Artwork Guidelines

We specialise in printing orders from supplied digital artwork. Our acclaimed Pre-Print Checking system incorporates a number of steps designed to ensure that the finished work we produce not only meets, but exceeds your expectations.

We like to think of our relationship as a partnership and, as with any partnership, a great outcome depends on partners working together.

Please check the Artwork guidance notes below which will ensure that your work proceeds swiftly to a successful outcome to the benefit of everyone.

bluepöle Artwork Guidelines

Paper Sizes

To find out more information about paper sizes, please click here

Sending Your Files

Files should be sent to us online. This ultra fast system means you can get your artwork to us quickly and efficiently. We recommend compressing your files before sending them to us as this not only makes the transfer faster but also more reliable, especially for the Mac, since important hidden files are then included automatically.

Free trial versions of excellent compression programmes are available, visit for PKzip which is designed for PC, and visit which is a similar tool designed for Mac.

Exceptionally, where ordering online is not possible, we can take 'manual' orders and work with 'hard' media – CDs, DVDs or USB Memory Sticks.

File Format

Preparing your artwork files

We use the very latest Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) Rip in our Pre-press department and our workflow is based on working with files sent to us as PDFs. All work should be presented to us in this format.

Your PDF should be prepared at press quality with artwork centred on pages. Please refer the below section entitled File Pre-Print Check for full details on artwork preparation.

Please ensure that you carefully check your PDF before sending it. Whilst software is usually reliable, there is still a real possibility that something changes in the conversion from native file format to PDF.

Since the PDF is the only origination we have to work with all our processes are designed to ensure that the finished print matches the PDF supplied.

Our commitment is to ensure that this is the case and we cannot accept responsibility for a problem with finished print when this matches the PDF.

We would be pleased to provide you with assistance in preparing your PDF.

File Pre-Print Check

Our detailed Pre-print Checking is a unique and highly regarded part of the service. Checking is prescribed on a minority of products and optional (but highly recommended) on the remainder.

When you opt for your file to be Pre-print Checked it will be reviewed by an experienced designer and checked by our proofreaders.

We check that:

  • Artwork is central and backing up correctly.*
  • There is sufficient Bleed and Quiet Area.*
  • Fonts are embedded.*
  • All elements of the job are CMYK (RGB and Pantone colours may not print as expected in Full Colour).*
  • The quality of pictures and text is to print standard.*
  • There is colour consistency and wherever possible that the colours specified will print as viewed on screen.*
  • We also carry out a rigorous proofreading exercise which, whilst not guaranteed to pick up every error, has proved a 'lifesaver' many times in the past, where embarrassing and costly mistakes have been spotted.*

* Please read on for an explanation of these items.

Where potential problems are highlighted we will (with your agreement) correct them if practical, often at no extra charge. Alternatively, we will request a corrected file.

Please note: If you opt out of Pre-print Checking, your job will not be checked and will go through our automated pre-press system. It will not be seen by 'human eyes' before it is on press, by which time it will either be too late, or very expensive, to correct!

The cost of the Pre-print Check is £3.95 + VAT and £9.95 + VAT for Books & Booklets up to 28 pages. For Books and Booklets over 28 pages the Pre-print Check costs £15.95 + VAT.

Figure 1

Artwork central and backing up correctly

It is important that artwork is positioned centrally on your layout. Our pre-press system works from the centre of the page in aligning jobs for print. At pre-press the correct size aperture for the job to be printed is filled with the image on the page running out from the page centre. If a job is offcentred or if front and back are placed on a single layout then, potentially, only a portion of the job will appear in the aperture and be printed! (fig.1)

Figure 2

It is also important that jobs backup correctly with the orientation of each page being the same. We strongly recommend printing proofs from the PDF you have created to your own printer prior to submission. (fig.2)

Figure 3

If the sheet holding the reverse image must be rotated to backup correctly with the front then the file should be altered! Making a physical mock-up will highlight potential errors which are not easy to see on screen. (fig.3)

Bleed and Quiet Border

Bleed and Quiet Border

Understanding the need for Bleed and a Quiet Border is vital if, as partners, we are going to achieve our joint aim of an excellent finished print job. We require Bleed to allow for the tolerance of our guillotines (the machines used for cutting your job after printing). Even with our state of the art equipment there is a margin of error with the operation. If your image finishes exactly at the edge of your required finished size then these small deviations may produce unsightly white flashes at the edge of your print. By extending your background colour or image beyond the edge of your finished job the effects of the same deviations are not noticeable. We recommend that elements intended to go to the very edge of your finished job should extend 3mm beyond the edge.

Bleed and Quiet Border

A Quiet Border is the distance you should allow from the edge of your finished page size for text, diagrams or images not going to bleed. The reason for the border is again the tolerance in cutting. If you have a design where the text runs to the very edge, then any cutting deviation will result in some of your text being cut off!!

