Artwork Guidlines

At Print It we want to make sure that your prints look exactly as you want them to.  These guides will help you set up the artwork correctly so that the results are spot-on.  If there is anything you don’t understand, don’t fret, our customer service team will be happy to assist.

The document paper size

Set the document page to the correct size, e.g. business cards 85x55mm, letterheads 210x297mm.

Common print sizes:

A1 - 841mm x 594mm
A2  - 420mm x 594mm
A3  - 420mm x 297mm
A4  - 297mm x 210mm
A5 - 148mm x 210mm
A6 - 148mm x 105mm
A7 - 105mm x 74mm
A8 - 52mm x 74mm
Business Card - 90mm x 54mm
A4 Letterhead - 210mm x 297mm
DL - 210mm x 99mm
Compliment Slip - 210mm x 99mm
Bookmark - 46mm x 210mm
CD inserts & covers - 120mm x 120mm
Postcard - 148mm x 105mm

Standard book sizes:

Demy - 216mm x 138mm
Royal - 234mm x 156mm
American Royal - 229mm x 152mm
Pinched Crown Quarto - 248mm x 171mm
Crown Quarto - 246mm x 189mm
Large Crown - 198mm x 129mm

The colour settings

Your artwork is printed in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta Yellow and Black).  If you have worked in RGB (Red Green, Blue) mode, please set the file to CMYK before saving.  This will ensure that the final colour output will resemble the artwork on your monitor. If you job is to be printed in spot colours, assign the pantone colours correctly.


Images should have a minimum resolution of 300dpi (dots per inch), when they are in full size, otherwise they may appear pixelated or blurred in print.


Fonts should be outlined or embedded to ensure they look exactly as you want them to.


Your job is printed on a larger sheet and then trimmed to size. When setting up the artwork you will need to allow for a 3mm bleed on each side; the bleed is the area that will be cropped off. 

Text safe area

Keep important graphics and text within 3mm of the trim line.  This is known as the ‘safe printing zone’.

File format

At Print It, we can accept a range of file formats for printing.  It is advisable though that you send your files in PDF as this is the preferred format for print.

Booklet printing

Files for booklet printing should be supplied as individual pages, not as pairs or spreads.  Our pre-press experts will impose the booklet for you.  You should allow a 5mm bleed on all edges and a text safe area of 10mm from the trim line. 


A beautiful print job is not pretty when there are mistakes… Ensure spelling, grammar and contact details are all perfect before sending them to print. 

Binding Methods

Binding combines multiple pages into a single finished unit.  With so many options available it may be daunting to choose the appropriate method for your requirements.  This guide provides some clarification to make the selecting easier.




Perfect binding (EVA)

Perfect binding is used to give an appearance of a paperback book.  This method involves using an outer cover whose spine has been scored and attaching the pages to it with EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) hot melt glue.  Notches are made in the spine in the book to allow the adhesive to penetrate.  EVA perfect binding is often used in conjunction with sewn binding, for added durability.  A lining is added to the binding edge if the book is to be case bound.



    Fast curing

    Fast turnaround time

    Moderately durable

    Stylish appearance



    Finished product does not open flat

    Pages cannot be added or removed


Ideal use:

Soft-back books





Perfect binding (PUR)

Perfect binding is used to give an appearance of a paperback book.  This method involves using an outer cover whose spine has been scored and attaching the pages to it with PUR (Polyurethane Reactive) glue.



    Excellent flexibility


    Environmentally friendly

    Cold and heat resistant

    Fast turnaround time

    High-class appearance



    Pages cannot be added or removed


Ideal use:

Soft-back books




Plastic comb binding


Plastic comb binding is a popular form of binding particularly in the education and technology industry.  This method involves feeding a plastic comb through punched holes along the papers’ edge.  It is often supplied with a protective transparent cover on the front and back.





    Fairly durable

    Finished product opens flat

    Pages can be added or removed

    Combs available in several colours

    Combs can be reused


    Does not give a high-class appearance


Idea use:

Cookery books


Teaching resources


Saddle stitch

Saddle stitching is an economical way of binding a small amount of pages together.  This method consists of stapling the papers together along the spine, through the centrefold.  Before it is stitched, the staple gives the appearance of a saddle, hence the name ‘saddle stitch’.




    Fairly durable


    Finished product does not open flat

    Cannot be used with thick booklets

    Pages cannot be added or removed


Ideal use:






Sewn binding

Sewn binding is the most durable of book binding methods. This method involves preparing the pages in sections or signatures, with each section sewn separately.  They are then bound together using further threads to form the final book.  For case binding (hard back covers), the book is then attached to the case, which is made of cardboard covered with paper, cloth, vinyl or leather.



