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PDF stands for Portable Document Format. Supplying a print ready PDF not only eliminates all of the extra files you would have traditionally sent to a printing company, it will also speed your file through our pre-press department as we won’t need to load everything into our system. By supplying a print ready PDF you create a simple workflow between you and us, enabling a hassle free transition from design through to print and delivery.

A Print ready PDF must meet certain criteria for your file to print without problems. All print ready PDFs need to contain the following:

  • The file is supplied as four-colour process CMYK and not RGB colour space. If you are unfamiliar with this terminology don’t worry, we will convert it for you, though some colours may look washed out.
  • The document’s page size is the finished trim size.
  • Fonts are embedded or converted to outlines so no fonts are needed.
  • All scans resolution are 300 dpi at 100% of the final image size.
  • Images are embedded in the file.
  • Files are supplied with 3mm bleed.
  • Any trim, score or fold marks are indicated and outside the live print area.
  • Artwork is at least 5mm from the edge of the page; this is regarded as a safe or quiet area.
  • Black text is 100% black and not a mix of CMYK.
  • White text is not set to overprint.
  • Any multiple-page PDF consists of single pages running from the front cover through to the back cover, including blank pages if needed.

What is Bleed?

Ink that prints beyond the trim edge of the page to ensure it extends to the edge of the page after trimming. As there is a degree of movement when printing on any press, you should always create 3mm bleed on all edges where bleed is needed. Supplying your job without bleed may result in white lines when we trim it.

How to apply Bleed

The concept of applying bleed is the same for all desktop publishing programmes. You need to extend the object box, whether picture or colour, out past the edge of your page. Then, when creating the PDF, you need to set your bleed margins to 3mm. 

With Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Adobe Photoshop you do not have the ability to add bleed when creating a PDF. You need to make your page/image size 6mm bigger at the start. You will then treat the extra 6mm (3mm all round) as bleed, which will be removed when we trim your job. For example, A4 is 210mm x 297mm. Your page with bleed will be 216mm x 303mm.

CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black – the inks a printer mixes together to make colours on printed material.

RGB stands for Red, Green and Blue – the colours of light a computer screen mixes together to make colours on screen.

So what’s the difference?

RGB is used for viewing colours on a computer screen, like this website.
CMYK is used for viewing printed material.

All our printers use cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks to transform your digital file to printed media. Please ensure your artwork is set up as CMYK. If you use RGB images or colours we will convert these to CMYK for you but the colour of your printed file may appear washed out when printed.

All images should be 300 dpi. DPI is the amount of ink dots per inch; 300 dots per inch is the required standard for printed material. Images should also be placed at 100% size in your final document. For example, if your image is 50mm x 50mm at 300dpi, then it is also that size when placed in your document. Lower resolution compromises image quality and may result in pixilation (where the pixels, tiny squares or dots that make up the image, are apparent when printed).
Please note that opening a 72 dpi image in Photoshop and simply changing the dpi to 300 will not increase the quality of the image.

As there is always a small degree of movement when printing and finishing a job, it is recommended that your artwork is at least 5mm from the edge of the page if it is not meant to bleed off. This is known as the ‘safe area’

Printed borders placed too close to the edge of a page may look uneven when the job is trimmed.