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PDF Guidelines



Our prefered format is PDF, output to the PDFx-1a standard. This is an industry standard preset and comes pre-installed on Adobe and Quark applications.

If required, application presets can be found and downloaded via the Ghent



We can also accept native files:

  • Adobe InDesign

  • Adobe Illustrator

  • Quark Xpress


If supplying native files, please ‘Package’ or ‘Collect for Output’ including all images and fonts. This will make sure that all elements of your artwork are supplied to us.


Image Resolution

An acceptable resolution for print is 300dpi, anything lower than this will start to affect print quality. Images with a higher dpi will not necessarily increase the quality, but will substantially increase the file size of the created PDF.

  • 300dpi /ppi for greyscale & colour images

  • 600-1200dpi/ppi for line art


It is a good working practice to remove all unwanted colour swatches from your colour pallet before exporting to PDF, this will ensure that only the intended colours will be included on the final PDF.


Anything other than the intended printing colours (CMYK or CMYK+Spot etc) will be converted to CMYK when the file is processed.


Please be aware that the conversion of RGB to CMYK may result in a slight colour shift, this is due to the RGB colour space having a much larger colour gamut. This is worth keeping in mind for colour consistency and corporate colours etc.


Pantone & Transparencies

Care needs to be taken when using transparency and pantone colour spaces. It is good practice to have text on a separate layer to the graphic elements. This will help avoid any unwanted flattening results of vector and bitmap images. It is also important to have any colours under the transparency to be converted to CMYK before creating the PDF.


Output Profile

Output profiles or destination profiles colour manage the output of your pdf, targeting your intended print condition. For example, if your pdf’s are to be printed on an UnCoated paper, then an UnCoated profile would be required.


Our recomended profiles are availiable below

  • Uncoated - PSO_Uncoated_ISO12647_eci.icc

  • Coated - ISOcoated_v2_eci.icc


Please contact us if you would like further advice on colour managment and profiles.


Prepress Department

Tel: 01747 856177




All fonts need to be fully embedded or embedded as a subset. Fonts that are not embedded in a pdf correctly will not maintain the original design and may result in missing characters or letters and overflowed text.



Minimum of 3mm bleed is required.



Cutter guides, Spot UV’s and Embossing

Please supply cutter guides, spot UV and embossing as a spot colour clearly named appropriately.


Adobe Acrobat Pro

Acrobat Reader is free to download via Adobe’s website, but does not have the production tools that the full version (Acrobat Pro) does. These tools can be invaluable for checking for potential problems with your pdf’s that may cause delays or additional costs. Below are two examples.

  • Output Preview - This is a very useful tool for inspecting your finished pdf’s. It can be used to check that your pdf has the correct separtions, simulate overprint and display the intended output profile is, i.e ISOcoated_v2_eci.icc

  • Preflight - Acrobat Pro comes pre-installed with industry standard preflight settings. Preflighting your files is a very good way of checking your pdf’s integrity and that the pdf has been output correctly, however it can also be a little overwhelming in the returned results at first, but once mastered can be very powerful.

Perfect Binding ‘Hinge’ Allowance


On All perfect bound products you have what can be called a ‘hinge’. This is a 7mm wide area that runs down the spine edge of the product. The cover is glued to the first and last page of text and not only holds all the pages in place, but gives strength to the binding.


Due to this any image that falls inside the 7mm strip of hinge will be lost.


Single pages

We advise that single pages should have a binding gutter of 10mm.



To compensate for the loss of 7mm to each side of the spread, we advise that the pages are step and repeated and moved outwards 7mm.


Internal Spreads

These can be handled in exactly the same method. However, instead of moving the pages out by 7mm, 3mm is normally sufficient.


Example Below

The red area in Image 1 demonstrates how much of each page will be lost in the hinge of the job. Image 2 clearly shows how the stripes of the zebra no longer line up correctly, due to the loss of 14mm in the hinge. Image 3 shows what the pages look like after having the images step and repeated out 7mm each side, with Image 4 showing that the zebra stripes now line up correctly.

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