Preparing and Sending Artwork
To assist with the preparation of your artwork here are a few general guidlines on preparing artwork ready for print. If you cannot find what you need to know here, or require further clarification on any of the listed topics, please contact us.
Most of our products follow standard 'A' paper sizes. Please supply everything in a 'one up' basis. i.e. provide one business card on a 90 x 50 or 85 x 55 page or one A4 leaflet on a 210 x 297 page.
Photo Scans and Images
Images should be provided at a minimum of 300dpi (ideally 400dpi) size for size and saved in CMYK format. TIFF file formats are preferred but we also accept images in many other formats including JPEG and GIF. Care should be taken when providing images in other formats as compression may be used that will reduce final quality.
Images, background colours and fills which are intended to extend to the edge of the page should be extended 3mm beyond the page to give a bleed. Text, boxes and other areas you need on your finished job should sit 5mm in from the edges of the page.
We recommend the use of Colour Swatch Swatches rather than relying on screen colours. If you do use screen colours as a guide, ensure that your monitor is correctly calibrated - go to downloads to download a calibration help file.
We carry all the most popular Mac and PC fonts, please confirm at the time of ordering.
We can accommodate files created in a huge range of both Mac and PC based software, and saved on a wide range of media, click here to view software and media formats we support.
For more information about preparing your artwork please refer to the Technical Overview section below:
Table of contents:
* 1. Providing Your Files
* 2. Sending the Files
* 3. File Formats
* 4. Client Proof Copy
* 5. Layouts
* 6. Bleed and 'Quiet Border'
* 7. Fonts
* 8. Colour Matching
* 9. Photographs and Graphics
* 10. File Pre-flighting
* 11. Guaranteed Proofing
* 12. Proofs
* 13. When Preparing Your Artwork Remember About
We specialise in printing from artwork supplied. Our system incorporates numerous internal checks, all designed to ensure that the finished work we produce not only meets, but exceeds, your expectations.
We like to think of our relationship with you as a partnership and, as with any partnership, a great outcome depends on the input of both partners! Please check the following guidance which will help to ensure that your work proceeds quickly and efficiently through to successful completion.
1. Providing Your Files
We can accept files sent on a wide range of 'hard' media as well as electronically.
* 'Hard' Media
We can only accept the following 'hard' media by post.
CDs/DVDs Recordable and Re-recordable
NB: Due to the high cost of postage and the low value of media we no longer return media.
* Electronic Media
For successful and trouble free uploading of large files (Over 5MB) and all Mac files we strongly recommend that you compress prior to sending.
o We have tested a programme called ' Stuffit ' and found it to be excellent and simple to use.
o You can download a trial version from their website: www.stuffit.com
o Place all the items you wish to send in the same folder and then use Stuffit to create a single compressed file of the folder. This is the file you should send us.
2. Sending the Files
Files should be sent via our fast and efficient upload facility.
To use our upload system during ordering:
* First place your order online. The system will take you through the order system.
* At stage 2 of this process you will be asked to send your artwork and have the option to upload.
* Select your artwork or compressed file from your computer and then click 'Upload Artwork'.
You can upload up to five files at a time and then if necessary upload another 5 files until everything is sent.
NB: Uploading large artwork files can be a lengthy process, approx 8 seconds per Megabyte with a 1mb broadband connection.
* Once uploading is complete please Click the Green Button which will appear below to progress to the Final Details Page.
* To use our upload system after ordering - to send additional artwork.
At the pqtp.com Home Page click on 'Upload Artwork'
* Enter your Order number (as given in your Emailed order confirmation) then proceed to upload as the previous directions.
* If you do not have an Order Number please Contact pqtp.com BEFORE using this facility.
3. File Formats
* Our workflow is based on PDF format. Ideally you should send your files to us in this format.
The PDF should be prepared at press quality.
o 300dpi resolution image files
o Text needs to be converted into paths
o Transparencies need to be flattened
o 'Overprint' needs to be turned off when originating files
o Download PDF writing software here : www.adobe.com
* Alternatively we can accept files as flattened tif (Tiff) or jpg (Jpeg) format. The disadvantage of sending files in this format is that all text and graphics will be Bitmap rather than Vector quality. If the file is High Resolution (300 dpi size for size) then in our experience the results are generally acceptable.
* We take a pride in being able to accept virtually every file format there is. We list here the most common formats which we receive. The list is not exhaustive. If your application is not listed please check with us.
4. Client Proof Copy
* A Client Proof Copy is key to our system. It may be defined as a master, which is correct in all respects, against which we can check all that we do.
* It is vital that the Client Proof Copy is a perfect representation (content-wise) of the job to be produced. We strongly recommend checking it carefully before sending it to us.
* When a high resolution (Press Quality) PDF, jpg or tif file is provided as the origination for printing then this file can also serve as the Client Proof Copy or CPC.
* With a CPC to refer to when our designers work on your files they can be confident that the text is all present, that the fonts are correct, that the photos have not moved etc.
* Historically a CPC used to be a print out from your own printer which was checked before it was sent to us with your disc and order in the post! Later they were commonly sent by fax with the files being sent by Email. We are still very happy to work in either of these ways but in the Digital age there are other ways of producing your CPC.
* As mentioned above we are happy to accept your design in the format of the programme you used to create it. In this case the CPC needs to be sent as a separate file.
* You may choose to send it as a low resolution PDF, jpg or tif along with your High Resolution file.
