Artwork Guidelines

the artwork how to’s.

Creating your Plastic Card artwork couldn’t be easier with our detailed artwork guide and fear not, we’re on hand if you’re not sure of anything by calling 0345 474 8285.

Using the right Colour Space – CMYK

The two main colour spaces you will find in most design software are RGB & CMYK. RGB is the colour profile normally used for computer screen and when saving graphics for web applications. The colour space we want is CMYK as these are the colours that combine to create a vibrant full colour print.

If we receive your artwork with a RGB colour profile we will convert it to CMYK, but please remember that colour variations may occur when this conversion is carried out. We would always recommend your artwork being created in CMYK format from the outset, rather than being converted later in the process.

Do you need to change your colour space?

Fortunately it is easy to change colour spaces, but keep an eye out for any colours that change in the process.

How to change colour space in Illustrator

How to change colour space in Illustrator

If you’re starting from scratch, select the “Advanced” tab in the New Document window, and select Colour Mode > CMYK.

If you need to change the colour mode after beginning your artwork, simply select from the “File” menu at the top of the screen File > Document Colour Mode > CMYK Your document is now in CMYK.

How to change colour space in Photoshop

How to change colour space in Photoshop

If you’re starting from scratch, select Colour Mode > CMYK in the New Document window.

If you have already created your document and you would like to check/change your colour mode, simply select the “Image” Menu at the top of the screen: Image > Mode > CMYK Color.

How to change colour space in Indesign

How to change colour space in Indesign

The colour mode is defined when you output a PDF or EPS. If exporting a PDF, Select File > Export. Then select PDF from the drop down menu and name your file.

When you click save, you will be directed to the “Export Adobe PDF” menu. Select “Output” on the left hand menu and set the destination as “Document CMYK – U.S. Web Coated (SWOP)”.

Adjusting colour space in Quark

How to change colour space in Quark

How to change colour space in Quark

The colour mode is defined when you output a PDF or EPS. If exporting an EPS, select File > Save page as EPS. Click “Options” in the Save page as EPS window. Select “Colour” on the left hand menu and then select “Composite CMYK” in the “Setup” drop down menu.

If exporting a PDF, select File > Export > Layout as PDF. You will be directed to the “Export as PDF” window. Select “Colour” on the left hand menu and then select “composite CMYK” in the “Setup” drop down menu. Your document is now in CMYK.

Setting up at the right Image resolution

We would always recommend that your files are prepared at 300dpi. Be careful when using graphics from the web, as they are usually much lower quality (72 dpi).

If you are using Photoshop to create your artwork, it is imperative that you select the correct resolution before beginning the design.

Using the correct Artwork Bleed

Bleed is an essential. There can be slight movement during the final cutting process of production and the bleed area prevents any unwanted white borders around the edges of your Plastic Cards. We recommend a minimum of 1.5mm bleed (3mm recommended) on all sides to ensure that your Plastic Cards does not suffer from any border issues during the cutting process.

2 Part Snap Off Card

Our recommended File Format

PDFs are the best way to provide artwork to us. You can export PDFs from most design software (try File>Save or File>Export) or you can use software called a PDF Printer to create a PDF from the print menu of ANY other software (if you have Acrobat Professional installed, you should already have ‘Adobe PDF’ in your list of printers, otherwise click here for a free PDF printer).

Any images within the file should have an original resolution of 300 dpi. Please ensure that the file has a 3mm bleed and crop marks (lines around the edges identifying where the bleed ends and the actual artwork begins).

When creating the PDF, the PDF options dialogue should appear. In this window you may have to specify the CMYK colour space. To do this, click on Output on the left hand side, under Conversion select Convert to Destination and under Destination select any option that includes CMYK.

Submitting artwork from Illustrator

Submitting artwork from Illustrator

If you are supplying artwork as an Ai files, please ensure that all images are embedded (you will be prompted when importing images) and all text is converted to outlines (select all type, then choose the Type menu at the top of the screen and select Create Outlines).

Please ensure that all images you use are at high resolution (300 dpi) and that the document is in CMYK colour mode.

Submitting artwork from Photoshop

Submitting artwork from Photoshop

We are able to work from Photoshop files, we would recommend simply output a PDF or JPEG from Photoshop (File > Save As > Photoshop PDF). This will allow you to check for any potential issues caused during the conversion before submitting your artwork to us.

As ever, please ensure that your artwork is at 300dpi and using CMYK colour space.

Submitting artwork from Indesign

Submitting artwork from Indesign

Where as we can accept indesign files, we do not recommend submitting artwork in this format. We would prefer to use a PDF which can be created by simply outputting a PDF from the application (File > Output), ensuring that you follow the above guidelines for these formats.

Submitting artwork as an EPS file

Submitting artwork as an EPS file

Submitting artwork as an EPS file

When supplying as EPS make sure that all fonts are embedded, and that you include document thumbnails. Transparency resolution should be set to High. All files should also be in CMYK colour mode and have all relevant bleeds and crop marks (lines around the edges identifying where the bleed ends and the actual artwork begins).

Submitting artwork as an JPEG file

Submitting artwork as a JPEG / PNG / TIFF file

Submitting artwork as a JPEG / PNG / TIFF file

If you are sending us a JPEG, it is vital that each time you save the image, you select MAXIMUM quality. Do NOT use GIF files for print artwork.

Adjusting colour space in Quark

Submitting artwork from Quark

Submitting artwork from Quark

Where as we can accept Quark files, we do not recommend submitting artwork in this format. We would recommend simply outputting a PDF (File > Export > Layout as PDF) from the application, ensuring that you follow the above guidelines for these formats.

Can we help?

We hope you have found our artwork guidelines useful, and if you have any further questions or if we can help at all please do not hesitate to contact us

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