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What Is Correct File Format & Artwork Specification to use?

There are several different file formats/programs you can supply your artwork for CD/DVD printing and packaging/cover designs. I would like to just touch on a few most commonly used. Nearly all printers accept high resolution PDFs. You can use Adobe Acrobat to create a PDF file from your artwork. Remember to embed the fonts too!

The most commonly acceptable native file formats accepted are:

  • Quark Express
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Coreldraw
  • If you have photos or images to print then the following formats best suit these:

  • TIFF (.tif)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.psd)
  • Illustrator EPS (.eps)
  • Windows Bitmaps (.bmp)
  • Corel Photo-Paint (.cpt)
  • JPEG (.jpg)
  • It is strongly recommend that artwork should not be solely created in Photoshop. This program is ideal for altering photos and adding effects to images. Publisher and Word are also programs to avoid creating artwork in. If you do supply artwork in these formats, prepare to be charged for converting them into print-ready artwork. Establishments will charge for time spent. Therefore, do it yourself!

    Your files should also be created in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black) and at 300dpi resolution - as quality is important! Anything less than 300dpi will result in poor quality print. Remember that printers/presses can only print from artwork supplied.

    Most print companies will have templates or guidelines to adhere to when designing specific artwork. These range from simple flyers, postcards, and posters to more complex manuals, DVD booklets, CD inlays & covers as well as information for printing onto CD/DVD's or creating labels. I will go into more detail about these at a later stage.

    Also, other tips to look out for when supplying artwork for print are insufficient bleeds or safety margins. Bleed is extending any colour, image, photo or design past the cut line. Bleed also helps printers with a margin of error when trimming. Normally, itís acceptable to add 2mm of bleed to your designs/layouts. The opposite of bleeds is safety margin. Placing an important header/title or image/photo right next to this crop lineArticle Search, then you risk it being slightly cut off. The recommendation is that you allow for 3mm inside the crop marks.

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    Keith McGregor is a partner of Strawberrysoup, a web design agency with offices in Chichester and Bournemouth. Strawberrysoup specialise in creative web design, content managed websites, search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and graphic design

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