how to make print ready artwork

To make your order faster and easier its great to have your artwork files match the print specifications of your printer. Print ready artwork files are usually pdfs that have been exported from design software like the adobe suite or documents that are saved as pdfs with other text-based software (like Microsoft Word). This guide will give you the break downs of our file specifications and what they mean so you can be better prepared when submitting your files for print.

Print Ready Artwork Specifications

Bleed – 3mm

Trim, margin and Bleed

At Q print we require a 3mm bleed on all sides of the artwork, especially if any of the design goes to the edge of the trim.

For artwork that is sized A2 (420mm x 594mm) or bigger, the bleed needs to be 10mm on all sides.

Margin/Safety Zone – 5mm

It is recommended that any text or important graphics be kept within a 5mm safety zone on all sides. For small form print items like business cards, you can go as small as 3mm but it is not recommended to go below that because your text could be too close to the trim of the artwork and get cut off. 

Accepted file types – PDF

PDFs are the best file type for print artwork because unlike JPEGs and PNGs, PDFs are vector based which makes them editable for printing purposes. We here at Q Print group can convert your text files to PDF for you at a small extra cost.

Resolution – 300dpi

DPI stands for ‘dots per inch’ which relates to the quality of printing. It can also refer to PPI (pixels per inch) when designing on the computer, but DPI is the more commonly used term. Artwork with a dpi of 150 or below will come out looking more pixilated due to the lower resolution. On big posters or billboards, you can get away will lower DPI but that is because they are designed to be viewed from far away. For print items like business cards or flyers, a DPI of 300 is the recommendation – especially if there are any images on the artwork.

image resolution for printing


Colour for print artwork must be in CMYK or Pantone colours. You cannot use RGB or Hex based colours which are used for viewing colours on screens and do not print the same. For more information of the differences between CMYK and RGB, read our guide to colour in printing.

General Notes on print artwork


Overprint is where you print an image on top of an existing one during the printing process. It can be used for spot colours (like metallic inks) and UV inks. Its important to make sure your overprint details are set correctly (or deselected if not desired) before exporting the artwork.


Make sure all images are the correct resolution (with 300dpi being recommended but you can go as low as 200dpi if you need). Our designers cannot make a low-resolution image look like a high resolution one so having the correct resolution for your images is important.

Trim/Crop Marks

Its great to include trim marks in the bleed of your artwork. They can usually be added when exporting to pdf. If you are unsure about how to do so we will be releasing a ‘how to export your artwork’ articles in the near future which will detail all of these technical export instructions.

Die lines

Die lines (if they are required) show where the artwork will be cut. When submitting your artwork that had die lines, is a good idea to submit two versions – one with the die line and one without. This lets our designers and printers know what is to be printed and what is not on the artwork.


  • Always mention the number of pages your artwork has and if they are printed double sided.
  • It’s generally cheaper to use standard paper sizes (A3, A4, A5 etc) over custom sized artwork.
  • For saddle stitched booklets, the number of total pages (including the cover) needs to be a number divisible by 4. This is because they are printed double sided on a sheet, folded in half and stitched.  

If you have any more questions about our artwork specifications, please do not hesitate to email us using our contact form or give us a call on 07 3262 3100.

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