With a very small Quiet Border, even the smallest cutting deviation could result in the finished job looking uneven. We recommend a Quiet Border where there is no text etc. at least 5mm around the edges of your job.


Embedding Fonts

When creating your PDF it is important to specify that fonts used should be embedded. This is normally a tick box in the PDF export area of the programme or an option in an external PDF creator. If fonts are not embedded this can lead to unwanted font substitutions and reject print.

Photographs & Graphics

Monitor Calibration Image

Photographs should be scanned at the size required in your finished design at 400dpi and saved as CMYK images.

Please note: It is important that images are originated at this high quality. Re-sampling an image of a lower resolution (say 72dpi from the internet) to 400dpi does not improve its quality and does not make it suitable for high quality print.

Monitor calibration is a big consideration when scanning and colour balancing. If your monitor is not calibrated, the image you see on screen may differ from the image on the final print. We recommend obtaining our Hard Copy Colour Charts. As well as a comprehensive range of colour swatches these include an image which is called 'Ole No Moire'.

Artwork Layers need to be flattened

By opening the Ole No Moire image on your screen and comparing it with the image on the Chart, it is possible to carry out a fair calibration of your monitor. Once this has been done, when you view a photo on screen, it will be a close rendition of the press print.

Where designs are built up using a number of layers and transparencies, it is important that they are 'flattened' before creating the PDF. Un-flattened transparencies are notorious for causing print problems. Flattening your work will ensure that the finished print is as expected, without compromising the creative intent.

Colour Matching

Throughout your design the colours used must be CMYK colours. There are a large number of variables which can affect the colour produced during Full Colour Printing. Simply looking at the appearance of colours on a monitor, especially if no monitor calibration has been carried out (please see the previous 'Photographs and Graphics' section), is unlikely to accurately represent printed colour results.

In just the same way an un-calibrated desktop printer, such as a laser or inkjet may well render very different colours to those produced on a professional printing press.

Rather than leaving colour matching to chance and 'keeping your fingers crossed,' we strongly recommend that colours are chosen from our Hard Copy Colour Charts. We have produced two Charts (one is printed on coated material and the other on uncoated material). Each shows over 1000 colours together with their CMYK values. The advantage of using these charts is that they are exactly matched to our presses. When a colour is chosen from the swatch sheets and the CMYK values selected in your design, you can be confident that the finished result will closely match your expectations.

Our Colour Swatch Booklets are available for £12.50 + VAT & Carriage each or £20.00 + VAT for the pair. They are an invaluable and accurate way of ensuring predictable colour.

Please note: Where you have a particular colour issue, for example a requirement to match to a specific company colour or a previously printed job, this MUST be brought to our attention at the order stage. Simply specify the colour to be matched to or that the job has been previously printed in the 'Special Instructions' section during the online ordering process.

If you have a swatch of the colour required, please send us a hard copy. We cannot be held responsible, if your printed work does not match your requirements, unless those requirements are brought to our attention before we print.


Our normal service does not include proofs. At Pre-press we check that our printing will match the files provided. By dispensing with the need for proofs to be signed before print commences, we have greatly improved the speed and efficiency of our service.

However, we recognise that in some circumstances proofs are desirable and we are pleased to produce these from your Digital Artwork prior to printing. Please, be aware that sending proofs will add time to the overall turnaround.

We offer three types of proofs: PDF Proofs, Wet Proofs and Montage Wet Proofs.

PDF Proofs: These are sent digitally via Email or through a download system for larger files. They are a 'normalised PDF', produced from our Pre-press system and are an exact representation of what we will print. They are ideal for checking layout and content but are only as accurate as your monitor calibration with regards to colour.

Wet Proofs: These are an exact match to the job, which will eventually be printed, since they are a small run of the finished job on press. We would always recommend a small run of print (to be used as a wet proof) prior to any very large run of print.

Montage Wet Proofs: Often the reason that a Wet Proof is considered is that there are a couple of critical 'house colours' or there is a particular photo which needs to be checked. In these circumstances a less expensive alternative to a full Wet Proof may be to create a montage of the critical elements and order a Montage Wet Proof of this.


It is easy to become 'blind' to what is actually written, especially when you have been closely involved with a job and know what it 'should' say.

Proofreading is a skilled job requiring a high level of concentration, a detached viewpoint and a sceptical eye in order to seek out what is wrong rather than what is right! For instance, often text is read backwards before reading it forwards to avoid being lulled by the sense of a paragraph in to missing spelling errors.

Every day our proofing team spots errors which could have been at least embarrassing, and at most, could render the printed job unusable. Often this is in work which was looked at by several people before the PDF was submitted!!

As part of our Pre-print Check we proofread jobs and work hard to ensure that the printing we produce is perfect. Whilst this is not a guaranteed service it is rare that errors get past our proofreaders!


UKPrint and Design Ltd. Unit 19, Wild Boar, Kirkby Stephen Business Park, St Lukes Road, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4HT