Tips and guidance on setting up your artwork for print

As specialists in time critical quality print, we know the importance of getting your print to you quickly and at the highest quality. To help, we’ve put together some top tips on how to set up your artwork for print:

Document size
When setting up your document, set your page size to the size you want the final product to be.

Safe area
It is always a good idea to have a ‘safe area’ or margin around the edge of your artwork, ensuring that you do not place any important information or text outside this perimeter.

For the best quality, ensure your images are 300dpi at 100%, and convert all RGB imagery to CMYK. If you are using logos, ensure these are in vector format. 

Set your colour swatches up to the same specification that they will be printed in, this is usually CMYK. Please note the colour on your monitor is not always an accurate representation of the printed colour, due to different screen calibrations. If you have any specific colour matching requirements, it is always a good idea to ask for a proof first. If you have a specific pantone reference, please always let us know. 

Crop marks
Crop marks let us know where to trim the document. You can add crop marks when saving your PDF in InDesign or Illustrator.

Cutter guides
If you are setting up a file that is not a standard print size, e.g a heart shaped flyer, you will need to set up a cutter guide. The best way to do this is to set up a new layer on your artwork file and create the shape you require in a vectored line, the colour of this line needs to be set to a spot colour. Ideally you will need to supply the cutter guide as a separate PDF to the artwork, by exporting this layer to PDF separately.

Ensure you have a 3mm bleed to make sure you’re not left with a white edge when trimmed. This is where the artwork extends 3mm over the document size.

File formats and print ready PDFs
Remember to keep the native file of your document (e.g packaged InDesign) so you can update the document if you need to at a later date. 

A print ready PDF will consist of the following:

  • Crop marks
  • 3mm bleed
  • Embedded fonts
  • High resolution and CMYK images
  • Single pages (not spreads)

How can we help you with your next project?