Correct layout of print files

The right colour mode

The right colour mode for your artwork is CMYK!

The most common mistake made is submitting print files in RGB. We must receive your artwork in CMYK mode!

RGB is a device-dependent, additive colour model that is only suited for displaying images on screens and displays. It is not suited for printing. It adds red, green and blue light in various ways to reproduce a wide range of colours. Your ink-jet printer at home is able to convert and print RGB, but the results will never match the image displayed on-screen.

A professional printing press can only work with data in CMYK = Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow (yellow), Key (black). If you send us RBG it will be automatically converted to CMYK, but the resulting colours will be very different or even totally wrong and your print products will not look at all like what you intended. Therefore please always submit your artwork in CMYK colour mode!

For more information on the CMYK colour mode, please clickHERE

The following screenshots show you how to program CMYK mode in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Inkscape (this last one is available free)

Adobe Illustrator: Setting the right colour mode
Adobe Illustrator: Document Colour Mode> CMYK Colour
Adobe InDesign: Setting the right colour mode
Adobe Indesign: Transparency Bleed Space - Document CMYK
Adobe Photoshop: Setting the right colour mode
Adobe Photoshop: Mode > CMYK Colour

The Right Colour Profile

To ensure your print products will look like you have planned, we need your artwork with the colour profile that can be downloaded HERE.

Why do we need a colour profile and what does it do?

Every human sees colours differently (for one it is dark blue for another it is an intermediate blue), and printing presses and graphic program´s also interpret colours differently. Colour profiles are used harmonise them and compensate for discrepancies - They make sure that the colours you have defined will be accurately reproduced in print instead of, for example dark blue turning into light blue.

The profile we use at Profile „ISO Coated v2 300%“. To enusre that your artwork prints correctly, please embed this profile. The following screen-shots show you how to do this. Begin by copying the profile into the following folder on your computer:

C:WindowsSystem32spooldriverscolor (assumed: C:Windows is your Windows installation folder).

Adobe Illustrator: Assigning the colour profile
Adobe Illustrator: Edit > Assign Profile
Adobe Illustrator: Profile „ISO Coated v2 300%
The right colour profile in Adobe Illustrator
Adobe Indesign: Edit> Assign Profile

Adobe Photoshop: Assigning the colour profile
Assign colour profile for a new document
Assign colour profile for an existing document

Inkscape: Assigning the colour profile
Inkscape: File > Document Properties
Inkscape: Colour Management > Link Profile

Colour saturation

Colour saturation is one of the three basic determinants of how colours are perceived (the other two are hue and brightness). Saturation is the intensity (purity) of a colour. The greater the saturation, the more intensive the colour will appear.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that increasing a colour’s saturation results in more ink being applied to the paper. Past a certain point, this can cause the sheets to stick together because the ink cannot dry quickly enough. The print products are then useless and have to be disposed of.

Therefore please note: the total colour saturation (cyan + magenta + yellow + black) must not exceed 300%, nor should it fall below 15%. 

To obtain a rich black, please use the following CMYK values: 60% – 60% – 60% – 100% (black).

If you have embedded the profile “ISO coated v2 300% (ECI)”, the colour saturation will automatically be reduced to 300% when saving the file.



When two colours abut, even slight misregistration during printing can result in unsightly white gaps between them. To prevent this, you can force a trap. This means slightly extending the area printed with the background colour (known as an underlap or choke) or the foreground colour (called an overlap or spread).

Overprinting is not the same thing. This is when colours are intentionally printed on top of one another, for example to achieve a rich black or some other effect. Depending on how inks are absorbed by the paper and whether they are opaque or translucent, the results can vary greatly. Overprinting an opaque spot colour, for example, will completely hide a translucent process colour beneath it. Colours which are incorrectly defined as overprints instead of traps are a common mistake in documents, often yielding unwanted results in print.

For trapping, as a general rule the lighter colour should always be spread into the darker one. The situation is different with opaque spot colours, but as we strongly recommend that you not use them, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Wrong: As a result of slight misregistration during printing, the red colour isn’t completely aligned with the black, resulting in unsightly white gaps.

Right: The red is spread (underlapped) and overprinted with the black, thus preventing gaps.

Adobe Illustrator: adjustment overprint/overfill
Adobe Illustrator: Window> Attributes
Adobe Illustrator: Overprint Fill, Overprint Stroke

Adobe InDesign: adjustment overprint/overfill
Adobe Indesign: Window > Output > Attributes
Adobe Indesign: Attributes > Overprint Stroke


The resolution describes the number of pixels in a given area. The standard unit used is dpi (dots or pixels per inch). Higher resolutions result in sharper images.

To achieve optimal results, your artwork should have a resolution of at least 300dpi. For posters, a resolution of 240dpi is sufficient. For flags and displays up to three square metres in size, 150dpi; if they are larger than that, 96dpi is enough. 

A lower resolution can result in blurred (pixilated) prints. 

Please also keep in mind that if your original images have less than 300dpi, the print can seem blurred even if you have saved the overall document at 300dpi. Ideally, all of your graphics should have the largest possible resolution from the start.

