How to prepare artwork for printing - Inserting crop marks and bleed

Files Accepted

At Harmony Creative Print we want your job to print to the highest quality, therefore it is important that in your origination you set up and supply your artwork correctly. This will ensure that you receive exactly what you are expecting! So, we want to give you an overview of how to prepare artwork for printing.

We can accept the following file formats, with a hi-res PDF the most preferable;

  • PDF - It must be high resolution / layers should be flattened / fonts must be embedded or outlined

  • QUARK EXPRESS – You must supply fonts & images

  • ILLUSTRATOR – Fonts need to be converted to outlines

  • PHOTOSHOP – Layers must be flattened, the resolution must be at least 300 dpi

  • INDESIGN – You must supply fonts & images

How to prepare artwork for printing with crop marks and bleed

It is a necessity for all digital artwork for print to be designed with crop marks and bleed accounted for. To help you we outline some points that will ensure you get the best possible result.

Artwork should be supplied at the finished size with a 3mm bleed (tolerance) on all trimmed edges. Check that you have saved using the following 4 hints: Save as PRESS QUALITY / AS SEPARATE PAGES (NOT SPREADS) / with tick, Cut or crop marks and bleed.

For multi-page work, please supply as single pages. Do not create A3 spreads if the finished job is A4, use A4 facing pages.

Do not supply imposed pages or “printer’s pairs” as we use sophisticated professional imposition software to impose correctly for our various printing processes.

How to prepare artwork for printing - Inserting crop marks and bleed

Images and logos

Image resolution should always be a minimum of 300 dpi @ 100% size. Images should not be taken from the Internet as these are likely to be only 72 dpi which will result in a pixelated effect when printed. To avoid unpredictable colours, convert all images & logos to CMYK and save in .TIF or .EPS formats rather than .JPEG. Microsoft Word Art is a low-resolution format and almost never prints well, so please avoid its use.


All files supplied must be based in the CMYK colour mode. RGB is NOT acceptable for Litho Printing as this format was created to represent colours on SCREEN only. Litho printing is a 4 colour process (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) hence the term CMYK. As it’s a different colour scale altogether you may receive different results to what you are expecting from the screen visual. UNLESS PRINTING IN SPOT COLOURS, PLEASE CONVERT ALL COLOURS TO CMYK (exception of cutter guides – see below)

How to prepare artwork for printing - Inserting crop marks and bleed

Cutter Guides

Cutter Guides should be set as a SPOT COLOUR with attributes set to OVERPRINT

Print Ready Design Service

If you are not sure how to prepare artwork for printing and inserting crop marks and bleed it’s not a problem. We offer a print ready design service for organisations who do not have print ready design expertise. We can create a design for you from a submitted brief or we can take your already designed work and recreate to make it print ready.