Here is a quick look at the most commonly requested info on how to make print ready files.
File Formats We Accept
Acrobat (pdf) when saving to pdf, it's suggested to still create outlines for all your fonts before saving or exporting. Please ensure all of your settings are correct for print-ready files including image mode and resolution, and bleeds are visible in the pdf file with crops indicating the final trim size.
Photoshop CS (psd, tif or jpg) simply flatten all your layers and make sure the resolution is a minimum of 300 dpi and are CMYK.
CorelDRAW (cdr) be sure to convert all your fonts to curves.
Illustrator CS (eps or ai) embed all linked files, create outlines for all fonts and flatten all transparencies.
No need to add registration marks, page information and colour bars when savings or exporting your final files for printing.
A Picture Is Worth At Least 300 Dpi
All photographs and images should be a minimum resolution of 300 dpi and CMYK.
PMS vs CMYK
Most products we offer are printed in full colour and should be saved in CMYK mode. However some printed products like stickers, letterhead, envelopes can be printed using Pantone (PMS) spot colours. These 1, 2 and 3 colour orders must be saved as vector files (Acrobat, Illustrator or CorelDRAW). However if the print job is only 1 Pantone colour then you can save as a black and white or greyscale tif or jpg at a minimum resolution of 600 dpi.
RGB vs CMYK
If your file is supplied in RGB colour Mode we will convert it to CMYK before we print and this will change the hues, in many cases resulting in less vibrant hues of colour. RGB colour is ideal websites and digital communications including your back lit computer and phone screen. Print shops almost exclusively print in CMYK or spot colours.
Let It Bleed
We need an extra 1/8” of artwork or background to go beyond the trim size on each side of your card. Do not put a border on for your bleed - it must be a continuation of all artwork/graphics that go to the trim edge of your card.
Don't Get Cut Off
Remember to design so that all vital information such as phone numbers and addresses are 1/8" inside the final trim line of your print job. This is known as the critical print area.
Rich Black or Solid Black?
Get a deep, rich black by using all CMYK inks: cyan60, magenta40, yellow40, black100. Rich black is not suggested for text or cards printed on the Indigo press.
Going for that Extra Special Print Effect
When printing extra print effects beyond CMYK, like spot gloss, foil stamping, foil effects, white ink on chipboard, its highly suggested to save it on it's own layer or even better, its own page or separate file. For all the effects listed above, you simply use black where you want the print effect and white where you don't. No greyscale, screens or photographs can be used for print effects, however monochromatic bitmap files (line art) can be used at a minimum resolution of 600 dpi. Your final file must be setup in a vector-based program such as Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
This is the most popular specialty effect printed right now and its because you can customize foil colours with CMYK values that are printed on top of the silver layer you setup. This means you literally double your colour palette. Foil effects works best on lighter colours. The darker and more saturated the CMYK colour is, the less effect the foil effect will have. Do not use very thin and small text and artwork for foil effects. For best results, use large areas or fonts 12pt and above. For best results on a simply standard silver foil is to print 15% black on top of the foil effect. Please contact us for a free sample pack or come into the clubcard store to see lots of examples.
All flexography sticker orders follow the "critical margin" rule when setting up your file. Unless you select a bleed for your flexography sticker order, you must keep all graphics 1/8" away from the trim line of the size selected.
Unless you are printing a full colour flexographic sticker, we don't suggest screens to be used on 1, 2 and 3 colour sticker orders. Our experience is PMS colours when screened on flexo stickers look "dotty" due to the coarseness of the screens. For this reason we cannot provide refunds, reprints or accept returns due to quality issues with screens.
Large Format Printing
The resolution for files for large format printing should be a minimum of 150 DPI. We suggest 300dpi at the final size to gain the best print results. Bleeds are not required for large format posters, outdoor banners and rolled canvas. However stretched canvas does require a bleed. For the standard 3/4" frame, your graphic requires a 2” bleed on each side and for the gallery 1 3/8" frame, your graphic requires a 4" bleed on each side.