Preparing and sending your own artwork

Table of contents:

We specialise in printing orders from artwork supplied.

Our system incorporates numerous internal checks all designed to ensure that the finished work we produce not only meets, but exceeds, your expectations .

We like to think of our relationship as a partnership and, as with any partnership, a great outcome depends on partners working together. Please check the Artwork guidance notes on the following pages which will ensure that your work proceeds quickly and efficiently to a successful outcome to the benefit of everyone.

1. Providing Your Files:

We can work with files sent on a wide range of ‘hard’ media as well as electronically.

'Hard’ Media
We can accept the following ‘hard’ media by post or in person.

31/2” Floppy Disc - Iomega Zip drives
Data Keys - Usb flash drives
CDs/DVDs Recordable and Re-recordable

We can also take files from an unsupported drive if you send us the media and the drive (we will return them with the completed job).

Please Note: Due to the high cost of postage and the low value of media we no longer return media unless specifically requested. We make a small charge for carriage.

Electronic Media
If you would like to send files to us electronically we recommend that they are compressed first. This is particularly important for Apple Mac and large files on any platform.

2. File Formats

We use the very latest Adobe PDF Rip in our Prepress department and our workflow is based on working with files in PDF format. Ideally you should send your files to us in this format. The PDF should be prepared at press quality.

Alternatively we can accept files in flattened Tif (Tiff) or Jpg (Jpeg) format. The files should be at the correct size for print. The disadvantage of sending files in this format is that all text and graphics will be Bitmap rather than Vector quality. If the file is sent at 300dpi resolution then in our experience the results are generally considered acceptable.

We are also pleased to accept virtually every other file format there is. We list here the most common formats which we receive. The list is not exhaustive. If your application is not listed please check with us.
  • Adobe Creative Suite - all versions Mac, PC
  • Adobe Pagemaker - from 5 onwards - Mac, PC
  • Macromedia Freehand - from 3 onwards - Mac, PC
  • Microsoft Office & Publisher - from 98 onwards - Mac, PC
  • Quark Express - from 3 onwards - Mac, PC

3. Client Proof Copy

Unless we are specifically requested we do not send proofs of jobs prior to print. In the electronic world sending hard copy proofs by post causes major delays and sending digital proofs is little more than returning the file sent to us back again!

In our workflow the Client Proof Copy is a key element. It may be defined as a master, which is correct in all respects, against which we can check all that we do.

It is vital that the Client Proof Copy is a perfect representation (content-wise) of the job to be produced. We strongly recommend checking it carefully before sending it to us.

When a high resolution (Press Quality) PDF, Jpg or Tif file is provided as the origination for printing then this file can also serve as the Client Proof Copy - CPC.

With a CPC to refer to when our designers work on your files they can be confident that the text is all present, that the fonts are correct, that the photos have not moved etc.

As mentioned on the previous page we are happy to accept your design in the format of the programme you used to create it. In this case the CPC needs to be sent as a separate file.

You may choose to send it as a low resolution PDF, Jpg or Tif along with your High Resolution file.

Alternatively it is possible to produce one by simply opening the page you would like us to print so it fills your screen and performing a ‘Screen Grab’ (On a PC press the Print Screen button to the right of F12, on a Mac press buttons Shift and 4 together). Paste the clipboard into a Bitmap programme such as Paint and save the file.

It may be useful to refer to for further information on producing Screen Grabs.

Whichever programme you use there are some common guidelines which may be helpful in preparing your Artwork.

4. Layouts

Please supply everything ‘one up’. It is more successful if you leave us to sort out the imposition for printing. e.g. Provide one business card on a 90mm x 50mm or 85mm x 55mm page.

Booklets are best supplied as a single document (Not readers spreads) or imposed printers spreads.

We are pleased to accept ‘ganged up’ jobs. This means that several individual elements are arranged on a larger sheet. We regard the ‘job’ as being the larger sheet size and charge accordingly. The only additional cost is for the extra cutting to create the individual elements at the end of the production process.
‘Ganging’ of jobs can be exceptionally cost effective.

For example:
You may have a requirement for four sets of Business Cards for four different people at the same time. Rather than sending an order for four sets of cards you may choose to order an A5 Card. The cost is then just the cost of an A5 plus four cuts.

Please note: If you would like your ganged up job to be sent to a number of different locations once it has been cut down we make an additional charge of £20.00 + VAT & Carriage per location (after the first).

Also ganged jobs should always have a double gutter between them. Do not have a single cut gutter as this means one side being cut by the burr edge of the guillotine blade leading to a rough edge.

5. Bleed and 'Quiet Border'

Understanding the need for 'Bleed' and a 'Quiet Border' is vital if, as partners, we are going to achieve our joint aim of an excellent finished print job.

