How to Prepare Your Artwork for Print

For Small Business Owners, Marketers and Junior Graphic Designers, preparing and sending your artwork to print may seem like a daunting task. After all, there's no going back if your printed products arrive looking less-than-perfect.

 

But fear not, we've created an ultimate guide detailing everything you need to know about setting up your artwork for print.

A computer with Adobe Illustrator open.

1. Which design software should I use when designing for print?

A letterhead design on Adobe Illustrator.

First things first, you need to decide which software you’re going to use to create your artwork for print.

 

There’s a wide range of software available, so choosing your favourite may seem like a difficult task. Here are a few we’d recommend.

 

Adobe Illustrator & InDesign

 

Both Adobe Illustrator or InDesign are flexible in their capabilities and allow you to achieve professional results. If you’re new to using these tools, Adobe has lots of great free tutorials on their website, perfect for helping you get started.

 

Canva

If you’re starting in Graphic Design and are after a budget-friendly option, Canva is a great free tool with plenty of free templates and a user-friendly interface.

 

Graphic Design Service

If you’re a complete novice, plenty of companies offer a Graphic Design service that can help you achieve stunning, professional results with minimal effort. Graphic Designers work closely with you to bring your creative ideas to life. Learn more about our Graphic Design service here.

2. How to choose the correct page size for your print

A page size guide for print.

The first step in ensuring your artwork is ready for print is choosing the correct page size. This differs depending on whether your printing letterheads, business cards, or posters, so it’s vital you get it right.

 

The simplest way to choose the correct file size for your print is by downloading one of our product templates. However, if you’re still stuck, you can check out our guide to page sizes.

3. How to add bleed to your artwork for print

Snug, Bleed, Crop Marks for print.

One of the best ways to help your printer out is by supplying your artwork with bleed.

Bleed - is simply an extra 3mm space around the edge of your artwork, it accounts for any small degree of movement on the printing press.

To add bleed to your artwork, add an extra 6mm to both the height and width of your document. If you need more help adding bleed to your artwork, check out our ultimate guide to bleed, which explains how to add bleed to your artwork in Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and Canva in more depth.

4. Should I use RGB or CMYK for print?

Have you ever printed something on your office printer, only to realise that the colours haven't come out exactly as they do on your screen? This is because printers use colours from different spectrums. Your computer will use RGB, whereas your printer uses CMYK.

RGB - stands for red, green, blue and represents the colours emitted by screens. This is the best choice when designing materials to be viewed on screens.

CMYK – stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black). These are the four process colours that are frequently used when printing.

If you're using Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, you'll be able to change your document to CMYK for a better idea of how your colours will look. If you're not, don't worry! Our team will supply you with a proof to show you how your colours will look once printed.

5. In what format should you supply your artwork to your printer?

When preparing your artwork for print, you'll want to ensure your file is as high quality as possible. For the best results, you should send your artwork, to your printer, in one of the following formats:

- High-Resolution PDF (This is SVP's preferred format)

- AI

- EPS

Although we accept a range of file types, we recommend that you supply your artwork to us as a high-resolution PDF. This will flatten all of your layers and design elements, stopping them from moving before your artwork is printed.

If you cannot supply your artwork in one of those formats then please supply the artwork in the original file format that you created it in. We will work with you to get this into final artwork for printing.

6. What format should you supply your logo to a printer?

When supplying your logo to your printer, you should always send a vector file. This will usually be an EPS or an Ai file. This format will ensure your logo is of high quality and is easily scalable.

You may only have your logo in a jpeg or png file format. Your printer can still work with these files however the resolution may not produce the best results. A good printer will advise you on the quality of your logo and help you to create the logo professionally for use at all sizes.

7. What resolution should my artwork be for print?

Resolution refers to the number of pixels per inch, measured in PPI. The more pixels per inch, the higher the resolution.

As standard, we recommend saving your design at 300ppi or 120 pixels per cm. You should use images with a resolution of no less than 200ppi or 80 pixels per cm.

When sending images makes sure your email app doesn't scale the image down. Ensure it sends the image at its original size. Otherwise, your printed result will be disappointing.

Want to know more?

Setting up your artwork for print doesn't have to be complicated! If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to get in contact with our friendly team. They're on hand to provide you with expert advice.

Download this Guide as a PDF

To download this guide as a PDF, click here.