Guides

Getting artwork right so that it reproduces your design in the best possible way can be tricky. So below you will find some basic guidance for creating artwork; some techy explanations; and some notes on how we like things supplied.

But if you are unsure about anything, please just get in touch – we're here to help

Getting the most out of your print

We appreciate beautiful print so we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for you to make your artwork print ready. We can print from a range of file types but we recommend you use the following guidance in order to ensure the best possible print. If you need any help, please contact us.

General requirements

Small format set-up
(cards, leaflets, small posters etc.)

Format:PDF or JPEG

Colour:CMYK (aka full colour) *

Bleed:3mm

Safe zone:3mm

Resolution:300dpi

Fonts:Outlined or embedded

Large format set-up
(display banners, large posters etc.)

Format:PDF or JPEG

Colour:CMYK (aka full colour) *

Bleed:3mm

Safe zone:3mm

Resolution:150dpi

Fonts:Outlined or embedded

Note: (RGB/Pantones will be automatically converted to CMYK and may not produce the desired results)

Artwork preparation

low and high resolution

Before you submit your design for printing, please read the following to ensure your file is correct. If you need any help with artwork, please contact us any time.

We support a variety of file formats:
  Adobe Acrobat Document (*.pdf) (recommended)
  Adobe Illustrator/Freehand Artwork (*.eps)
  Adobe Photoshop Image (*.tif)
  JPEG Image (*.jpg,*.jpeg)

NB. Filenames should be kept short and descriptive – i.e. 'JBloggs-A5-leaflet.pdf'. Do not use ‘special’ characters such as:  / ! $ : & • * \

What is Bleed?

The region beyond the edges of the document are called the bleed area. To prevent an unwanted white border from showing at the edge of your document, be sure to extend any background colours or design elements all the way into the bleed area (usually 3mm beyond the final trimmed size).

artwork zonesWhat is the Bleed Size and Trim Size?

When to create your document at the full bleed size:
If you are working in an illustration program (such as Adobe Illustrator or Freehand) or a photo editing program (such as Adobe Photoshop), we recommend that you create your document at the full bleed size. This will prevent any white edges from showing at the borders after the final product is trimmed. i.e. the artwork set-up for a business card would be 61 x 91mm including bleed.

When to create your document at the trim size:
If you are working in a layout program (such as QuarkXPress or Adobe InDesign) you should create your document at the trim size and add the specified amount of bleed for your product (usually 3mm). When you export your document as a PDF, make sure to include the bleed in your output settings so that the final PDF document is at the full bleed size. i.e. the artwork set-up for a business card would be 55 x 85mm plus 3mm bleed.

What are Trim Marks?

The 'trim' is the finished size of the document. Trim marks are traditionally used to indicate where the edge of the document finishes. The aim is always to cut as close as possible to the trim line, but because of the mechanical tolerances involved in printing, the actual cut can happen anywhere between the bleeds and the safe margin. This is why it is vital to keep your text and important images within the safe zone.
Our production processes require that artwork for most items is supplied WITHOUT the trim marks, but some (notably postcards) should be supplied WITH trim marks. See individual product pages for exact requirements.

What is the Safe Zone?

The safe zone is the area that is safely inside the line where the trimming cut will take place. Please remember to keep all important stuff, like type or logos within the safe zone (at least 3mm in from the edge) to ensure that they aren’t cut off when your document is trimmed. If using a border around the edge of your design, it is important that you leave at least 5mm of clear space between the border and the cut line to maintain a symmetric appearance.

What should I do with my fonts?

Text can be converted to curves (paths) in some graphics programs. This will avoid errors that result when fonts are not embedded in your file. Please ensure when creating eps’s, pdf’s etc that you embed the fonts. Do not supply us with the separate font files as we cannot use them for copyright reasons.

low and high resolutionPicture quality

Digital pictures are made up by a certain number of dots or pixels. Quite simply the higher the number of pixels the higher quality the picture and the larger it can be displayed or printed without distorting. If a picture is enlarged beyond a certain point it will begin to distort and appear blurry.

