To make things easier for you, we have developed templates for our standard products and formats so that creating these shouldn't be difficult. We have also listed the most common answers to our customers' questions. Can't find the answer to your question? Please contact us and we will provide you with the correct information or templates.
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Before you start
The very first step for creating a print-ready file is to create your document in Indesign or Illustrator. Make sure that you always enter the correct measurements of your product. Do not forget to add the bleed area to the document. For example, if you want to have a flyer printed in A5 size, enter this size and set the bleed area to 3mm.
Then you start formatting. Is your design bleeding? Then let your design elements continue in the bleed area. Imagine you want to create a flyer with a red background colour. Where the colour touches the cutting line, it should continue in the extra 3 mm you have given the document (your bleed area). If you do not do this, there is a chance that you will see white edges where your product was cut to size.
Are you using text in your design? Then don't forget to convert it to outlines. Is your design according to your wishes? Then you can save it as a PDF (Illustrator) or export it to a PDF (Indesign).
When exporting, do not forget to fill in the bleed area. Did you fill this in correctly when creating the document? Then you can also choose the option 'Use document bleed settings'.
What resolution should my images have?
- For standard printed matter, we recommend 300 dpi.
- On A0 posters or larger, 200 dpi is sufficient.
- Signs or banners, viewed from nearby: 70 dpi.
- Signs or banners, viewed from a distance: 30 dpi.
How do I submit files?
Files must always be delivered as pdf files via INKOprint.be (online) - unless we request to do it in another way for whatever reason. Otherwise we will process your order through our offline printing company 'Buroform' and thus cannot guarantee the expected delivery date.
We only accept print-ready pdf files. The best way to prepare files is with Adobe Indesign, after which you export to a PDF before uploading to the platform. We will check your files in-house so that 99% of errors can still be avoided, because we know: delivering an error-free file is not easy.
Colours are composed of CMYK process colours, unless you have opted for printing in Pantone colours or you are using a special printing technique such as letterpress, hotfoil or spot varnish. In that case you indicate the desired technique with a spot colour (100% K).
Format, bleed, cutting marks and safety margins
Documents must be formatted with a 3 mm bleed. From InDesign and Illustrator you can export/save your file with 3mm bleed and cutting marks. Make sure that the images actually have a 3 mm bleed area beyond the design frame.
To ensure that your printed matter is neatly finished, you must take into account our safety margin. If you use this safety margin, you can be sure that no important elements are cut off. A cutting machine can never cut with millimetre precision. We also call this 'cutting tolerance'. We advise you to keep important elements 5 mm away from the cutting edge. That way you are always on the right track!
All large format products (flags, signs, banners and large format stickers) must have a 10 mm bleed all around. You should NOT use any cutting marks in these files:
- The extra space for hems and/or tunnels is folded to the back.
- Keep 5 mm as a safety margin within the finished format. Do not place any important images, logos and/or texts here. This prevents important elements from being accidentally omitted.
Are you using a template file? Then you can keep to the lines indicated in it.
CMYK, ink coverage and black
Ensure that your files are always delivered in CMYK. These are the printing colours. If you deliver your file in RGB, these colours will be converted to CMYK and there is a chance that there will be a difference in colour.
The maximum ink coverage for a good result is approximately 260%. This way, there will be no stains during finishing. In order to obtain a good deep black colour, it is advisable to set up the ink coverage in Cyan 30%, Magenta 20%, Yellow 20%, Black 100%. Use these values only for whole black areas, not for text. If these values are applied to text, the ink may slightly run. The standard recommendation for text is 100% Black.
How do I upload different designs?
Do you want to order several designs? Then always deliver one pdf file containing all the designs. The order is as follows:
- Front side design A, back side design A,
- Front side design B, back side design B,
- Front side design C, back side design C, etc.
Suppose you want to order 10 different designs (printed on both sides), your pdf-file will consist of 20 pages. All designs have the same orientation. All are portrait or all are landscape.
How do I export a print-ready PDF file?
When exporting your PDF file(s), it is important to ensure that your file is print-ready. Make sure you double check that all content is within the correct safety margin and that your background extends to (at least) 3 mm outside your final format (= bleed). Make sure you have also checked the spelling and image quality before exporting. INKOprint.be is not responsible for any customer errors, including spelling errors.
Before exporting files:
- Remove all objects from the drawing area that are not meant to be printed, including any extra layers, samples, links or extra objects.
- Is your entire design in CMYK colour mode?
- Images should be at least 300ppi
- Delete any templates you have used
- Illustrator - Click on File > Save Copy
- InDesign - Click on File > Export
- Set the format to "Adobe PDF", name the file and select "Save".
- A dialog box with settings will appear. Select the preset "[Print quality]". Under "Characters and bleed area" make the following settings:
- Show cutting marks
- Use document bleed settings (= 3mm for small sizes and 10mm for large sizes)
- Click on Export.
