File Type and Size Guide for Printing
Creating artwork files for print is probably the major step from turning those creative ideas in your head into a finished work of art! To make sure you’ve got everything you need to know to successfully upload your files to our online proofing tool, we’ve at Lightning Prints have created this handy file type and size guide.
We’ll cover everything from accepted file types, file size limits and a few sneaky FAQs that’ll make setting up and saving your artwork file a breeze.
File Types We Accept for Online Proofing
If you’re uploading your artwork through our website proofing tool, we recommend saving your file as a PDF or JPEG. This ‘flattens’ or embeds your design and helps keep all of your design elements, like text and images, from moving or changing when our designer at Lightning Prints runs an artwork check.
My File Type Isn’t JPEG or PDF! What Should I Do?
We know that different people like to create artwork in different ways, using different tools. So, we accept a range of file types to accommodate that! If you can’t save your artwork as a JPEG or PDF, or you’re struggling to upload online, you can email your artwork across to us after placing an order if it’s one of the following file types:
To email your artwork to our team:
- Email your artwork file to us at email@example.com with your order number as the subject line
- We’ll get back to you ASAP with a proof of your artwork to approve before we send it down to print – just to make sure we’ve got it set up just the way you want it!
What’s the Difference Between File Types?
Ever wondered when you should use a JPEG instead of a PNG? Unless you’re specifically trained in graphic design, the differences between the different image and artwork file types aren’t always common knowledge.
Here’s a quick definition of the most popular file formats we accept and when you might use them.
JPEG (or JPG) – Joint Photographic Experts Group
This is probably the most common file type across the web! JPEG files are commonly used for high-quality printing, but it’s important to make sure you save these files as high resolution (we recommend at least 300dpi).
PDF – Portable Document Format
If you’re using an Adobe design program like InDesign to create your artwork, the best way to save your file is as a PDF. They were created with the goal of capturing and reviewing rich information from any application, on any computer, with anyone, anywhere – making them a universal option.
PNG – Portable Network Graphics
PNGs are great for interactive documents like web pages – you can edit them and they don’t lose quality! However, they tend not to be very high quality to begin with, meaning they’re not always suitable for print. You can save PNG files with a transparent background, which is perfect for poster prints and stickers. This file is always in RGB colour format, meaning colours may slightly change when printed.
EPS – Encapsulated Postscript
EPS is a high-resolution vector file format that’s designed to be used for high-quality printing. It works in a similar way to a PDF but doesn’t necessarily need you to use an Adobe product to use it, making it perfect for designers who use alternative tools like Corel Draw or Quark.
TIFF – Tagged Image File
No matter how many times you copy and re-save this image file type, the resolution stays the same. TIFF files are also commonly used when saving photographs for print. TIFF files are significantly larger than JPEGs, meaning you would have to email this file type into us or send it online via WeTransfer.
This is the standard file format for Microsoft Word documents. Although we do accept this file type over email, you can usually save this kind of file as a PDF by going to Save As and choosing PDF, which embeds your fonts and reduces the risk of anything changing when we open it up on our end. This file is always in RGB colour format, meaning colours may slightly change when printed.
This is the standard file format for Microsoft PowerPoint documents. As above, we recommend saving this kind of document as a PDF, but we can accept it as it is if you send it over email. This file is always in RGB colour format, meaning colours may slightly change when printed.
File Size Limit for Online Proofing
If your file is over 20MB, you won’t be able to upload this through our website as it is too big for our upload tool to handle. Instead, email us your artwork file to us after placing an order, with your order reference number as the subject line and we’ll get back to you ASAP with a proof to approve.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do I Do if My File Size is Too Big?
As tempting as it is, if your file size is too big, you can compress the file size down, but no lower than 300dpi (or 150dpi for large format prints) as this can affect the overall quality. Instead, share artwork across to us via email or Google drive.
How Do I Make My File Size Smaller?
If you’re still struggling to email us your artwork, you can try to make your file smaller, however, be careful to keep the resolution at 300dpi or it will get flagged in our system and not printed, or it’ll get printed and look pixelated.
Every image editing program will have a way for you to change or resize the image. Here you can change the width/height or the resolution, which is normally dots per inch (DPI). Check this to see whether the resolution is higher than 300DPI and if so, you can lower it to 300DPI to reduce your file size.
What Products Can’t I Upload Artwork for Online?
For the majority of our products, you can upload your artwork online when you place the print item you want in your basket. However, some of our products are a little more complicated to set up and will need an extra check from our team. The following print items will need artwork emailing in after placing an order:
- Greeting Cards
- Presentation folders
Why Won’t My Artwork File Upload?
Artwork file not uploading right? Here are some of the reasons why this might be happening:
- File size over 20MB
- File type (we recommend PDF and JPEG)
- Special characters in the file name (e.g. &)
- Correct number of pages – if you need to split or combine your pages to upload, we recommend www.smallpdf.com
If your artwork still won’t upload and it isn’t one of the reasons above, try and upload it using Google Chrome, or using a private browser window.
And there you have it! That’s everything you need to know about print artwork file formats in a nutshell. If you’ve still got a burning question about file types and sizes, don’t hesitate to get in touch and a member of our friendly team at: 98267596 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or fill up this contact form here! We’re available from Mondays to Fridays, from 9am to 5.30pm!