Fine art printing file set-up guide

Fine art printing is a little different to most types of printing (commercial, offset, letterpress – etc) so we’ve put together some information to help you get started.

Getting your files ready for print requires a few basic steps, though we’re always happy to prepare your files for you for a small fee ($2.50 per image, or $80 per hour for large volume orders). If you’re keen to save some coin, we’ve provided some tools & tips to help you to do it yourself.

Fine art printing file set-up:

If you’re familiar with Photoshop, you can use our templates to ensure your image is within our printable area. There are two options: our maximum printable area, or an even 15mm border on every side.

The large format printing process isn’t designed for full bleed printing on pre-cut sheets (A5-A2) so your files must have a border included in the canvas size. These measurements indicate the printable area for each sheet size (or see our templates):

  • A4: 26.6 by 20.3cm
  • A3: 39.1 by 28.9cm
  • A2: 55.8 by 40.6cm

Want to print full bleed? No problem.

We can produce full bleed prints and prints with smaller borders than our printer dictates, but this will change the size of the media we print on and therefore your print cost.

File checklist for fine art printing:

  • Images are sized to your final print size, including border
  • Your files are in TIF, JPEG or PSD/Photoshop document format
  • Your files are either 8 bit or 16 bit
  • Your files are in the RGB colour space
  • Your files have a resolution of 300ppi or higher at final print size

Things to avoid:

  • Overbleed: please don’t supply files with overbleed, as we will have to remove it from your files before we go to print (which will attract a set-up fee). We do not use overbleed because we avoid trimming through an inked area – doing so can leave a messy edge.
  • PDF files: We don’t accept PDF‘s for our print output purposes. This is because we output all files through Photoshop, and PDF‘s are notoriously buggy when managed through Photoshop- the colours are often untrue to the original source file which is definitely not what we want! They can also be lossy with font/pattern/texture elements.
  • Crop marks: we don’t use crop marks because we don’t work with overbleed in fine art printing. Please leave crop marks out, and if need be we’ll add a stroke around your image as a trimming guide (this will be trimmed off the final print).
Fine art printing guide & FAQ

Frequently asked questions

If you can’t find the answer you’re after here, do contact us! We’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

What resolution should my files be?

For best results, files should have a resolution of 300ppi or higher at the final print size (without any upscaling – this doesn’t increase the sharpness of an image, just creates more pixels). If we have concerns about the resolution of your image, we’ll contact you prior to printing. If you have questions regarding how large you can print an image please get in touch – we can either advise you via email or arrange a consultation to discuss your options.

How do I send you my files?

We accept files via Dropbox Request. It’s super simple, secure, and you don’t need a Dropbox account to send files to us.  We’ll also accept direct link (you send us a link to where-ever your files are hosted). Too easy! If you prefer to send us your files using different method, that’s fine too – just let us know where we can find them.

What if my files aren’t print ready?

A nominal fee of $2.50 per image (or $80 per hour for large volume orders – billed in 15 minute/$20 increments) will be added to your final invoice should you prefer that we take care of file preparation, or if the files we receive require adjustments before going to print. If your files are already print ready when we receive them, this fee is waived.

How long will my order take to print?

Orders are typically completed within two to three business days.  Large orders may take longer, but we will give you an estimated turn around time as soon as we’ve evaluated your order and keep you updated as your job progresses.

If you have an urgent job or need something rushed last minute, we we will always do our absolute best to help you out – get in touch and we’ll do our best to make it happen.

Do you offer test prints?

Yes, we do! Test prints are offered as an A4 print and are advised if you are considering placing an order for a very large print, or a large volume of prints. We also recommend getting a test print prior to placing your order if you are concerned about how a particular image’s colour or resolution will translate to print. If you’d like to organise a test print, let us know!

How are prints packed for postage?

A5 to A3 sized sheet prints are packed in archival polypropylene sleeves and mailed with a supportive backing board/s inside a custom-sized mailer box. If you need envelopes, sleeves or backing boards, we also sell these in A-series sizes.

Roll prints are delivered rolled carefully in an archival poly film and shipped in strong mailing tubes (we do not use tissue as it can create friction with the printed area).

A2+ prints will be delivered either rolled or flat, depending on your preference. All orders are sent out via Australia Post eParcel and all will require a signature on delivery. Express Post is available also – please let us know if you’d prefer this service.

For urgent orders that are to be delivered within the Melbourne metropolitan area, we prefer to use Momentum Messenger and we can provide you with a delivery estimate upon request.

Do you offer student and concession discounts?

Art services must be accessible to all artists. Get in touch if you’re a student or have a current healthcare or seniors card and we’ll apply a standing discount to your customer account.

Do you offer trade prices?

Trade makes up 100% of our client base – we deal directly with artists, so essentially our advertised prices are our trade prices. Fine art printing is quite a labor intensive process in terms of file output adjustments, paper handling, trimming and packing. As such we can’t (and in some cases, won’t for quality reasons), automate our processes, which is why we can’t offer trade discounts like more commercial print companies can. Furthermore, we won’t compromise in relation to the materials we choose to work with. Being a small operation our practice is very hands-on, something that is reflected in the quality we are able to provide.

Do you print business cards, invitations, zines, etc?

The short answer is no. Fine art printing/ Giclée printing isn’t well suited to any application that will see a lot of handling as the paper marks very easily, so for this reason we don’t offer these services. However, we can always direct you to other local business who specialise in these things. And if you’re after riso printing, our studio mate Helio Press can help you out!

Can you frame my prints, or organise to have my prints framed?

We are a very small operation and unfortunately don’t have the resources to coordinate all aspects of a printing/fulfilment/framing/service – and we aren’t trained in this area, so we leave it up to the experts.  We can refer you to some great framing services across varying price points, however, so do ask us for our recommendations!