How to present your printing job
Every print job starts with handing over to us some sort of original we can work from.
Between receiving your job and being able to print finished copies is a process that can be simple or complicated, depending on what you supply us with.
Our printing machinery works digitally so files straight from your computer can be quick and easy for us.
Understanding the process and complying with some simple requirements will ensure your job turns out how you intend, in the fastest time, and will save both you and us unnecessary costs.
Is your job ready to print?
If you want us to design a business card, letterhead or leaflet for you we can do that if you give us some clear ideas about what you want it to look like.
For larger jobs, like books, we cannot accept hand-written copy because we do not have the time to enter it onto a computer ourselves. If you have hard copy from a typewriter it may (depending on the quality of the image) be possible for us to OCR it (scan it into the computer) but it will need careful checking.
It will save you money if you can supply us with ‘artwork’ – that is an exact representation of what you want printed. You can produce this yourself using word processing, page layout and graphics applications on a computer and give us a digital file. If you are starting a big project, such as a book, we strongly recommend you talk to us first so we can help you plan ahead and avoid any pitfalls.
File formats and software
1. PDF – this is the best way to send us files because a pdf fixes everything in place for transfer from one device to another. It embeds fonts and images. A pdf will almost always print exactly as it should, but is not infallible (some programs like Canva do not produce pdfs that are as reliable as they should be), so please view and check final pdfs carefully. All programs should now have the ability to create pdfs. (Usually ‘Save as…’ or ‘Export to…’ or from the print window look for a PDF button). If it is possible we try to supply you with a proof copy printed on the stock you have chosen for the job because that is the only way to be certain that the file has worked as you want it to. We cannot always do this though because deadlines may be too tight.
2. Word files – Microsoft Word does not embed fonts or images so if we do not have exactly the same version of the fonts on our system that you have used there is the danger they will be automatically replaced. This can cause the text to reflow, page endings to change and many other problems. Please turn your Word file into a PDF before you send it to us. NB. Because Word is an American program it may turn your A4 file into a US Letter size file unless you override this in the pdf print settings, so check before you create the pdf, and again before you send it. The better solution is to use one of the page layout applications described below, even if you start by typing your text in Word.
3. Pages is the Apple equivalent to Word and has the same shortcomings, as far as files for printing go. It’s easy to create PDFs so do this before sending your file.
4. InDesign – the industry standard developed by Adobe Systems and used by professionals. It has everything you need to accurately produce any sort of printed material, but this comes at a high cost and a with a steep learning curve. Export to PDF for printing and make sure that you have set crops and bleed.
5. If you want a cheap page layout and design program for a PC or a Mac then buy Affinity Publisher. In total it costs little more than one month’s subscription to Adobe Creative Suite ( InDesign), and it’s British!
6. Publisher software – we do not accept Microsoft Publisher files.
7. Canva – increasingly popular but not much liked by printers because of inherent issues with colours, fonts, resolution and transparencies.
Sending your digital files to us
1. Send an email to email@example.com clearly stating your requirements and attach the digital file, as long as it is less than 10Mb.
2. If your file is larger than 10Mb then use the free file transfer (FTP) site WeTransfer (www.wetransfer.com). It is easy to use and reliable for sending large files. Don’t subscribe to anything – there should be a button that says ‘I just want to send files’.
3. Bring it to us on a memory stick, making sure you have a copy of everything that is on it. Remember to ask for it back.
4. We no longer accept work on CDs.
5. We can scan photographs, drawings or paintings at high resolution up to A4, or to 600dpi (which is fine for most purposes) up to A3. If your image is larger than that we may be able to scan it in sections and stitch them together in Photoshop but this is time-consuming and therefore costly, so it may be a better option to supply us with a good quality photograph.
Making the most of images
(this is a bit technical, but useful!)
Getting images to reproduce well is mainly down to size and resolution. To avoid blurring they need to be 300dpi, and of the correct dimensions. For example an image produced at full A4 size would need to be 2480 x 3508 pixels – thats a total of 8,699,840 pixels or 8.7 megapixels. Most recent cameras and smart phones are easily capable of producing this size. Half A4 (A5) would need half this size and so on in proportion.
An 8.7 Megapixel image will be contained in a file that’s around 3.5Mb. However compressed formats such as JPEGs manage to cram this into much smaller files, depending on the compression ratio and the image content (80% or higher quality recommended). This is achieved by throwing away some of the data and is a perfectly acceptable compromise so long as you stick to the sizes recommended. Images with only a 72dpi resolution look perfectly acceptable on a computer screen but are a quarter of the size that we require. (150 dpi is needed for best results with desktop printers). There is usually no way of improving an image that is too small, apart from going back to a larger original or re-creating it from scratch.
Images above the recommended sizes are fine, but excessive size can be a burden and slow down our equipment, and you probably won’t be able to detect much difference anyway,
JPEGs (or .jpg) – are produced by digital cameras and scanners and are the most usual way of sending images to us. NB repeated editing can degrade your jpg image.
PNG is another common compressed file format. Unlike JPEGs it can have transparent areas around or within the image. However, the transparency can sometimes distort underlying colours.
TIFF is an uncompressed format – good for archiving and repeated editing. Files are comparatively huge and therefore more of a problem to send.
PSD – The native format of Photoshop files. These also support transparency when imported into InDesign. We can read these and add into your artwork although they can be massive so again more difficult to transport. It is not a good idea to incorporate small text into a Photoshop file.
There are many other file formats most of which we can convert with Photoshop.
Print marks and bleeds
If your image comes right to the edge of the sheet we need it to be supplied with bleed. This means your image needs to be 2.5mm larger on all sides than the final size of the printed sheet. Please do not supply files with colour bars. Word and older versions of Microsoft Publisher do not have the facility to add bleed. Proper page layout programs do.
We print in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black). Digital cameras and scanners capture images in RGB (Red, Green and Blue) which is also how they display on computer screens.
Converting RGB to CMYK can cause unexpected results. RGB has a wider colour palette than CMYK, so bright blues, lime greens and intense oranges are not going to print as you see them on your screen. You can do the conversion to CMYK, or our software will do it. However, you will still be viewing the file on your screen in RGB so it is always best to make sure that you have seen a proof printed on the stock that you want to use for the job as this will also affect the way the image prints. You cannot print in RGB.
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
22 Hyde Street, Winchester,
Hampshire SO23 7DR