tips and tricks

When you send us files, we often request changes and updates. To assist us in explaining why we ask for these things, we have put together a bit of info illustrating the reason for it all. We’re not trying to be a pain! We need these things in order to give you the best result possible. 

vector files

 JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP files are “raster” files, and are made up of pixels. A pixel is 1 tiny square of colour, and many pixels side by side make up an image. When you enlarge an image beyond its original dimensions, the image become fuzzy and is considered low-quality. A high-res raster image is usually fine for colour printing to a certain size (not huge). If it looks fuzzy on screen it will not print well. This format is not suitable for foiling. 

Vector graphics are made up of scale-able lines and curves formulated by a mathematical equation, allowing them to be blown up huge. Their edges are perfect lines, no fuzziness and no squares no matter how far you zoom in. You can blow vectors up to billboard size, and this is the type of file we need for foiling, and this will also give you the best print result for digital colour printing. 

Even if your file looks okay on screen zoomed out, this is not always an accurate representation of how it will print. Screens work at 72 dpi (dots per inch), whereas ideal print is 300 dpi.

IMAGE BELOW: You’ll see that the vector based file represented on the left maintains its integrity and looks great close up – the edges of the graphics remain perfectly smooth, while the non-vector image to the right does not have great resolution and goes fuzzier the closer you get. If your file goes fuzzy and shows square edges when you’re zoomed in really close, this is not a vector. 

PLEASE NOTE: Simply saving your JPG as a PDF does not automatically make it a vector. A vector-based PDF is created from the original artwork. 

If you have any questions please just ask us – we’re very happy to help where we can! 



When you receive your proof, enclosed will be a digital print out of your design together with samples and examples representative of the finish and options you are considering for your final prints. We can show card stock options, foil samples, embossing samples, debossing samples, examples of cards that are sandwiched, cards showing the difference between having lamination + without… etc.

The reason your proof isn’t sandwiched, foiled/embossed etc is due to the time involved with creating these finishes.

Foiling blocks are a thick, metal printing plate used to stamp the impression. These are a reasonable part of the cost of foiling, and also take some time to get set up on the machines (to get it stamping at the correct pressure and in the right place) so we do not foil your proofs. The same applies to embossing and debossing. Given the cost of the block and set up required, this is not economical use of your money or our time so we save this for the final set of prints. Also, the proof is for you to confirm the design, so if a change is needed to the block we want to address this before we get that made up for you.

We try to provide as much information and as many samples as we can to show you standard of our work, and so that you can get an idea of what your final prints will look like.

IMAGE: foiling block

bleed and crop marks

Crop Marks (or Trim Marks) are lines at the corners of a file showing the printer finishers where to trim the page. They should be away from the edge of your finished file size, not touching the corner. In programmes like Illustrator, Indesign and Canva you can export your file with crop marks without manually adding them yourself. You will find instructions in the programme’s help menu or by a quick google search.

Bleed is a little extra image around the edge of your file that is intended to be cut off. It is so that you don’t accidentally end up with a white stripe around the side of your prints when they are cut down. The printing and finishing process is quite accurate, but if the sheet size or the printing or the guillotining is even a smidge of a millimetre out, you’ll get a white edge. We ask for 3 mm bleed on supplied files (3 mm each side, that is, so a 100 x 100 mm square is provided with the image at 106 x 106 mm – that’s 3 mm each side). 

Note: the blue on the images below is to explain to you what’s what – this should not be on the files you provide us. Left shows printed paper or card (flyers, brochures, invitations etc). Right shows a circular sticker file. If you have any questions please just ask us – we’re very happy to help where we can! 

setting up white and clear toner


To print white, please make your white print area a Magenta Spot Colour called “White”. To print clear please print a Cyan Spot Colour called “Clear”. Examples below showing your file, the spot colour set up plus the final result. To see photos of the print finish please check out the white & clear toner printing page