What can cause printing issues?

We use the latest technology for the highest quality printing, however there are some issues that should be avoided. Please check the following issues before placing your order and uploading files.


Transparencies can sometimes cause issues when your design is processed through prepress software.

These problems can often be avoided by using shades of a colour, instead of transparency (for example: instead of setting a black colour object to 10% transparency, set the ink values to CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 10). Also see: Can I use Pantone (or spot) colours?


Overprinting is similar to the “Multiply” effect – but often will not preview in a PDF file. White objects that are set to overprinting will not print, so it is always best to check that no objects are set to overprint. Using “multiply” has a similar effect as overprinting without the preview issue.

When viewing and exporting your design and press-ready files, ensure that “Overprint Preview” is turned on.


Borders close to the edge don't cause errors, but it can lead to an unwanted finished product. Any slight shifting that occurs during the printing and trimming process are more visible when there is a border running along the edge. We recommend borders, if required, be at least 0.25 inches away from the trim line.

Safety Margin

Important text or graphics too close to the trim line. See: Bleed and safety margin


We recommend converting all fonts to paths (outlined) or flattening artwork before uploading, as this causes the least issues with fonts.

If fonts are not outlined, they can become corrupt and cause an unwanted output in print.

Although not recommended, you may also choose to embed the fonts in your PDF file. If fonts are not embedded correctly in the PDF file, they may not appear correctly or change to a “default” font.


We recommend using CMYK black (0, 0, 0, 100).

For large areas of solid black, you can use ‘rich black’ for a deeper black. We recommend a CMYK breakdown of 60, 40, 40, 100 for rich black. We do not recommend using rich black with grey colours, gradients or screened versions of rich-black.

Using an RGB black (ie. CMYK 75, 68, 67, 90) or other black values may cause an unwanted or unexpected output – the colour can shift to a black that has a brown, red, grey or blue tint to it (depending on the values).

Ensure your artwork is in CMYK mode before making adjustments to colours.

If you are using Adobe Creative Suite, please ensure that you check your preferences and ensure that ‘Appearance of Black’ is set to ‘Display All Blacks Accurately’ and ‘Output All Blacks Accurately’; and ‘Overprint [Black] Swatch at 100%’ is not checked.

Heavy Coverage and Registration Black

Designs should not have areas of ink coverage over 300% (heavy coverage) will be rejected by our production department. The wide range of colours available with CMYK printing should not require areas of coverage over 300%.

The coverage means the total amount of ink being applied – for example a green colour with values C: 75, M: 5, Y: 100, K: 20 has a coverage of 200% (75 + 5 + 100 + 20). Only CMYK values can be used to calculate coverage (not RGB or Lab).

Registration Black means that all inks are being applied at 100% (C: 100, M: 100, Y: 100, K: 100) – a total coverage of 400%.

Areas with ink coverage over 300% will causes issues with inks mixing and drying correctly.

Files containing registration or heavy black, or coverage over 300% will be rejected by our production department. The reason is that too much ink is being applied in one area and the ink won’t dry properly on the press sheets. This can cause set-off where the ink of a still wet sheet rubs off on whatever is stacked on top of it.

Gradients and Banding

See: Gradients and Banding


When using grey in your design we recommend using greyscale black (without any Cyan, Magenta or Yellow ink). Grey colours that have cyan, magenta or yellow ink can shift to appear off-grey (such as blueish-grey). In Adobe Photoshop, convert the Colour Mode to ‘Greyscale’. In Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, use colour values within the range: C: 0, M: 0, Y: 0, K: 0-100.

Large areas of grey are not recommended for Digital Output printing as they appear streaked when printed (this is also called "banding"). You may want to order from our Premium Grey product line (grey cardstock) as an alternative to printing a full grey background.

Royal Blue / Purple Colour Range

Blue and purple colours, especially in the royal blue to dark purple colour range, can be problematic and shift within the range.

See: Blue/purple colour issues

Reversed type

When reversed type gets printed, the ink has a tendency to spread into the type.

If the typeface you want to use is available in different weights, choosing a bold or black variant is a good idea. With thicker stems and strokes, the spreading of ink has less effect on the legibility of the text.

The text should be large enough.

If you use a serif font, some of the sharp edges of the serifs may disappear. Some serif fonts have thin horizontal strokes which may clog up. In general sans serif fonts are more suitable for reversed type.

Don’t use script fonts for reversed type. Usually these typefaces are so delicate that the printed result will be unreadable.


It is possible for ink to flake off the paper in areas where the document is folded. Large solid areas may need to be moved to areas of the design where folding doesn't occur.

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