What is “bleed"? Why is it important?
When graphics continue right to the edge of a sheet of paper, bleed is necessary. Why? A commercial printing press can’t print right to the edge of a sheet of paper. Instead, multiple products are printed onto a larger sheet of paper and cut down to size.
As it’s impossible to cut exactly to each design a little over print on every side is required. This is the “bleed", and any professionally printed document will require it and a corresponding safe zone.
Bleed and Safe Zone explained; How much “bleed" is required?
The printing industry standard is 3mm on each edge of a document, with 3mm safe zone inside. This means your document should have an extra 6mm in total on each side.
For example, an A4 sheet lined up with the correct bleed will be 216mm x 303mm. It will then be cut down to a finished size of 210mm x 297mm.
What is the safe zone?
The safe zone is an additional 3mm inside the cutting edge where no text or information should be put. Anything placed in this area is at risk of being cut off.
What is bleed and why is it required?
When a design continues up to the edge of the paper, bleed is required. Since most commercial printing presses are unable to print to the edge of a sheet of paper, they place multiple products upon large sheets of paper. These are then trimmed down to size and, due to the impossibility of cutting to the exact size of your design, an over print on all sides is required.
This overprint is called “bleed” and any document being printed professionally will require this, as well as a safety zone. Especially if your design runs up to the edge of the document, with the correct 3mm all around bleed edge and crop marks.
The crop or trim, marks are to show where the guillotines cut to and by following these, you will be able to see your final product. Your bleed is the area that goes beyond these marks. Please note we able to put crop marks on your design if you are not able to do so.
What is the safe zone?
The safe zone is a 5mm area situated inside the cutting edge, and you should not place text or important information here. Information within this area risks being trimmed into should these slip slightly on the guillotines.
What is “Resolution"? Why is it important?
Pixelation is one of the most common issues when choosing images for printing; pixelation is the term used when images look too blocky. This happens when the resolution isn’t high enough quality to display the image clearly.
This helpful guide will help you understand the resolution requirements for printing and what DPI & DDI mean. It also explains how to fix possible issues with several different document formats and images.
Basic Explanation of Resolution
Images formed up of dots are called raster images. Another image format is the vector, which is made from equations and will never look distorted or pixelated, no matter what the size is.
A common misconception is that an image which looks fine on a computer screen will be okay to print, but this often isn’t the case. In more technical terms, screens only display documents in 72dpi, but when they’re printed they’ll be at 300dpi. The exception to this is a high-quality vector image.
DPI stands for Dots Per Inch, and as images or graphics are made up of small groupings of dots, the greater concentration per inch means a higher resolution that is suitable for printing in large format.
When raster images are printed at increased DPI, the distortion you’ll see is called pixelation. There is no way to increase the resolution of an image. In order to improve the resolution quality, you’ll need to go back to the software used to create the image and improve the design.
How to Check Resolution
The easiest way to check resolution on a document is to view it on a computer screen at 3 to 4 times the size of the final print – (if possible). For example, when you view a .PDF, zoom in 300 or 400%, and you’ll be able to check how your document will look when it’s printed.
This check is crucial because your computer screen will display your image at 72 to 100dpi, but printed documents are displayed in 300dpi, so it’s very important to double check the resolution before confirming your artwork and sending to print.
How to Create High-Resolution Documents
The following instructions on how to create high-resolution documents can also be used to fix any issues regarding the resolution quality of a document.
When Certain Parts of a Document Are Low Resolution
In this case, the ideal course of action is to replace low-resolution images with ones that are higher resolution or vectored. Vectored or images of a much higher resolution quality suitable for printing can be sourced from various stock images websites.
Depending on the type a style of format you want to print on, you may also be able to resize your image file to reduce the effects of pixelation. Remember to double check your resolution as mentioned earlier.
You could also rebuild your image, although this is the most time consuming and involved option. That said, many images cannot be rebuilt, and redesigning them can add to the budget. The ‘last resort’ option is to just “risk it" and print your images as they are. However, we really don’t recommend this as the resulting print finish may be distorted and pixelated.
When Part of a Document is Vectored, and the Rest is Low Resolution
This issue suggests that the software used to create the image has incorrect settings, and as a result, the quality has been reduced when saving as a .JPG or a .PDF. For example, the export settings in Adobe InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop might be configured incorrectly, or you’ve saved to a .PDF from a Word document.
This problem can usually be resolved by changing the options when saving a .JPG or a .PDF. Make sure that the resolution options are set to a minimum 300dpi and compression options are at a maximum.
When the Whole Document is Low Resolution
There are several issues that could cause this, which in most cases relate to the software used to create the file. In order to resolve this issue, you should refer to the settings and configurations guide for the particular software you are using.
What can happen if Fonts aren’t present?
Chances are when creating your document; you have used the fonts you have on your computer. But if this document then gets opened on a computer that doesn’t have these fonts, they will be substituted. At best this can lead to the fonts being made bold, or larger or having the layout changed.
However, the worst case can lead to the font being substituted to symbols. These issues are more likely to occur when the fonts used aren’t a common font.
How to avoid problems with Fonts?
One of the better ways to remove this issue is to either flatten or embed your fonts. This will then make them part of the document. You can also convert the fonts to Curves.
Saving as an image?
If you save your file as either a .JPEG or a .PNG, then your fonts will become part of your image. You will find that your document is harder to edit later, but it does mean that you can use your custom fonts without issue. This is the same if you convert your artwork to Curves.
This is commonly for PDF files and will depend on the licensing laws for the fonts you require. Most design packages will give you the option to embed your fonts. By selecting yes, your fonts will be packaged into the document and will then display correctly on other computers.
