In order to print your artwork and produce what you are expecting, there are a few things that need to be right. All text needs to be converted to curves, When you produce a PDF, it calls on the fonts that you asked for, it does not however embed the fonts within the pdf. So if you have a font that we don't, the print will look different to what you can see on screen. Converting to curves removes this problem, what you see is what we see.
Your computer screen uses RGB, Red, Green & Blue but when we print we use CMYK, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black.
You must make sure that the colourspace you are using is CMYK. RGB Pictures set in the wrong colourspace will print wishy-washy, lacking punch and appearing somewhat flat.
Avoid using more than one colour channel for Black Text (100% K only reduces the likelyhood of misregistration, which results from aligning multiple plates with fine details).
Use a Rich Black (100% Black (K) and 40% Cyan OR 100% Black (K) and 40% Magenta) for areas over 2cm squared in size to avoid banding as single colour blacks can appear washed out when printed across large areas.
Images should be of a high quality with no resolution issues. They should be 300dpi.
You should never stretch images so that they are no longer in proportion, it looks terrible and detracts from the message you are trying to put over. All files need to be flattened. A common problem is transparencies, Flattening will stop problems later.
If you have images that are designed to print right to the edge of the paper, they need to have bleed. If your print goes right to the edge of the paper, we need bleed in order to trim to the correct size. Crops are small marks that show us where the edge of your print is. Again, we use this to cut to the correct size. See the handy download at the end of this page.
If your design puts a lot of ink onto the paper, our quick turnaround means that your job would not have time to dry before it is cut which may result in ink transferring from one side to the other (known as set-off). For coated papers (gloss and silk, but not bond or most other stationery papers including recycled), you can use colours made up from more than 225% but less than 300%.
How Process Colours are created.
Process Colours are created by selecting a percentage of 0 to 100% per CMYK Colour Channel, for example 75% Magenta and 25% Black (K).The ink limit is the value you get when you add these colour channels together (75m + 25k = 105%). The maximum ink percentage you can create is 400% (100% C, 100% M, 100% Y, 100% K).
Coated Papers (Silk/Gloss Flyers)300% Uncoated Papers (Letterheads/Recycled Leaflets)225%
Reverse of Scratch Cards225% 150% in large areas
Reverse of Postcards, full colour225% 150% in large areas
Large Format Printing225%
Cracking / Chipping
When paper is folded, its interlinking fibres are compressed on one side and stretched on the other. If the outer fibres lose their hold on each other, we see this as 'cracking': an opening out of the paper on the outside. This will be more visually apparent where the design includes a dark colour across the fold. If dark colours are required please upgrade to a Laminated Product which will help to reduce the appearance of cracking. This affects any product that is creased or folded such as Folded Leaflets, Creased / Shaped Flyers and Presentation Folders.
'Chipping' occurs when small chips / nicks appear in the print along the trim edge. This will be more noticeable when solid / darker colours are used and bleed right to the edge of the design. To help reduce visible chipping, we recommend upgrading to a Laminated Product such as Laminated Business Cards / Flyers / Presentation Folders. However, please bear in mind that recycled and uncoated stocks are more brittle and thus more prone to both cracking and chipping than our coated stocks.
See download for chart..
Getting the most from Spot UV
Design with a little tolerance for mis-registration
The UV varnish is applied using a screen printing process, and registration with print can vary by ±2 mm. This means you should expect the Spot UV element to move around the page by up to ±2 mm. If you are aiming to cover a printed shape having a hard edge, then the Spot UV shape should overlap the printed edge by 2 mm to allow for any inherent variations in registration. Likewise, block shapes meeting the edge should be treated like backgrounds: bleed them to the very edge of the document page, and respect the Quiet Zone.
Don't try to align fine detail
Spot UV is not suited to alignment with fine detail, such as small type, or shapes with thin lines. Our rule of thumb:
You’ll get best results when you don’t try to match the Spot UV to printed objects, and instead treat it as a design element in its own right. Separate Spot UV elements should have a minimum spacing of 2mm. Placing elements too close to each other will result in them becoming one shape and filling in.
Avoid large Spot UV areas over the edge
Avoid large solid areas of Spot UV bleeding to the edge as chipping and flaking may occur once the job has been guillotined or die-cut.
Vectors only for Spot UV
Spot UV elements must be supplied in vector format; any text shapes to be spot-varnished must be converted to paths/outlines.
Check the minimum thickness on text elements
That includes the counters, stroke width and serifs on fonts.
Solid varnish only; no tints
Spot UV cannot be specified as a gradient or tint, i.e. a changing tint from 100% to 0% over an area of artwork.
