Artwork Set-up Guide
Whether you’re a seasoned professional sourcing print for a blue-chip global firm or a private individual new to the print game, there are always questions that need answering.
We’ve put together answers to the most frequently asked questions and outlined them below, if there’s anything you want explained in more detail or if you have a question you want to ask a real person, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01444 480700, send an email or submit a query using the Contact Form.
If it all still seems a little baffling, and just a load of nonsensical words jumbled together, have a look at our glossary, which will render you a print pro in next to no time!
We’ll talk you through every step of the way.
How do I supply artwork?
Perfect, PUR and Burst Binding Tips
How do I get a price?
Can you design my artwork?
What are your payment terms?
VAT on printed items
Newman Thomson Check List
How do I supply artwork?
Should be supplied ideally as pdfs, with the following:
- CMYK and/or special colours – not RGB or Indexed.
- With fonts embedded or set to outline.
- Minimum stroke weight must be .2pt.
- No ICC profiles embedded.
- Blacks should not be made up from Registration or 100% CMYK
- With cutter/crease guides set up as a vector layer, separate to the print file and set to overprint.
Artwork for multi-page jobs, such as bookwork, leaflets etc need to be supplied at the finished size with the appropriate bleeds where necessary. Do not create A3 spreads if the finished job is A4, use A4 facing pages. If your job is saddle-stitched or thread-sewn, use “facing pages” in your page layout options, but if it is perfect-bound it is advisable to supply artwork in single pages with bleed on all sides. This allows for binding requirements. When supplying PDFs, it is important to ensure that each file is accurately labeled and numbered.
If you do not want to supply your files as PDF then we are also happy to accept them as the following list:
- Indesign – supply fonts and images
- Quark Express – supply fonts and images
- Illustrator – fonts converted to outlines
- Freehand – fonts converted to paths (outlines) and saved as an EPS
- Photoshop – layers flattened, at least 300 dpi, JPEG or Tiff
- Corel Draw – fonts converted to curves (outlines) then export as Illustrator Ai file
- Microsoft Word – See notes below
- Microsoft Publisher – See notes below
Print jobs created in Microsoft Word generally have a bad name in the print industry as Word is really designed for general word processing rather than professional litho printing. Microsoft Publisher has many of the same problems as Word. However, if one of these programs are all that is available to you for making-up pages they can be made to produce acceptable work, if you are aware of their shortcomings and work around them.
Bleed is a printing term that refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet before trimming. In other words, the bleed is the area to be trimmed off. The bleed is the part on the side of a document that gives the printer a small amount of space to account for movement of the paper, and design inconsistencies. Artwork and background colors can extend into the bleed area. After trimming, the bleed ensures that no unprinted edges occur in the final trimmed document.
It is very difficult to print exactly to the edge of a sheet of paper/card so, to achieve this, it is necessary to print a slightly larger area than is needed and then trim the paper/card down to the required finished size. Images, background images and fills which are intended to extend to the edge of the page must be extended beyond the trim line to give a bleed.
At Newman Thomson we recommend 3mm of bleed.
Fonts can be a major contributor to print problems.
Variations in type design or font substitution can compromise the printed results. For example, the most common typeface ‘Times’ is available in a variety of versions: Times New Roman, Times, and Times Roman, to name a few of the most frequently used. Each differs slightly in design and kerning or tracking values are different.
Producing PDFs will help eliminate these problems by showing a proper representation of the finished document and showing that the correct fonts are embedded.
Fonts supplied should comply with all current legal requirements.
When producing PDF files all fonts must be embedded or outlined.
Resolution is the measurement of how many dots/pixels fit into one inch. The higher resolution, the sharper the image will be. Lower resolution images appear fuzzy, jagged and blurry.
- Images should be 300 dpi (dots per inch) at the final size in the layout.
- Images which include text should be 400 dpi at the final size in the layout.
- Resolution and image size are inversely proportional to each other. Enlarge an image, the resolution decreases; reduce an image, the resolution increases. Example: a 2 x 2″ image at 300 dpi (acceptable) enlarged to 4 x 4″ has a new resolution of 150 dpi (unacceptable).
- Low resolution images print fuzzy, jagged and blurry.
