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The Sustainable Printworks is an eco-friendly, fast turnaround, online digital and litho printer based in Canterbury

Artwork guide

This guide outlines issues you'll need to consider when supplying artwork, to avoid delays and make sure you get the best results.

File formats

Regardless of what software is used to create your artwork, your final artwork file should be exported to a print-ready file format at an appropriate size, in the correct colour mode and with sufficient bleed around the edge.

Bleeds and crop marks

Artwork bleed

It is essential that there is a minimum 3mm bleed around your artwork to account for very slight variances during the trimming process.

For example, an A6 size product is 148 x 105 mm. To supply artwork for this product, your file would need to be 154 x 111 mm. Any background colours or designs need to extend right to the edge.

Keep any text a minimum of 5mm from the edge of the finished size.

Crop marks

Adding crop marks to your artwork is not necessary. If you have experience designing for print, by all means, add them as correctly placed crop marks can save time and help us align your design.

However, as long as the artwork is supplied at the correct dimensions with a 3mm bleed on all sides, we'll be able to set it up for print without crop marks.

File size

The maximum file size that can be uploaded via our website is 100MB. This should be more than enough capacity to accommodate artwork at the required resolution for most of our products, provided an appropriate file format is used.

If for any reason you find you're unable to upload your file, you can call our Design Team on 01227 915 701 who'll be able to diagnose the issue or organise an alternative way for you to supply your file.

It's also important that your file is not too small. An image that appears fine on screen may lose quality when printed full size.


Please supply artwork at high resolution (300dpi). It is important that you prepare your PDF file in the correct way. These options must be set for commercial printing:

  • Resolution - Choose High Resolution
  • Compression Settings - For colour and greyscale this should be downsampled to 300dpi with "auto compression" set on high
  • Font Embedding - Should be set to "embed all fonts"

Colour needs to be set as CMYK not RGB (RGB artwork will be converted to CMYK and this could affect your colours).


Include all embedded images and convert all text to curves. Save as an EPS file.


Set Resolution to 300dpi when starting your new document. Save the file as either TIFF or JPEG.

Other files not listed above must be saved either as an EPS or JPEG.

If you need us to make changes to your file (JPEG / EPS), we will require you to re-supply new artwork as either a PSD, PDF or AI file as we are unable to make changes to flattened images (JPEG / EPS / TIFF).


Please ensure all fonts and pictures used in your artwork are supplied to us in a separate folder using the "package" function under the "file" menu.

Please include a PDF to allow us to check that no elements are been moved or omitted in the final artwork. Please be aware, this additional proofing task can occasionally delay delivery.

Microsoft documents

Unfortunately, we're unable to use the following formats for printing:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • Powerpoint
  • Publisher
  • Works

As these applications aren't designed to prepare print-ready artwork, we recommend you avoid them in favour of dedicated design software.

However, if you're unable to create your artwork in any other program, it is possible to convert your Microsoft document from the proprietary file format into a print-ready PDF.

Below is a link to a free and easy-to-use website that can convert most image files into a useable PDF.

When you convert a Microsoft document into a PDF, it's important to check that the colours still appear correct, that all text and design elements are present and that the image resolution is sufficient for print.


Any artwork that's intended for print should be created in (or converted to) CMYK - not RGB. That's because CMYK files achieve colours by mixing Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black) in the same way that printers mix inks to achieve colours on the page.

Multi-page products

Where your print product runs over several pages, we recommend submitting a single PDF file in the order you'd like it to print, with the front cover on page 1 and the back cover on the last page.

If you choose to upload separate files they should be numbered with a prefix to show the order you want them to print, for example:

01_YourFilename, 02_YourFilename, 03_YourFilename etc.

If you can't supply your artwork in this way, you can still place your order. Be aware that adding this step may delay your delivery date.


When supplying artwork for multi-page documents such as Stapled Brochures, there's no need to work out which pages will sit opposite each other.

In fact, we ask that you do not supply your pages as "Printers' Pairs." We prefer to receive your pages in order in the method outlined above.

Wirobound brochures

Please allow a 10mm allowance on the edge of the artwork that will be wirobound. Failure to do so may lead to some of the artwork being "chopped off" and obscured by the wires.

Spot UV and foiling

Even if you only require a single-sided product featuring Spot UV or Foiling, we still require an extra page of artwork. That's because, in addition to the standard CMYK design, we also require a layer that denotes where the UV varnish or metallic foil is to be applied.


Customers are responsible for proofing their own artwork. We can't accept responsibility for mistakes after artwork has been supplied.

Need help?

Following these guidelines ensures that there will be no delays with your printing. If you have any problem, please don't hesitate to call our team on 01227 915 701 who will be more than willing to help.