Artwork Guideline

The Artwork Guideline

This guide will cover the key elements you must be aware of when creating a file for print. Please use this as a checklist when designing your job and submitting it for print. Please be aware this is intended as a guide only to assist designers and prepress operators who already have a sound technical knowledge.

how to send files to print?

Upload when placing your order online, you will find a “Upload your files” button on the checkout page.


Standard page sizes for your design jobs:



A little more set up time is required when designing a Tri-fold leaflet. Below is a template showing the basic setup of the panels in your document


When supplying artwork for a 4pp leaflet e.g. A4 folded to A5 please supply it as a 2-page PDF with the pages in pairs. So page 1 of your PDF would be pages 4 & 1 of the leaflet, page 2 of your PDF would be pages 2 & 3 of your leaflet. Please don’t supply it as a 4-page PDF (single pages). Folding Templates are available for download at For more information on our range of most common folded projects contact us direct.



Ensure all jobs have a least 1mm bleed, excluding booklets which require a 3mm bleed. To detemine if bleed is required please see diagrams on this page.

Bleed is required when images, colour or text go right to the edge of your page. To create a bleed simply extend your image(s), colour(s) or text 1mm over the edge of the page.

PLEASE NOTE: if making a PDF for print, please make your PDF page size large enough to incorporate the bleed i.e if your flyer is A5 with bleed, make your PDF page size A4, etc.


Please always make your PDF with crop marks. These should be software-generated and added at the PDF making stage (by ticking the ‘Crop Marks’ option).

Please also try to ensure your PDF has a trim box. This can be checked by going to Preference, Page Display, Page Content and Information, then ticking ‘Show Art Trim and Bleed Boxes’. The trim box will show up as a green line (or may show up as red if the art box is in the same position as the trim box). if your PDF does not have a trim box, this can be set by selecting the crop tool, double-clicking on the PDF, then under crop margins change ‘crop box’ to ‘Trim Box’ then set the correct values. if your time box should be 3mm in from the PDF page edges for example, then set Top. Bottom, Left and Right values as 3mm.



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 being rejected. PLEASE NOTE: Do not use fountain fills in spot colour jobs as this will cause your job to be rejected.


When Pantone colours are converted to CMYK for full colour printing a change in colour is inevitable, it is impossible to exactly replicate spot colours using CMYK inks. Similarly, with RGB images, when they are converted to CMYK, there is a colour shift. Allow for this colour shift when designing your job.


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


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


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


Areas of colour which have vector fills will appear different to areas of colour which have bitmap 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 be more 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 bitmap package (such as Photoshop) avoiding the joining of vector and bitmap colour completely.


If you accidentally set a fill or line to overprint, the final printed job will NOT look as it does in your design file, since all inks are transparent. (Top Tip: Once you have created your PDF for printing (see page 10) view it In Acrobat Professional and go to the drop down menu Advanced/Print Production and activate Overprint Preview. In this view you will be able to see if you have inadvertently left any Overprints on your job. Try it with this Technical Guide PDF. Overprints are also identifiable by printing separations.)


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 job being rejected. Please flatten any transparencies in Adobe Illustrator or Indesign prior to submitting your file. If transparencies are present, please ensure that you do not use multi-layer transparencies (two or more transparencies sitting on top of one another) as this may cause problems when your file is processed through our PDF workflow, and may not give the desired end result. Do not use transparencies in any document which contains spot colours. The flattening of transparencies and the conversion of spot colours to CMYK occur during the same process, and this simultaneous double-conversion can often be too complex for our software to give an accurate end result.


Try not to exceed 300% ink coverage in any of your chosen colours in your design file (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 of your job getting transferred onto the other side of your job leaving a mark) and a delay to your 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 an accurate end result and produce a colour very similar to the original intended colour (in fact you may not notice any difference). You can avoid this happening, though, by keeping all of your colours to a maximum of 300-340%.