- The settings used during the original “capture” of an image (ie: scanning, digital camera, etc) determine its base resolution. Resolution can only be improved by decreasing the image size, or by recapturing the image at a higher quality setting.
- Recommended minimum resolution for printing is 300 dpi; computer monitors generally have a display setting of 72 dpi. If we indicate that some of your images have low resolution, they may not look bad on your monitor but will likely print blurry or jagged.
Things to avoid:
- Web images are predominately low resolution (72-96 dpi) GIF or JPEG files. This resolution is good for quick transmission over the internet, but is not acceptable for use in printing. Do not save images or graphics from a website to use in your print project!
- Upsampling is when a low resolution image is saved to a higher resolution with no changes in dimensions. Upsampling adds more pixels/dots per inch (dpi), but creates blurry images, ugly blocks of color, and high contrast in images. The only way resolution can be improved is by decreasing the image size, or by recapturing the image at a higher quality setting.
We prefer that your images be as high resolution as possible. For color images, please provide images with a resolution of 300 dpi minimum and bitmap (line art) images should be 1200 dpi.
This is a general “rule of thumb” that is widely used when designing artwork (Desk Top Publishing) and it’s a REALLY good habit to get in to. Most of the time when you are designing your artwork, you will have set up a margin all round each page. The Safe Zone is similar in many ways to this and it’s basically the area in which you put your text and main graphical elements. A rule of thumb is that the safe area should be around 4-6mm inside the page (trim). It has 2 main purposes. One is to do with style, but the second and most important reason is to do with function. With commercial printing, the tolerance for where the printed content ends up on the physical sheet is not precise down to thousands of a millimeter, rather the “worst case” is plus or minus 1-2mm (approximately). That’s why we have bleeds (see previous topic). For example: if you have the start of your text 0.5mm from the edge of the page (trim) and the content is 1mm out, some of your text is going to be chopped off. Take another example: you have a business card (or any other very small printed item) and you have a line of text centered at the bottom, 2mm from the sides and 2mm from the bottom. In this example, take the case where the content is out by 1mm in both directions (this is well within normal tolerances). The net effect is that the text ends up 1mm from the left, 1mm from the bottom and 3mm from the right. What experienced designers know is that the eye is immediately drawn to this level of imprecision. However, if the designer observes a “Safe Zone” of 5mm, the text would end up 4mm from the left, 6mm from the right and 4mm from the bottom and this looks much better.
If you have designed your artwork with bleeds (see the previous topic), then it’s perfectly normal (and in fact necessary) to have your background colour or images outside of the safe zone.
Creep is where the bulk of the paper in a saddle stitched booklet causes the inner pages to extend or creep further out than the outer pages when folded. The illustrations below show an exaggerated view of how the inner pages of a saddle stitched booklet creep out and extend beyond the edge of the outer pages when folded.
The amount of creep allowance needed depends on the size of the margins, number of pages, and the thickness of the paper. A booklet with few pages and wide margins might not need creep allowance because the difference after trimming is not noticeable. With more pages, smaller margins, or bulkier paper the creep becomes more noticeable and can result in loss of text if there is no adjustment made. If creep is noticeable, copy can be repositioned toward the centre of the spread for those pages in the middle of the booklet. When trimmed, all pages will have the same outer margins and no text or images are lost. Some page layout software can automatically calculate creep allowance and adjust layouts for creep — moving the page elements of affected spreads in small increments.
Perfect Binding, PUR Binding and Burst Binding
When you are setting up a job for Perfect Binding, PUR Binding or Burst Binding with ‘Read Across’ (whereby you have text or images flowing across from the inside front cover onto the first text page) there are some important things to consider to avoid the image or text showing incorrectly.
Perfect Binding, PUR Binding or Burst Binding uses a hinge system where part of the inside front cover, the spine and part of the inside rear covers are glued to the text pages, therefore these parts become invisible once the document is bound.
The illustration below shows this glued area in red.
The correct way to set up a job like this is to use two separate copies of the same image (one on the IFC and one on Page 1), with the left hand edge of the image on Page 1 perfectly following on from the right hand edge of the image on the IFC.
You can see an example of this below with the hinge area shown in white, though in InDesign for example this gap would not show.
Below is how the finished bound document would appear.
