Artwork Guidelines


PDF’s are the best format for you to provide your artwork, please make sure your images are at least 300dpi and all colours are correct.

We accept artwork created in any of the following software packages:
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Please be aware that files from the Microsoft Office suite of programs (Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Publisher) are not designed for commercial printing.

PDF Creation

When creating your PDF to submit for print please use a recognised PDF-maker such as Acrobat Distiller tomake your PDF. Using a design package’s own PDF maker may result in your job being rejected.Always save as a High Quality or Print Quality PDF.If using Acrobat Distiller then choose PDF/X-1a:2001 from the drop-down list.

When creating your PDF please embed all fonts.If your job has a bleed please ensure, you choose a large enough PDF page size to accommodate the bleed i.e. if you design an A6 flyer with a bleed, make your PDF page size A5.

Create your PDF with crop marks if possible.Supply all files as 1up as we will deal with the imposition at this end.

Please always view your PDF with Output Preview open before submitting it for print as this gives the mostaccurate representation of how the file will look once printed, and may flag up errors that aren’t visiblewithout Output Preview open.

Supplying Folded Work

Please supply folded work as a double-sided 2-page file(or 2 single files, with the file which is to be the outside ofthe leaflet clearly named), not a 3-page or 4-page file.

Prepare Your Own Mock Up

If your job is to be folded, we recommend printing it out and make a folded mock up to check that it backs upproperly, and that each section is orientated properly.

Downloadable Templates

When designing a job, if you are in any doubt as to the correct sizes/proportions, we have templates available on our website to help you.


Please set up the page size of your document at the exact size that you wish your job to print. Do not supply artwork floating on a larger page or include multiple items on the same page.

Other Sizes:
Standard Page Sizes:


Please set up the page size of your document at the exact size that you wish your job to print. Do not supply artwork floating on a larger page or include multiple items on the same page.


Ensure all jobs have 3mm bleed ifrequired.Bleed is required when images, colour ortext go right to the edge of your page. Tocreate a bleed simply extend yourimage(s), colour(s) or text 3mm over theedge of the page.

Crop Marks

Show us the edge of your work so we know exactly where to trim it.Please always make your PDFwithout crop marks.

Please Note: If making a PDF for print,please make your PDF page size largeenough to incorporate the bleed i.e. ifyour flyer is A5 with bleed, make yourPDF page size A4, etc.


Spot Colours

Ensure all colours in spot colour jobs are assigned Pantone colours (or are ‘Black’).CMYK and RGB colour used in spot colour jobs will result in your job beingrejected.

Please Note:Do not use fountain fills in spot colour jobs as this will cause your jobto be rejected.

Spot to Process Colour Conversion

When Pantone colours are converted to CMYK for fullcolour printing a change incolour is inevitable, itis impossible to exactly replicate spotcolours using CMYKinks. Similarly, with RGB images, when they areconverted to CMYK, there is acolour shift. Allow for this colour shift when designing your job.

RGB Colours

Do not use RGB colour in full colour jobs as the resulting colour may not be asexpected once converted to CMYK for print.

RGB Black

Please note if you use RGB black (R 0 G 0 B 0) as a vector fill colour this will be automaticallyconverted to CMYK black (100%k) by ourworkflow. Please also avoid having vector RGB blackjoining bitmap RGB black in your design as the join will be extremely noticeable once theconversion has taken place.


Ensure all black text and fills have the colour value C0 M0 Y0 K100. Try to keep text below 12pt inblack whenever possible, as small coloured text may not look as sharp once printed. Large solidareas of black can be ‘beefed up’ with the addition of 60% Cyan (C60 M0 Y0 K100) resulting in adeeper looking black known as ‘rich black’.

Vector/Bitmap Colours

Areas of colour which have vector fills will appear different to areas of colour which havebitmap fills once printed even when the colour values are identical.This means that a ‘join’ will be visible where vector colour meets bitmap colour. This will bemore pronounced if RGB colour has been used after the conversion to CMYK has taken place.The solution is to extend your bitmap colour out in a bitmappackage (such as Photoshop)avoiding the joining of vector and bitmap colour completely.

Overprint Colours

If you accidentally set a fill or line to overprint, the final printed job will NOT look as itdoes in your design file, since all inks are transparent.

