0 Item(s) £ 0.00

You have no items in your shopping cart.

Subtotal: £0.00

Preparing your Artwork



Artwork and design can sometimes feel like a minefield. With constantly updated creative programmes, it is sometimes difficult to be confident in artwork that has been supplied.

Where artwork is concerned, we understand what it takes to ensure you receive what you expect. Here we provide a number of useful 'Hints and Tips' to help you to produce great Artwork which will print flawlessly. The guidance for Artwork Preparation are 'Best Practice' no matter what Design Package you are using.


Before you start any Design Project it may be helpful to obtain a template file from us relevant to the particular item you are designing. Templates are particularly helpful for more involved layouts, such as for a Folder or Box. However, many clients like the reassurance of a template for even very straightforward items such as Business Cards.

Whatever Design you are contemplating we would be delighted to provide a template to suit. The old adage 'measure twice, cut once' may be relevant, it is always easier to produce a great design to start with than work on modifying and adjusting afterwards.

And of course, please remember that we would be delighted to undertake Design for you. Our expert team will be pleased to help you, whether you need design from scratch or a final polish to the work you have done.

Please feel free to contact us for help and advice. 



 > Design Checklist

Before sending any job to print please make sure that you can 'tick off' and have checked and verified each item below

Bullet One


Bullet One Photographs and Graphics
Bullet One Flattening Artwork
Bullet One Colour Matching
Bullet One Bleed and Quiet Border
Bullet One Artwork Central and Backing up




When creating your PDF it is important to specify that fonts should be embedded.

This option is normally included as a tick box in the export area of your PDF software, or as an option in an external PDF creator. If fonts are not embedded they may revert to detail resulting in unwanted font substitutions and print rejection. 

Embed all fonts



Photographs and Graphics:


Photographs should be scanned at the size required in your finished design at 400dpi and saved as CMYK images.

It is very importatn that images are created at 400dpi quality. Re-sampling an image of a lower resolution (e.g. 72dpi from the internet) to 400dpi will lessen quality and reduce an images suitability for high quality print. 

Monitor calibration is a big consideration when scanning images and carrying out colour-balancing. If your monitor is not calibrated, the image you see on screen may differ from the image on the final print. For this we recommend obtaining one of our Hard Copy Colour Charts. In addition to a comprehensive range of colour swatches, this includes a standardised image which is called 'Ole No Moire' which is often used for basic monitor calibration. We can email you the same image together with calibration instructions. By opening the Ole No Moire image from a file on your screen and comparing it with the image on the Chart, you can carry out a fair calibration of your monitor.










 Ole No Moire



TickFlattening Artwork: 

Flattened Artwork       




When designs are built up using a number of layers and transparencies, it is important that they are 'flattened' before creating a PDF. Un-flattened transparencies are notorious for causing print problems. Flattening your artwork will ensure that it prints as intended, without compromising on aesthestics. 




TickColour Matching: 


Please ensure that your artwork is produced using CMYK colours. This will reduce the number of variables that can affect final colour output.

Both un-calibrated monitors and un-calibrated desktop printers are likely to render very different colours to those produced on a professional printing press. Please ensure your monitor is calibrated using the steps set out in the 'Photographs and Graphics' section.

We have produced two Hard Copy Colour Charts (one is printed on coated material and the other is printed on uncoated material) from which we strongly recommend you make your colour selections. Each shows over 1000 colours together with their CMYK values, each of which are exactly matched to our presses. When a colour is chosen from the swatch sheets and the CMYK values selected in your design, you can be confident that the finished result will closely match your expectations. 

Our Colour Swatch Booklets are available for £15.00 + VAT & carriage each or £25.00 +VAT for the pair. They are an invaluable and accurate way of ensuring predictable colour.

If you have a particular colour issue, e.g. a requirement to match to a specific company colour or previous print job, this must be brought to our attention at the order stage. SImply specify the required colour match in the 'Special Instructions' section during the online ordering process. If you have a swatch of the colour required, please send us a hard copy. We cannot be held responsible if your printed work does not match your requirements unless those requirements are brought to our attention before we go to print. 



Bleed and Quiet Border: 


Understanding the need for bleed and a quiet border is vital if we are going to achieve our joint aim of an excellent finished print job. Bleed allows for the tolerance of our guillotines (the machines used for cutting your job after printing) and helps to reduce the margin of error during finishing. If you image finishes exactly at th edge of your required finished size then these small deviations may produce unsightly white flashes at the edge of your print. By extending your background colour or image beyond the edge of your finished job, the effects of the same deviations are not noticeable. We recommend that elements intended to go to the very edge of your finished job should extend 3mm beyond the edge.