Below is an example of where the image is one image flowed across the two pages. and would end up with part of the image being swallowed up into the glued area.
Below is how the the finished bound document would appear if the job had been set up incorrectly, with a slice of the image (the width of the glued section) missing, causing the image to appear misaligned.
This process can also be applied to the last text page onto the Inside Rear Cover.
If you require any more information on how to set up your print job, please contact us, and our experienced Studio team will be able to advise on the best solution.
Artwork can be transferred to us by FTP, Email, Disc, Memory Stick or Insite:
Insite: This is our preferred method of artwork transfer. It is the fastest and most secure. If you do not already have a username and password please request one using the contact form. Alternatively, please email email@example.com with ‘Insite Log-in Details’ as the subject heading or call on 01444 480700.
FTP: Please log in to ftp://www.newmanthomson.co.uk/ using the username ‘NTFTP’ and the Password ‘jubilee’ (lower case). Create a folder with the name of the artwork or job as the title.
Email: We can receive artwork files up to 40MB in size via email. Please check that your email server is capable of sending artwork files of this size. Alternatively please use ‘We Transfer’ or a similar site to transfer files to us.
Disc or Memory Stick: We can receive artwork on DVD CD or Memory Stick, however please make sure these are sent as registered post.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
How do I get a price?
I am a Professional Print Buyer
Newman Thomson works extensively with Print Management, Print Buyers and Trade Print Brokers. If you are an industry professional looking for a bespoke price, contract rates or to learn more about Newman Thomson and how we can reduce your print costs and provide you with professional print services please do contact us on 01444 480700, by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the contact form.
We’re always looking for new opportunities and contracts so if you believe we could work together please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Can you design my artwork?
I need a designer to create my artwork from scratch
Newman Thomson’s Design Studio has a team of experienced, professional designers who offer high quality design, from scratch, at very competitive prices. For as little as £20 per page professionally designed artwork not only produces a far superior finished product but affords publishers and print buyers the time to do what they do best.
Check out the design “services” on the navigation bar or get in touch to see what a professional designer working for you can do.
I just need a designer to make my artwork ‘Print Ready’
If you already have your artwork designed but simply need a professional print designer to tidy up the artwork and make it print-ready, get in touch and one of our team will give you a very competitive quote.
Having a professional designer check that the artwork is perfectly prepared for printing, make any necessary amends and ensure colour, images, content and text are suitably set-up prevents the risk of a finished product that isn’t as you’d hoped and makes a great difference to the overall result.
Unless the artwork has been prepared by a professional designer Newman Thomson strongly recommends that all our clients have one of our team check over the artwork. It’s quick, cheap and gives you absolute peace of mind.
What are your payment terms?
I am buying print for a Limited Company
In certain instances Newman Thomson can offer a 30 day credit account to print buyers who are trading on behalf of a Limited or Established company. The credit account is subject to completion of a credit account application form and approval by our independent credit insurers.
Please note that completion of a credit application form does not guarantee a credit account, it is the decision of a 3rd party insurer and not that of Newman Thomson Ltd or it’s employees.
Credit account applications can take up to 7 working days to be processed. We cannot release a job unless we have an insured credit limit covering the value of the job or we have received payment in full upfront.
If you have any questions regarding opening a credit account please get in touch through the contact form or by giving us a call.
I am a Private Individual
Newman Thomson Ltd requires payment upfront for all smaller jobs and one-off purchases from private individuals.
We can accept payment by credit or debit card, by BACS transfer or by cheque (please note that in each instance we are unable to print a job until payment has cleared, we will however prepare the artwork for printing and provide you with PDF proofs to prevent delay in the delivery of the job).
VAT on printed items
We are often asked by customers whether an item is exempt from VAT, this can potentially be a bit of minefield, for instance some may argue that a takeaway menu is ‘ephemeral’ material and therefore not VATable, however, a restaurant menu, which is designed to last a bit longer is VATable. Luckily, some kind soul has put together a helpful website where you can just type in what you’re looking for, and it will tell you whether it is VATable, or not, you can find said site just here: http://www.isitvatable.com/
Newman Thomson Check List
Artwork is one PDF with separate pages
Image resolution checked
Transparencies and layers flattened
Safe zone used