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Artwork Guide

Templates / Spec Sheets
For your convenience, we have placed on our website a number of spec sheets and templates for you to overlay your artwork. Be aware that the templates are at 100% and should not be altered in size in anyway. If you open these PDFs up in an image editing software package such as Photoshop, keep the size at 100% and at 300dpi (see resolution below). On these, you will also notice some thick light blue guide lines. These are just to let you know where the edge limit and type area is. Your artwork is to be placed over the top of these. The spec sheets, however, JUST GIVE YOU THE SIZES. DO NOT PUT YOUR ARTWORK ON THESE. Instead, take note of the sizes on them, and create your artwork from scratch. Be careful to notice the difference between the trim sizes and the bleed sizes (see below).

Crop Marks
Crop marks are the thin vertical and horizontal lines you see on the templates in the four corners. These are to show where the paper is cut once your paper part of the job has been printed. Basically, all paper parts are printed on a piece of paper much larger then the finished article. And then cut down to the correct size. This ensures that if your design has 'bleed' (see below), it will look correct when finished!

What's bleed?!? Well, have you ever printed something at home and the colour or text never actually goes right to the edge of the paper? This is because your printer doesn't print 'edge to edge'. So, to get round this, we print something in the middle of the page and then cut it down! We know where to cut it because of the crop marks (see above). Hey presto, your finished piece now looks like it prints 'off' the edge! The colour or graphic that prints past the crop marks, the bit we're throwing away, is the bleed. Look at diagram B below and you'll see what we mean.

If you want your paper part to look like it printed straight to the edge of the page, you'll have to include bleed, it's the only way to do it. But how much bleed should you include? Ideally 3mm of extra colour or graphic past the crop mark should be enough. Yep, in theory, if the printer were cut the artwork exactly down the printed line, you wouldn't need to add any bleed. But, you know as well as I do that if you run more then one piece of paper through a printer, its more then likely to move ever so slightly. And when we're printing lots, one after another, there can be a fair bit of movement between the sheets! So, by adding 3mm on all of the edges, ANY slight variation will not show once its cut down. It's impossible to cut each one individually, so all sheets are stacked up and cut in one go with a big guillotine.

Colour separations - CMYK / Pantones
OK, technical time, this is where it can be a little tricky. First of all, every colour in the spectrum can be printed in CMYK. It stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. A different shade variation of each of these four colours, mixed together will produce any colour, to a degree. The colours aren't actually mixed, rather than printed one colour after another on top of each other. And that creates the illusion that are mixed together. Have you ever looked REALLY close at a colour picture in a magazine and noticed lots and lots of funny shaped dots? Yep, thats the dots of the different colours! A specific colour, however, has a Pantone reference. This can be either printed as its spot (pantone) colour, or as a mixture of CMYK. For instance, if the face of your CD had a black background with red writing, you could say this is a two colour job, black and a pantone red. Easy! If it was a colour picture or a photograph for example, this would be printed using CMYK separations, a four colour job, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Again, easy! But what if we had a photo with Red writing on top of it? Would it be five colour job? CMYK and the Pantone Red? NO! because the red can be made up out of the CMYK set, keeping it to four colours! So, briefly, if you have the odd specific colour, you must supply the artwork as spot colours with its reference. If its all different colours, the artwork must be supplied as CMYK. "But whats RGB" I hear you say? Yes, you may have heard of this term as well. RGB (or Red, Green and Blue) can also be used to make up any colour. However, this is how a television screen or monitor makes up the colour, NOT how a printer does. How a colour looks on screen may not necessarily be how it comes out on paper! With a screen you have light behind it, you don't have that on paper do you! This is why we have specific pantone references, so you know what your getting!

Ink coverage
The ink coverage is basically how mach ink is put on the paper to create your artwork. There is a limit unfortunately. Imagine our CMYK plates (Diagram C below). 100% black isn't actually a nice black colour. If you 'underpinned' it with some of the other plates, i.e. 70% Cyan, 55% Magenta, 55% Yellow, once these are all printed on top of each other, you would get a much richer looking black colour. So why not have 100% of each? As we say, there is a limit. If you had 100% of each of the inks, that would give you an ink coverage of 400% believe it or not! The max that can be printed ideally is 320%. We cannot accept any artwork above this amount unfortunately.

DPI / resolution
DPI stands for Dots Per Inch, this is the resolution that we print and that your artwork must be supplied in. As we said earlier, if you look closely at a picture in a magazine, you can see its made up of tiny dots. If you wanted to count how many across in an inch it is, that's what DPI it has been printed at. Usually, for a nice crisp looking picture, we would print it at 300dpi, that's the industry standard. i.e. the picture is made up of 300 dots per inch across. Can you image what it would look like at 72 dots across? Yep, RUBBISH! Which is why we don't do it. If your artwork is supplied at 300dpi, it will look fantastic. Anything lower, again, we can't accept, for your benefit.

CD-Replication DVD-Replication

File types
As you probably know, there are hundreds of programmes out there on the net that you can use to produce your artwork in. We use all the industry leading programmes here, and yes, they can be expensive and we don't expect you to use them to be compatible. But, you will be able to save or export your artwork into a format that we, or anyone, can read. We prefer the following:


JPEG - this type of file can compress a high resolution image right down in size making it much easier to email to us. If you choose to send us this type of file, you must ensure that it is done to 100% size (see downloadable spec sheets or templates), with the required amount of bleed and in CMYK colour mode.

TIFF - this file type also compresses down nicely, but can sometime keep your fonts. To make sure we don't have any issues with this, and so you know that what you send to us will be exactly what gets printed, your TIFF files must be flattened. And, like the JPEG, you must ensure that it is done to 100% size (see downloadable spec sheets or templates), with the required amount of bleed and in CMYK colour mode.

PDF - this preferred file type can be a little more tricky to produce, but will produce better results. Before creating your PDF, you must be certain that all images incorporated into the design are of high resolution and CMYK. ALL FONTS MUST BE EMBEDDED.

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