* Alternatively it is possible to produce one by simply opening the page you would like us to print so it fills your screen and performing a 'Screen Grab' (On a PC press the Print Screen button to the right of F12, on a Mac press buttons : Command, Shift and 4 together). Paste the clipboard, or open the file, in a Bitmap programme such as Photoshop or Paint and save the file.
* Please supply everything 'one up'. It is more successful if you leave us to sort out the imposition for printing. e.g. Provide one business card on a 90mm x 50mm or 85mm x 55mm page.
* Booklets should either be in separate files for each page or number order pages (we will sort out the printers pairs).
* We are pleased to accept 'ganged up' jobs. This means that several individual elements are arranged on a larger sheet. We regard the 'job' as being the larger sheet size and charge accordingly. The only additional cost is for the extra cutting to create the individual elements at the end of the production process.
* 'Ganging' of jobs can be exceptionally cost effective.
You may have a requirement for four sets of Business Cards for four different people at the same time. Rather than sending an order for four sets of cards you may choose to order an A5 Card. The cost is then just the cost of an A5 plus eight cuts.
Please note: You would need to place all your cards on the A5 and you must ensure that the Front and Back are correct. Please refer to the diagram.
6. Bleed and 'Quiet Border'
* Understanding the need for 'Bleed' and a 'Quiet Border' is vital if, as partners, we are going to achieve our joint aim of an excellent finished print job.
* We require Bleed to allow for the tolerance of our Guillotines (the machine used for cutting your job after printing).
Even with our 'state of the art' equipment there is a margin of error in the operation.
* If your image finishes exactly at the edge of your required finished size then these small deviations may produce unsightly white flashes at the edge of your print. By extending your background colour or image beyond the edge of your finished job the consequences of such a deviation are not perceptible.
* We recommend that elements intended to go to the very edge of your finished job should extend 3mm beyond the edge.
* A Quiet Border is the distance you should allow from the edge of your finished page size to text or diagrams etc.
The reason for this border is again the tolerance in cutting.
* If you have a design where the text runs to the very edge then a cutting deviation will actually cut off some of your text!
A very small quiet border can result in a finished job looking very uneven.
* We recommend a quiet border where there is no text etc of at least 5mm around the edges of your job.
* We carry all the most popular Mac and PC fonts, please confirm at the time of ordering.
* Where you have used a rare font outside the 'normal' range we recommend converting the text created with this font into curves. This means that we no longer require the original font when we print your job.
* Where you are supplying your work as a PDF, tif or jpg, fonts become much less of an issue since these formats generally embed the fonts required to print.
8. Colour Matching
* There are a large number of variables which can affect the colour produced in Full Colour Printing. Simply looking at the appearance of colours on a monitor, especially if no monitor calibration has been carried out, is unlikely to produce predictable printed results.
* In just the same way an un-calibrated desktop printer, such as a laser or inkjet may well produce very different colours to those produced on a professional printing press.
* Rather than leave colour matching to chance and 'keeping your fingers crossed' we strongly recommend that colours be chosen from Hard Copy Colour Charts.
* We have produced two A1 Colour Swatches (one printed on Coated material and the other on Uncoated material) which show over 1000 colours together with their CMYK values. The advantage of using these charts is that they are exactly matched to our presses.
* Colour Charts are available and they are an invaluable and accurate way of ensuring predictable colour.
* Alternatively there are also Pantone® Colour Swatch books available.
* Please note: Where you have a particular colour issue, for example a requirement to match to a specific company colour this MUST be brought to our attention at order stage.
* If you have a swatch of the colour required please include a hard copy of that with your order. We cannot be held responsible if your printed work does not match your requirements unless those requirements are brought to our attention before we print.
* We are pleased to check your artwork specifically to ensure that the highlighted colours have the correct CMYK values in your origination to print correctly.
9. Photographs and Graphics
* Photographs should be scanned size for size at 300dpi and saved as CMYK images (The only exception to the CMYK rule is images for Hexachrome printing which should be sent as RGB).
10. File Pre-flighting
* Every job sent to us is carefully checked by an experienced designer and our proof readers prior to print. We are committed to ensuring that finished work is the best we can achieve.
* Where we find potential problems with the files you have provided we work with you to resolve the problems. It may be that a new file is required or alternatively we can often correct the issues.
* Please note: there may be a charge for these corrections.
11. Guaranteed Proofing
* With artwork being checked carefully by you before sending it to us, and then us checking it again it is rare for an error to get through, rare but not impossible!
* For absolute peace of mind we offer a guaranteed proof reading service for artwork supplied on disc. For a charge of 5% of the printing price (minimum charge £10) we will check your job for typographical errors.
* With your agreement we will correct any we find. In the unlikely event of a job which you have paid for us to proof read later being found to contain a typographical error we will reprint it completely free of charge.
* Our normal service does not include proofs. We simply check your files against your Client Proof Copy provided and proceed to print. The system is fast and efficient. However, in some circumstances proofs are desirable and we are pleased to produce proofs from your Digital Artwork prior to printing. We produce three different types of proof.
* Pdf proofs: these are sent digitally via Email. They are ideal for checking layout and content but are not colour accurate and so are of little use when there are issues of colour, such as matching to a House Colour.
* Laser Proofs: these are sent by post and provide something tangible to look at. Again these are not colour accurate and their use is limited to content and layout proofing.
* Wet proofs: these are an exact match to the job which will eventually be printed since they are a small run of the finished job on press. We would always recommend a small run of print (to be used as a wet proof) prior to any very large run of print.
* Bleed 3mm
* Colour scheme: CMYK