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What do we mean by 'print-ready'?

Great question!

Chances are, you are asking this question because you have approached your local printer and they have asked if your artwork file is ‘print-ready’.

If your response was to look at your printer with a puzzled face and feel overwhelmed – you are not alone!

We get asked this question ALL the time, so we have decided to take the time to sit down and explain…

Print-ready is a term used to describe an artwork file that has been set-up correctly as per the printers’ requirements and is ready for the printer to load up to the machine for printing.

Now, obviously the nitty gritty of what is required can vary from printer to printer or from product to product, so it is ALWAYS best to ask your printer what they require.

This is (of course) if YOU are supplying the artwork to your printer. If, however, your printer is able to produce the design for you, or you are paying them to take care of the design component, they will take care of creating the ‘print-ready’ file for you.

Now, before we dive into a list of what kinds of things you need to consider or have organised for your artwork to be considered ‘print-ready’, let’s take a quick look at what a print-ready file is NOT.

A print-ready file is NOT:

  • An artwork file that requires re-sizing. If you supply an artwork file that has everything you need, however, just requires us to re-size to the correct size, this is NOT considered print-ready as it still involves additional work in order to make it ready for print.

  • A file with no bleed. Most print products require a minimum of 5mm bleed to ensure you get a clean finish on your prints when they are cut to size. Fabric prints, often require 20-45mm of bleed to allow for hemming or any specialty finishes. Providing a file without bleed, will often be rejected as not being ‘print-ready’.

  • A mock-up. An image that shows you how your design will look when printed, or that shows us how you would like your design to look, does not constitute as a print-ready file. Mock-ups can be great ways of giving us a brief to design your work, but this doesn’t work as a print-ready file.

  • A low resolution file. A file that is pixelated, fuzzy or not clear is not considered a print-ready file. We may be able to print that file, but it is not going to give you the quality outcome you desire.

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