Artwork Set Up
Preparing press-ready artwork for printing can be confusing. Please use the informations below as a guide before sending your artwork, as it may help you save valuable time and avoid any unnecessary printing delays.
Accepted File Formats
RGB, CMYK and PMS Pantone Colours
Fonts and line thickness
Vector and bitmap images
Diecutting and Forms Setup
Paper / Stock Options
Print Ready Checklist
When your artwork is ready, before emailing to us we recommend you download our Print Ready Checklist. We only accept Adobe PDF files with the following attributes:
• 300dpi resolution
• 2mm bleed (5mm for booklets)
• crop and bleed marks included
• fonts outlined, text no smaller than 5pt
• all colours converted to CMYK
We have a full range of templates available in a range of formats. The templates are set up to size, with bleed and trim lines, column guides, safe text zones and dielines where applicable.
Accepted File Formats
We prefer press ready PDF files, however we do accept other file types as long as the artwork is correctly prepared for commercial printing. We accept the following file types:
• Illustrator files (.ai)
• Photoshop files (.psd)
• InDesign files with all links and fonts embedded (.indd or .idml)
• EPS files
• Word Documents (.doc, .docx)
• Publisher files (.pub)
• Image file formats (.bmp, .tiff, .jpeg, .png, etc...)
The maximum file size that we accept is 20 megabytes. However, it is quite rare to receive such large files as most correctly prepared artwork is much smaller than this. If you do have the large file, you can use the third party (eg. dropbox or wetransfer), please email us the link that you uploaded.
|A1||841 x 594mm|
|A2||594 x 420mm|
|A3||420 x 297mm|
|A4||297 x 210mm|
|A5||210 x 148mm|
|A6||148 x 105mm|
|A7||105 x 74mm|
Please contact us to find a list of the size specifications
For borderless printing files must have a minimum of 3mm internal and external bleed.
For comprehensive instructions on how to create correct bleed using our templates, or you may contact to our in house graphic designer.
We require 3mm of internal as well as external bleed on all files (5mm on all magazines/booklets, plastic loyalty cards and presentation folders). This means all text/important graphics must be kept a minimum of 3mm (5mm) from the trim edge of your artwork.
We require 3mm of external bleed on all files (magazines/booklets, plastic loyalty cards and presentation folders). External bleed is the area extending past the trim line, it allows for a small amount of movement that may occur when your order is being cut to size.
What is trim, bleed and the “safe text zone”?
Trimis the border of your artwork specifying where it is to be cut. It defines the final size of the piece. “Trim” and “Crop” are interchangeable terms. Trim lines are represented by a vertical and horizontal hairlines marked on each corner of the page (see example below). In layout programs such as Adobe InDesign, when you export your artwork to PDF, a dialogue box asks if you want to include Crop and Bleed marks. Tick both of these then specify how much bleed, in this case 2mm.
Bleedis a printed area that extends beyond the trim. Allowing 2mm bleed guarantees that you won’t see a thin white line if the piece is cut a fraction to the left or right. It is basically and extra 2mm of artwork on all edges to safeguard against shifts when trimming. Layout programs give you the option to include Bleed Marks when exporting PDF’s so we ask that you include these, as well as Crop Marks.
The Safe Text Zoneis a 2mm buffer zone within the trim line that ensures important text or graphics are not cut off when the document is trimmed down (see below). Our print registration and finishing equipment is extremely accurate however it is best practice to include 2mm bleed and 2mm safe text buffer.
An image with a resolution that is too low will result in inferior image quality, a resolution that is too high will increase overall file size without actually increasing the print quality. We advise all images in your artwork are always set to 300dpi when placed at 100% scale.
RGB, CMYK and Spot Colours
RGB (stands for Red, Green, and Blue) is the colour the language of computer monitors, domestic scanners and domestic printers.
CMYK (Stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) is the colour language of commercial printing equipment and presses. While computer screens and digital devices display colours in RGB format (Red, Green, Blue), the 4-colour printing process uses CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black). The range of RGB colour combinations available to view on a screen is much greater than the range that can be printed on paper. As such, if artwork is supplied in RGB format, the printed result will look “duller” and with less contrast than you intended. We always recommend you preview your artwork in CMYK format, then adjust the colour palette as close to your intended output as possible.
We prefer to print in CMYK and only prefer artwork supplied in CMYK. If you upload files that are not CMYK (e.g. RGB or spot colours) they will be converted to CMYK by the pre-press processes. This conversion can slightly change colours as they may appear different from what is seen on screen. DR Print will not accept responsibility for the outcome of such files.
PMS Pantone Colour
PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. PMS colours are standardized colours listed in the Pantone Colour Matching System. Each Pantone colour has a specific code which different printers and manufacturers can refer to in order to ensure colour consistency. Please note, we only offer printing using PMS colours for our envelopes and carbonless.
We recommend all fine black text/lines are set to: C=0%, M=0%, Y=0%, K=100%. All such text/lines should also be set to overprint.
Please do not use Photoshop Default Black in your artwork (C=75%, M=68%, Y=67%, K=90%). It is fine for web sites/screen presentations; however it is not appropriate for commercial printing.
We strongly recommend you use CMYK Rich Black on large areas of black to ensure a nice solid result. A good mixture for CMYK Rich Black on heavier stock weights is: 60 / 40 / 40 / 100. For lighter stock weights use 30 / 0 / 0 / 100.
