Artwork Guidelines

To help you your create print ready artwork, we have created a collection of short tutorials to explain the essential requirements. It is vital that your artwork meets these requirements or your order may be delayed whilst we ask you to make corrections.

There are two main colour spaces which you will find in most design software. These are CMYK and RGB. CMYK stands for Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Black (K), and is for print use, whilst RGB represents Red, Green and Blue, and is used for screen or web applications.

All artwork for print, from flyers and posters through to business cards and stationery, MUST be in CMYK colour format, as these are the colours that combine to create full colour print. Any artwork that is supplied in RGB will be converted to CMYK, but please note that the colours may change when this conversion is carried out. Brighter colours will be the most affected. Ideally the artwork should be created in CMYK format from the outset, rather than being converted later in the process.

If printing in black and white, Greyscale colour format is also acceptable.

How to Select / Convert Colour Spaces

Fortunately it is easy to change colour spaces, but keep an eye out for any colours that change in the process.

Photoshop

If creating a new file from scratch, select Colour Mode > CMYK in the New Document window.

If for any reason you need to change the colour mode after beginning your artwork, simply select from the “Image” Menu at the top of the screen: Image > Mode > CMYK Color. Your document is now in CMYK.

Illustrator

If creating a new file from scratch, select the “Advanced” tab in the New Document window, and select Colour Mode > CMYK.

If you need to change the colour mode after beginning your artwork, simply select from the “File” menu at the top of the screen File > Document Colour Mode > CMYK Your document is now in CMYK.

Indesign

In Indesign, the colour mode is defined when you output a PDF or EPS. If exporting a PDF, Select File > Export. Then select PDF from the drop down menu and name your file. When you click save, you will be directed to the “Export Adobe PDF” menu. Select “Output” on the left hand menu and set the destination as “Document CMYK – U.S. Web Coated (SWOP)”

If exporting as an EPS, select File > Export. Then select EPS from the drop down menu and name your file. When you click save, you will be directed to the “Export EPS” menu. Select CMYK from the “Colour” Menu. Your document is now in CMYK.

Quark

In Quark, the colour mode is defined when you output a PDF or EPS. If exporting an EPS, select File > Save page as EPS. Click “Options” in the Save page as EPS window. Select “Colour” on the left hand menu and then select “Composite CMYK” in the “Setup” drop down menu. If exporting a PDF, select File > Export > Layout as PDF. You will be directed to the “Export as PDF” window. Select “Colour” on the left hand menu and then select “composite CMYK” in the “Setup” drop down menu. Your document is now in CMYK.

Additional Resources - Wikipedia: Colour Space; Converting to CMYK (incl. instructions for PageMaker and CorelDraw)

Resolution - 300dpi

This refers to the number of 'dots' that will be printed in an inch (i.e. the quality of an image). For best results, print files should always be prepared at 300 dpi. Be careful when using graphics from the web, as they are usually much lower quality (72 dpi).

If you are using Photoshop to create your artwork, it is imperative that you select the correct resolution before beginning the design.

When creating a new document, you will be directed to the “New Document” window. Be sure to set the file to the correct size, and set the resolution at 300 pixels/inch.

If you are using Indesign, Illustrator or Quark, and importing images into your layout, it is important to ensure that the images are of high enough resolution at the size you are using them. To check the resolution of an image, open it into Photoshop and select Image > Image Size. You will then be directed to the image size window, where the information you require will be displayed. Please also make sure they are in CMYK.

Additional Resources - Wikipedia: DPI

Bleed

Bleed is an essential part of creating artwork for print. Professional designers will always extend (or 'bleed') background elements and images beyond the edges of the document by an additional 3mm or so. This prevents unwanted white borders around the edges of a printed document.

