Whilst we do offer an artwork service, it is obviously more economical for you if you are able to supply your own artwork ready to print. Below are some guidelines to help you prepare your artwork in a suitable format which will be easy for us to work with and which will produce the best quality prints.

Artwork needs to be submitted in a digital format. We can still accept hand drawn artwork, drawn on drafting film in solid black, but this will require extra processes to scan and clean up the artwork and prepare it for digital printing, which will significantly increase our charges.
Most artworks need to be supplied in vector graphic format and produced in a graphics program such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, the latter being our program of choice. We can also accept PDF, Microsoft Word and Photoshop files, although Photoshop software should only be used in special circumstances. We have to convert all files we receive to CorelDraw format prior to printing.

The image opposite depicts a screen printed transfer which has been over-printed with a varnish “island”. Digitally printed transfers are printed directly onto varnish coated transfer paper and therefore it is not possible to print varnish “islands” around each decal. These types of transfers are perfect for very small and medium to large print runs. The results are comparable to screen printed transfers, with the advantage that there is no limit to the number of colours which can be printed, with additional colours incurring no extra penalty. They will have to cut out individually by hand prior to application.

Bitmap images should only used for multi colour photographic type images which can then be mixed with vector graphics within CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator for printing.

When preparing artwork, please note the following:

  • Draw all artwork in an RGB colour space. For more accurate colour matching, use Pantone spot colours which you have chosen from a Pantone colour reference book. Whilst our printing process can match many Pantone colours, some colours are out of gamut and are impossible to match accurately. However, we will always endeavour to print the most accurate colour possible. Black should always be drawn as RGB black (R:0, G:0, B:0). You may place all colours on a single layer labelled CMYK, or you can arrange them over multiple layers, which is useful for me if I am required to tweak the colours prior to printing.
  • White needs to be printed beneath all colours, so a layer labelled white backing needs to be drawn with the which consists of the white which will be printed beneath the colours.. It is preferable that it isn’t printed beneath black, and imperative that it isn’t printed beneath metallic colours. For best results ensure that black doesn’t sit on top of white as this can lighten the black slightly, making it appear more like a dark grey. You can use any colour which doesn’t conflict with the colours you have used in other parts of your artwork to represent white, but please ensure it is easy for me to alter as my printer requires a specific “special” spot colour to be used in order to recognise the instruction to print white.
  • Visible white (white areas which aren’t over printed with a colour, and are visible as plain white on the final prints) need to be printed on their own separate layer. This is imperative if the decals are to be applied to items which are strongly coloured, like bright red or on a very dark colour like black or deep blue. By placing this white on a separate layer it can be printed “extra opaque” so as the colour of your paintwork doesn’t bleed through. You can use any colour which doesn’t conflict with the colours you have used in other parts of your artwork to represent white, but please ensure it is easy for me to alter as my printer requires a specific “special” spot colour to be used in order to recognise the instruction to print white.
  • Metallic silver also needs to be drawn on a separate layer and in any solid colour of your choice. I later need to be able to change this colour easily to a special spot colour to enable my printer to recognise it.

We can print practically any metallic colour imaginable, including various shades of gold, copper and bronze. This is achieved by printing metallic silver first and then over-printing a spot colour. For bright metallic gold, which closely matches screen printed gold, use this CMYK colour combination: C:0, M: 18, Y:82, K:0. Copy this artwork to a separate layer labelled Silver-Mt and change the colour to a colour which doesn’t clash with any other parts of your artwork.

We understand these instructions may seem rather complicated, and we are always happy to advise and even undertake some of the work for you. Customers are very often unaware of the alterations we make to their submitted artwork to ensure it prints correctly. If you are uncertain of how best to to go about your artwork preparation, please ask us for advise. We very often don’t charge extra for artwork preparation as it is quite often a quick process for us to undertake. We will inform you if extensive work is required which will incur extra costs.

For instruction on ow to apply Digi-Decals waterslide transfers click here