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How-To Articles

File Preparation/Artwork Guidelines To Help Ensure the Success Of Your Print Project


CYMK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) is the industry standard colour formula. It was created to give accurate colour reproductions. Artwork submitted using Pantone®, Spot, or RGB will be converted into the CMYK format when using a colour digital press. This may cause some slight colour changes and different results depending on the type of digital printing press used. If you need an exact duplication of a PMS/Pantone® colour, make sure to tell us. We can then determine if the offset printing process is better suited to produce your order.

Our CMYK workflow, certified to the Truly Colour Standard (ISO 12647) is monitored and calibrated to maintain industry standards for colour. Your monitor or personal printer may not be an accurate representation of the colour you chose on your monitor or in the artwork you supply. That’s one of the reasons why some customers prefer to pay for a hard copy proof of their job - before we print it.


To make sure that your artwork files print with clear crisp images, we require that the artwork you supply has a resolution of no less than 300dpi. Artwork submitted with resolutions lower than 300dpi can produce blurry, bitmapped, or pixelated print.

Note: Images copied from the web are typically 72dpi. They may look good on your monitor, but they are not suitable for commercial printing. They also may present copyright issues.

File Format

When the artwork for printing is sent to us, it needs to be “print ready” and the best “print ready” format is PDF. We request that you send us a PDF - which is an industry standard workflow. When creating your PDF for the file you want us to print, make sure your artwork is at least 300dpi (or better), and that it is saved at maximum quality.

There are many different software applications that allow you to save or print your artwork to a PDF. If you are contemplating using Microsoft Word to prepare your document, feel free to download our template with crop marks for an A4 size page, already added.

Acrobat Distiller® comes packaged with Acrobat® and it’s the most commonly used software application. However, there are many free or shareware applications that you can also use such as: Primo PDF®, PDF 995®, AcroPDF®, CutePDF® and Bullzip®.


In the design world there are many different fonts available. Before creating your PDF, select the Advanced Settings Font Tab and check the Embed all fonts box. This will ensure that the fonts you have chosen are embedded in your file and will print out as you intended.

All text must be a safe distance from the edge of the final trim sheet. You should have at least 5mm of space between the text and the edge of the final trim sheet.

Crops and Bleed (or trim marks and bleed)

As printing presses don’t print right to the edge of the sheet, we need to print on an oversized sheet of paper. For example, to have the background of your page as an image all the way to the edge of the sheet, the colour must “bleed” over all of the edges. Bleed refers to printing an image that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming. If the background isn’t designed to be bigger than the finished cut size, you will not see an image right to the edge of the finished piece due to the variation in printing and trimming. It is recommended that an area of approximately 5mm of extra image be created as a bleed area to be cut away on all sides. Crop marks at the corners of the page on your artwork indicate where the page will be trimmed to its finished size with our guillotine.

Artwork Size

Below are the specific sizes required when creating a product, including the bleed. Remember to add 10mm all around to the finished size of the artwork to allow for the 5mm bleed and crop marks on each edge.

Note: You can centre your artwork for a Business Card, Postcards or With Compliments Slip in the centre of an A4 page, as long as you have set your bleed and crop marks to the correct size(s).


The graphic file you send us needs to be complete. If our graphics department has to make changes to the file (e.g. resize, adjust colour, add bleed, etc.), it is likely that there will be added charges for the time it takes to correct your file. If that happens, we will always notify you first. Many times there are small issues that can be corrected with little or no cost to you.

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