Commercial printing presses are no different to your desktop inkjet or laser printer in that they cannot print to the very edge of a sheet of paper. To get around the problem, we print your design onto a larger sheet of paper and then cut it down to size. Most conventional and digital printing presses suffer from slight sheet-to-sheet misregistration. In other words, due to slight movement as the paper passes through a press, your design may not be printed in exactly the same position on every sheet of paper. We're not talking about much - less than a millimetre. Also, when the guillotine operator is trimming your design down to size, it is not possible to cut exactly along the edge of your design.

To get around this problem, designers use bleed. This simply means that they extend beyond the edge of the document (by between 3mm and 5mm) any elements which should touch the edge of the paper. As a result, any inaccuracies which occur during the printing or finishing process shouldn't cause any problems.

What is comes down to is making your artwork slightly larger than necessary so that it can have an extra 3mm all the way around and making sure there is nothing that needs to be printed in this area (e.g. text), but that it will still look acceptable if it is printed (i.e. it is a continuation of the background colour/image).

Additional Resources - Wikipedia: Bleed

PDF

PDFs are the best way to provide artwork to us. You can export PDFs from most design software (try File>Save or File>Export) or you can use software called a PDF Printer to create a PDF from the print menu of ANY other software (if you have Acrobat Professional installed, you should already have 'Adobe PDF' in your list of printers).

Any images within the file should have an original resolution of 300 dpi. Please ensure that the file has a 3mm bleed and crop marks (lines around the edges identifying where the bleed ends and the actual artwork begins).

When creating the PDF, the PDF options dialogue should appear. In this window you may have to specify the CMYK colour space. To do this, click on Output on the left hand side, under Conversion select Convert to Destination and under Destination select any option that includes CMYK (see below).

EPS

When supplying as EPS make sure that all fonts are embedded, and that you include document thumbnails. Transparency resolution should be set to High. All files should also be in CMYK colour mode and have all relevant bleeds and crop marks (lines around the edges identifying where the bleed ends and the actual artwork begins).

JPEG / TIFF / BMP

Avoid using BMP files, but if you must then please send it to us in a ZIP file to reduce the filesize. By default each time you save and reopen a JPEG, the quality reduces. If you are sending us a JPEG, it is vital that each time you save the image, you select MAXIMUM quality. Do NOT use GIF files for print artwork.

Please ensure that these file types are created at high resolution (300 dpi) and are in CMYK colour mode and have all relevant bleeds and crop marks (lines around the edges identifying where the bleed ends and the actual artwork begins).

Indesign files (.indd)

Please do not supply indesign files. Simply output a PDF or EPS from the application (File > Output), ensuring that you follow the above guidelines for these formats. There is no advantage to supplying an indd file.

Please ensure that all images are at high resolution (300 dpi) and that the document is in CMYK colour mode and has all relevant bleeds and crop marks (lines around the edges identifying where the bleed ends and the actual artwork begins).

Quark Files (.qxp)

Please do not supply Quark files. Simply output a PDF (File > Export > Layout as PDF) or EPS (File > Save Page as EPS) from the application, ensuring that you follow the above guidelines for these formats. There is no advantage to supplying a qxp file.

Please ensure that all images are at high resolution (300 dpi) and that the document is in CMYK colour mode and has all relevant bleeds and crop marks (lines around the edges identifying where the bleed ends and the actual artwork begins).

Photoshop Files (.psd)

We are able to work from PSD files, however we will simply output a PDF or JPEG from Photoshop so it is beneficial for this to be done by the designer (File > Save As > Photoshop PDF), so they are able to check the accuracy of the output before sending. File sizes will also be smaller, which will save time when sending and setting up.

When you create your document, it is essential that under resolution you enter 300 pixels/inch and under colour mode you choose CMYK Colour. Please include relevant bleeds and crop marks (lines around the edges identifying where the bleed ends and the actual artwork begins).

Illustrator Files (.ai)

If supplying as Ai files, please ensure that all images are embedded (you will be prompted when importing images) and all type is converted to outlines (select all type, then choose the Type menu at the top of the screen and select Create Outlines). Please bear in mind though that there is no advantage to supplying in this format and PDF or EPS is always preferable.