Generic Fabric Artwork Guidelines
Artwork should be supplied at 100% size and should adhere to the following guidelines:
Today’s graphics applications are incredibly sophisticated.
So much so, that some may contain features not compatible with the latest developments in printing technology. Likewise, some things can look great on screen, but not when printed. Based on our experience, we’ve prepared a list of items that we know can cause problems. So please, follow the advice below.
Hairlines are ‘device dependent’. This means that they print at different resolutions on different machines. They may print fine on your 300dpi laser printer, but will disappear on our 2400dpi plate-setter. Use 0.25pt instead.
Texture and Postscript Fills
These print erratically, it's best to save them as a TIF or JPG instead.
Layer Effects And Transparency Effects
If you are using layer and transparency effects in your artwork then you'll need to supply your PDF as a version 1.4 PDF, this will ensure that any layer and transparency effects are honoured. If you are saving as a version 1.3 PDF then your Transparency Flattener preset (in both InDesign® and Illustrator®) will need to be set on high resolution setting ready for printing, and then applied when creating your PDF;In Illustrator® the Raster Effects Settings will also need to be set towards vector :
Be careful with overprint settings (especially in QuarkXpress). If you set objects to overprint, they will not ‘knock-out’ the background, and will look very different to what you see on screen or proof. Black text generally defaults to overprint, (as does the 100% black swatch in some applications). This is usually OK. Please refer to your application manual for more details.
These may print in black and white, or with washed out colours – always convert to CMYK.
Avoid using borders where possible (especially on small items such as business cards), since even a half millimetre movement when guillotined could make your border look uneven and unprofessional.
Vignettes, or gradient fills are best avoided – these are difficult to print and they have a tendency to show ‘banding’ and look unprofessional. There is advice on gradients in the Help section on the Adobe website which you may find useful.
Be careful with using watermarks, if they’re too heavy it can make text or writing difficult to read. We recommend using a tint between 5%-7% for the best results. We cannot guarantee to print below 5%.
Aligning elements to folds
Avoid trying to line up design elements with folds or creases. There’s a chance they may not land perfectly on the fold or crease which can look unprofessional.
About CMYK (process) colour
Your computer, scanner, digital camera and monitor create images using combinations of just three "RGB" colours:
Printing presses use four different colours to print these images:
This set of inks is know as "CMYK ", or "process colour".
Converting to CMYK
At some stage of production, RGB images and colours must be converted to CMYK. Your PDF file needs to be supplied in CMYK process colour, not RGB, Index or as Spot Colours. We can do the conversion for you to CMYK, but you will have more control of it if you manage the conversion before creating your PDF. When converting to CMYK be aware that some RGB and Spot Colours don’t have a direct CMYK conversion, and thus some colour shift may occur. Conversions on images from RGB to CMYK are best done using software such as Photoshop and you should do this before sending your file to us. If you don’t perform the conversion yourself, our process will apply an industry standard profile RGB to CMYK conversion meaning that colours may not print as expected.
Screen versus Print
Due to the differences between a computer screen and a printed item what you see on your screen may be different to your printed product. This is because computer screens have light showing from behind them whereas paper doesn't.
Be careful with colour
To create a good solid black, use rich black instead. Don’t use four-colour black and it’s best to avoid solid colours of only one ink (i.e. pure cyan, magenta, yellow or black) as these can be susceptible to slight “banding”. Using rich black avoids banding. You’ll get best reproduction from colours that are made up from one or two inks (i.e. magenta and cyan etc). When using lighter shades, avoid tints that contain less than 5% of either Cyan, Magenta, Yellow or Black, as they usually print much lighter than they appear on screen and you may be disappointed with the outcome. For best results, use tints containing 5% to 30%.
Getting the best from CMYK
Try to avoid large areas of the same colour – that’s where colour issues (banding, ghosting etc.) becomes most noticeable. Try to break up large areas of colour with alternate elements or add a background image. Vignettes, or gradient fills are best avoided – they have a tendency to show ‘banding’ and look unprofessional. The Adobe® website offers some advice on gradients if you wish to use them.
You can produce fantastic results with full colour process – and without breaking the bank. It pays to bear in mind that colour variation is inherent in any print process and you shouldn’t expect a perfect match to your chosen colour. The examples below will give you an idea of how your chosen colour may actually look when printed. We’d be delighted to explain this in more detail – just ask.
To get the most from your print, we have set some recommended maximum ink levels. For coated papers (such as business cards, flyers and leaflets) we recommend a maximum of 300% total ink coverage. for uncoated papers we recommend a maximum of 225%.