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  • Artwork Guide
  • Artwork Guide
  • Artwork Guide
  • Artwork Guide
  • Artwork Guide
  • Artwork Guide
  • Artwork Guide
  • Artwork Guide

Artwork Guide

artworkThis page contains information about the colour process and general advice to follow when submitting origination to us for printing.

We accept and can work from almost any application, but these guidelines will help to ensure that your job will look as good on paper as it does on screen.

If there is anything you don’t understand or you need any technical advice regarding your request, please contact us and NS Print will be happy to offer help and advice guide you on the best options available to you.

Things you need to know about colour

The computer, scanner, digital camera and monitor create images using combinations of just three colours – Red, Green and Blue (called RGB) but when printing the CMYK process or Pantone process is used.  CMYK printing uses four different colours to print images – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (also known as Process Colours) so for full colour process litho printing, please ensure that all colours are CMYK and no Pantone references or RGB, therefore all Pantone and RGB images have to be converted to CMYK (we can do this for you). 

Pantone or spot colour is not made using the process colours; instead the colour is printed using an ink made exclusively.  Each spot colour therefore requires its own separate printing plate.  Spot colour does not apply to digital printing as the printing devices can only reproduce from the four process colours.  If you only require spot colour Pantone printing use only the correct colour references for colour separations.

colour diagrams

Working with photographs

butterfly pictures

If scanning photographs – save them as EPS or TIFF files, this will preserve the colour and the clarity of images.  JPEG’s are fine but because they utilise variable compression technology it is preferable to save them at the maximum quality.

When scanning consider the final size the image will be used at, always scan photographs at a minimum of 300dpi at final size and save as CMYK, avoid low resolution images from the internet.  However if you are working with images which are going to appear on a large-format, a minimum resolution of around 80dpi will be fine.  Don’t enlarge scanned images in your drawing/vector software, it is always best to use an image-editing application such as Photoshop for this task.

Do’s and Don’ts

These guidelines are designed to minimise additional work.

If supplying your artwork in Quark Xpress or Indesign.

  • Document size equal to final intended printed job size.
  • Apply bleed to all pages, minimum 3mm.
  • No forced embolding or italicising.
  • All trapping information correctly specified.
  • Images should be supplied as CMYK in the following formats (no RGB formats)
  • EPS – No JPEG encoding
  • TIFF – No compression
  • JPEG – Maximum quality
  • Supply a full set of laser prints with jobs.

If supplying your artwork as PDF’s

PDF lets you capture and view robust information – from any application, on any computer system and share it with anyone.  You will need Adobe Acrobat Professional (with Distiller) or an application with suitable plug-in and when preparing the PDF from your chosen package please ensure the following:

  • It is pre-colour separated.
  • All fonts are embedded.
  • IInclude 3mm bleed and crop marks.
  • Hi-resolution – minimum 300dpi.
  • If you are supplying artwork in its native application, please include all fonts and any linked images in a separate folder.  If possible, convert the text to outlines (or curves).

We also accept files done in Photoshop, Illustrator, Coral Draw and Microsoft Office Programmes.

Printing Glossary

Some of technical printing terms explained.

Against the grain
At right angles to the grain direction to the paper.

A grid of pixels or printed dots generated by computer to represent type and images.

The printed image extends beyond the trim edge of a sheet or page.

Crop Marks
Special lines near the margins of artwork indicating where to trim, perforate of fold.

Phenomenon when middle pages of a folded section extend slightly beyond the outside pages.

Clipping path
An outline, embedded into the file, that tells an application which areas of a picture should be considered transparent.

Dot gain
A printing defect in which dots print larger than intended, causing darker colour or tones, due to the spreading of ink on stock, the more absorbent the stock, the more dot gain.

A measure of the quality of an image from a scanner or output resolution of a printer, the more dots per inch, the higher the quality will be.

Implies the inclusion of elements and data into a computer file necessary to maintain or change the elements when used remotely.

One of a range of styles/typefaces in which lettering can be produced during the typesetting stage.

Line or fold at which facing pages meet.

Shades of grey ranging from black to white, in printing, greyscale uses only a black halftone plate.

Spot or imperfection in printing.

To bring a picture of text file into an application ready for editing or design work.

The adjustment of spacing between certain letter pairs, A and V for example, to obtain a more pleasing appearance.

Lines per inch – refers to the quality of a halftone screen.

The work associated with the set-up of printing equipment before running a job.

Outline paths
A term used when converting a font or graphic into a mathematical vector format, can also be called curves.

A measurement for the size of type, distance between lines and thickness of rules, one point equals one seventy-second of an inch (0.3515mm).

A representation of the finished print digitally produced for customer inspection for any errors or omissions.

Registration Marks
Crosses or other marks placed on artwork which ensure perfect alignment.

Reversed out
Type appearing white on a black or colour background, either a solid or a tint.

The number of dots per inch (dpi) in a computer process document, the level of detail retained by a printed document increases with higher resolution pixels per inch for an image.

RIP (Raster Image Processor)
Computer using specialist software to convert document based information into bitmap information required by output devices.

The formation created by the dots that make up four colour images.  The dots in magenta, cyan, yellow and black overlap each other in a cluster, because the dots are not perfectly round and because they are turned at angles to each other, this cluster resembles the arrangement of petals in a rose.

An area on the page which is completely covered by the ink.

An area of tone made by a pattern of dots, which lightens the apparent colour of the ink with which it is printed.

A slight overlapping between the two touching colours that prevents gaps from appearing along the edges of an object because of misalignment or movement on the printing press.

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