We receive many files each and every day, the majority of which we can print from without any problems. Occasionally though we get files which do not print as intended and are not what you the customer expected. This guide is to help you through the stages of designing and setting up your files for print and to avoid extra costs by us having to ‘correct’ your files.

Spot Colours

When choosing different colours for your job, try to choose colours from the Pantone© colour palette if your software has it. If the job you require is to be printed in process, make sure these colours are converted to their CMYK equivalent. If your job is to be printed with a spot colour, check to make sure you have just one version of the spot colour. Beware, some packages will have a CV and a CVC version of the same colour. 


Your scanner, digital camera and monitor use a combination of three colours: Red, Green and Blue (RGB) to create images. The printing process uses four colours to print the same images: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (key colour), commonly referred to as CMYK or process colours. At some stage in the production workflow all RGB images have to be converted to CMYK. The conversion from RGB to CMYK should be done before the file is sent to us. If this conversion is not done there is a danger that the standard RGB to CMYK conversion profile we use may make some of the colours appear to be washed out or dull.

Black or Rich Black?

To get the best from our process, black can be produced in two ways. The first method is single colour black, made from 100% black ink. This is ideal for small areas such as text. On larger areas of black solid single colour black can often appear grey or washed out. The way to achieve a dense black on large areas of black solid is to print a 40% Cyan underneath the 100% Black.  This will give an even and dense colour as the second colour disguises any inconsistencies.


Set-off is the marking of the underside of a sheet by the transfer of ink from the sheet on which it lays. It can occur when pressure is applied during guillotining or simply while the paper is stacked. Set-off is caused by the fact that the ink is still wet, and is most prevalent on uncoated stocks. Set-off shouldn’t happen if you are careful about the weight of colours you pick. We have set some guidelines to help you avoid set-off or lengthy drying times. Our recommended ink coverage limit is 280%. This means that, wherever possible, the colours you use should contain less than a total of 280% when you add together cyan, magenta, yellow and black.


As part of our service, you have the option for us to supply you with a colour proof. If this is mentioned in the origination section of your estimate from us then it is included. If not, for peace of mind you may wish to request a proof. The proof is produced on our high-end colour inkjet printer which has been profiled to best match our machinery. The proof is not 100% accurate and is meant as a fairly accurate guide as to how your job will look. 


If you are scanning photographs yourself, save them as either EPS or TIFF files as this will preserve the colour and clarity of your images. GIF or JPEG formats compress the image and actually discard information, causing colour shifts and blurriness.When you are scanning, consider the final size your image will be used at. Always scan photographs at 300dpi at the size you are going to use them. Scanning photographs at more than 300dpi will have little or no effect on the actual printed quality and will unnecessarily increase file size and processing time.  

Page Size

It is very important that the page size of your document is the same size as the finished, trimmed document size. If the job you are creating has ink which ‘bleeds’ off the edge of the sheet, include 3mm bleed all round on each edge.

Acceptable Formats

At Fine Print we use a fully automated pdf workflow, so files supplied as pdf’s are our obvious preferred format. The website www.pass4press.com outlines in detail, the correct way of supplying print ready pdf files. If, however, you do not have the facilities to provide files in pdf format - we are happy to accept any of the following native file formats; QuarkXpress up to 8.5, Adobe Photoshop up to CS5.5, Adobe Illustrator up to CS5.5, Adobe InDesign up to CS5.5, MS Word - (will incur charges) MS Publisher - (will incur charges).

When supplying native file(s) please ensure they are clearly labelled and contain all linked images and all fonts used. We’re always updating our software, so if your application is not listed, please call us.