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What type of images will work

If you are scanning images yourself from photographs it is better to save them in either tif or eps format. These image formats will preserve the colour and sharpness of your pictures the best. File formats like gif or jpg compress the pictures colour and pixel resolution and this can cause colour shifts and blurriness.

Since jpg, png and gif are the most predominant image formats on the web, it follows that it’s not a good idea to simply lift an image from a website and use it in your layout. Images that are in these formats are typically low resolution and cannot be used for professional printing unless they are large in size.

Bleeds

When you do not want a white border on your printing and you want the image to extend beyond the edge of the page. Any time an image or a colour is printed to the edge of a page, the image or colour should extend 5mm off the edge so that when the page is trimmed on a mechanical cutter, small variations in the trim will not result in a white line down the edge of the page. Please refer to our templates which are at the bottom of every product page.

Rich Black Colour

When you want an area of solid black in your layout, 100% black (K) is not enough; use Rich Black, which contains a CMYK mix of 220% as represented by C:40% \ M:40% \ Y:40% \ K:100%. Do not use higher values for C, M and Y; it will create an oily appearance instead of the saturated black you want.

Gradients

Gradients are commonly used in printing and in most instances work fine. However, when a gradient is used it is crucial that it should be created in Adobe Photoshop®, which has proven to give good results. Other programs produce gradients of less than 10%, which our RIPs will interpret as 0%. This results in banding or striping, which frequently makes customers unhappy and we never want that.

Getting to grips with paper sizes

A Series – A Series is used for most types of general printing i.e. Stationery, publications, brochures and flyers etc. The most common sizes are A4 for stationery and documents, A5 for books and A6 for postcards. Below illustrates the relationship between the different A sizes. You’ll see that all the sizes are in proportion to one another, with A0 being twice the size of A1, which in turn is twice the size of A2 and so on.

A0 841 x 1189mm
A1 594 x 841mm
A2 420 x 594mm
A3 297 x 420mm
A4 210 x 297mm
A5 148 x 210mm
A6 105 x 148mm

C Series – C Series is used for envelopes, designed to take A series paper. e.g. C4 is used for A4, C5 for A5 and so on. DL envelopes take A4 sheets folded into three.

C0 917 x 1297mm
C1 648 x 917mm
C2 458 x 648mm
C3 324 x 458mm
C4 229 x 324mm
C5 162 x 229mm
C6 114 x 162mm
C7 81 x 114mm
C8 57 x 81mm
DL 110 x 220mm

Creating outlines

When sending digital files to us where the original has been designed in a vector-based program such as Adobe Illustrator®, you must create outlines. Outlining eliminates the need to send fonts along with your files while still achieving a nice crisp typeface.

Vector versus render images

Vector drawings are defined mathematically. They are resolution-independent, so they can be scaled to any size with absolutely no loss of quality. Bitmaps are defined by their pixels, so they cannot be scaled to larger output size without loss of resolution. Always where possible send your artwork in vector format for better results.

Scanning

You should scan your images using a resolution of 300dpi at the final dimensions you intend to use them so that your colours will look smooth, and hard objects will look sharp. In other words don’t scan at 300dpi and then enlarge the picture by 200% in your layout program! This is another reason why you should not use images that are taken from websites; they are probably only 72dpi in resolution and will look very blurry if printed. See our Resolution tips below for more information.

Will my printing look exactly as it does on my monitor

There are some small differences. Scanners and digital cameras create images using combinations of just three colours: Red, Green and Blue (called “RGB”). These are the colours that computers use to display images on your screen. But printing presses print full colour pictures using a different set of colours: Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow and Black (called “CMYK”). So at some stage your RGB file must be translated to CMYK in order to print it on a printing press. This is easily done using an image editing program like PhotoShop®.

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