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Correct layout of print files

The right colour mode

The right colour mode for your artwork is CMYK!

The most common mistake which is made is sending the print file in the RGB colour mode. For print products we need your artwork in the CMYK colour mode only!

The RGB colour mode is suited for previewing the colours on screen or displays, and is therefore not suited for printing material. It composes your picture using the colours red, green and blue. Your ink-jet printer at home converts your adjustment of colour and can therefore print them, compared to the picture at the monitor colour variation can never be held off anyway.

A professional printing machine needs the artwork always with CMYK = Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow (yellow), Key (black). The result of an automatic conversion of the files from RGB into CMYK by us, would be heavy variation in colour, or even the wrong colours and your print products would look totally different from what you have intended. Due to this, please submit your artwork always in CMYK colour mode!

If you wish more information about the CMYK colour mode, please click HERE

You can see here how to create the CMYK mode in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Inkscape (free software):

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

The correct colour profile

To ensure your print products will look like you have planned, we need your artwork with the colour profile which you can download 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 just blue), printing machines and graphic programmes interpret colours differently also. To balance these, variation of interpretation colour profiles are used. This makes sure that the colours you have set-up will be reproduced this way during print and will not result in having for example, dark blue as being light blue in the end.

PrintCarrier.com uses the Profile „ISO Coated v2 300%“. To guarantee an ideal print of your artwork, please embed this profile. The following screen shots show you how to do this. First please copy the profile onto your computer in the following folder:

C:\Windows\System32\spool\drivers\color (assumed: C:\Windows is your Windows installation folder).

For embedding in your print file please do as shown in the following screen shots:


Adobe Illustrator: assign colour profile
Adobe Illustrator: Edit > Assign Profile
Adobe Illustrator: Profile „ISO Coated v2 300%
Adobe Indesign: assign colour profile
Adobe Indesign: Edit> Assign Profile

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

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

Colour saturation

Colour saturation is one of the three basic characteristics of a colour (beneath shade of colour and brightness). The saturation indicates how intensive the colour appears. The higher the saturation, the more intensive the colour.

The colour saturation increases the quantity of colour on the paper during print. Therefore if the colour saturation is too high this can cause the papers to stick together, because the colour can not dry quick enough. Your printing material will then be useless.

Please note: The maximum colour application (Cyan + Magenta + Yellow + Black) should not exceed 300%. The minimum colour application should not be less than 15%.

For a deep black colour, please use the following CMYK values:- 60 – 60 – 60 – 100

If you embed the profile “ISO coated v2 300% (ECI)” (see item 2.) the colour saturation will be reduced to 300% automatically while saving.

Overprint/Overfill

Overprint:

If two colours interfere with each other, your graphic programme usually spares the overlain area so this won’t be printed (it appears in the colour of the paper). During print, errors in the precision of registry can occur and you might see small white gaps between the colours. To avoid these gaps between the colours you can use “overprint” for the upper item. In this case the overlain part won’t be spared.

Please note that items can be created with “overprint” also. These can be no longer visible after print then. Therefore please always test your artwork for mistakes with an overprint preview, if possible (in Adobe Illustrator & Adobe Indesign at: View -> overprint preview).

Overfill:

If you work with overfill the brighter one of the two colours will generally be made a bit bigger. It will be like if you'd drawn a line around the brighter colour. This method also avoids white gaps which occur due to errors in the precision of registry.

Overprint vs. overfill

All in all you can say:

If you create a dark item on a bright back ground the dark item should be created with “overprint” function (it will be enlarged a bit so that it will be bigger than the spare of the bright colour).

If you print a bright object on a dark back ground you should use the “overfill” function of the bright colour.

Mistake: Due to slight anomalies in the accuracy of fit during print, the upper colour does not cover the free areas exactly. White edges can then occur.

Correct: Using ´overprint´ the superimposed area won´t be spare and white edges will be avoided.


