Is your artwork print ready?

There are three main things to bear in mind when supplying your artwork for print…


Does your document contain crop marks?

Did you include bleed?

Is all important content away from the trim edge?

Crop Marks

Crop marks (also known as trim) are used to show us the required print size of your document. Our printers can’t actually print to the very edge of the paper, so instead we print on a larger sheet of paper and then trim it down to the correct size.


The term ‘bleed’ refers to the area around the edge of the artwork that gets cut off in the trimming process. The industry standard is to add 3mm to each edge. Trimming isn’t always 100% accurate, so we need a little wriggle room to account for this.

Safe Zone

The safe zone is the area inside the trim that will be kept clear from guillotine blades, any text or logos should be kept within this area. We require a 5mm ‘safe zone’ inside the ‘trim’ on all edges, to prevent important design elements being cut off.

Having trouble?

If you are using a programme that doesn’t have settings for bleed you will need to make sure your canvas is set up to the right size for printing. The easiest way to work it out is to simply add 6mm to the the length and width of the finished print size.

For example:
Final print: A4
Document size: 210mm x 297mm
Document size with bleed: 216mm x 303mm

If you are struggling to add bleed and crop marks to your final file, get in touch and we will try to help you out.

Please note: a small fee may apply.

example of final print-ready page



Screen resolution is measured in PPI (pixels per inch) and print resolution is measured in DPI (dots per inch), though the terms are often used interchangeably. Because the entire viewing area on a computer monitor is made up of pixels of a fixed resolution – typically 72 to 100 ppi – any image optimized for that resolution looks fully detailed and natural to the human eye.

But if that same image is printed at full size, its inherent pixel blockiness becomes readily apparent. Another consideration is that the side effects of image compression for smaller web image file sizes (like distortion around edges) can become unsightly.


For professional print graphics, 300 dpi is standard. If you want to use a web image in print, you run into problems. Really the only way to make it work is if you want to print a 72 ppi web image as a tiny inset, which can look fine. But there’s no way to magically generate extra pixels and make a beautiful brochure cover image out of your Facebook cover image.

When you have a choice of image sizes at your disposal, such as from an in-house image library or stock photo site, it’s best to go for the largest image you can get. Any image can be made smaller as needed, but it can’t be sized up without losing quality. When it comes to resolution, bigger really is better.

Get the most from digital

In addition to following the general advice for artwork, there are a few other things that you should consider that are specifically related to our digital printing process. To ensure you get the best printed results, follow this advice…

Total ink limits

Avoid using colours with a total ink limit over 275%. Any colours exceeding this will be re-mapped to their nearest equivalent so there may be a noticeable shift.

Quiet zone

Where digital is concerned, bigger IS definitely better – we recommend at least 10mm. Having elements less than 10mm from the edge may be printed with unexpected results.

Design elements

Where possible, keep the design simple, lots of white space tends to work well. Large areas of flat colour can be problematic, resulting in an uneven solid that can look banded. A large area is defined as larger than 40mm square.

Using grey

To achieve neutral shades of grey use black only. Best to avoid using grey tints below 20% or over 80%. Large areas of grey can appear patchy and uneven – consider adding a texture. Greys that are multi channel have a tendency to print unevenly with a yellow cast to them.

Gradients and blends

Gradients don’t print well, If you must use them, try adding texture or a low amount of noise to ensure a smoother transition from light to dark. Alternatively, limit blends to less than a 50% tint change. Grey tints are less forgiving than other colours. You’ll get better results if you create your blends in a raster based application such as Photoshop.

Images and scans

Bear in mind that any minor imperfections in images such as specs or scratches may be more obvious due to the difference in technology.

Front-to-back registration

There may be some movement between the front and back of the sheet. This is due to paper stress. A movement of up to 2mm is considered to be within tolerance.

If you are still unsure if your files are correct, we can offer a document checking service with fees from £10.

Email if you need any further assistance.

Let's Work Together

We’re always happy to discuss your project with you and put together quote if you are looking for something more bespoke. Simply fill out this form or give us a call on 01332 864990 to get started.