To ensure you get the very best results, read our helpful guide before sending your print ready artwork to us. This will ensure your artwork matches our requirements and you can enjoy hassle free production of your order.
Artwork check list
- Set up documents to correct size (see fig. 1)
- Add bleed if needed – 3mm (see fig. 2)
- Safe area – 5mm (see fig. 3)
- Crop marks (see fig. 4)
- Set up multiple page documents in running order
- Colour – CMYK
- Resolution – 300dpi
- Fonts – embedded
Artwork file format
You need to send your artwork as a high resolution PDF format file. This can be made using the ‘PDFx1a’ setting (If PDFx1a is not available then use ‘Press’ setting). This setting is available in Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Quark Xpress.
Alternatively a full copy of Adobe Acrobat (not the basic Reader) or other PDF production applications allow you to make a PDF file from ANY software package. You can also export your artwork as PDFs from other Desk Top Publishing programmes such as Microsoft Word. All elements in your document such as text, graphics and images should be CMYK and images should be 300dpi.
Sending us your print ready artwork
- You can upload your file at the end of the online ordering process
- You can upload your artwork using the artwork link at the bottom of our website
- Your artwork can be supplied to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if the total file size is below 10mb
- For larger files you can send the artwork via a file transfer service such as mailbigfile.com
In this example we have an A4 size (210mm x 297mm) letterhead. The blue line around the artwork represents the trim area as this is the size of the finished artwork once it has been printed and trimmed to size.
If there are any graphics that need to go right to the edge of your page you will need to add a 3mm bleed area to your artwork (represented by the red line)
We recommend you leave a safe area (represented by the purple line) 5mm away from the trim area for any text or other elements you don’t want to bleed off the page
When creating your PDF if your artwork has bleed you will need to add crop marks, these will act as a guide when it comes to trimming your artwork to size. The crop marks will need to be offset from the trim area, in this example they are offset by 3mm
Setting up your artwork
The first step is to set up your document to the correct size, in this example we have created an A4 (210mm wide x 297mm high) letterhead (see fig. 1). A4 (210x297) is the trim area of this artwork as this is the actual size of your document once printed and trimmed to size.
If your artwork has any images or graphics that need to go right to the edge of your page you will need to add in a bleed area, this should be 3mm (see fig. 2).
Bleed is the area of the artwork that is extended beyond the actual dimensions of the document. It is used to avoid strips of white paper showing on the edges of your print when cut to size.
The 3mm bleed is added to each of the four sides of the page, therefore this will add 6mm to the width and height of the document:
A4 Paper = 210mm x 297mm
210mm + 3mm + 3mm = 216mm
297mm + 3mm + 3mm = 303mm
Total document size = 216mm x 303mm
In most design programmes you can set your document to the trim size (210mm x 297mm in this example) and then bleed the images off the page into the bleed area (216mm x 303mm). When you export your document as a PDF you can include the bleed area in the PDF settings.
We also advise a safe zone of 5mm inside of the trim area for text or images not included in the bleed (see fig. 3). This will keep these elements at a safe distance from the edge of the page when the artwork is trimmed to size.
If your artwork has bleed on it you will need to add crop marks (see fig.4), usually this is done in the PDF settings when you export your artwork.
Your artwork should now be ready (see fig. 5)
here are just a few other points to check
- Supply all files as 1up as we will deal with imposition.
- Preview your file in Acrobat Reader. Open ‘Output Preview’ this can be found in the ‘Advanced’ menu under ‘Print Production’, once Output Preview is open make sure the ‘Simulate Overprinting’ box is ticked. This gives the most accurate representation of how the file will look once printed and may flag up errors that aren’t visible without the ‘Simulate Overprinting’ selected. To get the latest copy of Adobe PDF reader go to the Adobe website http://get.adobe.com/uk/reader.
- If your job is to be folded, we recommend printing it out and make a folded mock up to check that it backs up properly, and that each section is orientated properly.
How to create print-ready PDFs in the most commonly used design programmes:
Make sure your artwork has a 3mm bleed (image area outside the trim area), and all fonts used are loaded. Go to: File / Export under Format select ‘Adobe PDF’ save, this takes you to the ‘Export Adobe PDF window, under ‘Adobe PDF Preset’ select ‘PDF/X-1a:2001’ select ‘Marks and Bleed’ and click crop marks on and add 3mm bleed select Export.
Make sure your artwork has a 3mm bleed (image area outside the trim area), and all fonts used are loaded. Go to: File / Save as under Format select ‘Photoshop PDF’ save, this takes you to the ‘Export Adobe PDF window, under ‘Adobe PDF Preset’ select ‘PDF/X-1a:2001’ then Save PDF.
Make sure your artwork has a 3mm bleed (image area outside the trim area), and all fonts used are loaded. Go to: File / Save as under Format select ‘Adobe PDF’ save, this takes you to the ‘Export Adobe PDF window, under ‘Adobe PDF Preset’ select ‘PDF/X-1a:2001’ select ‘Marks and Bleed’ and click crop marks on and add 3mm bleed select Save PDF.
Make sure your artwork has a 3mm bleed (image area outside the trim area), and all fonts used are loaded. Go to: File / Export / Layout as PDF, this will give you the ‘Export as a PDF’ window, select ‘PDF/X-1a:2001’ under the ‘PDF Style’ and save.
A3 297mm x 420mm (303mm x 426mm incl. bleed)
A4 210mm x 297mm (216mm x 303mm incl. bleed)
A5 148mm x 210mm (154mm x 216mm incl. bleed)
1/3 A4 99mm x 210mm (105mm x 216mm incl. bleed)
A6 105mm x 148mm (111mm x 154mm incl. bleed)
Business Cards 85mm x 55mm (91mm x 61mm incl. bleed)