Sending Artwork to a Printing Company? Keep These Tips in Mind

Even if you’ve designed your own inkjet labels or print marketing material and they look great on your computer, things can change very rapidly once you send your artwork to a printing company. That being said, there are several tips to keep in mind before you send that can save you a lot of time, money and frustration.


Although you may have done all of your label or print advertising designs using RGB colour, you should be aware that every printing company will print in CMYK colour. Supplying a printing company with files using RGB will result in a tone shift to CMYK colours. This can mean a change in the colour of several elements. That being said, the best thing to do before sending any materials to a printing company is to convert the document to CMYK colour first.

Spot or Pantone colours can be used, but these will be considered to be special colours. These are usually part of bespoke printing orders, and can be more expensive to complete.

File Formats

Many printing companies will gladly accept the popular .jpg or .jpeg format when sending images. However, many will require customers to send files in .pdf format. This is because the text contained in .pdf files is very sharp, allowing for incredibly readable printing, where .jpgs are often composed of many layers, which can make text look blurry once printed.

Watch Out For Creep

If you are hiring a printing company to produce a brochure with multiple pages, you may encounter the issue of ‘creep’ or ‘push out’ when sending your documents to the printer. This phenomenon occurs when several sheets of paper have been folded at once, forcing those sheets located in the centre to travel further around the spine. This also causes the sheets located on the outside to be shorter. From the printer standpoint, this can make the process very complicated when it’s time for the document to be trimmed.


Many customers wonder whether they have to supply their documents to a printing company with ‘bleed’ already inserted. Bleed occurs when a document is printed at a slightly bigger size than is required, and then trimmed to its original size when printing has finished. Most printing companies will require bleed to be inserted prior to sending your documents.

Using Images from the Internet

When considering the use of images from the internet in your print materials, it’s recommended that you do so with caution. If the image you are considering for use in your documents is too large to view unless you zoom out, it is likely suitable for printing. Simply choosing a web image with 72 dpi (dots per inch) that is exactly the size you need it at its maximum is too low in resolution, and will be pixelated and blurry once printed.

Type of Print Material

Although the material you choose for your printing is – and should be – a personal choice, there are some considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, the materials you choose will depend on the purpose of the final product. For instance, if you are having a flyer, brochure or leaflet printed, a material that’s been coated with some sort of gloss or silk is best, as these will hold colour well. Also, the vibrancy of colour can be assured when this type of material is used.

Items that will come in contact with pen ink, such as letterhead, should be printed onto material that both uncoated and porous. This will ensure that any pen ink will be absorbed efficiently, preventing smudging.

Getting Special Effects with Special Inks

There’s no better way to get attention than with special effects. And when printing labels, whether it is for a line of products or security labels, one of the easiest ways to get those special effects is by using ink. Special effects draw attention to one or more aspects of a label, and can be used on several different label types. Some of these specialised inks are covered below.

Thermochromic Ink

Although they may be thought of as novelty inks, thermochromic ink is actually quite useful. This type of ink is affected by temperature. One example is an ink that changes colour when the desired coolness of a beverage is achieved. Thermochromic ink can also be used to prevent burns, changing colour when a liquid has cooled to a safe temperature.

Thermochromic inks are typically not as vibrant as their pigmented counterparts because their pigment is protected inside a capsule, which itself takes up volume. As well, the capsule itself doesn’t contain any colour. This means that printing with thermochromic ink requires a high film weight.

Pearlescent Ink

Pearlescent ink is available in a vast range of effects and colours. This type of ink prints best using a flexographic or screen unit due to the particle size of its pigments. This type of ink contains natural mica flake covered with metallic oxide, usually iron oxide or titanium). The nature of this specialised ink can be seen when rays of light are reflected onto the paint, and then refracted and scattered. The visual qualities of pearls can be seen when light interacts with these multiple surfaces.

Phosphorescent Ink

Otherwise known as ‘glow in the dark’, phosphorescent ink is using in all manner of applications. Phosphorescent ink glows in the dark once it’s been ‘charged’ by holding it up to some sort of light source.

The pigments in this ink are photo-luminescent. They absorb energy from any ambient light source, and can be recharged any number of times. Although the ink itself is transparent, the glow that its photoluminescent pigments emit can last as long as two hours. Phosphorescent ink usually appears to be green or blue in colour, with the green-coloured ink offering a much more intense glow than the blue. The highest quality glow-in-the-dark effect can be obtained when this ink is screen printed or printed using a flexographic process.

Photochromic Ink

UV light is the stimulant for this ink type, which changes from a clear appearance to coloured when hit by the sun’s rays. To be more specific, the effect of photochromic ink is triggered by long-wave UV rays. When an object printed with photochromic ink has been removed from sunlight, its colour will gradually return to its former state. Because this type of special effect ink is transparent, it is generally recommended that printing occur over an opaque white substrate for the maximum effect.

Fluorescent Ink

Fluorescent ink draws attention to anything on which it is printed due to its incredibly bright and vibrant hues. Fluorescent ink can provide a vintage feel, add zest to a design or be used on children’s products. This type of ‘neon’ ink is also available in different formulations where printing on dark colours is required.

Reflective Ink

This type of ink, when exposed to a focused beam of light will reflect a glittering bright image at the light source. Reflective ink contains millions of light-reflective microspheres and is best suited for applications where safety is a concern. Some examples of reflective ink include those found on athletic pants, police jackets and construction worker vests.

