No matter what it is that you are looking to print, before you can begin the production process, you need to create some artwork. ‘Artwork’ refers to the graphic design that will form the foundation of your printed materials; from a basic text by-line to a sophisticated design complete with photographs, logos and the written word.

There are a number of options available to you when creating artwork, depending on how complicated your project is and how professional you need the final product to turn out. The following guide outlines your choices.

Create your own artwork

One of the main benefits of producing your own artwork is that it doesn’t cost you a penny! You have the final say over how the product turns out, and can refine the design as much as you like. The problem with creating artwork yourself however is that it can sometimes have a very amateur look (unless you are already an experienced designer).  Also, without the right software, your homemade designs may lack that recognisable professional finish. While this matters less when producing materials for informal purposes, you don’t want to end up with important business materials that don’t meet design standards. But don’t let that put you off! There is a wealth of information out there on creating artwork of your own that a professional designed would be proud of.

Nearly everyone has some software preinstalled on their PC that can be used to create simple designs. Microsoft Word and PowerPoint make it simple to create short documents that incorporate images and text side by side, and Microsoft Publisher is prefect for tackling more difficult designs. Just make sure to check with the print shop that they accept the file format you are using, to avoid a nasty surprise when you submit a job. In order to print from any of the three programs the final artwork must be converted to a PDF file. This seems straightforward enough until you find that when converted there are certain elements of your design which can alter. In particular background colours especially tints tend to disappear. This is why we prefer that you save the document to PDF before sending it to us. Font problems can arise with all these three programs which is another reason for us receiving a PDF from you, especially if a non generic file issued in the deign, which maybe native to Microsoft, but it we don’t have the same font equivalent, then this is when errors can happen.

If your design is light on text, you may find it easier to use image-editing software to create your printed materials. Most computers come with basic image editing tools, and some even allow you to add text to any design, allowing you to create artwork with little effort. If you don’t already have image manipulation software installed, There are free image manipulation software on the market, others such ‘Paint’ or Serif Photo Plus’ which have their uses but can be basic and the end result be more of a hobbyist styled design for a more professional finish, Adobe Photoshop is recommended. Professional graphic designers use much more high-end bespoke software such as Adobe In-Design, and Adobe Illustrator, these packages are all respected as the best software the world over.

Use pre-existing templates

Microsoft does have design templates that at least get you started. The problem is that you are stuck within the confines of the template. And worse still, you may find that local competitors have the same idea, and you end up with printed materials that are not distinctive in the marketplace. We do provide artwork templates that you can download from our website. All you have to do is select the right one for you and simply import you design to it to make sure it follows the correct guidelines – so its ready for print. While you have to have already created the design yourself, it does make sure that the resolution is correct, any folds are in the correct position and it shows where the bleed edge is needed.

Alternatively if all of this is too much for you, then you may want to consider hiring a professional graphic designer who knows what they are doing.