Print Services Artwork Guidelines
Setting up your files for large format printing
Please pay particular attention to the following artwork guidelines. We specialise in a fast turnaround high-quality digital printing service and can only achieve this if your files are set up correctly. Anything that is not standard or completely correct can always be sorted out but will take extra time, meaning that any deadline we initially agreed to would be missed. If you are unclear on any of these points or have any other queries then please contact us for further details.
Please note we do not charge for advice when setting up files, and it may save you time and extra costs later.
In the absence of laser or inkjet proofs from any work supplied for processing we will output a version of the file which we anticipate as being the correct one and charge the result out at the relevant rate.
Preferred file formats
Photoshop is the current graphics industry standard and the preferred choice for fast turnaround work. Freehand, Illustrator and CorelDraw files are also acceptable but only if saved in .EPS format (see imported graphics opposite).
We can also accept other files and formats, but please ring and check first if timescales are critical as they always take longer.
We can also accept Adobe PDF format files – this is the best method for PageMaker, Microsoft Word or Publisher files. However, it is imperative that you set these up correctly and at the right resolution for print quality. The basic setting in Distiller is ‘press optimised’ but there are other settings to be aware of, plus imported pictures must also be set up carefully as they cannot be ‘fixed’ easily later in production if you get it wrong.
If you are not sure about the settings required for pdf’s do not risk it on a ‘rush’ job. We would be happy to provide press test proofs at a small extra cost to check your setups first
Document Sizes, Imposition and Bleed
Produce your artwork at a quarter of the final size required, as it can be enlarged up to 400% with no loss of quality (believe us – we do this for a living!) on our poster printers. e.g. A4 (210 x 297mm) can be enlarged to A0 (840 x 1,189mm). For enlargements above 400% please ring for artwork setup advice. Please do not manually add your own crop marks unless already agreed, and if your artwork requires ‘bleed’ (i.e. if it extends off the edge of your page) you must allow at least 3mm.We also recommend that any text is kept at least 3mm away from the edge of the page.
For exhibition stand designs that cover more than one panel (e.g. Popup stands) set Quark Xpress document up as ‘spreads’, do not supply as one ‘big’ page. Unless you can only supply a TIF or EPS which are the exceptions and must be provided as one ‘big’ page with crop marks drawn on clearly and bleed all round. Avoid text and graphics which cross panel joins as we cannot guarantee that these will always line up accurately.
You may incur extra costs and delays if we have to remove incorrect imposition or do extra work before we can print your files.
Imported Photos and graphic files
Photos should always be CMYK, 300dpi placed at 100% size in your document (which should be a quarter of the final size) and saved in .TIF format (always turn LZW compression off), this is unless you have used clipping paths in which case .EPS format is required. Do Not use the clipping path facility in Quark Xpress as it can produce unpredictable results.
Always create a true path in Photoshop and save it as a clipping path (with a flatness of about 3) before exporting as .EPS. Remember to limit the amount of points in your ‘path’ as too many will also cause problems. Whilst we can accept .JPG files we prefer not to, unless vital for reducing file sizes when transferring via the internet. This is because they can result in lower quality results (as they are compressed) and increase print processing times, which may affect your deadlines.
Logos and vector based graphics (Illustrator, Freehand, and CorelDraw) should always be saved in .EPS format, preferably as editable versions, and always with a preview when it is an option. Unless absolutely unavoidable we do not advise creating multi-page documents in these programs as extra work is required to impose them for print.
Also never embed large photographic images within them as the file sizes and subsequent processing times will be excessive.
Never enlarge photos more than a few percent, and if you have to reduce more than 30%, resize in Photoshop to save time and disk space. Files that are excessively large will affect your deadline and may incur extra costs for ‘processing time’
Digital Camera Images
Unless your images conform to our ‘imported graphics’ standards above i.e. they can be placed in a quarter size document at 300dpi then they will not be good enough quality for large format prints. Never enlarge image resolutions beyond their original size – you cannot put in what was not there in the first place.
If in any doubt please request a ‘colour proof’- see below for details.
Colour and Colour Matching
Make sure all colours in your document are specified as CMYK. If you have used spot colours in the design process you must convert them to CMYK before saving. This includes imported .EPS graphics from Illustrator and Freehand and duotone photos.
Please remember that Pantone colours cannot be accurately reproduced in CMYK, so if it is important that you match a Pantone colour then request a Colour Proof – see below.
Colour Proofs (test prints)
For complete colour accuracy as well as an opportunity for final checking of image quality we offer large format proofs for £45.00+VAT printed on your choice of media with correct laminate (if required).This can be either an A3 reduced size complete print or a 900mm x 150mm approx. portion extracted from your design at final print size.