Leaflet vs. Flyer – What’s The Difference?

One eternal argument that continues to take place is what differentiates a leaflet from a flyer. In fact, many companies who offer the printing of both types of advertising are often asked the difference between the two. Most unfortunate is the fact that the terms ‘leaflet’ and ‘flyer’ are used interchangeably, making the situation even more confusing. This is because flyers and leaflets have many of the same characteristics, including:

  • That they are printed sheets containing information of a promotional nature;

  • That they are both used to promote events, special offers and product sheets;

  • That they are very low in cost to have printed.

In addition to the above similarities, flyers and leaflets are both essentially ‘disposable’ types of advertising, being thrown away once their short term of usefulness has ended. However, the lifespan of the information contained on a flyer is usually far shorter than that contained within a leaflet.

Appearances and Cost

In the case of flyers, there is usually little in the way of graphics or design; because they are designed to grab the attention of as many people as possible. The flyer is usually printed on brightly coloured paper that is of all-purpose weight, such as A6 paper.

The leaflet is usually more professionally-designed, with far more thought given to its content. The leaflet can also be printed on coloured paper or in colour. However, the weight of the paper leaflets are printed on is often different from the weight used to print flyers, usually A4 or A5.

Due to the differences in paper weight, a leaflet will cost more to print than a flyer. As well, leaflets will cost more to print because they contain more elements and colours in its design than the majority of flyers do.

Then and Now

In the old days, a flyer would refer to a printed sheet that was used to promote events like concerts, special club theme nights and the like. If you’ve ever heard of something called a Club Flyer, then you are well aware of what the term ‘flyer’ used to mean. A leaflet was usually used to communicate some sort of information or advertising for charities and political parties.

Today, leaflets and flyers are described totally differently. The flyer is now described as a single and unfolded sheet of paper that’s been printed on one or both sides which contain some kind of advertising information. The usual paper weight for leaflets is 300-350gsm.

The modern brochure is also a single and unfolded sheet of paper that can be printed on one or both sides. It can be flat or folded, and contains both marketing and advertising information. The typical weight for paper being used for the printing of leaflets is 130, 150 or 170gsm.

Who Should Print Which Type of Document

If you run a business like a pizza shop or nightclub, then a flyer is likely the right advertising medium for you. However, if you are a corporate business, you may wish to consider a leaflet to communicate your message. Of course, there is no one type of advertising that is only suited to one business; a flyer can work just as well for a corporate business as it would a nightclub or pizza shop.


Understanding the difference between leaflets and flyers is especially important where pricing is concerned. This is because the VAT can be applied differently, depending on which one is chosen.

Regardless of the type of advertising selected for printing, a quality company can ensure that you receive the right number of flyers or leaflets on time.

Understanding Thermal Printing Types

If printing your own labels from a roll, there is more than one type of printing available: thermal and non-thermal. When trying to choose between them, it is best to understand the differences between both types.

Direct Thermal

This type of roll label printer does not require any toner, ink or ribbon to print labels. Instead, a chemically-treated material turns to black when the print head transfers heat to the label’s surface. This type of printer is not able to print in colour. As well, the black colour generated by a direct thermal printer can fade over time. If exposed to large amounts of heat or light, the label can darken, making it unreadable. In cases where barcodes are printed with the direct thermal process, the code can become unreadable and/or not able to be scanned following excessive heat and light exposure.

Direct thermal printing is not recommended for applications where long-term label readability is required or heavy-duty security labels are needed. However, this type of printing is suitable for barcode applications like those used for shipping, name tags and receipts.

Thermal Transfer

Thermal transfer label printers use a ribbon to apply ink to the surface of a label. This type of printer also uses a thermal print head. However, the print head applies heat to the ribbon, thereby melting the ink and distributing it onto the label. Once distributed, the ink is absorbed into the label. The quality of labels printed with the thermal transfer process is very high. In addition, this printing method also offers a high degree of durability. As well, thermal transfer printers can print in colour.

A thermal transfer printer can also be used to print on a variety of label materials, unlike their direct thermal counterparts. Moreover, labels that have been printed in this manner are also very durable. This is due to the fact that environmental factors like excessive light and heat will not affect these labels. They can even withstand contact with chemicals. If needing labels to identify products, label assets or for inventory, thermal transfer is the solution. This type of printing is also well-suited to the printing of any bar code labels which need to be readable and able to be scanned for six months or longer.

What to Consider Before You Buy

When considering the purchase of thermal printer, the most important thing to consider is what kinds of labels you will be printing. For example, do you plan to use your printer on a continuous basis, and if so, will overheating become a consideration? Those planning to purchase a thermal printer for use in busy retail environments may want to ensure the printer they choose is able to handle a high capacity of labels.

Connectivity is another consideration when thinking about purchasing a thermal printer. Most point-of-sale units are technologically-advanced as well as sensitive. That being said, printers are needed which can meet those standards. Another consideration is the ease of use of the interface. Can it be easily connected with other elements of the system, and will it be compatible with older versions?

How fast the printer is able to print and at what resolution is another item to consider. The resolution is sufficient at 2013 dots per inch when receipts are being printed that include barcodes. Greater DPI requirements will mean that a different printer will be needed. Thermal printers are available in both 300 and 600 DPI resolutions.

Noise level can be another consideration. Here as well, thermal printer brands will differ. Taking the time to consider the above factors will result in a purchase that’s perfect for your application.