and RGB? 

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black - the inks a printer mixes together for colour printing.

RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue - the colours of light a computer screen mixes together to make colours on screen.

RGB CMYK

RGB is used for viewing colours on a computer screen, like websites.

CMYK is used for viewing printed material.

All our presses, big and small, use cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks to transform your digital file to printed media. Please ensure your artwork is set up as CMYK. If you use RGB images or colours we will convert these to CMYK for you, but the colour of your printed file may appear different when printed .