Tips for Preparing Your Artwork for Printing

Tips for Preparing Your Artwork for Printing

Having your artwork in the correct format for printing is one of the most important steps in ensuring that you get the results you are looking for in your final printed product. If you have the skills, then you can do it yourself. If not then you will need to hire a graphic designer.

The most popular programs used for designing print ready artwork are Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and Quark Xpress.

Bleed & Crop Marks

If your artwork runs to the edge of a page it will need a bleed. This means the artwork will bleed over the edge, at Turners we ask for 3mm bleed. When the artwork is printed, it is printed on a larger oversized sheet then trimmed down to the finished size. If you don’t allow for a bleed your artwork may end up not running to edge of the page and have a white gap. Include crop marks when you save you file, this will show the printer where your bleed is and where they should trim the artwork.


Commercial Printers like Turners use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black), whereas on screen we use RGB (Red, Green, Blue). You need to ensure your document is set up in CMYK, otherwise your print may not look as you expected. When you convert your image from RGB to CMYK it may appear duller, you may have to brighten up the colours to compensate.

Image Resolutions

On screen we view images at around 72dpi, however printing requires a much larger resolution, we require 300dpi for things like books, brochures and flyers. This means you can’t use low resolution images as they will appear pixelated, you will need a higher resolution image file.

Transparencies & effects

If your file has unusual effects or transparencies, you will need to flatten your transparencies. You can do this when creating your pdf by using the setting PDF/X-1a:2001. If you want to make sure it’s going to look as it is supposed to it might be worthwhile sending Turners a printed hard copy that we can check against.

Supply your file as a PDF

You can create a PDF file from most programs now. When saving your PDF you can select to include crop marks and a bleed. At Turners we recommend the setting PDF/X-1a:2001. If you are designing a brochure or book, supply the PDF as separate pages (within a single PDF file), not spreads.

You can also run a pre-flight check in Adobe Acrobat, and you can set it up to check for various things, such as image resolution, bleeds, spot colours, overprints, etc. This is really helpful to check that you have not overlooked anything.

Need Help? Turners are happy to assist!

If you would like some help or advice with your design, Turners offer a full Graphic Design service. Email us your original files (e.g. a word doc, images) and a PDF that you have made of that file too, if you can. We will then assist you with getting your artwork ready for print.