A quiet border is the distance you should allow from the edge of your finished page size for text, diagrams or images not going to bleed. The reason for the border stems from the tolerance in cutting. If you have a design where the text runs to the very edge, any cutting deviation will result in some of your text being cut off. With a very small quiet border, even the smallest cutting deviation could result in the finished job looking uneven. We recommend a standard sized quiet border where any text or necessary design work ends at least 5mm inside the edge of your project.

Quiet Border











Artwork Central and Backing Up: 


It is important that artwork is positioned centrally on your layout. Our pre-press system works by aligning print jobs inwards from the centre of the page. At pre-press the correct size aperture is filled with the image on the page, running out from the page centre. If a proof is off-centre or if the front and back images are placed on a single layout there is a possibility that only a portion of the job witll appear in the aperture and be printed. (see fig.1).



Centered Artwork


It is also important that jobs are backed up correctly, with the orientation of each page being the same. We strongly recommend printing your own PDF proofs before submitting your designs. (see fig.2)





Making a physical mock-up will highlight potential errors which are not easy to see on screen. If the sheet holding the reverse image must be rotated to backup correctly with the front then the file should be altered.





Our normal services does not include proofs. At pre-press we check that our printing will match the files provided. By dispensing with the requirement for signed proofs we have greatly improved the speed and efficiency of our service.

Nevertheless, we recognise that in some circumstances proofs are desirable and we are pleased to produce these for you, prior to printing. Please be aware that sending proofs will add time to the overall turnaround.

We offer three types of proofs: PDF Proofs, Wet Proofs, and Montage Wet Proofs.

PDF Proofs are either sent via email or made available for download as a 'normalised PDF', which is produced from our pre-press system as an exact representation of what we will print. PDF proofs are ideal for checking layout and content but are only as accurate as your monitor calibration with regards to colour.

Wet Proofs are an exact match to the job which will eventually be printed, since they are a small run of the finished job on press. We would always recommend a small run of print (to be used as a wet proof) prior to any large print run.

Montage Wet Proogs constitute a montage of critical wet proof elements which can be used for comparing house colours or individual photographs. This is often a more cost-effective alternative to ordering a full wet proof. 



Artwork for Speciality Processes and Finishes



Digital Embossing:  


Preparing your artwork for digital embossing is very straightforward. We simply require an additional separation to act as a mask for all the areas that you would like to have embossed on your project. This separation can be supplied as an individual PDF file or as an addition channel within your PDF. It is important to make sure that it is identical in all respects (size, orientation, crops, position of images and text etc.) to your original CMYK artwork.

For a complex or demanding Emboss we strongly recommend running a small trial before committing to a production run. 

Digital Embossing



If you want to have text or line work digitally embossed into your project, the easiest way of preparing your emboss plate is to make a duplicate of your original artwork.

On this duplicate either delete or make white all the elements which you do not want embossed. All the embossed elements should be converted to black. 

If the item to be mebossed is a picture then a separate black and white image file should be created. The method for creating the embossing separation depends on the complexity of the 'mask' you create.

It may be possible to use the 'magic wand' selector tool in a programme such as Photoshop to highlight the areas for embossing. Alternatively it may be that the mask must be formed by tracing out the areas manually. This can be a time consuming process. If you would like help preparing a black mask, please get in touch and we will provide a quote for undertaking this work.









TickPersonalised Print Projects:


Normal printing uses a single Design to produce 100's, 1000's or even 100,000s of items, all identical. This may be described as 'Traditional' Printing. However, with new, Digital Printing technology, it is possible to produce one item or multiple items where every item is printed differently to the item before and the one after.

There are special considerations in preparing artwork for these products as set out below:


Variable Data - Names in Text:

Please supply your base desing as a PDF and your data in an Excel Spreadsheet or as a CSV (Comma Separated Variable) file.

The setup charge for the addition of one field of data from the spreadsheet is £25.00. Additional fields are £2.00 each. Once the setup has been completed we then charge £0.05 per page to produce the output PDF.

Sample order: 100 conference delegates, each requiring a Single Sided personalised folder containing their course notes. Each folder includes the name of the delegate and their ID number. We produce a 100 page PDF from your artwork with each page being the folder personalised with the delegate's name ready for printing. 


Variable Data - Names in Pictures:

Using 'Direct Smile' software we can embed variable data right into photos to create absolutely unique and exceptionally engaging personalisation.

The base design should be supplied as a PDF. The setup charge for the first image to be used in the project is £35.00. The setup charge for each additional image is £4.00. After that we charge £0.09 per page to create the output PDF ready for Digital Printing.

Sample Order: You would like to send a special postcard to 300 favoured customers with a picture of flowers spelling out the names of the recipients, as well as a slogan. The setup charge for the one image would be £25.00 and the cost of producing the output PDF would be £27.00 (300 x £0.09). The total cost to produce the PDF origination would be £52.00.

If Names in Pictures appeaks to you we would be delighted to send you a PDF of all our current images.

You have no items in your shopping cart.