Designing  Graphics For Print?




Whether it’s for a high end trade show, or a small pull up banner for the office,  you’re in luck, we’ve got some tips and tricks to share…


You’ve got a design in the works, or approval for the final design and it’s now time to send it off for printing! But printing is not always as straight forward as clicking file – print – ok. 

It is important to set your file up correctly, otherwise the printing result could be detrimental! Not to worry though, this page will have all the steps and tips needed to help prepare your file. 


Below you will find out about:
  • Recommended software 
  • Setting up your file for a print project – safe visual, page size, bleed
  • Crop marks
  • Colour space 
  • Image quality 
  • Text and logos 
  • Export settings 
  • Common issues 
  • Extra resources 






Recommended Software:

The Adobe Creative Cloud suite is the industry standard for design and print professionals. With powerful programs like InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, the Adobe suite offers capabilities for all your design and print needs.

At Spyder, we rely on the Adobe Creative Cloud because it provides the best tools and systems for creating high quality and large scale designs for print. Whether you’re designing graphics for web, or print, the Adobe suite has the features and functionality to get the job done right.

When it comes to design and print, we’re like the cool kids at the lunch table – we know all the right software to use. And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned InDesign session? 

Now, we know what you’re thinking – “But what about those other programs, like Affinity, CorelDRAW, and Canva?” Well, let’s just say they’re the quirky cousins of the design world. Sure, they can get the job done, but they’re just not as cool as good ol’ Adobe.

Canva, for example, is like the awkward younger sibling who’s great at web design and small-scale printing, but wouldn’t know a bleed line if it hit them in the face.

So, if you’re looking to create some killer designs and get them printed to perfection, trust us, we’ve got your back. Just don’t try to use Canva for anything more than a quick social media post, or we might have to stage an intervention.

In all seriousness, we are here to provide extra help and advice regardless of the software you are working with! 

Spyders Recommendations: 

  • Indesign – great for setting files up for print, vector graphics
  • Illustrator – great for creating artwork, vector graphics
  • Photoshop – great for creating artwork, great for designs that have blended/ fade/ gradient design elements, but not vectorised!


Vector graphics, which are images built using mathematical formulas, rather than pixels, offer a distinct advantage over raster graphics. The key difference is that vector graphics can be scaled up or down without losing quality or resolution. This means that vector artwork can be made as big or as small as needed, and it won’t pixelate or become blurry.

Raster graphics, on the other hand, are made up of a fixed grid of pixels. This means that raster images need to be created at a specific size to maintain their quality. If a raster image is enlarged beyond its original size, the individual pixels become visible, resulting in a pixelated or blurry appearance.






Setting Up Your File: Safe Visual, Page Size and Bleed:

Alright, listen up folks! Are you tired of sending your print files to the pros only to have them come back looking like a hot mess? Well, buckle up, because I’m about to teach you how to set up a file for print that’ll make even the grumpiest printer shed a tear of joy.

First things first, let’s talk about page dimensions. You know those spec sheets Spyder Displays gives you? Yeah, those aren’t just for decoration, my friends. Make sure your page size matches what is specified on there, or you’ll end up with a final product that looks like it was designed by a toddler with a crayon.

But wait, there’s more! This “safe visual area” – it’s not just a suggestion, it’s a demand. This space is needed, so your important info is going to end up looking like it’s doing the twist wrapping around the product frames. So, listen to the pros and give them that extra space.

And let’s not forget about the bleed. Yep, you heard me right – bleed. No, it’s not some kind of medical condition, it’s the extra bit of artwork that extends beyond the edge of the page. Trust me, you want at least 50mm of this bad boy. You see, those pesky printers and sewing team like to take a little nibble around the edges, and if you don’t leave them enough room you may loose some of your content, or end up with a print that’s too small. 

If you’re still confused, we understand… designers are visual people. Check out our examples below:



Crop Marks:


So let’s all agree to keep it simple, shall we? Just a few modest crop marks in the corners. No need to plaster colour bars, and tiny print marks hidden all around the artwork… just for the designers to pull their hair out trying to get rid of later. 






Colour Space:

Alright, listen up you colourful bunch of creatives – it’s time to talk about the wild and wacky world of colour spaces! You might think colour is as simple as black and white, but to us designers, it’s like navigating a maze blindfolded while juggling chainsaws. Seriously, it’s a whole other level of complexity.

Now, let’s get one thing straight – when you’re creating artwork for print, you need to set that sucker up in CMYK, not RGB. Why, you ask? Well, it’s like trying to make a cake with only the frosting – it just ain’t gonna work.

See, those bright, fluorescent colours you love so much? They might look great on your screen, but a printer will not have a bar of it. If you secretly give us an RGB file and we try and print it on our CMYK printers, that pretty blue in your artwork may come out as an ugly purple. 

So, please, for the love of all things design, remember that printing is done in CMYK – that’s Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. A little dash of each of these creates the entire printing colour spectrum. 

Now you’ve heard about CMYK this, and RGB that, but you’re probably wondering about the HEX and PMS colours written on your company’s brand guide. Firstly HEX is okay, it’s just a cheat code, so designers can be lazy and not have to type out all the CMYK numbers, but it’s not always as reliable. PMS colours are you best friend in the print industry! At Spyder we always ask for your company’s PMS colours, as this is a universal colour system that will help us make sure we all have the same colour in mind and print it correctly. 

