Technical stuff

With every commision comes a bunch of technical job spec's. Here is a swift reminder of some of them



All mass produced publications are printed CMYK. Here is how you change your image created on a computer or scanned into

a CMYK image. As digital images are RGB it tkes only a simple click of a button to change it.

Please remember that when you chnge the image to CMYK the colours may apear quite different. Don't panic when they are printed they will look fine. 

Just follow the above and click save.


So next on to how to send image files or anything that is to big to send by email. this is what most art directors and illustrators use now to send hi res files. It's a great deal simpler than dropbox as all your doing is uploading your image to the wetransfer site that then sends a message to the person your sending the artwork to that the image is there for them to download. It's that simple.

Image bleed

Bleed refers to objects that extend beyond the edge of the printed page. This page tells you why bleed is needed, how much is needed and how to fix issues with bleed.

For an example of the use of bleed, look at the image below. The picture of the monkey and the gray rectangle go beyond the edge of the page. They ‘bleed off’ the edge of the paper.


Full bleed means that an image extends beyond the edge of the page on all four sides.



Why do we need image bleed

1. Once a job has been printed, the press sheets need to be folded, bound and trimmed. For each of these finishing steps, there is a certain margin of error. Bleed makes it easier to avoid issues with:

  • mechanical limitations

  • the behavior of the paper when running at high speed through a machine

  • operator errors

2. When a press sheet is folded multiple times, the thickness of the paper caused the inner pages to gradually shift. This is called creep or shingling.


To compensate for this effect, the entire content of pages is shifted slightly to the left or right, depending on production needs and the design of the content. To be able to move pages, you need the content to extend a bit beyond the trimmed page size.

3. Paper is an organic material which may shrink when it is subjected to humidity and mechanical stress.If the page content exactly fits the page itself, such errors could cause a thin white line to show at one of the edges of the page. To avoid such lines, the design elements have to extend beyond the trim edge of the page.





















What happens is no bleed is used?

Actually all the reasons why bleed is needed also explain why small design elements should not be positioned too close to the outer edges of the document. If a small page number is put right at the edge of the page and that page is trimmed incorrectly, the page number may simply get cut away.


How much bleed is needed?

Generally the bleed amount is set to 3 millimeters or 1/8 of an inch. Many prefer a bit more bleed – 5 millimeters – especially for large books, thickish paper or jobs with many sections.

Bleed requirement can be different from one printing company to another and from one job to another. Contact your printer in case of doubt or look up their recommendations on their web site. Once the design of a job has been finalized, modifying bleed can be a real hassle so it is better to start off using the correct value.

The fact that content needs to extend beyond the page boundaries is no excuse for sloppy design. Letting images extend beyond the needed bleed clutters the file, can lead to bloated PDF files and simply looks sloppy. The prepress systems used at the printing company can trim any excessive bleed but why cause problems that are so easy to avoid?

To make a designer’s life easy professional design applications like Adobe InDesign allow you to specify the amount of bleed that is needed. This will be shown as an extra guide around the page.


For most illustrators just adding that little bit extra 3mm around all the image is enough for the art director.So extend your artwork background into this arear.


As you know the correct image resolution is key at the begining of a project whether you are setting up a photoshop file or have scanned

in some art work into photoshop.

The image below is a good indicator of what can work well. Never have your resolution below 300dpi. (this is infact the international standard resolution for most publications). You don't have to make it CMYK straight away but you will have to change the image to CMYK at some piont before you send the final artwork (See Technical Stuff)