Should I use 100% Black or Rich Black?
If your design has medium to large areas of solid black, we strongly recommend you use Rich Black to ensure a nice solid result. 100% black tends to wash out in comparison to other CMYK elements in the design.
A good mixture for Rich Black on heavier stock weights is: 50 / 50 / 50 / 100. For lighter stock weights use 30 / 0 / 0 / 100. It is also safe to use Rich Black for text above 7pt+ – our printing is of such high quality that registration issues are not an issue.
Fonts and line thickness
minimum line thickness
All lines in your artwork should be at least 0.3pt and all text should be at least 8.5pt using a non narrow, non ultra light and non thin font.
Please ensure all borders are a minimum of 5mm wide. Due to automated cutting systems there can be a +/- 2mm trimming variance, if borders are too narrow this can result in uneven borders after trimming.
Please ensure all fonts in your artwork are outlined (converted to curves). If this is not possible please ensure all fonts are fully embedded in your artwork.
Vector and bitmap images
A bitmap or raster image (e.g. JPEG, PNG, GIF) is made up of thousands of tiny, set-size pixels. This means they cannot be enlarged without “stretching” the set-size pixels and blurring the image. The number of pixels within an image is the “resolution”. The more pixels within the image, the smoother and sharper it looks. If there are too few pixels in the image, it will look blocky and “pixelated”. Bitmap images need to be supplied at a minimum resolution of 300dpi (dots per inch).
Vector graphics (AI, EPS etc) use geometrical shapes such lines, points, paths and shapes (which are all mathematical expressions) to create images. Each point has a defined position on the X and Y axis meaning the file information can be exported and scaled to any size without distortion. When text is converted to outlines, it then goes from bitmap to vector and can be scaled to any size, remaining crisp and smooth. This is why we recommend outlining all text when supplying artwork.
Diecutting and Forms Setup
A diecut/forme is the template used when you choose a custom finish size or shape. Common examples are uniquely shaped marketing cards, presentation folders with custom pockets or cover cutouts, non-standard business cards etc.
We recommend using a dieline from our extensive range of templates. If you require a custom diecut, please contact us directly. If you choose to create your own die, it is best practice to create your dieline, mock it up and test it before laying out your artwork. Then repeat that process when the artwork is complete.
Especially with packaging and presentation folders, this is particularly important as elements such as pockets require gussets to allow for inserted material. Closure folds and tabs also require careful engineering to serve their purpose.
Paper / Stock Options
The paper stock you choose will depend on the products you’re ordering, how long you need them to last in good condition and the impact you want them to have on first impression. The two areas to look at are paper weight, and paper type.
Paper weight is measured in grams per square meter (gsm). As a guide:
|80-100gsm||Standard office photocopier/printer paper|
|120gsm||Good quality letterheads|
|115-130gsm||Cheaper flyers, commonly used for letterbox drops and high volume promotional material. Stock with a weight less than 130gsm will “show through” print to the other side|
|150-200gsm||Good quality flyers and brochures, no show-through|
|200-250gsm||High quality stock for flyers, posters, marketing cards, booklets and brochures. We don’t recommend folding stocks over 250gsm|
|300gsm+||Ideal for business cards, greeting cards, tent calendars, packaging etc. Stocks over 300gsm will need to be scored before folding|
|Laser (100gsm)||Ideal for letterheads and with compliments slips|
|Recycled (100gsm)||An excellent environmentally friendly choice, 100% recycled|
|Knight (120gsm)||A 100% recycled, bleached high-white paper|
|Gloss Art (115-170gsm)||Enhances graphics and photography. Ideal for flyers, posters, marketing cards, greeting cards and calendars|
|Matt Art (115-170gsm)||Gives a smooth, clean finish. Ideal for letterheads, flyers, brochures,posters, notepads and with compliments slips|
|Artboard (250gsm)||For high quality brochures and flyers|
|Bleach Board (350gsm)||Pre-coated on one side. Ideal when the reverse of hte product needs to be written on e.g. postcards, greeting cards or marketing cards|
|High Bulk (300-400gsm)||For high quality business cards, brochure covers, tent calendars and presentation folders|
Colour Charts are available to assist you in colour matching, below is a guide on how these charts can be used most effectively.
Select a colour from the guide that you wish to achieve in your printed material. Take note of the CMYK colour breakdown below the colour square and set up your artwork with the same CMYK breakdown in your design program.
Please ensure that you choose the colour from the colour chart that is printed on the same paper that you will be ordering, also make sure it has the same laminated finish (if required).
Reference your Colour
Each colour has a “map reference” to make them easy to find. ie: C90 is a Bright Red (C0 M93 Y95 K0).
This “map reference” must be specified on your order to assist our production team in identifying the colour they need to match when printing.
Colour will vary during a print run and between each print run, while we make every effort to minimise colour variation there are many factors beyond our control that affect colour.
Variations in the paper making process, constraints of printing and even different temperatures can have an effect on the colour of your finished job.
However, by selecting a colour from the colour chart, making sure your order specifies the “map reference” of that colour and that your artwork is set up to the same CMYK breakdown, you will have the best chance of obtaining a colour close to your target colour.