If you’re designing your own artwork, sending it through to be printed can be quite daunting the first time. So what do you need to know to create print ready artwork? You may well have come across some of the below terms and formats already…
Bleed – Any element that extends past the edge of a printed page.
Crops – Marks that allow artwork to be trimmed down to the desired size.
Quiet area – An area of background, that does not contain any text or important details.
PPI – In computers, pixels per inch (ppi) is a measure of the sharpness on a display screen.
DPI – This refers to the physical dot density of an image when it is reproduced as a real physical entity, for example printed onto paper.
CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key (Black). Colours used for print.
RGB – Red, Green, Blue. Colours used for web.
Vector – An image or drawing made up of points, lines, and shapes that is clean and can be scaled without any loss of quality.
Pantone – Allows you to specify the exact colour ink you want to use, based on a pre-defined colour scale. Pantone swatches are mainly used in litho printing and aren’t really applicable to the process of digital print.
Printers Pairs – A left and right hand page displayed together for the sake of further imposition and printing.
Proof – An artwork draft that is sent (sometimes as a low resolution PDF) to be approved before being sent to print
High Resolution/’High Res’ – Artwork that is high res does not appear pixelated or ‘blurry’, and looks crisp and clear when printed.
PDF – This file format is the most commonly used for print production. It can be opened across multiple platforms.
JPEG – The most common file format for images. A flat image file that can sometimes appear pixelated when printed if not exported at a high enough resolution.
TIFF – An image file that can maintain image clarity.
PNG – An image file that can include a transparent background.
PSD – The file format used in PhotoShop.
AI – The file format used in Illustrator.
INDD – The file format used in InDesign.
EPS – EPS is a file extension for a graphics file format used in vector-based images in Adobe Illustrator. EPS stands for Encapsulated PostScript. An EPS file can contain text as well as graphics.
Print Ready Artwork
When we talk about print ready artwork, we’re not necessarily talking about any one specific thing, instead it refers to all elements within the file: resolution, size, bleed, trim marks etc. It can also be relative to the job itself, for example a brochure may need to be set up differently to an A4 poster with more pages and a bind to consider.
As a general rule, print ready format means the artwork is set to the correct finished size with 2-3mm bleed on all sides and trim marks. When sending artwork through, we encourage you to save the files in PDF format where possible as it protects the content from distortion and preserves the quality of the images and text.
Artwork can be sent to us in a variety of ways; if you’ve placed the order with us via our website, you will be prompted to upload your files once you have completed the checkout. Alternatively, if the total file size is 5MB or smaller, you can send this through as an email attachment to our studio; for any files larger than 5MB, you can use sites such as wetransfer.com or Dropbox.
If you are creating your artwork file in a program that does not allow for adding bleed or crop marks (i.e. PhotoShop, Word, Publisher, etc), you must incorporate the bleed into your page size instead.
This just means that, for example, if you are adding 2mm bleed you will need to add 4mm to the total page size (2mm on each side), so that 105 x 148mm (A6 size) would become 109 x 152mm. We would recommend that you leave a 5mm space (approx.) around any important information, so that nothing is at risk of being lost when it comes to trimming the printed artwork down.
We have plenty of artwork templates for Adobe software available to download on our website, or alternatively we can assist in creating your artwork with our graphic design service. For more information, please get in touch with us on 01952 670211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.