What Does Print Ready Mean

Something you will hear me say quite often is that artwork I produce is 'Print Ready'. So what does that mean? What is the process and why does it matter?

Ok, so lets start at the beginning. Before we get anywhere near signed off artwork I will have already set up the file in the correct software and allowing for a bleed around the outside, more about that later. The artwork will be created in the correct colour format (take a look at my blog post on colour formats if you haven't already) All the images I will have included will be high resolution (ideally 300dpi, again see my post).

Once you have approved the artwork the following is done to make it ready to be sent to print.


As I mentioned before an artwork has a bleed area. This is usually a 3mm boarder around the outside of the page where any colour or image continues into. This is done so when the print is trimmed any slight movement or wobble will not result in a white edge

Embedding Images

When working on a file images are usually linked to make the file smaller and quicker to move around. When it is sent to print images are embedded, or 'made part' of the artwork, so if the file is opened on an unconnected computer nothing will be missing.

Outlining Fonts.

Another slightly 'technical' term. What this means is converting editable text into pictures. This is done so that if the file is opened on a computer that does not have the same fonts installed nothing will alter. We have all seen examples of documents where fonts have substituted and lines break in strange places or the page just looks 'wrong'

Crop marks.

This is one of the last things I do, when saving the file (usually into a PDF format) I ensure I include crop marks. These are outside the artwork area, like the bleed and are a guide to the printer to where to trim the final page when printed.

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