Art Guidelines

Art Guidelines

For most products please provide artwork in digital format created in Adobe Illustrator (*.ai), Corel Draw (*.cdr) or as a saved editable EPS (*.eps) or PDF (*.pdf) file. Solid colours only (no halftones). Please note all fonts need to be converted to outlines to avoid design alterations when a file is opened. We can accept artwork by email or you can complete our contact us form. Pantone references should be supplied for all spot colours.

For full colour printing files containing bitmap images (such as *.jpg or *.tif) please ensure graphics are supplied as high resolution CMYK files at a minimum of 300dpi. Please allow a 10mm bleed all around the design.

Additional charges will be incurred for any work involving cleaning up of images, typesetting or re-drawing.

  • Artwork & Printing Information
  • Artwork Formats

Bitmap Images:

These images are composed of pixels in a grid and are resolution dependant. This means that the larger the number of pixels the more detailed the image will be. Resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image and is measured in dpi (dots per inch). Bitmap images are displayed on a computer screen at a resolution of 72dpi but for printing purposes the resolution needs to be much higher at 300dpi. Common bitmap formats include: *.jpg, *.bmp, *.tif, *.png, *.tif, *.psd.

Vector Images:

These images are composed of a number of individual scalable objects which are defined mathematically rather than by pixels. Vector images are not resolution dependant and can be resized without loss of quality. Their main disadvantage is that they are not suitable for photo-realistic imagery. Common vector formats include Adobe Illustrator (*.ai), CorelDraw (*.cdr) and the universally accepted *.eps.

Printing Methods

Screen Printing:

Screen printing is the oldest, most common printing method used in the industry. A screen consists of a mesh with a photosensitive coating which is exposed to a bright UV light through a positive film. The unexposed areas are then washed out and ink is forced through it with a squeegee. The process needs to be repeated for each colour. The main advantages of this process are that it enables pantone colours to be matched and it is ideal for single colour designs particularly with large solid areas of colour including metallic colours such as gold and silver. Initial set up costs are relatively low making this process particularly suited to small print runs. Screen printed tints will appear as visible dots because of their coarseness at 50dpi. Please keep tints in the range 30%-70% maximum. We would recommend full colour printing for large areas of tint or very fine detail as these do not screen print well. Designs with very tight registration may not be possible with this process.

Pad Printing:

Pad printing is similar to screen printing and was developed to print on 2D and 3D objects. It is used on unusual shaped products such as USB flashdrives, computer mice and pens where the barrel is not suitable for screen printing. An etched plate is used to transfer the image onto a soft, flexible silicone pad and then to the product. Ink coverage is excellent and the pad can be wrapped around a product as much as 180 degrees. This process prints one colour at a time and registration between colours is generally good. The main advantage to this process is that it is suitable for curved or unusually shaped objects that would otherwise be impossible to print on. Fine intricate lines and half tone images can be reproduced using this method and it is also sometimes possible to get an accurate double hit to reinforce the intensity of colours.

Transfer Printing:

This method is used when it is not possible to print directly onto an item. The design is colour separated and each colour is printed onto a special carrier sheet which is then cover coated to hold the image. This is then applied to the item of choice using water or heat. The main advantages are that more complex designs or branding on positions outside the standard screen print area can be achieved.

Digital Printing:

This enables a photographic image to be sent directly to the press from a PC or Mac without the need for films or plates. The image is then transferred to a blanket and offset onto the printed material which can be handled immediately as the ink is dry in an instant. The main advantage of this process is that photo-quality reproduction can be achieved with relatively low set up costs and it is suitable for both large and small runs with very fast delivery times. In addition personalisation of each product is possible making it ideal for direct mail items.

Dye Sublimation Printing:

Exceptionally bright, photo quality permanent print is created using this method which is unmatched by any other process. First the image is printed onto a carrier sheet using special inks. It is then applied to the product’s surface where the ink is vapourised by heating which permanently dyes the product with your design.

The main advantages are that full colour designs can be permanently dyed onto a product making it incredibly hard wearing and set up costs are relatively low making this process suitable for large or small runs. The heat transfer can be hard to control and you are therefore advised to avoid fine typefaces when reversing text out of a solid background as they can fill in very easily and bold text with a minimum point size of 12 is recommended in this instance.