Can I create my own finished artwork for printed leaflets?

Yes, of course you can. There a few simple rules to follow though so read on...

Creating a simple leaflet is not as hard as you may think as long as you follow some simple rules. If you allow for bleed, make sure that your images are not low resolution and accept that some colours may not exactly match what you see on your monitor then it can be easy!

Rule 1. Allow for bleed - see below

Rule 2. Choose your colours carefully - see below

Rule 3. Use high resolution images - see below

1. Bleed on Printed Leaflets

You may have heard people talk about allowing for 'bleed' on artwork

Bleed is simply a way for printers to allow for the image to go right to the edge of the sheet. If you create artwork to the exact size of the finished leaflet, you risk some white edges showing around any solid area of colour or image that reaches the edge of the sheet.

allowing for bleed when created the artwork for printed leaflets and flyers

Leaflets are always printed on larger sheets of paper. They have to be. The machines that trim printed leaflets to the finished size are always very slightly inaccurate, so the solid or image area has to expand beyond the edge of the leaflet. This is easy with professional page layout programs such as Adobe InDesign or Quark Xpress. You just create a box with the image or colour that extends 2mm beyond the finished size of the artwork, then just specify that you want 2mm bleed when you make the PDF

Using Microsoft Word™ or similar word processing programs

If you are using a word processor such as Microsoft Word ™ things are not quite so easy. The simple way around this is to just create your artwork the same size as the finished size, but keep anything important away from the edges.

For instance, if you are creating an A4 leaflet using Microsoft Word™ or a similar word processor program, then make sure that any wording or any important part of an image is 10mm away from the edge. Then make your PDF as normal. We will then enlarge your finished PDF by 2% for A4 or 3% for A5 to allow for the 2mm bleed. See the image above. See more information on using Microsoft Word™ to create your artwork.

2. Colours on Printed Leaflets - RGB or CMYK?

The importance of using CMYK colours in artwork designed for litho printing leaflets or flyers

You may have heard people talk about the importance of using CMYK for printing

Put simply, all printing machines print in CMYK, (Cyan, magenta, yellow and 'keyline' which means black) using transparent inks. The fact that these transparent inks inks overlay means that when cyan and yellow inks overlay we see green on the leaflet. No matter what anyone will tell you it is not possible to print RGB as RGB inks cannot by their very nature exist. HOWEVER, in practice, if you supply an RGB file, which is the only way in which Microsoft Word and other word processors work, then we simply convert it to CMYK before we print.

So why do professional designers always work in CMYK

Sadly the colour rage available in CMYK is nowhere near as wide or as bright as the colours available in RBG. This is a scientific fact. RGB is used on computer monitors, television screen, still and video cameras, as well as on-screen displays of word processors. This means that when an RGB file is converted to CMYK, ready for printing, the colours will inevitably be duller, especially blues and oranges. A bright blue in RGB (0,0,255) will become quite dull when converted to CMYK (88,0,77,0). For this reason professional designers will always work in CMYK so that they can choose the final colours themselves and will not be disappointed after the conversion.

So what if I have no choice of colour format?

If you are using a word processor such as Microsoft Word ™ or a program that will only allow RGB such as Photoshop Elements ™ you will have no choice about colours. We will automatically convert your file to CMYK and will then email a proof to you. This will give you a rough idea about how your colours will look, depending on how your monitor is set up.

3. What about image resolution?

If you are using a page layout program such as Adobe InDesign or even Microsoft Word ™ your words will be printed crisply

However, BEWARE! The images that you import into the program will only print crisply if they have sufficient resolution. In practice this means that all images should be 300dpi at the size they are used on your leaflet. Many people say to us "Well it looks ok on my screen". It will do, because screens work at 72dpi. So an image from a web page that looks ok on the screen will look blurry and pixellated when printed on your leaflet. For this reason, never enlarge an image beyond a resolution of 300dpi (ppi).So what does dpi mean? Is it the same as PPI?

Dpi stands for "dots per inch". This actually means "pixels per inch" or if you have gone metric it can be expressed as "pixels per centimetre". The less pixels there are then the less detail can be reproduced. In certain circumstances, you may have no choice other than to use an image with a resolution lower than 300dpi but please be aware that you may be somewaht disappointed with the result.

Can I use Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to create my leaflet or flyer artwork?

Yes, you can. Just remember that the whole of the artwork area is a bitmap - an image in fact. This means that you MUST set the resolution to at least 300dpi before you start. If you don't, both the images that you use AND the typesetting will look blurry and pixellated. Ideally, work in CMYK as well so that you have a roughly accurate idea of what the colours will look like. Also, use a 'real' black which is 100% black and no other colour for type, NOT the 'rich' black (C75 M68 Y67 K90) that Photoshop defaults to. This is NOT suitable for type or wording.

using Adobe Photoshop to create the artwork for your printed leaflet or flyer

The image above sets up Photoshop for an A4 leaflet at 400dpi. If the file this makes is too large you can reduce the resolution to 350dpi or at a push, 300dpi. The colours are set to CMYK which is allowed in the full Adobe Photoshop but not in Photoshop Elements. If you have to work in RGB we will convert before printing. Just make sure that any blacks that you use are RGB 0,0,0 which will convert to a solid black.

What about bleed in Photoshop

You have two choices. You can make sure that nothing important such as wording or important parts of images are nearer that 10mm from the edge, then allow us to enlarge your final PDF by 2% for A4 or 3% for A5. The harder way is to allow for the bleed when setting your original size, which for A4 would be 214mm by 301mm. For A5 this would be 152mm x 214mm. Then just make sure that nothing important such as type or important parts of images are nearer than 10mm from the edge as 2mm all around is trimmed off after printing. See image below.

Phew - there is a lot to remember!

Not really. Take it a step at a time and just remember - Bleed and Resolution are the important parts. If you have allowed for bleed and your images are as near to 300dpi as you can get you cannot go far wrong.

If you are stuck, send us your enquiry and we will do our very best to help. When you place your order we will check your PDF and advise you of any problems, before we send you a proof.