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

Resolution

The resolution describes the number of pixels in a certain area. The standard value is dpi (dots per inch = pixel per inch). The higher the resolution, the sharper the picture.

To achieve an ideal print image your artwork should have a resolution of at least 300dpi. For posters a minimum resolution of 240dpi is sufficient. For flags, displays, beachflags up to 3 qm 150dpi, bigger than 3 qm 96dpi would be sufficient.

A lower resolution can cause blurred (grainy) print results.

Please also be aware: If your original picture material has less than 300dpi, the print can seem blurred, even if you have saved the overall document with 300dpi. For ideal print results all graphics you are working with have to be in the maximum resolution from the beginning.

High resolution (e.g. 300dpi)

Low resolution (e.g. 50dpi)

Layers and colour channels

Layers

Layers work like stapled single foils. While painting, using effects etc. only the now active (clicked on) level will be adapted. If parts of a level are transparent, the level underneath can be seen through. The sequence of the layers can be adapted. Exception is the background layer which remains always at the bottom. The background layer has to be released through double click so that it can be handled/adjusted like a normal layer.

In the end all layers have to be reduced to the background layer. If this does not happen, not all layers will be included during the printing process (this means that not all layers will be printed). Blinded out layers should be avoided as well. These will be printed anyway, even if they are not visible on the screen.

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

Colour channels

Every layer consists of one (levels of grey) or more colour channels (RGB or CMYK). The difference to the layer palette is that in the colour channel palette multiple channels can be activated. That means all changes will affect the chosen colour channels.

What to consider before approving your artwork for print:
• For 4/4 or 4/0 coloured prints 4 colour channels (CMYK) are needed.
• For single colour prints (1/0 = levels of grey), only 1 colour channel is needed.
• For two colour prints (2/0 = HKS colour + black) only 2 colour channels are needed.

Appropriate file formats

File formats

Depending on the product, we handle the following formats:

PDF/X-1a: In a PDF/X-1a all picture files as well as writings have to be embedded or converted into paths. Transparencies can not be accepted. 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: Is a graphic file format which can lead to lower quality print image, due to compression of the artwork. If you save artworks in this format, please choose the lowest compression level (or rather highest quality level) to achieve the best possible quality.

You can save your artwork correctly in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Inkscape (free software) 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

Bleed

Your printing products are printed on big sheets and cut out of these mechanically afterwards. During this process slight margins can occur, meaning the effective cutting position can differ a bit. In order to prevent white edges an additional margin will be printed on every side which will be cut off again later.

If the product description doesn’t state otherwise, you have to create 1mm bleed on every side (3mm for posters) additionally to the end format (the size which will be delivered to you). Therefore your artwork is always bigger than the end format.

If you create a DIN A6 flyer for example, your artwork has to be 2mm x 2mm (at the top, at the bottom, on the right, on the left 1mm each additionally) bigger than the end format. In this example the cut end format is 105mm x 148mm. Therefore your artwork has to be 107mm x 150mm.

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 background into the area of bleed. This ensures a regular printed edge during cutting.

Wrong: The bleed difference has been laid out as a white edge. Due to production tolerances the white edge will not be cut off entirely and will partially remain.

Correct: The area will be integrated in the bleed difference. The result will then be a neatly cut edge.

Distance to the edge

To prevent any of your writings and important information like logos etc. from being cut off, these should be placed at least 3mm (5mm for posters and 7mm for magazines) away from all edges.

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 in the right direction so that your print product will look as you have intended it to. If your artwork has been arranged incorrectly, the pages can be upside down in the end for example.

This does not only concern folded products but also for open products. It is important that they have been arranged in the right direction. Otherwise the back side of a flyer or a business card can be upside down or front and back side can be in the wrong direction.

If you want to be sure that your files are in the correct orientation, order our print file verification for a small fee. Starting at the “Silver” level we will check the direction and the arrangement of your pages for you.


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