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Checking artwork before sending to print
Tuesday, 06 March 2012 15:37

Artwork checklist

Some things to check, that will make your job run smoother, cheaper, and more predictably:.


  • Check document size, folds and trims
  • Spell and grammar check
  • Ensure the file has the bleeds it needs.
  • If it is saddle stitched, Page count must be a multiple of 4.


  • When colour matching is required, provide a sample, or specify a PMS colour to match to.
  • Avoid mixing colour spaces especially when using transparency effects (Drop shadows, blends, etc)
  • Check white elements for "overprint" (use "output preview" in Indesign or Acrobat) This common error is caused by changing a black element with an overprint setting (automatically applied to blacks in illustrator) to white. Since white is actually the paper it cannot overprint, so the setting will cause it to disappear.
  • As a proofing device, your screen (computer, phone, pad) is not a good indicator of colour. It can give you a "feel" a comparison of colour, but "Soft proofing" is for content and extreme colour errors. If your focus is the accuracy of subtle colour tones, you'll need a hard proof.
  • More on screens: those subtle shadow tones (in the 85 to 99% range) that work so well on screen will reproduce, unfortunately they will only be apparent when you shine a light through the paper, to all intents and purposes it will appear to be black. Be wary of subtle tones in heavy ink-weight areas. Such is the nature of subtractive colour (print). On the other hand that 1% to 15% gradient that is almost invisible on screen will produce a definite vignette of colour in print. (Additive colour expresses the same issue at the opposite end of the scale.)


  • The correct optimum resolution for photos in print is 300dpi
  • There is no difference between digital and offset resolution capabilities. The only reason to "downsample" is for file size. which is a legacy consideration of little importance today.
  • Proper resolution is essential for crisp, highly detailed images, but don't be afraid of lower resolution for low detail, textural, or "mood"  shots, or for work that will only be seen from a distance. As a guide even 100 dpi will still look good in most applications.
  • Supplying higher than 300dpi may be appropriate in a composite image (raster and vector elements rasterized on output (Photoshop))
  • Artificially increasing the resolution does not give you a clearer image, if you have not got the resolution; accept the fact and decide to either replace it, place it at a smaller size, or live with it.
  • Keep images in their source colour space and with profiles intact. The time for conversion to an output colour space is when distributing the file. In this workflow regime you can select the optimum colour space and output profile for each output application (Print, Multimedia, etc) without compromise.
  • Converting an image to cmyk does allow predictable colour in print, but we do not recommend that. Much of the gamut is lost and cannot be recovered in a conversion back to RGB. So an image purposed for print and re-purposed for screen will never look as vibrant as the original RGB image. If you choose to edit photos in cmyk, work on a copy, not the original.


  • Embed fonts in a press ready PDF.
  • If embedding is prohibited, convert that text to curves.
  • Avoid Rasterizing text

Acceptable files

  • Press ready PDF is the standard file format for printing
  • Alternately and where alterations or colour correction/retouch is required a "packaged" Indesign file is the preferred format.
  • Other file formats are acceptable but can result in additional costs.




Comments (0)
How to print Brochures
Monday, 27 June 2011 15:39
A simple brochure, sounds simple till you get to the nuts and bolts. Let's look at the basic choices you have so you can decide what you need, and what you don't.

First of all is the size. What most people think of when you say brochure is an A4 folded into thirds which makes it a DL brochure. With printing on both sides of the paper it's sometimes called 2PP (printed pages). But if you say double sided the printer will still know what you mean.

So next is the paper weight. Heavier paper feels better. And it also stands up better in brochure holders. 170GSM (Grams of paper per Square Meter) is about right for most jobs.
So far it's a double sided A4 folded to DL on 170gsm. Looking good.

Then it's just a matter of the gloss of the paper. It's a personal choice really. People generally like the look and feel of gloss and the cost difference is minimal.

Double sided A4 colour brochures folded to DL on 170gsm gloss paper. Now let's print it.

Pricing is nearly always based on volume. So you are far better off buying larger quantities.

On our colour brochures above. If they cost $201 to print 100($2 each) Then it will cost only $267.60 to print 200($1.33) and 500 of them will only cost $367($0.73) Don't forget that printers usually deal with other businesses so their prices are generally, PLUS GST. A DL flyer is an A4 cut into thirds. They can be single or double sided. A lighter paper stock is often used to save cost. 130Gsm is about right.

So what print do you need?

  • These are some things an A4 folded to DL Brochure is good for.
  • Putting in Brochure racks for tourist.
  • Information about your products for potential customers to take away with them.
  • Handouts at trade fairs.
  • This months/weeks specials.
  • Mailouts.

DL flyers are great for

  • Putting under windscreen wipers.
  • Handouts,
  • Specials.
  • Drop into magazines or newspapers.
  • Being cheap enough to put everywhere.

Comments (0)
How to become a marketing Guru?
Friday, 13 May 2011 14:11
Plenty of people want to become the next Saatchi and Saatchi.

So how do you do it?
Well to start with. You're only as good as the product you show your client.

Here's the scenario;
You have spent money on advertising and a great website, your office looks great and you have some great ideas.

Your first big client gives you a brief to see what you can do. You spend days getting it just right and make a sample for them. It's a brilliant idea but the client is not impressed.

Now ask yourself the question;
How is your new million dollar client going to see the brilliance of your idea, if they can't see past the poor quality of the sample that you knocked up on the office printer?

