Artwork Guidelines

More and more of our clients want to supply their own files. There is nothing wrong with this but it is important to supply the print ready file correctly in order to achieve the best quality of print.

After accepting a supplied file we run a comprehensive pre-flight check. This process determines whether there are any technical issues with the artwork including checking for the correct document size and specifications, colour type, image resolution, correct colour separation, bleed and crop marks. This helps ensure your files will print the way that you intended.

We’ve prepared the below guide to assist you with your electronic file preparation and submission. If you have a specific problem that is not covered in this guide, or have other questions, please feel free to contact us. 

Coreldraw (.cdr), Adobe Illustrator (.ai or .eps), Adobe Photoshop (.psd), InDesign (.indd) & Adobe PDF.

A minimum of 3mm border must be added to pictures and designs bleeding to the edge, so that there is no white space or border showing around the artwork. For example, if you would like your business card background to be entirely blue, you must bleed the blue colour past the edge of the final size of your business card. This prevents a white line down one or more edges of your finished product, caused by very slight variations in printing and guillotining.

It is also important to keep text at least 3mm away from the paper edge or the trim line to prevent accidental cropping.

As a guide, important design elements and text should be placed at least 5mm from any and all document edge.

Marks should be included to show the finished size of your artwork (i.e. where you would like the artwork to be trimmed). Always add trim/crop marks outside the image area.

Print previews are not a safe and sure measuring tool for colour accuracy. Colours in the file might be effected by monitor calibration, screen resolution and lighting, just to name a few. Many Pantone colours show a marked colour shift when converted to four colour process.

For one, two or three colour jobs printed in Pantone spot colour, make sure your colours are specified as spot colour and they separate correctly. You can test this by printing separations on your laser printer.

To achieve the desired colour on press, digital files must reflect accurate colour models and percentage. Please make sure all colours are in CMYK mode for colour accuracy and a better quality output.

All images and pictures must be saved at a minimum of 300 dpi. Rasterised text or logos must be 1200 dpi. Screen values should be between 133 dpi and 150 dpi.

NB: Web images are usually saved as 72dpi and is not recommended for print.

  • All fonts must be included when sending the files OR all text must be converted to curves.
  • Type is legible and crisp.
  • Page layout is correct – in other words, the artwork must be design to the exact size as the desired print size.
  • Margins are set – 5mm margins are preferable.
  • Artwork matches the specified dimensions.
  • Artwork should be packaged in a folder with all accompanying links and fonts, so it can be sent to print and changes can be made if required.

  • All linked files, images, and fonts are placed in separate folders.

  • Colours Mode must be CMYK.

Why pay for professional Artwork?

Anybody can be a graphic designer, right? Wrong! We all have software programmes that let us produce our own designs. Sometimes half of the work is already done for us but there is a technical side to design and understanding the end use of the item being designed is an integral part of that process.

Not understanding the printing process can lead to hours of work being wasted as what is produced, however good it looks on the screen, may be totally unsuitable for printing.

We use only the very latest software available for design and print, so call us on today on 011 907 1557 / 1136 to discuss your artwork requirements.

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