Print-ready artwork is the term used in the trade to describe a document or file that is ready to proceed to print with all the necessary specifications needed to produce a high-resolution printed outcome, without the need to be altered in any way shape or form and have a completely professional finish.
All artwork needs to be supplied with crop marks added to each corner and set with a 3mm bleed to each edge – this ‘bleed’ edge will be trimmed off in production, but it is necessary as any colour or images need to ‘bleed’ over the finished size so that you get a nice clean edge (no paper showing on the edge). If bleeds are not included then to mimic the appearance of the bleed, we have to cut into the edge of the document and you’ll end up with a printed document which is 4 or 5mm narrower and shorter than you intended. which may result in critical content being cut off or the finished job looking uneven/off-centre once cut. If you’ve got some text very close to the edge of the page these may be completely cropped off. So, for this reason we recommend keeping all text, logos etc. inside the ‘safe area’ to avoid any possible cutting issues. There’s inevitable movement with print in the cutting process and if you have text too close to the finished size line it may be cropped. We advise you to set the safe area 3mm in from the finished size line.
Check and try where possible to stick to standard fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman, as these are usually installed on nearly every PC. We understand that you may want to be different if it is part of your brand identity and you have chosen an unusual font. In this case all we ask is that you remember to tell the person if any changes are needed as they will have to down load it to re-create or change your artwork for you. Ideally, all fonts in print ready artwork should be converted to outlines to avoid any potential font embedding issues. We suggest you choose the highest available quality setting, look for “print quality”, “press quality” or “high quality”.
To get the best colour match we require artwork to be set as the CMYK colour model which is a four-colour process used in colour printing and used to describe the printing process itself – Cian, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (which is black). The colours of your artwork will always look brighter and richer on your screen or monitor as it’s a back lit screen and those colours are made up of three colours – Red, Green and Blue (RGB) which will always be slightly darker than how it appears on a computer because the colour is reproduced from four colours, the standard print (CMYK) then printed onto paper or board (which can also affect colour) then left to soak into the stock and dry. When colour printing please remember to specify colours by indicating the Pantone name or number. This assures that you get the right colour when the file is printed, even though the colour may not look right when displayed on your monitor, the printed article will.
Remember too how important it is for top quality images if you are looking at wide format printing such as outdoor banners or pop up banners. Decide on the size of your banner. Ours vary from 800mm, the images need to be at least 300dpi (dots per inch) preferably bigger if possible to ensure they are crisp and don’t blur or pixilate. Making sure they are saved in the correct colours – CMYK. Make sure the information on your banner or sign is clear and kept to a minimum, include the most important details only.
PDF is now the industry standard method for submitting artwork for printing, because it generates smaller files and, when used correctly, it ensures that all graphics and fonts are properly embedded to guarantee that they will print correctly no matter which computer you use. If your PDF is password protected we won´t be able to print it, so please ensure all document restrictions are removed. To do this, bring up the document properties (File – Properties or Ctrl+D), click on the Security tab and ensure that all actions are set to ´allowed´.
It is so important to get your artwork correct so that when you are preparing your business cards, flyers, brochures or other print material they will look professional and set your brand off. We hope this information is helpful, but if you are still struggling then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will help as best we can, or alternatively we offer a professional in-house design service on all print materials.