Here is the fix;
Get an experienced Print House. They will have a graphic designer on staff to help you with making that brilliant idea into something that can be printed. Then get them to create your samples. Yes it might cost a little more but the professional look of the sample, will make a huge difference to your pitch.

Next. When the client goes ape over your samples. Go back to the same Print house and get them to print the job for you. Why? Because the Printer with the experience to make the samples look good is the guy you want to make the finished product.

It's at this point a lot of people put their ‘bean counter' hat on and tries to save a little money by using a cheap printer. That means the materials may be different and the colours won't match.

Here's why;
Cheap printers are banking on the presses turning all the time. They can't take the time to check everything because otherwise the press isn't making money. Some brag about calibrating their machines once a month. The Machine should be calibrated for every job that goes through, or that perfect spot colour that exactly matched the company logo, may well change dramatically. The end result is a disappointed client or a delay while you wait for expensive re-prints. Both of which will damage your reputation.

A good printer will not start the press till everything is right. He will take the time get the colours right. He will check, and check again as the job runs, to ensure you get what you asked for. That attention to detail and perfection is worth paying for.

At the end of the day, marketing is about showing things in the best light. If you want to be a marketing Guru, shine the best light on yourself by using experienced professionals.


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Recycled & Environmentaly Friendly Paper
Shotz print Blog - SHOTZ Print Tutorials
Friday, 11 February 2011 14:59

image of recycled paper logo from print Brisbane

Once upon a time, choosing to print with Recycled or environmentally friendly stocks was a pretty hard choice. You had to expect the paper to be rough, the colour dirty and the quality of the print would never be very good. Not to mention the outrageous prices!

So to those brave souls who used recycled stocks, "We salute you". For without the early market for recycled we would never have the huge range and quality we have available today.

The new age of recycled has begun.

Today's Enviro stocks are a far cry from the old. They are perfectly at home in the finest board room and comfortably grace the best restaurant tables. Their print quality is outstanding. Many stocks are indistinguishable from virgin papers. The whites are white and the coated papers are perfectly weighted. That makes choosing to be green a whole lot easier when presentation counts.

On the flip side there are many papers which retain enough of the slight flecking of recycled to be reassuringly obviously recycled, whilst maintaining an excellent print quality. They print as well as any other paper but you can rest assured knowing you are doing your bit.

The difference between recycled and environmentally friendly stocks is significant. Recycled is made up of different percentages of pre-used paper. Some are 100% recycled other part recycled part renewable wood and many variations on the theme.

What's considered environmentally friendly papers is a little more complex. Some are created Carbon neutral. Others made in mills that run on renewable energy. There are papers which are both recycled and made in carbon neutral factories running on renewable energy. There is plenty of choice.

Price. It's an issue when it comes to print stocks. In today's market you will find a great variation in the cost of any "Green" stocks. Many people believe that they still have to pay more for it and there are plenty out there who will let you.

In truth, Environmental/recycled stocks should cost around the same as virgin papers if you follow some basic guidelines.

Choose a stock your printer knows well. The printer will also know how to get the best out of a stock they are familiar with. They will know it's limitations and can advise you if your jobs specs do not suit a certain paper.

Ask them to recommend a stock that's suitable for your job. Nobody likes to order a mill pack that will be part used then sit on a shelf, so using his/her existing stocks will be cheaper for you.

Get a few prices. Shotz does not charge more for Enviro/recycled stocks though it does cost us a little more to buy. We believe in encouraging their use. Not all printers feel this way.

Get to know your printer. They are not such bad guys and really do want to see you get the best result. We have a small list of papers below from the main suppliers. The list would make a web site of its own if we included every stock available in Australia. So we have kept it to the basics. With these papers you shouldn't go wrong and the your planet will thank you.

Total %
Additional information on Product
Titan Plus Gloss & Silk YES 0 Fibre Sourced from Certified & Well Managed Plantation Forests
CyclusPrint Matt NO 100 ISO 9001, Blue Angel, Nordic Swan, EU 'Flower',
ISEGA 14130U (Suitable for use with food stuffs), EN71-3 (Safe for use with toys)
Brillant+ YES 0 Fibre Sourced from Certified & Well Managed Plantation Forests
Master Laser No 0 Fibre Sourced from Certified & Well Managed Plantation Forests
Comments (0)
Different types of paper folds
Shotz print Blog - SHOTZ Print Tutorials
Thursday, 03 February 2011 13:50
We are all familiar with folding paper from paper airplanes to the more complex art of origami and pop up books. In the print industry, folding paper is an integral part of many print jobs. Most folds are basic as more complex folds may have to be sent to a specialist printer or folded by hand which can significantly increase costs. Below are some basic and complex folds available.

Image of different paper folds and styles from leading Brisbane printer

Some benefits of folding

  • Folding helps with the order of prioritising important information.
  • Folding helps condense information making it easier to mail etc.
  • You can be creative with folds and enhance reader experience.
  • Folding can add fun.

A few things to consider when planning a fold;
  • Consider where it will be used and how it will be displayed.
  • Correctly choose type and weight of paper you use; the thinner the paper the more folds it will take and visa versa.
  • Who is viewing it: Keep complex folds to a minimum for older and younger people.
  • Cost; Fancy folds require a fancy price as mentioned above.
  • Information Planning: It's always a good idea to mock up a blank piece of paper of the planned fold to work out the order and positioning of information. Try not to cram in too much. Your designer will help you here.
  • Time: Folding always adds time to a print job so allow for it and try not to leave an urgent job until the last minute to send to your printer.

Here are a couple of inspirational and fun folding videos:

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