Setting Up Artwork

Before we start, first please do not hesitate to contact us any time by picking up the phone as this can sometimes be the easiest and quickest way to find help with setting up your artwork files.

The final product and print quality very much depends on getting the artwork right from the beginning so we ask that you follow these basic guidelines or refer to our setup links in downloadable files.

All files should be supplied to us in PDF format, have a CMYK colour space and a minimum image resolution of 300dpi. In general we require single pages (not spreads) with 3mm bleed and crop marks only. The best preset choice for Indesign users is "Press Ready" PDF. For advanced users we have provided a download link to our custom Adobe distiller settings which enable users to export a PDF to our specific requirements.

Ink Management

In offset printing it is recommended that ink coverage does not exceed 280%. Many images exceed this value however as a general rule we do not apply undercolour removal (UCR) to images to ensure the final product is as close to the designers original artwork as possible. All solid colours and vector graphics must be below 280%. It is recommended that when printing on uncoated stocks that UCR is applied to images prior to proofing for best results.

Recommended Black Values

Rich Black: C30 M20 Y20 K100
Cool Black: C30 K100

CMYK, RGB & Spot Colours

Images supplied to us in RGB format will automatically be converted to CMYK however we recommend that you convert all of your images to CMYK prior to supplying us your files so you can control the final appearance of these images. Spot colours will also be converted to CMYK (unless they are intended to print as spot colours) but again we recommend this is done prior by you for optimal control and colour consistency.

File Format

Our preferred format is PDF however there are many ways to create a PDF via just about any software program, for example you can create a PDF from a Microsoft Excel file but this program is not suitable for designing print ready artwork. The industry standard for creating print ready artwork files is Adobe Indesign, and Quark Express. While it is possible to create PDF's from native programs such as *Microsoft Word/Publisher/ Excel/Powerpoint, Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop etc; PDF's created by these programs may attract additional charges for reformatting, and may result in delays to your print job.

For complex design jobs, diecuts, embellishments etc, native files may be acceptable to our specifications.

*Microsoft PDF files are generally accepted for digital printing only.


We recommend that all fonts are embedded or outlined in files, and outlined in particular when artwork is created in Adobe Illustrator. Fonts should be included in a packaged file if native files are to be supplied.

Note: when colouring fonts and text in a document, it is important to try to limit the number of process colour values to two or ideally, for best and sharpest results, to one process colour. Four colour tints, greys and four colour blacks should be avoided and colours with total ink value greater than 280% will generally not be accepted or may be converted to 100% black.


For best results and to minimise banding create gradients in Adobe Photoshop and apply noise to the channels that hold colour (1% Gaussian blur is usually sufficient). Then save as .eps and place into the working file.


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