Jan112012

Creating Print Ready Artwork

In this day and age, technology is so advanced in the print world that preparing that professional business card or flyer to be printed is much more complex than simply saving it and sending it straight to your printer, in the hope it will come out the same as it is shown on-screen. In fact, many people do not know about all the different print techniques available and the difference those techniques can make to the final print result.

The main two techniques in the commercial print world are CMYK or Digital (known as a four-colour process, as all the printed colours are made up of a mixture of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) and Lithograph (which uses individual pantone inks for each printed colour, producing a solid block of colour for a higher quality finish). To make sure your printed artwork comes out as expected, it is imperative that the artwork has been setup correctly before going to print. Here at FIJ Design, we are experienced in all forms of design and print techniques and as part of our graphic design service, we make sure all our artwork has been professionally prepared for print use.

Below are just some of the techniques we use to make sure all our artwork is in a print-ready format when printing in CMYK. CMYK is the most commonly used print technique and if you plan to send us your own artwork for printing, we would expect the following to have been met:

  • Artwork must be created in CMYK mode (not RGB), making sure that any RGB or Pantone elements are converted to CMYK before saving the artwork.
  • Artwork must be created at a minimum resolution of 300dpi (300 dots per inch). When using photographs and scanned images in a design, all photographs need to be taken at the highest setting possible on a quality digital camera and any scanned images must be scanned at a minimum of 300dpi. Logos, photographs and images taken from a website should not be used at all as these will only be 72dpi, only accepting artwork created at a minimum of 300dpi ensures that the final print looks fantastic.
  • Artwork must be supplied with a 3mm bleed on each edge. Images, background images and fills which are intended to extend to the edge of the page must be extended 3mm beyond the cut line to give a bleed. Text and other images included in the design must sit 5mm in from the cut line.
  • All layers in the artwork must be flattened prior to exporting the print ready file.
  • All fonts in the artwork must be converted to paths/outlines, all images must be embedded correctly and any transparencies must be flattened. FIJ Design always recommends previewing any on-screen artwork, before it goes to print, using the Overprint Preview feature (when using Adobe Illustrator, InDesign or Acrobat Reader). This will identify any vector objects that have overprint applied to them; the object will appear transparent and as a result will not be printed.

For more advice on print-ready techniques, or to find out more about our professional graphic design service, please get in contact with us.

2 Responses

  1. John Bishop says:

    Hi, what a great Blog, some really useful and helpful info!

  2. Kelsoe Cordaro says:

    As a site owner, I thought I would make a brief comment to say I really like the design and information here.

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