If you are at all uncertain about colour or image quality it is the only accurate way of being certain of what the final print will look like.
Only use legitimate PostScript fonts from respected foundries such as Adobe, Monotype, Bitstream or Letraset, (never use TrueType unless absolutely unavoidable), include both printer and screen fonts on your disk and list their names on your order form. If you must use TrueType or other fonts then convert them to paths within Quark Xpress v4+, or create in Illustrator or Freehand as paths and import as .EPS graphics.
Fonts are the single biggest cause of problems and delays when printing out files, text that ‘reflows’ is almost always Truetype!
- It is impossible to guarantee that the colours of large format prints will match previously printed work due to changes in materials and processes. If your requirements will include future updates of single panels within a set, we suggest you create a design which does not rely on a panel to panel colour match e.g. use a contrasting colour.
- Always use the best quality originals and best quality scanning facilities for large format work, and carefully check your scans for dust and scratches as they will be magnified many times on the final print.
- To avoid ‘banding’ we suggest graduations must always have a suitable range such as 10% to 100% not 10% to 25%.
- Quark Xpress linear blends and InDesign transparency effects are known to be unpredictable so always request a proof print to make sure these print as you intended them to. Best results are obtained from professionally scanned transparencies or very high-resolution digital camera images.
Paper Sizes and Finishing
Maximum image size in one piece: 1.5 metres x 15 metres approx. depending on substrate, larger images are possible by tiling.
Substrates: Photo base 240gsm standard, TR51 tear resistant, self-adhesive vinyl, coated artists canvas, art paper, outdoor self-adhesive vinyl, blueback paper, weather resistant fabric, reinforced PVC banner, repositionable window film, wind-mesh banner.
NB, We always recommend laminating prints if frequent handling or durability is required as the inks we use are water based and can be damaged if they come into contact with moisture. If you require water resistance, extra durability or weather resistant prints we offer printing using UV and eco-solvent based inks and a range of lamination and encapsulation options. We can also mount onto various boards and substrates.
We can accept files saved onto CD, DVD, or standard floppy disk. To transfer via email or FTP, broadband internet, see our upload page. When sending work via the internet always put files in a folder with your ‘company’ and the current ‘date’ as the name. Then fax your order or job sheet (and proof) as a confirmation, as we do not book in or process any work that arrives via FTP or Broadband until we have received written instructions.
Pricing and Quotes
Due to the huge variety of stocks available and the unique flexibility of the digital print, it would be impractical for us to produce a complete price list. Instead, we have listed some ‘standard’ typical guide prices in our printed price list – available free on this website, we also publish special offer prices in our newsletters and mailshots on occasion and we would be happy to quote individually for your requirements over and above these at any time.
Please always confirm the quote number you are given when sending in any orders, this will save a lot of time and potential confusion. If your requirements have changed between getting an initial quote from us and sending your job in, then please request a re-quote. We will have to re-cost it anyway and would much prefer that you know the cost of your order before the job is started, to avoid any misunderstandings later.
Always send an official order and clear written instructions along with your own final proof (this can be inkjet or laser but NOT a PDF) of your file for us to check against. Remember in the absence of a proof we can only print what we assume to be the correct version. Please label any disks or CD’s with your name and address so that they can be returned you.
Additional charges will be made when;
a) during production, the Customer requests amendments, additions or deletions. Charges to Customer would be based on time and materials at current rates.
b) changes are made to jobs where the style, type or layout has been left to our judgement. Charges to the customer would be based on time and materials at current rates.
In the absence of laser or inkjet proofs from any work supplied for processing, we will output a version of the file which we anticipate as being the correct one and charge the result out at the relevant rate.
Any work carried out whether experimentally or otherwise, at the customer’s request shall be charged, unless agreed earlier.
Proofs may be submitted for Customer approval. We shall incur no liability for any errors not corrected by the Customer at this time. Customer’s alterations and subsequent proofs will be charged extra.
It is the customer’s responsibility to check all goods delivered by carrier. If ANY damage is found, sign and mark the delivery note ‘Damaged’ and report to us within 24hrs of delivery. If the delivery note has been signed in any other way you waive all right to claim for any repair or replacement.
Although we will make every effort to meet advised delivery times, we will not be liable for any loss to the Customer contingent on any such delivery not being met. Especially in cases where third parties i.e. subcontractors or carriers are involved. Neither will any such failure to meet a delivery date constitute a breach of contract on our part.
Advice of damage, delay, partial loss or non-delivery of goods in transit must be notified in writing to us within three days of delivery. Any claims regarding faults or incorrect output must be made in writing to us within seven days of delivery and the work in question must be returned to us for examination. We shall not be liable in respect of any claim unless the above requirements have been complied with.