Artwork Top Tips from A Local Printer 

We bring you Top Tips For Great Design and Printing!

At A Local Printer we try to make it as simple as possible to order your print online

This includes removing any headaches you may have about supplying your own artwork. To make things really easy we will take your artwork in any common format, including Word, Publisher and most graphics packages.

But, unless you ask, we will not amend your design in any way – so essentially we work to a WYSWIG format. What You See is What You Get!

We are happy to amend or tidy up your design if you ask us but may need to make an additional charge for this service.

How to get the best from your Artwork

Here are a few things we think might help you to achieve the best from your artwork, particularly when dealing with pictures and images.

Pictures placed on the web are usually GIF's and sometimes JPEG's. Don’t worry about the name, only that collectively they come from a graphics construction known as Bitmaps. There are limitations when it comes to printing GIF's because they are not designed for printing, only for viewing on a screen.

Bitmap images are made of little dots (pixels) of a specific size. If you try to resize the image upwards these dots can become distorted and you lose the definition of the image.

Why would you want to resize the image?

GIFS on the web are almost entirely fixed at 72ppi (pixels per inch), but to print a really clear image we need 300ppi, otherwise known as high resolution. Therefore images from websites or that have been created for website use are not suitable for printing; they will look very fuzzy - known as pixellated.

So as a rule of thumb………

  • Do not resize GIFS, but if you do, make them smaller not bigger!
  • The best graphics for printing are EPS, TIF and JPEG
  • Try to ensure your graphics image is supplied at the actual size for printing at 300ppi

What is Resolution?

As it is used in publishing, resolution refers to the dots of ink or electronic pixels that make up a picture, whether it is printed on paper or displayed on-screen.

The term DPI (dots per inch) is probably a familiar term if you've bought or used a printer, a scanner, or a digital camera. DPI is one measure of resolution.

Dots, Pixels or Something Else?

Initials you will encounter that refer to resolution are PPI (pixels per inch), SPI (samples per inch), and LPI (lines per inch).

Whether printed on paper or displayed on your computer screen, a picture is made up of tiny little dots. There are colour dots and there are black dots.

In black and white printing, the size and shape of the black dots and how close or far apart they are printed creates the illusion of shades of grey.

The more dots that are used (up to a point) the clearer the picture is. The more dots in a picture, the larger the size of the graphic file. Resolution is measured by the number of dots in a horizontal or vertical inch.

Remember - artwork and images should be created and saved at  300ppi and at the actual size to be printed.

A Word on Digital Photographs

Fortunately you can change the print size of digital photos... usually with little or no loss in quality. If you want to do this, look in your photo editing software for an "Image Size," "Resize," "Print Size," or "Resample" command. When you use this command you will be presented with a dialog box where you can change pixel dimensions, print size, and resolution (PPI).

The Colour Conundrum - RGB or CMYK?

Everything that you see on your computer screen is created out of the colours Red, Green and Blue - RGB. They work together to create bright, vibrant and vivid colours.

Full colour printing uses Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (usually abbreviated to CMYK) to create more colours than all the tea in China, plus contrasts, tones and half-tones. (Have a look at our information on full colour printing which goes into all the detail you could possibly want to know about printing in CMYK.)

If you are sending us any sort of artwork file created in Publisher, Photoshop or one of the common graphics packages you will need to change your artwork from RGB to CMYK.

Once altered to CMYK the colours you see on your screen will seem a bit flatter and with less 'zing', so don't be surprised if what you see was not quite what you expected - it is one of the small side effects necessary to make your artwork print beautifully.

Text 'Safe Area'

When you are including text within your design it is a good idea to ensure that there is a 'safe area' of at least 5mm to the edge - this allows for some movement of the material when it is being trimmed and also makes it much easier to read!

A Bit About Bleed

When we talk about "bleed" in most cases it doesn't refer to us slicing a thumb off with a scalpel!

Bleed is a term that refers to ink that prints all the way to the edge of a trimmed page - so if your design calls for ink to extend right to the edge of the paper (the "trim"), your ink is "bleeding" off the page and you need to build a bleed margin into your artwork.

Printed pieces that have a white border or white around the edges DO NOT bleed, but if you have images or backgrounds that you want to print right to the edge of the paper you must design your job larger than the final finished trimmed size.

To achieve a full bleed document we need to actually cut through this area of extended image/background.

To create bleeds, make your document larger than the final finished cut size. Generally we require that you make your document 3mm larger on all four sides to leave enough bleed area for us to trim in to - but if in doubt, give us a call!