    A most durable method of binding

    Gives a professional appearance


    Pages cannot be added or removed


Ideal use:

Text books

Literature books



Spiral binding

Spiral binding is an economical form binding.  This method is comprised of winding wire or plastic through holes in the pages, to provide a fully flexible hinge at the spine.  Both round and square holes can be used.





    Moderately durable

    Fast turnaround time

    Finished product opens flat

    Allows 360º turning

    Wires available in several colours



    Pages cannot be added or removed


Ideal use:


Jotter pads



Thermal tape binding

Thermal tape binding is an easy and neat process.  This method involves affixing strips covered with heat-activated glue to the edge of the pages.




    Fairly durable

    Fast turnaround time

    Thermal tape available in a several colours



    Does not give a high-class appearance

    Finished product does not open flat

    Pages cannot be added or removed


Ideal use:

Thesis books




Wiro –binding

Wiro binding is a popular bindng method for office and home environments.  This method of binding involves clasping a round wire into punched lines along the binding edge.  Both round and square holes can be used.  Double wire binding can also be used for a smooth sophisticated finish.



    Fast turnaround time


    High-class appearance

    Finished product opens flat

    Allows 360º turning

    Wires available in several colours



    Pages cannot be added or removed


Ideal use:


Cookery books


Leaflet Folds

Your leaflet can be folded in many different types of ways.  Below are the most popular folding options.


Closed Gate Fold

Closed Gate folding involves folding the left and right edge panels inward so that they meet in the center of the page without overlapping, and then folding the sheet again down the middle of the page at the point that the two outer panels meet.

Double Parallel Fold

In double parallel folds the paper is folded in half and then in half again. To allow for proper nesting the two inside folded panels are smaller than the two outer panels.

French Fold

With French folds the paper is folded with crossfolds or right angle folds.  This is often used for printed invitations or announcements. 

Gate Fold

Gate folding, also known as window folding involves folding the left and right edge panels inward so that they meet in the center of the page without overlapping.

Letter Fold

Letter folding involves folding the sheet in two parallel folds.  Two panels are folded around one panel allowing a sheet of letterhead to fit a business envelope.  To allow proper nesting of all panels, inner panels are usually slightly smaller than outer panels with the innermost panel being the smallest

Roll Fold


With Roll Folds one end is folded inwards and then again repeatedly in a manner of rolling it up.

Zigzag fold

Zigzag folding involves a continuous parallel folding of the material in an accordion-like manner, with folds alternatively made to the front and back in zigzag fashion.  As the panels do not nest (as in Letter Folds), they can be of the same size. 

Colour Models

A colour model is an abstract mathematical model describing the ways colour can be represented utilising various colour components.

CMYK Colour Model

CMYK is an abbreviation for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (Black), the four inks used in colour printing.  The ink is applied by the press operator in the order of this abbreviation; the cyan, magenta and yellow plates carefully keyed (aligned) with the key of the black plate.

The CMYK colour model, is a subtractive colour model and works by partly or completely masking colours on a light background.  The ink reduces the light that would otherwise be reflected. CMYK colours are also known as process colour or full colour.

CMYKOG/Hexachromatic process

The CMYK colour model accurately produces a wide array of colour.  At Print It, our advanced process allows for the mix of a further two colours, Orange and Green.  This means that the final prints are even more vibrant and vivid.

RGB Colour Model

RGB is an abbreviation for Red, Green and Blue, the three additive primary colours.  RGB is the primary colour model for electronic displays such as televisions and computers.

The RGB model is an additive colour model in which red, green and blue light are added together in various ways to reproduce a broad spectrum of colours.

Your work will be printed using the CMYK model.  It is therefore necessary to commit your RGB artwork to CMYK before submitting it for print.

Spot Colour

When a very particular shade or tint is required, Spot Colours can be used.  This involves using the exact ink colour, without mixing CMYK to product it.  The result is ‘spot-on’ every time.  Metallic and fluorescent inks can also be used as spot colours.

Paper Types

Paper is a thin material fabricated by pressing together moist fibres, typically derived from wood, rags or grasses and drying them into flexible sheets.  The papermaking process produces a wide range of popular paper types.  Whatever the method used, not all papers are created equal.  It is important to match your project with the correct paper, to ensure that your clients receive the correct impression of your business.


There are three main qualities to consider when selecting paper stock.


