Tuesday, 18 July 2017

How to design trifold leaflets for print...

Trifold leaflets are one of our most popular products - we sell thousands of them each month to customers right across the country. They're useful for a really wide range of business customers; from camp sites to takeaways, accountants to boutiques... 

The down side? With every printer setting up their tri-folds slightly differently, designing them can be tricky! This guide will help you get your trifold leaflet artwork looking fabulous... if you choose to print with us of course!

Artwork size
First off, you'll need to set your artwork up at 303x216mm - this includes the 'bleed' of 3mm on all sides. Your final, printed and folded leaflets will be 297x210mm.

Trifold Leaflet Fold positions
To make sure your trifold leaflet folds properly, the 'flap' needs to be slightly shorter than the front and back panels. As such, we fold at 99mm and 99mm (the third panel is then 97mm). You need to remember the bleed though - so position your fold guides at 102mm and 201mm. Remember this is reversed on the inside, so your guidelines should be at 100mm and 199mm. It's usually less important for the inside because the viewer looks at the leaflet when it's fully open.

With trifold leaflets it's particularly difficult to get the alignment of the front flap right... As you're looking at it, you need to remember your artwork has bleed - so if you're designing using a platform like Photoshop, it's worth blocking out the bleed while you design your leaflets.

Saving your artwork
When you're happy with the design of your leaflet, save it as a PDF file. Don't forget to take off all the guidelines (if you've created marks on the actual artboard), and remove any blanked out areas if you've used them for alignment.

You can use a large file sending service like WeTransfer to send us your files - just email them to artwork@thelocalprintcompany.co.uk.


That's it - your quick, handy guide to designing trifold leaflets for print... Don't forget, we offer as much support as you need with your design - so feel free to send across any questions or 'work in progress' if you need any help. The studio team are always here to help.

Find out more and order online at http://www.thelocalprintcompany.co.uk

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Here's what the words printers use actually mean...

If you're new to ordering printing online, chances are you're confused by the jargon and terminology used! Read on where we cover the terms you'll need to know if you're looking to order from an online printers.

This is where the printed design continues beyond the point where the paper is cut. This allows your printed image to go right to the edge. Usually, bleed is 3mm on all sides (so increase your artboard / canvas by 6mm in total for both width and height.

This is the four colours used in standard ink printing for full colour artwork. It stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (K = key). All colours that are printed mix these four. 

Pantone Colour
This is a colour system where the 8 primary colours are mixed using a defined calculation, making a specific colour. Each 'Pantone' colour is given a reference, which printers can understand universally, meaning your colour is always printed the same. 

This is a screen-based colour system used to create colours on screen. It stands for 'Red, Green, Blue'. 

This is where an image is printed directly to the paper rather than using plates (as in litho).

Offset Printing
This is a printing technique where ink is spread on a metal plate with etched images, which is then transferred on to a surface (usually a rubber 'blanket'), and finally applied to the paper by pressing it against the blanket. Offset printing is usually used for printing large volumes of high-quality printing.

DPI (Dots Per Inch)
This refers to the number of printed dots that appear on an image (per inch). The higher the DPI, the clearer / finer the print will be (thus better quality).

Desktop Publishing (DTP)
This is the process where artwork is designed on a computer ready to be sent to print. DTP software allows the user to determine the fonts, margins, images etc. 

Direct To Plate (also DTP!)
This involves imaging printed plates from a digital file as opposed to using film. 

Duplex Printing
This means printing on both sides of the paper.

This stands for 'Encapsulated Postscript', and is a file format used primarily for graphic files. 

This stands for 'Joint Photographic Experts Group, and is a common format for images.

This is an electronic file format which includes fonts, text and graphics. It stands for 'Portable Document Format'. PDFs are the most widely used file format for printing. 

This is a widely used file format used for storing 'bitmap' images such as photos. 

A proof (either screen or printed) is a version of artwork sent to clients by printers to check and approve before printing. Proofs might include markups such as fold and trim lines. 


Total-Printing.co.uk is the Online Printing website supplying UK businesses with Cheap Printing. You can order direct online and receive FREE delivery in the UK.

