Artwork guidelines

What is Print-Ready Artwork?

Get it right first time and avoid additional costs by following these simple guidelines for producing print-ready artwork.
In the meantime if you have any queries about the artwork you are going to supply then just give us a call on 01471 822 555.

We will only consider your artwork to be truly print-ready if it meets the following requirements:


We require PDF files created to print ready specifications.
Colour images should be down-sampled to 300DPI. The PDF colour space should be four-colour CMYK, unless Spot colours are required.
Bleed and trim marks should be included. Files provided in any other format will require our designers to make changes and will incur an extra charge.


Please ensure that all fonts are embedded in the PDF document or make sure you convert fonts to outlines to prevent any issues with fonts.


If there are any images within in the document, they must be saved as CMYK and no less than 300dpi, preferably in PSD, TIF or EPS to ensure quality.


Please specify if the job is to be printed in CMYK with/or spot colour etc. All spot colours need to be clearly specified. Pantone (PMS) colours preferred.

Bleed, Trim Marks & Fold Lines

Understanding the need for bleed and a quiet border is vital to achieve an excellent finished print job.
We require bleed to allow for the tolerance of our guillotine (the machine used for cutting your job after printing).
Even with our state of the art equipment there is a margin of error with the operation.

If your image finishes exactly at the edge of your required finished size then these small deviations may produce unsightly white borders at the edge of your print.
By extending your background colour or image beyond the edge of your finished job the effects of the same deviations are not noticeable.

If your document has colour or images placed up to the edge of the page, a 3mm bleed is required.

‘Professional’ design programmes, such as Indesign, Illustrator or Corel Draw allow elements to extend beyond the size of the page.
This makes it very easy to bleed backgrounds and pictures beyond the trimmed edge.

With other programmes bleeding beyond the boundaries of the page is not possible (Such as with Microsoft Word). However it is still possible to create a page with bleed using these programmes. This is achieved by setting up pages which are 6mm bigger than the required sheet size in each dimension. (E.g. for a required finished size of A4 (210mm x 297mm) set up your page to be 216mm x 303mm.

Next make your background image extend to the edge of this bigger sheet size. In effect this is then ‘bleeding’ 3mm beyond the edge of the required page on all sides. Ensure that any element which you do not wish to bleed is at least 8mm inside the extended page edges (3mm of bleed plus 5mm of quiet border). When the PDF is created it will be fully compliant with the bleed and quiet border requirements.

Trim marks (use solid lines) are to be included so the document can be trimmed to the desired size.
If you require folding, please indicate by inserting fold lines (use dotted lines). Trim marks and fold lines are to be set outside the print area.

Margin or 'Quiet Border'

A quiet border is the distance you should allow from the edge of your finished page size for text, diagrams or images not going to bleed.
The reason for the border is again the tolerance in cutting. If you have a design where the text runs to the very edge then any cutting deviation may result in some of your text being cut off.

With a very small quiet border even the smallest cutting deviation could result in the finished job looking uneven. We recommend a quiet border where there is no text etc. of at least 5mm around the edges of your job.


Please send finished artwork to: or if your artwork is too big to be emailed, you can send us disc or usb storage device.
Alternatively you can use online services such as Mailbigfile or Yousendit.

if you have any questions relating to these specifications please give us a call on 01471 822 555 before sending your finished artwork.