1) Paper weight

Paper comes in various weights, resultant of the density of the paper.  The thickness is calculated in gsm (grams per square meter). Some common paper weights are:

120gsm – a quality thinner paper used for corporate stationery

170gsm – a medium weight paper used for leaflets, or other double sided prints

250gsm – a thick paper used for brochures where vibrant colours are required

400gsm – card stock used for business cards and invitations to promote a prestigious impression


2) Brightness

The brightness of paper is measured on a scale of 0 to 100, of the amount of light reflected from the surface of a paper.  The scale is provided by the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation).  Picking the right brightness of paper will affect the visual appeal of the prints.  Generally the brighter the paper, the more vivid the print will look.


3) Coating

Many papers are coated with a surface finish.  The coating affects the visual appearance of the prints.  In order to give over the correct appeal, it is particularly important to match the job with the correct paper finish.  Some common coatings are:

Gloss paper – this smooth shiny surface is ideally suited for printing photos and high graphic artwork

Matt paper – this dull subtle finish is ideal for giving over a sophisticated elegant air

Silk paper – this satiny smooth finish retains a pearl like sheen when printed, suitable for brochures and leaflets

The list below includes the most popular paper types.

Art paper

Art paper is a high quality printing paper; typically triple coated with either a matt or glossy finish.  This paper grade often contains cotton.

Uses: Brochures, Magazines, Illustrated books

Bond paper

Bond paper is a high quality durable paper, typically containing rag fibre pulp to produce a stronger rougher sheet.  Originally used for government bonds, bond paper is ideal for letterheads and other stationery.

Uses: Letterheads, envelopes, reports, manuals

Carbonless paper

Carbonless paper is used to transfer information written on the top sheet onto the sheets beneath.  This paper has microencapsulated dye on backside of the top sheet so that when pressure is applied, the mark is duplicated to the sheets below.

Uses: Receipt books, invoice pads, pro-forma forms

Coated paper

Coated paper is paper, which has been coated to affect the surface of the paper.  A range of finishes such as silk, gloss or matt can be applied.  Coated paper has better reflectivity so produce sharper brighter images.

Uses: Invitations, Brochures, Magazines


Newsprint is a non-archival paper mainly consisting of wood pulp.  Its strong fibre and absorbent quality makes it a popular choice for newspapers and advertising publications.  Newsprint is a low cost material with an off-white cast and rough feel.

Uses: Newspapers, Periodicals


Paperboard is a thick material with a weight above 250gsm.  Paperboard can be easily cut and formed and because it is lightweight and strong it is ideally suited for packaging.

Uses: Packaging, Postcards, Mailers                

Recycled paper

Recycled paper is produced from trimming and paper scraps.  Their production uses far less energy than paper production from un-recycled pulp. 

Uncoated paper

Uncoated paper has no coating to its surface and has a natural look and feel.  Their non-glare surface and good strength make uncoated papers ideal for corporate stationery and forms.

Uses: Corporate Stationery, Forms

Watermarked paper

Watermaked paper has an image or pattern impressed in the paper that is visible when viewed by a light source.  This watermark gives a unique prestige and is common with high quality brands such as Conqueror.

Paper Finishes


Bond paper is high-grade paper with a smooth surface.  Bond paper is well absorbent and therefore ideally suited for printed papers that require writing on them such as compliment slips and forms.

Cast coated

Cast coated paper has a highly polished gloss finish with an ultra smooth surface on one side.  Cast coated stock is ideally suited for packaging and postcards.


Cockle paper has a rippled, puckered texture that simulates characteristics of hand made paper.  It is often used in traditional invitations to lend an antique ambiance.


Felt paper has a rich velvety surface that looks good and feels good to the touch.  Felt paper is often used in upscale packaging and bags.


Laid paper is a classy, traditional stock that has the appearance of fine lines running down the length of the paper.  Laid paper is the perfect choice for prestigious stationery and envelopes.


Linen paper has a subtle embossed texture that resembles linen cloth.  Its sophisticated feel makes it the perfect choice for upscale prints.


Metallic paper has a sparkling shimmery surface.  It comes in a beautiful range of colours to suit any elegant project.


Parchment paper closely resembles old parchment and is the perfect choice for certificates, menus and projects that require a unique authentic look.


Smooth paper has a flat and silky feel with a fresh vibrant look.  It comes in an infinite range of colours and is suitable for most printed projects.


Translucent paper has a semi transparent finish and can be used as an overlay to allow some ‘see-through’ from the paper beneath.  This exciting finish adds a unique dimension to brochures and magazines.


Vellum paper has a subtle toothy feel with a texture finish similar to an eggshell.  It has high ink absorbency and is ideal for projects that require a tactile variance.


Wove paper has a smooth, slightly pattered mesh texture.  It is a premium quality paper that adds a touch of elegance to printed projects.

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