If you have questions or would like to find out more about how we can help your business, just go to http://www.total-printing.co.uk

Monday, 29 May 2017

How to check artwork for print

Pixelated images, unreadable text, weird colours, horrid white lines around part of the edge?! Sounds like the artwork you sent to print wasn't print-ready! Luckily it's super easy to check - here's how...

First off, you're going to need software that can open artwork as bitmaps NOT vectors - photoshop will do the trick, as will most of the 'free alternatives'...

When you've got your software sorted, open your artwork up (in CMYK, if it gives you the choice), and zoom to 100%... This will show you the file on screen as close to print as possible.

Your artwork resolution will usually need to be at least 300dpi for print (in practice, we rarely see artwork higher than this, and we flag anything less). If you print lower resolution file you'll get pixelation of the elements (images, text etc).

Check your artwork has bleed; most printers need 3mm bleed on all sides. This means your artwork's height and width measurements should be 6mm larger than the final printed size. So for instance, A5 (210mm x 148mm) artwork should be set up as 216x154mm. The purpose of bleed is to ensure whatever is printed on your artwork is present at the point of cutting - if, for instance, you had an image which finished at the edge of the actual printed size, you'd likely get an unsightly white line if the cutter didn't slice bang on the trim line.

Quiet zone / Gutter...
It's a good idea to leave a 'quiet zone / gutter' of between 5 and 10mm. Keep important elements such as text out of this area to avoid it looking like it's about to fall off the edge of the page.

Colour space...
Ensure your artwork is set up for the correct colour space - usually CMYK for print. If you send RGB artwork to print, it'll be automatically converted to CMYK which may result in muted colours, faded images or unusual colours where a CMYK alternative of an RGB colour isn't available.


Total-Printing.co.uk is the Online Printing website supplying UK businesses with Cheap Printing. You can order direct online with FREE delivery anywhere in the UK.
Find out more at http://www.total-printing.co.uk

Sunday, 28 May 2017

CMYK vs RGB - guide for home designers

We recently wrote an in-depth article looking at what people new to printing need to know CMYK, which covered the differences between CMYK and RGB. What the post lacked was direction for home designers, who create their own artwork rather than outsource to a graphic designer.

Since around 60% of the artwork that comes through our print studio has been designed by a small business owner themselves, this post covers the CMYK vs RGB issues you need to consider, and how to get round them.

Most desk-top-publishing / graphic design software allow you to set up your artwork in CMYK. This is called 'colourspace' and can be often be found when first setting up your document. If you set the document up in CMYK at the beginning of your design process, elements should be converted to CMYK as you import them, giving you the chance to colour correct items which don't look right (because they've been converted from RGB).

Here's how to set up your colour space in popular programmes:

Publisher 2000

Publisher defaults to RGB. Use the menu options Tools/Commercial Printing Tools / Colour Printing, and select 'Process Colours (CMYK).

Publisher 2003 - 2007+

Select File > Info > Commercial Print Settings > Choose Colour Model > Process Colours (CMYK).

Coral Draw

Select the object(s) you want to convert. Select the 'Fill' tool, and click 'Fill Colour Dialog'. Make sure the 'Color model' is 'CMYK'. Then for every object which has an outline, select the 'outline' tool and click the 'Outline Colour Dialog'. Select 'CMYK' as the 'Colour model'.

Adobe Illustrator

Select File > Document Colour Mode > CMYK Colour

Adobe Photoshop

Select Image > Mode > CMYK (or select 'CMYK' for the mode when setting up a new file.

Adobe InDesign

Use the following options: Window / Swatches and Window / Colour. Double click 'colour' in swatches, change the colour mode to CMYK and colour type to Process.

Quark Xpress

Select Edit > Edit Colours > Show Colours in use, then highlight the colour and click edit. Change the model to CMYK and deselect Spot Colour.

There are many colours available in RGB which aren't available in CMYK...

As RGB combines 3 colours, and CMYK four, there are many colours available in RGB which don't have similar alternatives in CMYK. This is called 'out of cmyk colour gaumet'. Generally speaking, RGB colours are far more vibrant than CMYK, which makes images appear faded or 'muted'.