Converting to Curves?
Converting to Curves is another option for maintaining your chosen type and layout. It’s great for when you’ve used custom fonts on any project, but keep in mind that it can be difficult to edit later. This is because it turns font into shapes, instead of recognising them as letters, but it will protect your fonts and keep them as intended.
When you order through our website, we do not check the colour setup for files you submit. All colours are automatically converted to CMYK. In certain cases, this may cause noticeable colour variation.
Colour Gamat difference
RGB graphics are formed from Red, Green and Blue while CMYK is made up of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.
CMYK colours are subtractive meaning the starting canvas is white, and colours are added to block out parts of the spectrum RGB colours are additive meaning that the starting point is a black canvas (i.e. a computer screen) and colours are added to create the final image.
Why do print files need to be CMYK??
Since the RGB spectrum is broader than the CMYK spectrum, there are many RGB colours that cannot be recreated as CMYK. This becomes more noticeable when using bright, fluorescent colours such as green, yellow or orange. Therefore all artworks should be designed with this in mind, as all commercial printers print in CMYK colours in order to get the best results.
Converting RGB files to CMYK and re-balancing colour
It is possible to readjust the colour balance when using Adobe Photoshop. This means that after converting your images to CMYK, you are able to adjust the colours back to how they originally looked. If you are using RGB images within your design, it would be best to re-adjust the colours as you go along.
Creating Files in CMYK?
It is important to make sure all design files are set up as CMYK when you start. This helps eliminate any problems with converting the files afterwards as it can be a difficult, sometimes impossible, thing to do. Certain software packages are unable to create files in CMYK, such as the Microsoft Office packages. If you supply artwork in this format, we will convert it and send you a proof before we proceed. Below are guides for the following software packages.
Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator and Microsoft Publisher
To get a larger view, simply click on the image.
Colour settings in Adobe Photoshop are determined when the document is created, the screen below shows the correct colour settings.
You can also check colour settings when a document is open by clicking on Image, then mode as shown by the screen on the right. When creating a document set to CMYK and checking when the document is open.
With Adobe InDesign the colours are converted when the file is exported to.PDF. Selecting pdf/x-1a:2001 preset will ensure that the document is CMYK. When exporting, select pdf/x-1a2001 preset.
In Adobe illustrator, the colour mode is set when the document is created. When saving as a PDF select pdf/x-1a:2001 from the ‘drop down’ presets list.
When creating the document, select CMYK colour mode.
When saving as a .PDF,select pdf/x-1a2001 preset.
When the document is open click File – Info – commercial print settings – choose colour model. This will allow you to set the colour mode that you would like the document to be set up in.
From the file menu, select ‘choose colour model.’
select ‘process colours (CMYK)’
DOs and DON’Ts – Checking Your Files before sending?
Here are a couple of quick pointers to help you understand the issue and assist in checking;
DO use printed CMYK colour swatches to check
colours if unsure.
DO check proofs on using a colour calibrated
screens and monitors (if possible). Be aware that with un-calibrated screens and monitors colours.
DO print samples
using a commercial proof printer
with output profile set to Fogra39.
DO use Acrobat Pro output
preview tool to check colours when output to Fogra39.
DON’T check colours
against desktop printer samples as their profiles will generally try to emulate RGB colours as opposed to printing
the true CMYK colours.
Why is Proofing your artwork important?
The main checks that you should make when proofing artwork and content before it’s sent to print. It is
important to check all elements of the proof as Core Printing Limited cannot be held responsible for errors that are present in an approved proof.
Before Core Printing Limited can print any document, it must first be approved or “proofed” by the customer. This stage is very important to ensure that the product has the end quality and finish you’re expecting. We’ve suggested the key areas to check in the list below.
Key Areas to check:
Spelling, punctuation & grammar.
Details (Phone numbers, email addresses, dates and times)
Sizing (A6 is a lot smaller than A4)
Pictures and Logos (is the resolution quality high enough?)
Very often a graphic designer will re-type information supplied when creating a business card or any other printed product. For this reason, all elements on the artwork file must be checked for spelling and grammar (your and you’re), this also includes phone numbers, email addresses and dates.
Is all the information that you require on the proof? For example; with a business card, does it contain all of the information required e.g. email, phone number? Or with a letterhead, does it need the company number, VAT number and registered address?
Is everything on the card going to print the size that you expect? A common mistake is to view a business card on the screen at 200% zoom; hence text is displayed much larger than the final product. It is worth viewing the proof at the final printed size to check that the text is all legible and easily readable.
Pictures and Logos
If you have supplied us with your own picture or logo, it is worth checking that it will print clearly. As a typical monitor/screen displays at 72dpi (dots per inch) and the commercial print is produced at 300dpi, you will have to increase the zoom to 400% to check logos and pictures. If at this level, the logo appears distorted you might want to consider supplying a higher resolution logo.
If you are happy with your proof, please approve online or send us an email to confirm that you approve the proof. We are unable to book in a job to print until we have this confirmation from you.
What is Kraft Paper?
Our kraft paper is made from 100% recycled pulp which gives it a natural, organic feel and an earthy brown tone. There are many colours that work well using kraft paper, but we recommend strong, bold colours to help your design stand out.
What Colours Print Well on Kraft Paper?
All of our printers use a 4 colour (CMYK) printing process which means white will not print on kraft paper at all. If there is white present anywhere on your artwork, the finished print of these areas will effectively be unprinted, and will visually be the same brown tone of the kraft paper.
We recommend using darker colours when printing on kraft as they are less likely to be affected by the natural colour of the kraft paper, other than black, all other colours will be slightly affected during the printing process.