A step-by-step guide to getting your artwork print ready

A step-by-step guide to getting your artwork print ready

Let's start at the very beginning and answer the most important question – what do we mean by 'print ready'?

Essentially, this is a term used to describe a design file that has all the specifications necessary to produce a high-resolution printed output, without requiring any additional alterations or interventions. This means a commercial printer will be able to use the submitted file to successfully create the desired print materials, be it a flyer, poster, business card, label, ticket, etc, etc. 

Now, getting your artwork print ready may vary slightly depending on the design program you use. In this guide, we'll show you how to get your Adobe Creative Suite files ready – which is the most commonly used design program. Also, if there are any terms you're not familiar with, like 'crop marks' and 'bleed', take a look at our FAQs for more info. 

Creating a print ready PDF in Adobe Photoshop CC

1. First and foremost, make sure you set up a bleed on your canvas that's at least 2mm larger than your finished piece. This is because Photoshop is unable to create PDFs with crops and bleeds. 

2. Select CYMK colour mode: Image > Mode > CYMK colour.

3. Once you've created your design, make sure you flatten it. To do this, go to the layers palette drop down menu and click: Flatten Image. 

4. Save your design as a Photoshop PDF by selecting: Image > Save as > Photoshop PDF (.PDF; .PDP)

5. Use the High Quality Print Adobe PDF Preset.

6. Click on the output tab on the left hand side and under colour conversion select ‘Convert to destination’ from the drop down menu. Under Destination select ‘Fogra 39’ (which is the standard European colour profile).

7. Finally click on the security tab on the left and make sure neither of the check boxes are ticked, unless you want you want to give us a password to access your file.

8. Then click create PDF.

By following these steps, your Photoshop design will be ready to print. Job done. 

creating print ready pdfs in Adobe Illustrator CC

1.  Once you're happy with your design and text, you'll need to convert all the text outlines. Go to: Select > All. Type > Create Outlines.

2. Once the text is converted, go to File > Save as > and set the format to Adobe PDF, then click Save.

3. Use the High Quality Print Adobe PDF preset.

4. Click on the 'Marks and bleed' tab, select the ‘Trim marks’ tick box and make sure the bleed is set to 2mm on all four sides.

5. Click on the output tab on the left hand side and under colour conversion select ‘Convert to destination’ from the drop down menu. Under Destination select ‘Fogra 39’ (which is the standard European colour profile).

6. Finally click on the security tab on the left and make sure neither of the check boxes are ticked, unless you want you want to give us a password to access your file.

7. Click 'Save PDF'. 

These steps will ensure your Adobe Illustrator file is ready to print. 

creating print ready PDFs in Adobe InDesign CC

1. When you're happy with your design, go to: File > Export and set the format to Adobe PDF (PRINT), then click Save. 

2. Start with the High Quality Print Adobe PDF preset and select 'Crops & Bleeds' in the drop down menu. Under the 'General' settings, make sure all pages are selected (if you want to print all pages from your design). The rest of the presets can be left as default. 

3. The 'Compression' settings can usually be left as default, but make sure that the two tick boxes at the bottom are ticked: 'Compress Text and Line_Art' and 'Crop Image Data to Frames'. 

4. Under ‘Marks and Bleeds’, select the ‘Trim marks’ tick box and make sure the bleed is set to 2mm on all four sides.

5. Click on the output tab on the left hand side and under colour conversion select ‘Convert to destination’ from the drop down menu. Under Destination select ‘Fogra 39’ (which is the standard European colour profile).

6. Click on the security tab on the left and make sure neither of the check boxes are ticked, unless you want you want to give us a password to access your file.

7. Finally, click ‘Export’.

And that's all you need to do to ensure your InDesign file is saved as a print-ready PDF.

If you're still unsure, our team are more than happy to take you through the steps over the phone. Just give us a call or contact us for assistance. 

Top print trends for 2018

Top print trends for 2018