Lastly, you want a rich black in your artwork. There’s no need to over do it, unless you want the ink dripping down your print. C20 M20 Y20 K100 is plenty! you can’t get any richer then that! We recommend a standard black of 0,0,0,100 or a rick black with a max of 20, 20, 20, 100.

If you have a brand style guide please send it our way when sending your artwork through! 





Image Quality:

Image quality is paramount when it comes to design, capable of elevating your work or undermining it entirely. Using high-resolution, sharp images is crucial, ensuring they are large enough for your intended display. While an image might appear fine on a small screen, zooming in to full scale reveals any pixelation that could detract from your design. For optimal results, aim for images with a physical size that matches the size of the product. Generally, a 300 dpi image at a quarter scale or a 72 dpi image at full scale are good targets, though the quality of your original image will influence the best approach.

If purchasing images online, always opt for the largest file size available. Don’t hesitate to share image choices with us before committing to purchase; we can offer expert advice on suitability for your design and product. Even if your initial images are of lower quality, don’t despair! Powerful tools like Photoshop and Illustrator can often be used to enhance and salvage images, bringing them up to the standard needed for your projects.





Text and Logos:

As mentioned earlier… Vectorised artwork is the way to go! If possible create your text in software that uses a vector system. If you are not using a vector system, ensure your file and design elements are set up to the correct size so they don’t pixelate. 

Logos, logos everywhere! It’s like a logo-palooza out there! And let me tell you, if your logo ain’t high-res, you might as well be rocking a Sharpie scribble on a napkin.

Seriously, we’re talking vectorised files here – .pdf, .eps, .Ai. These bad boys are the Beyoncés of the logo world. They’ll look sharp no matter how big or small you make them. Meanwhile, those .jpg and .png logos? They’re the backup dancers, trying their best but always a little blurry and pixelated around the edges.





Export Settings:

Ah, the age-old dilemma of export settings – the bane of every designer’s existence! It’s like trying to navigate a minefield, but instead of explosives, it’s a veritable labyrinth of file formats, compressions, print marks and colour settings.

First things first, let’s talk about the file name. Designers are not code-breakers, guys. We need something that makes sense, not a jumbled mess of numbers and letters that looks like it was generated by a drunk robot. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and make it descriptive.

Now, onto the file format. PDF (print format), the holy grail of file types for us at Spyder.  Just make sure you’ve got that bleed activated and those crop marks in place. We wouldn’t want your masterpiece to get sent back now, would we?

And let’s not forget the proofing process. Triple-check, quadruple-check, heck, check it until your eyes start to cross. Because the last thing you want is to send over a file with a glaring mistake that makes the designer want to pull their hair out (or worse, send it back to you).

So, there you have it. Export settings! Now, go forth and export with confidence, my fellow designers!





Common Issues: 

Ah, the joys of working with clients! At Spyder, we’ve seen it all – from artwork created in Microsoft Word, to files so massive they take three working days to download. Fun fact: we even have a chart on the wall to see who provided the largest file of the year. Don’t worry, we’re not naming names, but let’s just say we hope you don’t make it onto that prestigious list!

Now, let’s dive into some common issues we’ve encountered, shall we? 

  • First up, the size of your file. Listen, we get it, you want your images to be high-quality, but that doesn’t mean they need to be the size of a small country. Try creating your artwork at 1/4 size – it will make it a breeze to transfer, and we promise, it will still look amazing.


  • Speaking of artwork, please, for the love of all things design, don’t create it in Microsoft Word. We know you’re a whiz at PowerPoint, but when it comes to graphic design, leave it to the professionals – the graphic designers at Spyder, that is.


  • And while we’re on the topic of design, let’s talk about special effects. They might look great on your screen, but the printer? Not so much. Unless it’s flattened artwork, it’s best to steer clear.


  • Now, let’s talk about QR codes. Make sure you’re using a reputable generator, and check that they don’t expire! We don’t want your audience to be left scratching their heads, wondering where that code leads.


  • Oh, and don’t forget about scale. We’ve had clients send us designs that were perfect for a postage stamp, but not so much for a 6m trade show display. Think about the final product, guys!


  • Next, don’t wait until the last minute. We know you’re busy, but trust us, this process can take time. So, give us a heads up, and we’ll make sure your design is perfect.


  • The final design is the culmination of all your hard work, so it’s crucial to get it right! Take a moment to carefully review every detail. Make sure there’s no silly mistakes! 


  • Is your design suited to your display? If it’s for a trade show, will the design be obstructed by tables or other elements? Is the text the right size and easily readable? Are your images clear and properly placed? 


  • It’s important that everyone involved is happy with the final product, so gather feedback and address any concerns. Once the design goes to print, there’s no turning back, so make sure it’s perfect! 


  • And remember, if you need any assistance along the way, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re here to help and make sure your design is flawless! 



Finally to close, if you hate reading are are just here for the picture and the tutorials, here you go. Here’s some links to some extra info, basic tutorials and our Youtube where you can find out more about Spyder and our products! 


How to set up bleed


How to res up images in photoshop 


How to res up images in photoshop video


Understanding colour 


Spyder displays on Youtube