We have prepared the following guide to assist you with your electronic file preparation and submission. If you have a specific problem that is not covered in this guide, or have other questions, please feel free to contact us.

 

Important: Artwork issues are the #1 reason for order delays!

Your supplied artwork files are expected to be supplied in final form, which means they are ready to print without the requirement for changes or modifications. Remember, you are creating artwork for commercial printing which has different rules than designing for the internet.

 

1. Design Basics 

  • Ensure you are using our design template.
  • Your design page properties should be set to CMYK colour mode (not RGB).
  • All photos and bitmap graphics should be 300dpi and in CMYK colour mode or Greyscale as appropriate (not RGB).
  • Add 1/8" (3mm) of bleed into your design where required (see below for an explanation of "bleed").
  • Don't crowd the finished edge of your product with text, or graphics that do not bleed off the edge. Use 1/8" to 1/4" (3mm to 6mm) of gutter as a buffer (see below for an explanation of "gutter").
  • Make sure you pick a font size that is big enough to be read clearly. This is especially important when you are using white text on a coloured background.
  • If you are designing using transparencies, gradients, drop-shadows or anything less than 100% solid colour, the tonal range must be between 15% and 85%. Tones outside that range my not print properly.
  • Never flatten the template into your design - the template must always be removable.

 

2. Important: Adding "Bleed" To Your Design 

If elements of your design are supposed to print right to the edge of the paper you must extend (or ‘bleed’) your design past the finished edge by approximately 1/8” (3mm).

“Bleed” is used to combat two inherent printing issues: (1) Slight movement of the paper as it passes through the printing press, and (2) slight movement of the paper during the cutting process.

Without bleed, if the cutter blade is off-target by even a fraction of a millimetre you will have a sliver of unprinted white paper at the edge of your product – and that never looks good.  Having the ‘bleed’ in the design creates some extra room to allow for the slight movement of paper during the printing or cutting processes.

In the example shown below, the solid red line represents the ‘finished edge’ of the product (ie: the size of the product after it has been cut).

 

 

3. Important: Stay Out Of The “Gutter” 

A common design error is to crowd the finished edge with text and/or graphics. This makes the finish product harder to read and less visually pleasing overall.
 
If you open up a book and you will notice an obvious margin that separates the text from the edge of the page. This is commonly referred to as ‘gutter’. Open up a magazine and you should find the same thing – there will be elements that do bleed to the edge of the page, but everything else is kept a certain distance away from the edge.
 
The amount of ‘gutter’ to use in your design is up to you, but a minimum requirement is often at least a 1/4" (6mm) away from the paper edge to improve legibility and prevent accidental cropping.
 

 

4. When You Have Finished Your Design 

  • Proof read your design thoroughly before submitting your artwork file. Even if you think your design is fine, review it again the following day – you might be surprised at what you missed! It also helps to have someone else proof your design for errors.
  • There are thousands upon thousands of fonts in the design world, so you cannot assume that every printer my have the same fonts you used. To prevent potential delays we ask that you either supply us with your font files in a separate folder, or you must convert your text to paths (depending on the design software you are using this may also be referred to as “create outlines”, “convert to curves”, or “rasterize”).
  • If you have ‘linked’ or ‘placed’ images within your design please make sure you supply the images in a separate folder.