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Artwork Setup

At The Distillery, we can produce your artwork with supply of a press friendly PDF. When designing artwork, please be aware of 5 important considerations:

1 – Letterpress = Letter + Press

  • You likely have chosen letterpress for the print impression into paper stock
  • Impression works best when letters and elements (not backgrounds), are pressed into paper
  • Large backgrounds of flat colour cannot be pressed into paper, and these ink colours print cloudy and mottled
  • We recommend using fills and solids sparingly

2 – Use PANTONE+ Solid Uncoated swatches

  • In Illustrator or InDesign, use PANTONE+ Solid Uncoated Swatches
  • All elements must be set as a spot colour from this library.
  • No letterpress elements may be set in CMYK or registration

3 – Avoid elements measuring <0.25pt

  • Please check your artwork for very thin lines, elements and terminals
  • We recommend avoiding setting type smaller than 4pt
  • For small non-script typography, consider tracking type +5 to compensate for impression

4 – Export PDF with 3mm bleed + Crop marks only

  • All elements reach which reach the edge of canvas, must be bled over by 3mm
  • Export your artwork with 3mm bleed, and crop marks, only
  • No bleed marks, no registration marks, no colour bars, no page info

5 – Expect CMYK digital print to move

Background of printing press registration:
  • CMYK Digital printing presses rely on suction – registration is never exact from print to print
  • Letterpress and Foil printing presses rely on gravity – registration is exact from print to print.
For your artwork:
  • Where you rely on CMYK, you must account for shifts of up to 3 mm in any direction
  • Therefore, do not design CMYK print to meet letterpress or foil printed elements at exact or parallel points.
  • CMYK must only be used for backgrounds where exact registration is not required. (example)


Finishing Techniques


  • Where possible supply images as vector artwork, set in a Pantone spot colour swatch
  • For photographs, a stylised single colour replication may be possible utilising a halftone screen comprising of dots. It is best to experiment settings for the best outcomes. In Photoshop, set Image > Mode > Greyscale. Adjust Image > Adjustments > Levels, maximising contrast white ensuring a volume of lighter white areas. Convert image to bitmap, Image > Mode > Bitmap, with 300 Pixels/Inch with Halftone Screen. Set Frequency between 60 and 120. Save as TIFF, then import into InDesign/Illustrator, applying your Pantone spot colour swatch onto the image.

White print on black paper stock

  • It is not possible to print opaque white ink onto black paper
  • Black paper stocks will always show through white ink
  • To achieve white on black, white foil must be stamped onto paper


  • Indicate foil areas with a separate spot colour swatch
  • Rename the spot colour swatch as the foil colour

Die-cutting & Creasing

  • Indicate cut paths with a 1pt Magenta colour
  • Indicate score paths with a 1pt Cyan colour

 Laser cutting

  • Set artwork as a single separate layer
  • Indicate cut or engrave paths with 0.001pt stroke only
  • Laser artwork cannot be set with fills

If you’d like further assistance, we’d love to help; Please telephone us on (02) 9360 9958.