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How to setup your artwork correctly so that it prints correctly
You will need to setup your artwork so that it's suitable for printing. Unfortunately it's all too easy to send a file over that looks great on screen, only for unexpected results when you receive your personalised printed products. This is because screens do not show underlying problems in many files created by many applications today.
We have put to together an in-depth guide on how to create your artwork so that it prints correctly. Our prices include a free artwork check and PDF screen proof to ensure you receive exactly what you expect.
Colour, what you really do need to know
RGB and CMYK explained
Your documents will be printed using a CMYK printing process. This stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Key, the Key being the Black. These four colours combine together to make up every colour that you see in your artwork when printed. This process differs to how you see colours on the screen as those colours are made up from RGB. RGB stands for Red, Green & Blue. RGB is unlike CMYK as it's made up from light rather than ink or coloured toner. This enables RGB colour to be more vibrant and appear more colourful.
RGB light, when combined together can create more vibrant colours than that of CMYK. This is because RGB light has a wider colour gamut than that of the CMYK Inks / Toners. There is a part of both the RGB and CMYK colour gamuts that overlap, meaning that a large part of each can be matched from screen to print. For the parts where they do not overlap, this is where conversion comes in play. If you supply us with a file made up of RGB colours, we'll need to convert it to CMYK colour for printing. If there are any colours in your RGB file that appear outside of the CMYK colour gamut, they will be converted to the nearest achivable colour in the CMYK gamut. This is done automatically by our dedicated software for the closest match.
Monitor Calibration & Proofing
There are many different kinds of monitors and also manufacturers, each have there advantages and disadvantages. We use high quality LED monitors which have been calibrated with a spectrophotometer for extreme accuracy. What we see on our screen is very close to what gets printed on our printing presses. When we send you a PDF file, more than likely you do not have the expensive calibrated monitors to view your PDF, therefore there will be some colour shift, how much depends how far out of calibration your monitor is. If you have a colour critical job, the ONLY way to ensure that it looks as intended is to pay for a minimum run before going for the whole order, otherwise you will need to go with what you see on screen and appreciate there might be some difference. You can avoid some of these issues if you are using spot colours in your artwork, this is in the next section.
Using Pantone® Spot colours
If you have a colour critical job and want us to produce a colour accurately, you will need to setup your artwork using Pantone® spot colours. You will need an application that will support spot colours such as Adobe Illustrator, Indesign and in some cases Photoshop. We do not provide support for setting up Pantone® colous in your artwork as this really needs to be done by a professional designer. We will use the CMYK Pantone® matching system to print your labels. Please note that there are many Pantone® colours that cannot be matched in CMYK colours. If you use a Pantone® colour that cannot be matched, it will be converted to the nearest CMYK colour. You can run into many problems when using spot colours without fully understanding how to use them so please only use them if you have experience with the colour matching system.
Important - When using spot colours, ensure you do not use any transparency effects. These effects render the spot colour useless and creates unexpected results that ruin your print. If you need a lighter tint of a Pantone® colour, create a spot colour rather than changing the transparency levels.
Setting up your artwork
No matter what program you are using, we ask that you use the CMYK colour format for your artwork. If you are to use any special colours within your artwork, ensure these are Pantone® colours only or our dedicated Gold/Silver/White colours that are mentioned in the relevant section. Any artwork you supply to us in any other format will be converted to this as a matter of course.