This guide has been written to help you prepare your material for artwork production and to avoid the common problems that will cause your artwork costs to increase. Artwork is still a labour intensive and unique job even with the advent of computerisation. There is no magic key stroke that will build your art for you and the old maxim of rubbish in = rubbish out still holds true, if you supply and insist on using poor quality files you will end up with a poor quality job.

The following files if presented for artwork construction will incur file conversion fees in order to make them importable for artwork formatting: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word tables, Powerpoint, Access, Lotus Notes, Star Office, coreldraw and Word Perfect. To speed up the formatting of artwork and make your job less expensive, text for importing should be supplied as: Microsoft Word files (no tables) in either Rich text format (RTF), as a .doc or .txt file

A copy of the original file should be saved as a file stripped of formatting (single col, black only, no tables or embedded images) as well as a copy of the original file with it's formatting (this can then be used to compare the print out against your electronic file). Text should not be entered into Excel or other spread sheet programs unless there is no other option. If it must be supplied as an excel file then the text should not be in multiple cells across the page but as no more than 2 cells across and in the case of lists in vertical alphabetical order. The very best way to supply text for use is to paste it directly into your e-mail and then transmit it, this e-mail will import cleanly and easily.

Image files that you are supplying cannot be used if they have been copied and pasted from an Internet website. These files are low resolution images designed for download at speed, 72 DPI (Dots per Inch) whereas the images used for printing must be 300 DPI. Images should not be placed inside Microsoft Word docs, they should be supplied as native TIF 300 DPI files (.tif) or as 300 DPI Jpegs (.jpg) Images that have been downloaded from a digital camera must have been shot on "best" or "high resolution" camera settings. These digital photos will have a different DPI setting but will still import sharply into artwork programs. If you want to supply images such as photos to be used then the best results are gained from gloss photos please remember that enhancing photos after they have been scanned is limited and will incur cost. The best type of material for scanning is transparency or colour reversal (slides) if you can only access photos then see if you can obtain the photo's negatives as these scan well and are sharper than the photo made from the negative. Do not supply scanned files from your desktop scanner unless you have expert knowledge of scanning as you will be disappointed with the results.

If you need to supply a logo or motif, do not copy it from your web site. Your company should have a library of logos available and a Corporate Identity Manual or document that describes the ways the logo can be used and what is inappropriate use. Never supply a logo embedded inside another file format such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word or Powerpoint, this will lead to time consuming redraws and increase the cost of your job. Any images sent via fax are unusable. Logo files should be in EPS format with "all fonts turned to outlines" before saving as this decreases the risk of font substitution and clashing, if in doubt ring and ask - advice is always free! If you cannot obtain an EPS file of your logo then a high res TIF or JPEG will suffice but they are not infinitely scalable like an EPS so can only be used at their original size.

VECTOR FILES: these files are actually complex mathematical equations that describe the shapes and colours inside the file, these images are generally "flat colour" shapes or lettering although blends of colour or "gradients" are also available in vector files. Example: Illustrator.eps or Freehand

These files are constructed of individual pixel squares that contain precise colour information. They can be complex images with texture, shape and dimension. Example: Photoshop.tif or Canvas.jpg