Make sure your PDF is exported with the bleed area you defined earlier in the file settings (= 3mm for small sizes and 10mm for large sizes).
How do I know if my files are correct?
INKOprint carefully checks your files. If there is something wrong with these files, we will of course contact you and advise you on how to adjust them.
Tips and tricks
Points of attention
Transparency can cause problems if it is not smoothed out when exporting. To avoid this, export your document as PDFX1a:2001. This way, transparencies are smoothed out and nothing can be changed by the press software when printing.
Overprinting can be visually compared to the "Multiply" filter from Photoshop. If you put overlapping items in overprint, the overlapping parts will be printed neatly on top of each other. If you do not overprint those items, then only the colour of the item at the top will be printed and the item below will be left unprinted where the shapes overlap.
- Attention: Are you selecting a cover shape or a printing technique? Always use overprinting to ensure that no underlying colour areas are left out. Unless, of course, you want it that way.
- Make sure that "Overprint display" is switched on when you preview and export your design and print-ready files. You will avoid mistakes this way.
You should be careful with lines or frames that are close to the (cutting) edge of your product. Any slight shift that occurs during printing and cutting is more visible when a line runs close to the edge. We recommend to keep lines and frames at least 5 mm away from the trim line.
Important text or images that are too close to the cutting line could be cut off.
We recommend using CMYK black (0, 0, 0, 100) for text and thin lines.
For full areas with black it is better to use 'deep black': C60, M40, Y40, K100. We do not recommend using rich black with greys, gradients or screened versions of rich black.
Using an RGB black (i.e. CMYK 75, 68, 67, 90) or other black levels may cause an unwanted or unexpected output - the colour may shift to a black with a brown, red, grey or blue tint (depending on the levels).
Ink coverage and registration black
Designs should not have an ink coverage of more than 300% (heavy coverage). The wide range of CMYK colours would not require coverage areas of more than 300%. The coverage means the total amount of ink applied - for example a green colour with values C: 75, M: 5, Y: 100, K: 20 has a coverage of 200% (75 + 5 + 100 + 20). Only CMYK values can be used to calculate coverage (not RGB or Lab).
This means that you place light text on a dark background in your design.
There are a few things to watch out for when using reversed type in your design:
- When reversed type is printed, the ink tends to run into the text, which can cause fine details to dissapear.
- If the font you want to use is available in different font families, it is a good idea to choose a bolder one.
- The text should be large enough to be read easily
- It is not recommended to be used for large amounts of main text; it is more difficult and tiring for the eyes to read
Using grey in your design
Grey can be a problematic colour to print.
When not to use grey?
Designs with large grey areas cause a cloudy effect. This is an inconsistent print of the colour with subtle lines running across.
Although INKOprint uses the latest technology, this effect is inevitable and likely to occur with certain papers and coatings. For this reason we do not recommend large grey areas (such as background colours or large solid areas).
It is important to set the correct CMYK values when using grey.
Do not use a grey consisting of cyan, magenta or yellow values - this may cause the grey colour to shift from cool to warm grey.
Use only black ink and increase or decrease the percentage of black to the desired grey value.
C, M or Y are all set to zero.
We do not recommend using greys with C, M or Y values.
When aligning an object to the centre of your design, it is sometimes nicer to place the optical centre (of both the object and the space) in the middle instead of the geometrically correct centre.
Printing and finishing
Selecting special printing techniques
Special printing techniques are indicated with a spot colour and are overprinted.
Open your design.
- Open the 'Swatches' menu:
English version: Window > Colour > Swatches
- In the swatches window, click on the icon in the lower right corner called "New swatch".
- Double-click on the new swatch or sample.
- A new window opens. In this window you set 'Color type' to 'Spot color'. Use the name of the printing technique, for example: 'Gold foil'.
This function can be found in the following menu:
- English version: Window > output > attributes
Then select the overlapping items and select 'Overprint ﬁll'. If you also use a 'line' or 'stroke', then select these as well.
Foil or special ink in your design
Use a spot colour on overprint to indicate where the finishing is to be applied and give it the correct name:
- Foil Gold
- Foil Silver
- Foil Copper
- Foil Rose Gold
- Foil Rainbow
- Foil Glitter
- UV-Varnish spot: Spot
- UV varnish spot covering (40 μm): Spot 40
- UV varnish spot extra covering (80 μm): Spot 80
- White ink: White
- Silver ink: Silver
Deliver the final file as a vector file without 'cutting masks' or 'clipping masks'. Make sure that there is a minimum distance of 1 mm in your file between the place where the finishing is to be applied and any cutting or creasing lines. Spot treatments are not printed bleed.
Cover calculator softcover books
Designing the cover of a book is a big challenge for many people. Our cover calculator calculates the spine thickness for you and tells you exactly how to create a correct file:
Didn't find the answer to your question ?
Don't hesitate to ask your question! That way, we can keep adding to our list and help our customers as efficiently as possible.