We require Bleed to allow for the tolerance of our guillotines (the machine used for cutting your job after printing). Even with our 'State of the Art' equipment there is a margin of error in the operation.

If your image finishes exactly at the edge of your required finished size then these small deviations may produce unsightly white flashes at the edge of your print. By extending your background colour or image beyond the edge of your finished job the consequences of such a deviation are not perceptible.

We recommend that elements intended to go to the very edge of your finished job should extend 3mm beyond the edge.

A ‘Quiet Border’ is the distance you should allow from the edge of your finished page size to text or diagrams etc. The reason for this border is again the tolerance in cutting.
If you have a design where the text runs to the very edge then a cutting deviation will actually cut off some of your text! A very small ‘Quiet Border’ can result in a finished job looking very uneven.

We recommend a ‘Quiet Border ‘where there is no text, etc. of at least 5mm around the edges of your job.

6. Fonts

We carry all the most popular Mac and PC fonts, please confirm at the time of ordering.

Where you have used a rare font outside the 'normal' range we recommend converting the text created with this font into curves. This means that we no longer require the original font when we print your job.

Where you are supplying your work as a PDF it should always be produced with fonts embedded. With a Tif or Jpg, fonts are much less of an issue since these formats effectively embed the fonts required to print.

7. Colour Matching

There are a large number of variables which can affect the colour produced in Full Colour Printing. Simply looking at the appearance of colours on a monitor, especially if no monitor calibration has been carried out, is unlikely to produce predictable printed results.

In just the same way an un-calibrated desktop printer, such as a laser or inkjet may well produce very different colours to those produced on a professional printing press.

Rather than leaving colour matching to chance and 'keeping your fingers crossed' we strongly recommend that colours be chosen from Hard Copy Colour Charts. We have produced two Colour Swatch Booklets (one printed on Coated material and the other on Uncoated material) which show over 1000 colours together with their CMYK values. The advantage of using these charts is that they are exactly matched to our presses.

Our Colour Swatch Booklets are available. They are an invaluable and accurate way of ensuring predictable colour.

Please Note: Where you have a particular colour issue, for example a requirement to match to a specific company colour or a previously printed job, this MUST be brought to our attention at the order stage. Please specify the colour to be matched to or that the job has been printed previously.

If you have a swatch of the colour required please send us a hard copy of that. We cannot be held responsible if your printed work does not match your requirements unless those requirements are brought to our attention before we print.

8. Photographs and Graphics

Photographs should be scanned size for size at 300dpi and saved as CMYK images (the only exception to the CMYK rule is images for Hexachrome Printing which should be sent as RGB).

If you have not scanned for print before we again recommend our Hard Copy Colour Charts. As well as the colour swatches these include an image which is called Ole no Moire. The same image is available for download from together with calibration instructions.

By opening the Ole no Moire image on your screen and comparing it with the image on the Chart, it is possible to carry out a fair calibration of your monitor. Once this has been carried out, when you view a photo on screen, it will be a close rendition of the press print.

We can re-balance photos scanned by you for £6.00 + VAT per scan. Please send the original photo for us to match to. We can also re-touch photos, cut out backgrounds, make good blemishes, etc. The cost of these additional services would be fixed prior to ordering.

9. File Pre-flighting

We charge an optional £2.50 + VAT to carry out extensive Pre-flighting of your job. We would strongly recommend that you ask us to carry out the Pre-flight because then your job will be carefully checked by an experienced designer and also our proof readers prior to print.

Should we find potential issues with the files you have provided we would work with you to resolve the problems. It may be that a new file is required or alternatively we can often correct the issues.

Please Note: If you decide not to have your job pre-flighted we will simply print what you have sent! If the corrections which you want us to do are excessive there may be an additional charge.

10. Proofs

Our normal service does not include proofs. We simply check your files against your Client Proof Copy provided and proceed to print. The system is fast and efficient. However, in some circumstances proofs are desirable and we are pleased to produce proofs from your Digital Artwork prior to printing. This will add extra time to your order.

We produce three different types of proofs:

Pdf proof: These are sent digitally via Email. They are ideal for checking layout and content but are not colour accurate and so are of little use when there are issues of colour, such as matching to a House Colour.

Laser Proof: These are sent by post and provide something tangible to look at. Again these are not colour accurate and their use is limited to content and layout proofing.

Wet proof: These are an exact match to the job which will eventually be printed since they are a small run of the finished job on press. We would always recommend a small run of print (to be used as a wet proof) prior to any very large run of print.

For further information on any aspect of artwork preparation please visit or contact us direct and we will be pleased to help you.

Please bear in mind that whilst we specialise in design on disk, if you prefer we can carry out the design for you or recommend a designer who would be pleased to carry out the design of your job.