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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.




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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.

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Printing Business Cards
Monday, 30 May 2011 15:17
There are a lot of variables in getting the best business cards in Brisbane. But for this exercise we will concentrate on a simple but classically elegant business card suitable for any business.

Most business cards are around 55x90mm. You can have them smaller or larger but that makes them either, easier to lose or harder to find a wallet or purse to fit them in. The easier they are to carry, the more likely you will have some on you when you need them.

Next is the business cards weight. 350gsm is pretty normal. Any more is overkill. Any less feels a little cheap. You don't want you businesses first impression to be "cheap".

So far we have a standard sized 55x90mm business card on 350GSM card.

Single or double sided?
The front of a business card shouldn't contain too much information or it tends to look cluttered. That's why it's worth getting double sided. The front of your business card with your logo and contact details, the back for a list of products or services or even a map to your premises like they did in the old days.

There are no hard and fast rules with what you put on your business cards as it is a personal item that should reflect your corporate personality.

Cello with that?
Celloglazing(cellophane glazing) is a thin film of plastic adhered to the card with heat to give your business card an either gloss or matt look. The majority of cards use matt celloglazing. The function of the cello is to protect the card so the details on it will last longer stuffed into a wallet or sliding around in a glove box. They will also take a little moisture without damage. The only negative is that the cards can't be recycled due to the coating. You can celloglaze both or one side only.

So now we need to finish off our business card order
55x90mm business card on 350GSM double sided with a matt cello front and back.
Rounded corners (even just one) can add individuality to the card for very little extra.

All you need to do now is decide how many
Try to buy as many at a time as you can to keep the costs down. It also means you are more likely to hand them out. Think of your business card as a mini advertisement and get as many out there as you can.

SHOTZ has a design service in house in Brisbane for that extra professional polish to make your business cards stand out from the pack.

A Brief History of Business Cards

The original concept of the colour business card is believed to have originated in China sometime in the 15th century. The first cards were used as visiting cards designed to be handed to the doorman upon arrival. This meant the visitor or his footman wasn't required to list his full and often lengthy title. This visiting card custom eventually made it to Europe in the 1600's. The concept quickly flowed to the British Isles and was an instant success.

The Brits however quickly pressed it into service as what we know as a business card. Simply designed cards with text and directions to the merchant's premises as street numbers were not in use as yet. Strict etiquette was soon to follow with two very distinct cards. The visiting card and the colour business card. Handing over a business card while on a social call was an unforgivable social gaff as this was reserved for debt collection. Eventually the visiting card died and the business card took over. Business card design has become an art in itself. Die cut cards, shaped cards, textured business cards and intricately printed full colour business cards are everywhere. Today it remains an integral part of a business identity and the simplest form of advertising at our disposal. It's hard to imagine doing business today without one.

1885 attorneys business card image from Shotz print Brisbane
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The History of Posters
Monday, 30 May 2011 14:49

The colour poster has been around since the 15th century when each poster was hand made by artisans. One of the first known instances of posters was made by the Frenchman Jean-Michelle Papillion. Before Papillion, it was the job of the town crier to pass on information.

An historical image of printing with a limestone-block. paris, not brisbane

By 1628 the Parisian Théophraste Renaudot had started to use colour posters to publicize suppliers of various products. In 1663 he produced the modern equivalent of advertising in his Sheets of the beurau d'adresses. The invention of lithography in the 19th century (process used to make a printed poster) sped up the process by allowing copies to be made by drawing the picture on a sandstone block. the oily crayons used to make the picture repeled water. The stone was then sponged with water which repelled the ink. The ink only stayed on the crayon lines. Sheets of paper were then pressed onto it to make an exact copy. the basics of this printing process today allows up to 10,000 copies per hour to be made. It was Jules Cheret who first used the process to create posters. By 1895, Cheret's colour posters were as much a part of Paris as the Arc de Triomphe.

an example of Cherets top quality poster printing,

Poster and Banner Printing

Shotz colour poster prints are well known for quality and longevity. Posters for walls or roll up banners, mounted posters on Coreflute or Alucore. We can even print photos on canvas. A great wedding gift idea, graduation present or 21st birthday party centerpiece.

We can print outdoor poster or indoor posters. Even laminated posters that will last for years. We can supply self adhesive posters and car graphics. Display posters or vinyl banners printed with any image you want. Photo quality images 2.5m high by up to 30m long are no problem. We will stitch the sides and add eyelets or rope to fix the banner.

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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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