Total-Printing.co.uk is the Online Printing website supplying UK businesses with Cheap Printing. You can order direct online and receive FREE delivery in the UK.

Just go to http://www.total-printing.co.uk

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The things you need to know about designing artwork for print

If you're new to printing, chances are you won't be familiar with the importance of bleed, quiet zone, colour space or exporting for print purposes... This guide clears all that up - read on for the things you need to know about designing artwork for print purposes.


Professional printers print slightly larger than the finished size to ensures there's artwork at the point the paper is trimmed down to size. This is important because there's always slight movement in the cutting process. If there was no artwork printed where the cut was made, you'd get an unsightly white line.

Quiet zone (sometimes called gutter / margin)

It's important to leave an area around the edge of your artwork free from important elements like text. This is both because artwork looks best when important items aren't too close to the edge (within 3mm and they'll look like they're falling off the edge), but also because there's natural movement in the cutting process which could mean your important bits get trimmed off if they're too close. We recommend leaving at least 2mm... In practice between 5mm and 10mm will look best.

Colour space

It's super important your artwork is created in CMYK to ensure it looks as vibrant and rich as you want. Read our full guide to colour here. Always remember to save your artwork as CMYK!

Exporting your artwork

When you save your artwork for print, remember to save it in high resolution (at least 300dpi), and choose an appropriate file format - PDF works best for printing, and keeps the file size well optimised.


Total-Printing.co.uk is the Online Printing website supplying UK businesses with Cheap Printing. You can order direct online and receive FREE delivery in the UK.
Just go to http://www.total-printing.co.uk

Quick guide to paper sizes: A6, A5, A4, A3, A2, A1, A0 and beyond!

Almost every country in the world uses the same standard sizes for paper; 'A-series'. Commonly running from A10 through to A0, these paper sizes are used throughout daily life - not least of which in the printing world. 

But unless you're working with these different paper sizes every day, you'll probably forget the measurements of these common sizes of paper... So here's a quick guide:

A0 - 841x1189mm
A1 - 594 x 841mm
A2 - 420 x 594mm
A3 - 297 x 420mm
A4 - 210 x 297mm
A5 - 148 x 210mm
A6 - 105 x 148mm
A7 - 74 x 105mm
A8 - 52 x 74mm
A9 -  37 x 52mm
A10 - 26 x 37mm

Also, for your reference:
DL - 100 x 210mm
Business Cards - 55 x 85mm

That's it - easy as a-1, a-2, a-3 right!?


Total-Printing.co.uk is the Online Printing website supplying UK businesses with Cheap Printing. You can order direct online and receive FREE delivery in the UK.
Just go to http://www.total-printing.co.uk

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

What people new to printing need to know about CMYK...

If you're new to printing one of the first terms you're likely to come across is 'CMYK'. Here's why it's important you understand what CMYK is, what happens if you print in RGB, and why you can't just convert artwork from RGB to CMYK...

CMYK refers to the four colours professional printers use to print your artwork.

C = Cyan
M = Magenta
Y = Yellow
K = Key (black).

Each colour is layered up to create the final, full-colour image. Some printers call it 'four colour', and some 'process'.

RGB refers to the three primary colours digital screens use to create images on your display.

R = Red
G = Green
B = Blue.

With RGB, three colours are mixed together to create full colour images on screens.

The need for each is in their application - paper is white, screens are black. 

Mix red, green and blue and you get white, but you can't make black... So with computer screens where the starting colour is black, you can create a vast array of colours by adding 3 primary colours together, along with the already black background.

With CMYK you create black with K (key - black) and by mixing in cyan, magenta and yellow (much softer colours) you can create almost any multitude of colours... except white.

This matters because it's not possible to print RGB colours on a CMYK printer - the printing software will attempt to interpret your artwork as CMYK if you do. Clearly, creating vivid colours with soft colours is going to be challenging, and your printing will end up looking faded and washed out - most noticeable on photographs where the eye has a good idea of what to expect, even without knowledge of the image.

You can create a CMYK colour space in all good design software, and this website will help you figure out colour values if you really have to convert from RGB to CMYK.

Your printer should be able to easily spot converted images and let you know there may be problems before they print.

Find out more at Total Printing's artwork guide.