When designing for print, it's important that any digital artwork is properly prepared in advance. As with all printing processes, there are certain specifications and tolerances that need be taken into account. As a printing company, we manage a large number of digital artwork files on a daily basis which often require the odd tweak here and there. Our aim is to ensure your printed product will turn out right the first time and by following our simple artwork guidelines, you'll be doing your bit to ensure that happens.
The resolution of your design file is very important. If the resolution is too low, your design will appear distorted and fuzzy when printed. Although it might look perfect on your computer monitor, unless it's been designed in a high enough resolution, it will most likely look very different when printed. We recommend a minimum of 300 dpi and if possible, we recommend that you design to scale.
Bleed, Trim and Safety Margins
There's a lot of technical terms in the printing industry, however these three elements are essential to know about when creating print ready artwork. See the image below for reference.
Although the accuracy of our printing and trimming machines is very high, you will still need to allow for slight variations in the final trim of your products. For a standard business card, the bleed area is printed beyond the edge of your business card size. For all designs, we recommend a minimum 3 mm bleed extending from the product edge. By incorporating a bleed area into your design, you can ensure that any colours or images are printed right up to the edge of your product without creating any dreaded white edges!
For a standard business card, the trim or cut area is the actual dimensions of the product your are designing for. For example, if you're designing artwork for our standard business cards, which is 85 mm x 55 mm, the trim area on your design would match these dimensions.
As the name suggests, this is the area of your artwork that any important elements of your design must be kept within, including text and detailed borders. This area is within the Trim area and allows for any slight variations during the trimming process. We recommend a minimum 3 mm safety margin within your design.
File Types/FormatsThere are certain file types which are better suited to the printing process. These file types can include the required bleed, trim and safety margins in an easy to read format. Our recommended file types are: AI, INDD, PDF & EPS.