Supplying PDF files for print

Supplying PDF files for print

Below is helpful information when preparing High Resolution PDF files to print industry specifications for best results.

Helpful tips for professional printing:

  • Most products are printed with multiple pages on a sheet and then cut down on a guillotine. When artwork is set up to the exact size of the product difficult to guillotine precisely on the edges without leaving a white border. For the best possible result any colours or images that print to the edge of the design must extend (bleed) past the edges. This bleed is then cut off when the printed matter is guillotined.
  • Avoid frame borders when possible as they often appear uneven if they are close to the final trimmed size. If you must have borders allow at least 5mm margin inside the outer edges of the page.
  • Avoid screen (computer monitor) resolution images and compressed images copied from the internet. Try not to down sample or make images smaller to reduce the file size as once you have you loose image data and quality. A common rule to follow for photos is for the image size to be 300dpi at 100% of its print size.
  • Text must not be closer than 5 mm inside the outer edge of the print.
  • Avoid fine text if size is below 7pt – keep important information bold & easy to read.
  • Carefully check correct spelling of names, address, phone numbers, email and web Urls when sending final art and checking our supplied proofs.
  • Supply all final art as Multi page single file Press ready PDF’s with trims and 3mm bleed as single page layouts. Do not attempt to impose/step and repeat (lay the file out for multiple page/image printing) as this process is carried out at the print shop.
  • DO NOT embed colour profiles.
  • If providing the original art (EG Indesign file) please package all images and fonts with the design file. All so provide a  low resolution proof of the art as it appears on your computer. Please Zip all these collected components prior to emailing/FTPing them to save space and time.
    Below are recommended programmes to use for different aspects of design
  • Create and Modify images/photos in Adobe Photoshop
  • Create coloured of black & white line art (Vector Art) in Adobe Illustrator
  • Create the final laid out page in Adobe Indesign or QuarkXPress, these programmes allow multiple pages in one file where you can most efficiently layout the text within a page and place the images created in Photoshop and Illustrator to suit.
  • There are many more programmes that can achieve print ready results and the above are the industry stand outs. Please call or email if you have any questions with art prep and programme compatibility.

Glossary of printing terms

Artwork – All original copy, including type, photos and illustrations, intended for printing. Also called art.

Bleed – Printing that extends to the edge of a sheet or page after trimming.

Border – The decorative design or rule surrounding matter on a page.

CMYK – Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), the four process colours.

Commercial Printer – Printer producing a wide range of products such as announcements, brochures, posters, booklets, stationery, business forms, books and magazines. Also called job printer because each job is different.

Composition – (1) In typography, the assembly of typographic elements, such as words and paragraphs, into pages ready for printing. (2) In graphic design, the arrangement of type, graphics and other elements on the page.

Crop Marks – Lines near the edges of an image indicating portions to be reproduced. Also called cut marks and tic marks.

Finished – SizeSize of product after production is completed, as compared to flat size. Also called trimmed size.

Flat Size–  Size of product after printing and trimming, but before folding, as compared to finished size.

Fold Marks – With printed matter, markings indicating where a fold is to occur, usually located at the top edges.

Folio (page number) – The actual page number in a publication.

Four-colour Process Printing – Technique of printing that uses black, magenta, cyan and yellow to simulate full-colour images. Also called colour process printing, full colour printing and process printing.

GSM – The unit of measurement for paper weight (grams per square meter).

Imposition – Arrangement of pages on mechanicals or flats so they will appear in proper sequence after press sheets are folded and bound.

Offset Printing – Printing technique that transfers ink from a plate to a blanket to paper instead of directly from plate to paper.

PMS – Obsolete reference to Pantone Matching System. The correct trade name of the colours in the Pantone Matching System is Pantone colours, not PMS Colours.

Perfect Bind – To bind sheets that have been ground at the spine and are held to the cover by glue. Also called adhesive bind, cut-back bind, glue bind, paper bind, patent bind, perfecting bind, soft bind and soft cover. See also Burst Perfect Bind.

Prepress – Camera work, colour separations, stripping, platemaking and other prepress functions performed by the printer, separator or a service bureau prior to printing. Also called preparation.

Printer Pairs – Usually in the book arena, consecutive pages as they appear on a flat or signature.

Printer Spreads – Mechanicals made so they are imposed for printing, as compared to reader spreads.

Register Marks – Cross-hair lines on mechanicals and film that help keep flats, plates, and printing in register. Also called crossmarks and position marks.

Resolution – Sharpness of an image on film, paper, computer screen, disc, tape or other medium. (dpi = dots per inch)

Saddle Stitch – To bind by stapling sheets together where they fold at the spine, as compared to side stitch. Also called pamphlet stitch, saddle wire and stitch bind.

Soy-based Inks – Inks using vegetable oils instead of petroleum products as pigment vehicles, thus are easier on the environment.

Specially Printer – Printer whose equipment, supplies, work flow and marketing is targeted to a particular category of products.

Spot Colour or Varnish – One ink or varnish applied to portions of a sheet, as compared to flood or painted sheet.

Step and Repeat – Prepress technique of exposing an image in a precise, multiple pattern to create a flat or plate. Images are said to be stepped across the film or plate.

SWOP – Abbreviation for specifications for web offset publications, specifications recommended for web printing of publications.

Unsharp Masking – Technique of adjusting dot size to make a halftone or separation appear sharper (in better focus) than the original photo or the first proof. Also called edge enhancement and peaking.

UV Coating – Liquid applied to a printed sheet, then bonded and cured with ultraviolet light.

Varnish – Liquid applied as a coating for protection and appearance.

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