What is Resolution?

Resolution refers to the number of dots per inch (dpi), or the amount of detail the image has. Most documents prepared for artwork should be 300dpi at 100% of the final print size. Do not try to change from a low resolution to a higher one by increasing the DPI in your imaging program; it is important to create the file at the correct resolution initially. Images found on the web are typically at a resolution of 72dpi, but this resolution is much too low for quality printing. A low resolution image may look OK on your screen but will not print well.

Copyright Notice

The use of copyrighted materials (text, photographs, illustrations etc.) without the express written consent of the author, artist, photographer, or other copyright holder is illegal. By using any material in your artwork, you verify that you have the right to use and reproduce that material. Note that most materials are automatically covered by copyright unless it is expressly waived by the original creator. HumblePrint is not in any way liable or responsible for any inappropriate uses of material of any kind.

Colour – cmyk vs rgb

cmykCMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) are the colours used in the printing process. RGB (Red, Green and Blue) are the colours used by screen displays such as your computer monitor. Please note that JPEG files are almost always in RGB.

Your document should be created in CMYK mode so that the colours that you see on the screen match the final printed product as closely as is possible (although, of course, you are looking at cmyk colours on an rgb screen...). Many of the bright values produced by your monitor cannot be reproduced in print. If your files are created using any other colour standard, such as RGB or Pantone, they will be automatically converted to CMYK during our production process without regard to any colour shifts. Any process that converts one colour standard to another may cause a change in the colours. If you want a Pantone or RGB colour to be matched, try the online colour conversion tool here to find the closest possible values to use in your artwork.

Paper sizes

paper sizesThese are the standard 'A' paper sizes used in the majority of printed items. When referring to the size of a folded item (leaflet, booklet etc.), use the finished size of the item, not the opened out size. i.e. an A5, 4 page leaflet is an A4 sheet, folded once to A5.

DL: *210 x 99mm

A6:148 x 105mm

A5:210 x 148mm

A4:297 x 210mm

A3:420 x 297mm

A2:594 x 420mm

A1:840 x 594mm

Add 3mm to each side to allow for 'bleed'.

paper sizes* 'DL' is actually an envelope size, but the term is generally used as shorthand for 1/3rd of A4 (210 x 99mm).

Other typically used sizes are 148mm square and 210mm square. These are not available in all products and are more expensive than the nearest equivalent 'A' size as they do not make the most efficient use of paper and machinery, which is set up for standard sizes.

The paper we use

paperMost of the printing we do is done on coated art paper with a 'silk' finish. This gives a nice, quality feel and produces bright, sharp images. Some items are also available on other stock, either uncoated or 100% recycled paper. Because of the volume of printing done on the 'silk' coated paper, it is often the cheapest option, despite being the best quality!

Paper weights are expressed in grammes per square metre (gsm). Simply put, this is the weight that 1 sheet of paper 1m square would weigh. The thicker the paper, the higher its gsm. As a guide, standard copier paper is usually 80-90gsm, while a postcard would be around 350gsm. Our business cards weigh-in at an impressive 450gsm

The items we have listed on this site were selected to represent a broad range of everyday products. All items are printed on substantial weights of good quality paper for the best results. Other options are available (paper weights, quantities etc.). So if you require something a little different, please don't hesitate to ask – we'll be more than happy to try and help.

Contact us with any queries  

Guidelines for producing Press-ready PDF files

paperPress Quality PDFs:
Many programs provide several methods to make a pdf file (printing to a pdf driver, saving a file as a pdf and exporting the file as a pdf). Below is listed one way for many popular programs. Regardless of the method chosen, a Press Quality pdf should be the end result.

  • Qualities of a Print Quality file
  • 1. trim marks are NOT required on artwork for most of our products, with the exception of postcards and greeting cards which DO require trim marks
  • 2. bleed: 3mm on each edge beyond the final (trim) size. This should be set when creating the original document
  • 3. colours must be CMYK (non-cmyk colours will be converted