Here are some tips and information for preparing and sending your artwork to a printer. It's by no means a comprehensive list but covers areas that have come up for me over the years that you may find useful.


We require all files to be in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop or PDF(if you are using other software). You can create a PDF file from most programs now, and it’s the easiest file for the printers to use. When saving your PDF you can select to include crop marks and a bleed, you can also ensure the resolution you want to save the file at.


It’s important that when you send a document to print you convert the fonts to outlines. This basically means that rather than the type being an editable font, you change it into a shape layer. This will stop any font issues occurring at the printer’s side. In Adobe Illustrator it's as simple as selecting all your type and then clicking Type > Create Outlines. Alternatively, you can select all and then use the shortcuts: Ctrl+Shift+O.


Printers use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black), whereas on-screen we use RGB (Red, Green, Blue). You need to ensure your document is set up in CMYK, otherwise, your print could come back not how you expected. When you convert your image from RGB to CMYK it may appear duller, you may have to brighten up the colours to compensate.


On the screen we view images at around 72dpi, however, printing requires a much larger resolution, usually about 300dpi for things like brochures and flyers. This means you can’t use low-resolution images as they will appear pixelated, you will need a larger image file. You can check the image resolution in Photoshop by selecting Image>Image Size.

BLEED & CROP MARKS (for paper products)

If your artwork runs to the edge of a page it will need a bleed. This means the artwork will bleed over the edge, usually, printers ask for 3mm. When the artwork is printed, it’s printed on a larger oversized sheet then trimmed down to the right size. If you don’t allow for a bleed your artwork might end up not running to the edge of the page and have a white gap. Include crop marks when you save your file, this will show the printers where your bleed is and where they should trim the document.