Vector files are created using points and connecting lines - much like a board with nails hammered in and string tied between each one. Vector artwork is created in programmes such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw and QuarkXpress. Vector files are usually scalable to any size, and give sharp, clean edges when printing which is perfect for sharp text, lines and detail.
Raster files are created using an artboard and a swath of colour - much like a real canvas being painted on with a brush. The size and quality are determined at the start when creating the artboard size and resolution (e.g. pixels width and height, or millimetres and dots per inch - DPI). Raster files cannot be scaled up to a bigger size later, as they will lose detail and can look blurry or pixelated (blocky).
Digital printing is achieved by setting up the finished artwork using a computer, and then sending it directly to the printer. The cost of producing digital printing is considerably lower than offset in small and medium runs because of the savings in set up costs and time.
Offset printing uses the traditional system of metal plates with the artwork etched onto them - one for each colour ink. The machine runs all of one colour at time before the paper is reinserted with the next metal plate and coloured ink. The cost of producing offset printing is usually only economical in large runs, to compensate for the set up costs and time.
SETTING UP YOUR ARTWORK
If you are creating raster artwork (for example, in Photoshop), please set your artwork up at 100% of the final print size, with a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). Larger artwork will take longer to upload, and small resolution artwork can lose definition.
Your text MUST BE CONVERTED TO CURVES, which are also known as paths in some graphics programs. This will fix any upload errors that can happen, even if the fonts are embedded into your file. Following these easy steps will help ensure that your text prints clearly.
How to convert fonts to outlines in Adobe Illustrator
1. Select all text.
2. Click Type Menu> Type> Create Outlines
3. Text now has a blue outline.
4. Save a copy and re-upload.
Please minimise the use of masking in your artwork, as this can interfere with the processing of your file.
Can you explain what you need here Phil?
I never use bitmaps, so I'll need your input on this one Phil.
If your artwork has colour right to the very edges, it will need additional colour, which we trim through, which is called the bleed area. To prevent an unwanted white border from showing at the edge of your artwork once trimmed or die-cut, be sure to extend any background colours or design elements an additional 2mm outside of the trim edges.
Trim marks are the finished size of the artwork. The artwork is cut close to the trim line, but because of mechanical tolerances involved in printing, the actual cut can happen move minimally. This is why it is important to keep your text and important images within a safe margin.
Setting Up Your File For Print
Please ensure your files have been prepared properly using the following checklist:
• All artwork layers have been flattened to one layer (apart from the die-cutting line). See our die-cutting guide for more details.
• All fonts must be converted to curves, paths or outlines. DO NOT embed your fonts instead. Overlooking this step will cause delays to scheduling your print job, as the file will not be accepted.
• Ensure your file colourspace is the same as your final colour choice
• Pantone Colours (preferred) - Check you have converted all colours to Pantone spot colours
• RGB (preferred) - Check you have converted all CMYK and spot colours to RGB
• CMYK (not recommended) - Check you have converted all RGB and spot colours to CMYK
• Check when exporting your file as a spot colour file that you do not select 'convert spot colours to CMYK'
• If you are supplying a spot colour file, convert all artwork and colours to Pantone.
• If you are supplying a process file, convert all artwork and colours to RGB
• Check all of your blacks are the same colour value
• If your artwork has colour all the way to the edge of the label, please include 2mm of bleed on each side.
• Ensure your artwork has trim marks or a die-cutting line
VECTOR FILE FORMATS
• Please supply vector files in either .EPS, .AI or .PDF formats
RASTER FILE FORMATS
• Please supply raster files in either .JPG, .PSD or .PDF formats
• Ensure your raster file is 300dpi at 100% print size
If you have any doubts please contact us, as we are more than happy to discuss your requirements and advise either you or your graphic designer on design considerations and the best formats.
If you do not have a graphic designer we have established relationships with designers in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, and can put you in direct contact with one of them.
Print-ready artwork must be supplied to us in digital format, and can be either emailed (at up to 8MB in size) or couriered to us on a USB, CD or DVD disc. Alternatively, artwork can be uploaded to an online FTP address directly if you are familiar with this process. Please request the FTP address here.
Please provide your artwork to us in .eps format, however we do accept files in the following formats:
.eps, .jpg, .jpeg, .tif, .tiff or PDF.