Artwork Supply & Tips Section

Here is everything you need to know about supplying artwork for print.

Supplying Artwork for Print

There are really only three things you need to do to make sure artwork supplied to us is usable. If you are at all concerned about your artwork, send it to us for a check – this is free of charge for most items once an order is placed, otherwise there is a £15 charge which is deductible from your order. For your peace of mind you can also choose our Artwork Helper – if added along with a print order, we will give you a detailed check and send proofs showing you exactly what you will receive and detailing any issues we perceive with the artwork.

We can also discuss with you taking artwork you’ve got prepared and making it ready for print – for example if everything you have is in a Word document, you might expect an hours’ artworking to be sufficient to create print-ready artwork, which you can then use forever.

If you are confident preparing your own artwork, it will still get a free check when you place an order however to save yourself time and prevent any delays, please check the following guidelines.

1. Make sure it is High Resolution

Resolution refers to the amount of dots per inch, or dpi, of your document. You need to START creating, and create your artwork, at 300 dots per inch. Upscaling after the event will not improve matters.

2. Make sure the artwork has Bleed.

Bleed refers to the space between content you want, and the edge past the trim knife. The trim knife can vary, by only 0.2mm but if it slips you do not want white space outside. Equally, we need to grip your work to cut it so we need an area to work with. If you do not understand bleed, read our simple FAQ and checklist here, or the more detailed article here.

3. Artwork Size

Files should be correctly sized. If its an A6 order and you send an A5 document we will have to stop and check if its your mistake. If its an A3 order and you want us to scale up your supplied A4 file, we have to check that too. This can delay your order. Simply mark in the comments if you want us to make such an alteration without checking with you. However if its an A6 order and you’ve supplied it at 10 by 14 cm, we can’t fix that without liaising with you. So make sure you’ve checked the size and proportions are correct. If you are worried, or haven’t started your artwork yet, why not head over to our Print Templates page and grab the correct template for your job? Or for a full description of print paper sizes, see here.

Other Considerations

Files should be CMYK but this is more for your preference when viewing your artwork, as we will automatically convert all your files to CMYK in-house together with any other minor issues which we will fix in-house for you, generally free of charge.

If you are worried about RGB vs CMYK, bleed, vector artwork, types of file to supply or anything else to do with printing terms, click on the links within this document or head to our print preparation checklist page.

Supplying PDFs for Print

When supplying PDFs for print with us, you should make some additional checks, detailed below. If you are unsure how to do this, we can make the checks for you as part of our Artwork Helper – if added along with a print order, this will give you a detailed check and proofs.

1. Make sure it is High Resolution

Your PDF may be generated from a document containing many photos or images – all of these need to be 300 dots per inch. While creating a PDF will downsample any higher-resolution pictures to 300dpi if you choose the right settings, it will not upsample – nor should it; your images should be high-resolution for a quality final product. If the PDF contains lower-resolution scans, we can still print it, but we will need your authorisation to do so – and if we are not informed in advance, we may not be aware and your job may be stopped or delayed while we check with you.

2. Make sure the artwork has Bleed.

Bleed in PDFs can either be provided by setting the document to the full size including bleed, or by setting bleed outside the document bounds. If you use the latter approach, you need to ensure you tell the program to export including bleed. If you are confused about bleed, read our detailed article here.

3. Overprint Settings

This is one of the killer issues in PDF reproduction. If you set small items to Overprint, they will not appear on the final printed document. You need to make sure you switch off Overprint on any colours used. Sometimes its set as a default which can catch people out. If items are small we may not notice they have dropped out if we are unfamiliar with the artwork. For more info on this issue, read our article on Overprint.

4. Spot Colours

If you set your artwork up with spot colours, you may find that this causes issues. In the best case your artwork will fail our checks and the job will be stopped. In the worst case, as per Overprint items, small areas of spot colour may be missed and not printed. When you export you should export to CMYK and use the Ink Manager to convert any Spot colours to CMYK.

Flight Checking

Flight checking is a process that can be performed within most programs that can generate PDFs. It will give you the information on all the problems a PDF can face before print; additional items this can include are fonts without licenses, RGB items embedded in CMYK files, lines thinner than 0.7mm which will not reproduce, and catch areas.

Please note: we assume that if you submit artwork to us in PDF format that you are, or have used, a professional design company and we will proceed straight to print. For smaller jobs this may mean that any errors in your PDF are reproduced in the final print. For larger jobs this may result in delays or additional costs. It depends which system your PDFs are run through before print. Please be sure that your PDFs are correct when supplied.

Although we can fix errors in PDFs, to do so we will require all the fonts used, and license transfers where appropriate, together with the images used in some cases. Its therefore quite time-consuming work and is charged at £37.50 per hour or part thereof. By selecting our Artwork Helper when ordering, you will save a lot of time and potential delays if you are for any reason uncertain about the provenance of your PDFs.

Accepted File Types

TIF
JPG
PSD (up to Photoshop CC2015)
EPS (please convert fonts to paths)
PDF (please use PDF-X1a standardisation)
Quark 6.0 (with all fonts & images in a ZIP file)
InDesign up to CC2015 (with all fonts & images in a ZIP file)
Illustrator up to CC2015

How to Send Artwork

Best Way: After placing an order, using our File Upload system

Alternatives:

By email to: info@skybluedesignworks.com
Via Dropbox
Via WeTransfer (preferred), Hightail, or Mailbigfile.com
Via FTP

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