This guide is for beginners with little or no experience in preparing artwork. It is to guide you through using the JPG templates that your planner will have sent. If you are a professional designer or have experience these please look at our standard Artwork Guide.
The examples shown here are using Pixlr, a free online editor, but other artwork programs such Gimp and Photoshop Elements can be used.
Open the template you have been given in Pixlr or another program.
The template is ready for you to place your artwork on top. Each template is a section of the finished print. We will fit each part together for you.
If possible, add a new layer for the text and images so that you can easily delete the template from your finished design.
Add text, make sure that all text or logos are within the dotted lines and it is large enough to read.
Add images, making sure that the background or images cover the blue shaded area at the edges.
Save your design making sure that none of the template lines are showing on the finished design.
If you save as JPEG (.jpg), select the highest quality level.
Alternatively you can save as TIFF (.tif) which will create larger files but may give better quality.
If you've never put artwork together for printing then it's particularly important to consider the following.
The template may look larger than you expect when you open it. This is because it needs to be a higher resolution than your computer screen and therefore larger than the final print size to be sure it is of a good enough quality to print correctly.
Make sure that the light blue border around the edges of your design is covered with the background colour or image. This area is called the bleed and will be cropped off when the artwork is finished. The printers need bleed to be added so that if the cutter moves slightly when it is being cropped, there are no ugly white lines around the edge.
Keep all text and logos within the dotted lines. We also need you to make sure that no text or important parts of your artwork are too close to the edges. Keep them more than 3mm from the edge which is shown by the dotted line on the template.
Keep your text large enough to read. If you make your text too small or too fine, or it has a busy or patterned background, then it may be difficult to read. A common example of this is using white text on a black background. For this to remain legible, the white text needs to be a little larger than black text on a white background.
Be aware of colours. Many design programs only allow you to design your artwork in RGB, so we will need to convert the colours to CMYK before they are printed. Some colours look less vibrant or less bright when they are converted from RGB to CMYK, so please remember this when using very bright colours in your design.
Computer Screens. There can be a wide variance in colours depending on the computer screen you are using, so you can't rely on colours you see on screen. A good example of this is looking at a bank of TV screens in a TV showroom. They may all be tuned to the same programme, but the screens will all show different shades and hues.
The image below shows how bright RGB colours can change when converted to CMYK