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Print Artwork Considerations

It is extremely important that a jobs production processes are considered as early as possible when creating artwork. In order to ensure your job is printed as you intended, consider the following before creating your artwork.

Supplying Artwork

Courtney Direct prefers press-ready PDF files for production.When preparing files for use through Courtney Direct, please ensure the following specifications are met in order to supply Courtney Direct with a press-ready PDF. By following these guidelines, together we can ensure your job is printed problem free and is of the highest standard.

Artwork Checklist

Single pages in sequential order in the one file for all general collateral & self cover saddle stitch book work. For (+ Cover) Saddle stitched work, the cover must be supplied as a separate 4pp file.

Perfect Bound Covers with spines are to be supplied as a single page spread inclusive of front cover, back cover and spine width.

If a file requires changes, the complete document needs to be resupplied.

PDF files to include correct trim & bleed boxes. (Include a minimum of 3mm bleed with 3mm offset trim marks)

Internal bleed to be a minimum of 3mm

Forme-cut artwork must have the page size set to the outer most dimensions of the forme when flat.

Thin lines to be no less than .25pt

All fonts must be embedded

Ensure white text and line art is set to knockout

Ensure black text below 12pt is set to overprint

Ensure black text does not contain CMYK separations.

Ensure large areas of black content are set to rich black Courtney Colour Rich Black = (Cyan @ 40% - Black @ 100%)

Images are to be supplied as CMYK. If RGB Images are supplied, a coversion will be applied based on the Courtney Workflow standards. Tagged image profiles will be honored, if images are untagged, the default Adobe (1998) profile will be applied, this may cause undesired colour shifts in your images.

Image resolution to be supplied at 300 dpi, Mono Bitmap images to be 1200dpi

Ensure separations used are correct to the output required.

Set forme to a spot colour 0.5pt in weight. (See Dielines & Embellishments for colour naming conventions)

Forme must be set to overprint.

Set up embellishments as solid (100%) overprinting spot colours. (See Dielines & Embellishments for colour naming conventions)

While Courtney Direct takes all reasonable care to check your artwork, please ensure that all files are checked thoroughly against the Courtney Direct artwork guidelines. Courtney Direct cannot be held responsible for any errors generated by you, or by the software you have used to create the artwork files for output. It is the responsibility of the customer to thoroughly check all material in the original artwork for content and technical accuracy. The final check before we receive your approved proof is solely your responsibility.


Courtney Direct have created a Indesign plugin to ensure your artwork is exported as to our PDF print ready requirements. Please download our Indesign plugin for easy exporting. Indesign Plugin for Exporting> Download Indesign Plugin

Multiple Kinds

When submitting a file for a job that contains multiple kinds each kind must be combined in one file and set up as single pages in sequential order. A guide on how to prepare your file is shown below and will depend on the type of printing you have ordered e.g. Single or Double Sided.



Single Sided running PDF

Save your "kinds" as running pages in your PDF.

Page 1 = Kind 1

Page 2 = Kind 2





Double Sided running PDF

Save your "kinds" as running pages in your PDF. Remember to insert the 2nd side of each "kind"
directly following the first side.

Page 1 = Kind 1 Front

Page 2 = Kind 1 Back

Page 3 = Kind 2 Front

Page 4 = Kind 2 Back

Perfect Binding

Perfect Bound books are created by gluing the pages inside of the cover at the spine with a strong, flexible adhesive.

There are two types of gluing processes available:

EVA - A perfect process for fast turn around projects.

PUR - A strong hold glue that is perfect for long lasting projects 

Things to consider when creating artwork for a perfect bound book. The cover artwork must allow for a spine, this is determined by the number of pages and the weight of the stock being used. The Inside cover must have a 5mm image clearance either side of the spine. Allowance must also be made for a 7mm hinged area on the front and back cover. This hinge will also affect the inside covers and the first and last pages of the text. Any text or image that is to read over these pages needs to be positioned to achieve correct alignment. Also important to consider is the use of elements across double page spreads. The fact that the pages don’t lay flat when the booklet is opened makes the alignment of elements on adjoining pages appear out of position. Care should also be taken in how close text is placed to the spine as this can also get lost into the binding.

Saddle Stitch

Saddle stitched books are created by nesting folded pages that have wire staples on the crease of the book’s spine. There are no extra design requirements for saddle stitched books. Courtney Direct prepress will allocate the appropriate creep value to your job based on the page content and stock weight.

Wiro Bound

Any job that is wiro bound needs to be set up as single pages in the page layout application allowing for full bleeds on all edges. An allowance for the binding margin of 15mm must be allowed for left and right hand pages on the binding edge.

Image Resolution

The quality of the end result is only as good as the quality of the artwork you prepare for us. For best results ensure Images are resized in Photoshop to enable them to be placed as close as possible to 100% in the layout file. Images with too little resolution will come out pixelated and will cause delays in the Courtney Direct preflight process. It’s impossible to provide high quality printing using low quality artwork. The quality of your images determines the quality of the end result. Only high resolution, well converted images will give you the best print job.


For the best results from the digital printing process, artwork needs to be supplied in CMYK. Images supplied as RGB need to be converted to CMYK at some stage of the process and it is best to do so at the start so you can have better control. Due to RGB’s large gamut not all colours are reproducible using CMYK so it is better for you to see possible shifts in colour at the conversion time rather than at the proof or print stage. If RGB Images are supplied, a coversion will be applied based on the Courtney Direct workflow standards. Tagged image profiles will be honored, if images are untagged, the default Adobe (1998) profile will be applied, this may cause undesired colour shifts in your images. If a Pantone colour match is required, ensure the correct naming convention is used and the colour is set as SPOT. The HP workflow uses an Integrated PANTONE colour table to generate an accurate match to the coated family of swatches.


How many colours is your job to print? Is it to print as spot (pms) colours or should it be CMYK? Maybe a combination of both. Keep control of your job by ensuring the correct colours are the only ones used. If your job is CMYK then ensure that all spot swatches have been converted in the document unless a specific match is required. One thing to watch out for is the CMYK breakdown of spot colours from within different software packages, and even from within different versions of the same software. Colour libraries change from version to version which can lead to different CMYK representations of colour so it pays to look at all applications used (linked files as well) to ensure the colour will appear the same. Delete all unused colours. A good idea is to have a look at the separations to ensure they are as you expect them. Using separation preview in Indesign or Output preview in Acrobat will display the colour details. Doing this at design stage minimises delays and protects against error.


With the HP digital process, all files are ultimately printed as CMYK. When a combination of spot colours and transparencies on CMYK elements are used in this environment there can be issues. If your design contains a combination of these elements the files must be converted to CMYK and double checked using the separations preview in Indesign or Acrobat.

Dielines and Embellishments 

If your job contains a dieline or embellishment element please follow the requirements below.


Cut line spot colour name – ThroughCut

Crease line spot colour name – Crease Kiss

Cut spot colour name – KissCut


All elements must be .5pt and set to overprint. Where possible, ensure elements are made as continuous lines and not many individual pieces.


Colour names to reflect type of finishing. Eg Spot UV

All elements must be 100% Spot colour

Overprint elements to ensure correct CMYK print results.

Check using the separations preview in Indesign or Acrobat.

Courtney Direct delivers premium digital printing easily online, anytime. We’ve built our name on consistency, reliability and being a true supportive partner within the industry. Our focus is on quality of product with an aim to deliver true value for money. That's what sets Courtney Direct apart from the rest.....

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