High resolution (e.g. 300dpi)

Low resolution (e.g. 50dpi)

Layers and Colour Channels


Layers work like stacked foils. When colouring, adding effects and so on, only the currently active level is changed (you have to click on one to activate it). If parts of a level are transparent, the levels beneath it will shine through. The order of the layers can be changed. The only exception is the background layer, which stays at the bottom. However, it too can be released by double-clicking on it; it can then be moved and adjusted like a normal layer.

When finalising your artwork, you have to collapse (merge down) all of the upper layers into the background layer. Otherwise not all of them will print. Also avoid hidden layers, which will print even if they aren’t visible on-screen.

Adobe Photoshop: Flatten image
Adobe Photoshop: Lyer > Flatten image

Colour Channels

In turn, each layer comprises one grey-level channel or multiple colour channels (RGB or CMYK). The difference is that when working with colour channels, more than one channel can be active at the same time. Changes then affect all of the selected channels.

What to consider before finalising and submitting your artwork: 
•For 4/4 or 4/0 colour prints, four colour channels (CMYK) are needed. 
•For single-colour prints (1/0 = grey levels ), only one colour channel is needed.
•For two-colour prints (2/0 = spot colour + black), only two colour channels are needed.

Suitable File Formats

File formats

Depending on the product, we are able to process the following formats:

PDF/X-1a: In a PDF/X-1a All images and fonts must be embedded or converted into vectors. Transparencies are not allowed. If not stated differently in the product description we recommend you submit a PDF/X-1a with the colour profile ISO Coated v2 300% assigned to this.

JPG:This is a graphic file format which can result in lower-quality printed images as a result of data compression. If you want to save your artwork in this format, please choose the lowest possible compression factor.

Here is how to correctly save your artwork in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Inkscape (freeware) this way:

Adobe Illustrator: Save as PDF
1. Adobe Illustrator: File -> Save As...
2. Adobe Illustrator: File type -> Adobe PDF
3. Adobe Illustrator: General -> Adobe PDF -> PDF X-1a: 2001
4. Adobe Illustrator: Output-> Intent Profile Name-> "ISO coated v2 300% (ECI)"

Adobe Illustrator: Save as JPG
1. Adobe Illustrator: File -> Export...
2. Adobe Illustrator: File type -> JPEG
3. Adobe Illustrator: Quality 10 (maximum), Colour Model CMYK, Resolution high

Adobe InDesign: Save as PDF
1. Adobe Indesign: File -> Export...
2. Adobe Indesign: File type-> Adobe PDF (Print)
3. Adobe Indesign: General-> Adobe PDF -> PDF/X-1a: 2001
4. Adobe Indesign: Output -> Destination -> ISO coated v2 300% (ECI)

Adobe InDesign: Save as JPG
1. Adobe Indesign: File -> Export...
2. Adobe Indesign: File type -> JPEG
3. Adobe Indesign: Quality maximum, Colour Space CMYK, Embed Colour Profile: ISO coated v2 300% (ECI)

Adobe Photoshop: Save as PDF
1. Adobe Photoshop: File -> Save as...
2. Adobe Photoshop: File type-> Photoshop PDF
3. General: Adobe PDF -> PDF/X-1a: 2001
4. Adobe Photoshop: Output-> Destination-> ISO coated v2 300% (ECI)

Adobe Photoshop: Save as JPG
1. Adobe Photoshop: File -> Save As...
2. Adobe Photoshop: File type -> JPEG
3. Adobe Photoshop: JPEG Options Quality maximum


Your products are almost always printed on large sheets and subsequently cut out of them and trimmed by machines. The precise positions of the cuts can vary slightly due to movement of the paper and/or design inconsistencies, however. To compensate for this, “bleed” should be added around the edges of the product: the artwork and background colours are extended so that no unprinted edges or unwanted white areas will occur in the final trimmed document. It is hard to print exactly to the edge of a sheet, so it is necessary to print a slightly larger area and then trim down to the required final size.

Unless otherwise stated in the product description, make sure to add 1mm of bleed on every side (3mm for posters).

For an A6 flyer, for example, adding 1mm of bleed at the top and bottom and on the right and left will result in an artwork size of 107 x 150mm. After trimming, the final format will be 105 x 148mm.

To avoid writings and other important information like logos etc being cut off, these items should be placed at least 3mm (5mm for posters and 7mm for magazines) away from the edges.

Please do not create the bleed as a white area, but extend your colours to the edge of the file. This ensures a regular printed edge during cutting.

Wrong: No bleed has been added and production tolerances have left white edges.

Right: The background colour has been extended out around the final size of the document, with a clean final trimmed result.

Safe Zone

To prevent text and other important elements such as logos from being lopped off, these items should be placed at least 3mm away from the edges (5mm for posters and 7mm for brochures).

Wrong: Text and pictures were placed too close to the edge and will be partially cut off.

Arrangement of pages

It is important to submit your artwork with the pages correctly arranged so that your print product will look the way you want it to. If your artwork has been arranged incorrectly, the pages can wind up upside down or in the wrong order. This applies to both folded and flat products  

If you want to make sure that your pages are arranged and orientated correctly, order our artwork checking service for a small fee. From the “Silver” level, it includes checking of the order and orientation of your pages.

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