Please ensure that all images you use are at high resolution (300 dpi) and that the document is in CMYK colour mode and has all relevant bleeds and crop marks (lines around the edges identifying where the bleed ends and the actual artwork begins).

Microsoft Office

We do not accept artwork in this format. Please convert your MS Office documents to PDFs before sending them to us.

Below are some templates you can use to help design your artwork.

Spot UV

When setting up spot gloss artwork you should supply two files of identical dimensions, one file for the print, and one for the spot gloss layer. Everything on the spot gloss layer should be in 100% black and should be placed relative to where it should appear on the print file. All files should include a minimum 2mm bleed and preferably include crop marks. Please bear in mind that lines below 0.25mm cannot be guaranteed to come out in spot UV application, and that there is a 1mm registration tolerance that should be taken into account when creating your artwork.

Pantones

Create your design as normal in Illustrator. On the colour swatches palette, click on the small arrow in the top right hand corner and select Open Swatch Library > Colour Books > and then choose the appropriate swatch library. Select the element of the design you want to print from the pantone, and then click the swatch you require. The highlighted part of the design will convert to the pantone colour.

Making the Most of Black

When using black in a CMYK document, it is important to ensure that you consider the result you wish to achieve. If you use only the black channel with 100% coverage, the result will be more of a dark greyish or charcoal black. To get a rich, deep black, we recommend using a CMYK make up of 30/30/30/100 (that is 30% cyan, 30% magenta, 30% yellow and 100% black).

(Please note that black values higher than this involve laying down too much ink and can result in smudging)

Converting any file to a PDF

PDFs give you a more accurate impression of how your file will look when printed. If you are preparing your artwork in a format that we do not accept (such as Microsoft Office), you will need to convert it to a PDF.

A quick way of doing this is to use the free online conversion service at Neevia.

This will allow you to upload your original artwork and then download a PDF. Select Acrobat 7 at a resolution of 300 and always check the PDF to ensure it appears as expected.

If you would like to do this frequently, there is an excellent free program for Windows called doPDF, which installs itself as a printer on your computer. This means that you can create a PDF from any programme with a 'Print' option just by selecting doPDF from the list of printers.

Simply download and install doPDF, go to the programme you designed your artwork with, select Print and in the list of printers select 'doPDF'. The default settings are acceptable so you do not need to specify anything else. Once you continue and print the file, you will be asked where to save the PDF.

Setting Up Scodix

You can continue to prepare artwork in your preferred design software. All you need is an additional separation to act as a mask for all the areas that you would like to enhance on your artwork.

It is important to make sure that this layer is identical in all respects (size, orientation, crop, position of images and text etc.) to your original CMYK artwork.

Download Scodix Instructions

Creating Artwork for Scodix
  • Open your artwork in your preferred design software and create a new layer for the Scodix separation.

  • Select the elements you wish to enhance and duplicate them to the new Scodix layer.

  • Create a New Colour Swatch and name it “Scodix”

  • Select Colour Type “Spot Colour”, and convert all Scodix elements to this single spot color.

  • Create a Scodix separation.

  • Define density effect if required

  • Save the CMYK/UV files as separate PDF’s

Density Effect

To achieve density effects, you just apply different levels of opacity to the desired elements; to achieve a high gloss effect you apply full density at 100% opacity, for a matte effect, you apply low density from 5% to 30% opacity.

If the item to be enhanced is a picture, you will need to create a mask in Photoshop.

You will see the different densities on the UV layer.

Saving Your File

You will need to save and supply the graphic file in the two layers as separate PDF’s.

Name the first image file as filename_CMYK and the second Scodix Spot Layer as filename_UV as PDF’s

Support

Please email or call Jim Evans for any advice jim@jamjarprint.co.uk