(Top Tip: Once you havecreated your PDF for printing (see page 10) view it In AcrobatProfessional and go to the drop-down menu Advanced/Print Production and activateOverprint Preview. In this view you will be able to see if you have inadvertently leftany Overprints on your job. Try it with this Technical Guide PDF. Overprints are alsoidentifiable by printing separations.)

Fountain Fills & Transparencies

Do not use fountain fills in spot colour jobs as this will cause your job to be rejected.Fountain fills in full colour jobs are fine.

If you have a spot colour job containing a fountain fill please supply us the native design file as File Assist and we will convert the fountain fills to a printable format.

Do not use transparencies in Microsoft Word or Publisher as this will result in your jobbeing rejected. Please flatten any transparencies in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign prior tosubmitting your file.

If transparencies are present, please ensure that you do not use multi-layertransparencies(two or more transparencies sitting on top of one another) as this may cause problemswhen your file is processed through our PDF workflow, and may not give the desired endresult.

Do not use transparencies in any document which contains spot colours. The flatteningof transparencies and the conversion of spot colours to CMYK occur during the sameprocess, and this simultaneous double-conversion can often be too complex for oursoftware to give an accurate end result.

Ink Coverage

Try not to exceed 300% ink coverage in any of your chosen colours in your designfile (work out the total percentage by adding the C, M, Y and K values together).

High ink coverage takes longer to dry and may result in set-off (colour from one side ofyour job getting transferred onto the other side of your job leaving a mark) and a delay toyour job.

Please note that our corrective software will reduce any ink coverage between 340-400%down to 340% by altering the CMYK values. It does this in such a way as to still give anaccurate end result and produce a colour very similar to the original intended colour (infact you may not notice any difference).

You can avoid this happening, though, by keeping all of your colours to a maximum of300-340%.



Try to ensure all images in your design file are high-res, the standard for which is 300dpi (dots per inch). The lower the dpi the worse your image(s) will look when printed, so please bear this in mind when scanning, manipulating or sourcing images for your job. Anything above 450dpi will be down sampled to 300dpi in our workflow.

Please Note: Images and logos saved from websites are most likely to be between 72-96dpi and are therefore unsuitable for print.

We highly recommend images to be CMYK, any RGB images will be converted to CMYK in our workflow which may result in a small colour shift (see p6 for details). Sourcing Images - always try and use professional images, low quality images will only downgrade your designs.

We recommend using professional images as low-quality images can only downgrade your design. There are many companies supplying stock image galleries online for example, Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Adding Text on Top of a Pdf

Please do not add text on top of a PDF using the AdobeAcrobat Typewriter tool, as this will mean it isn’t embeddedin the PDF and will not be included in the job when sent toprint.

It will have, in effect, been added on top as a‘note’.

This text tool must never be used on PDF’s supplied forlitho-printing as it doesn’t flag up the same way an actualunembedded fontwould therefore may not be detected.

See graphics to the left, figure 1 the text has been added inAdobe Acrobat, using the typewriter tool. In figure 2 the flyerhas been processed through our system and resulted in thetext not being printed.


Your minimum font size should be 5pt. Please use 100% black if text is between 5 to 7pt.

Quiet Border

A “Quiet Border”, (i.e. an area where no text or logos should be present), of at least 5mmfrom the trimmed edge of your artwork should be observed. This will avoid anypart ofyour design appearing too close to the edge of the page and will give your job a moreprofessional appearance.

For A5 - A4 booklets we recommend 10mm quiet border for a much better finish.


Hairlines are ‘device dependent’.

Because hairlines are device dependent, they could print differently on differentprinters. Often, they may look fine on your 300dpi laser printer but will disappear on our2400dpi press. Therefore, avoid hairline text and lines - use 0.25pt.

Spelling/Text Content

When you supply your files for print, we will not check spelling, or check that addressesand phone numbers are correct. It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that all textcontent within the file(s) is correct.

QR Codes & Barcodes

Whilst we are happy to printQR codes and barcodes wetake no responsibility for them;it is the customer’s responsibilityto ensurethat they will workonce printed.


Please ensure you have permission when using copyrighted material in your designe.g. bank notes, cartoon characters, maps, and othercompany’s’ logos or trademarks.