It’s something of a bugbear that, when dealing with various business who want adverts making up, a surprising number of them do not seem to know how to supply their images and text in the required formats.

Many of them think that taking logos and other pictures from their websites is suitable, despite the fact that web images have often been downsized and made low-resolution. It is impossible to upsize an image once this has been done, and therefore when a small image is reproduced in print it can look pixellated.

If you are supplying logos and images to a designer, please ensure that you have the originals in all cases. If you think that the images on your website are the originals, believe me, they are not, unless they were taken on an ancient camera or someone altered their digital camera’s settings to the lowest resolution (and why would they do that?). If you don’t have an original copy of your business’s logo, go back to whoever created it – they should have the large-file version.

Another no-no on the list of things that annoy designers is supplying text and images in a Word document. You might have arranged it all nicely and neatly, but all the elements will only have to be extracted again, and the images almost certainly won’t be big enough.

So, if you’re a business looking to supply an advert to a publication, here is what I suggest:

  1. If you’re intending to supply ready-made artwork, find out what the publication’s design specifications are. What are their ad dimensions? Portrait or landscape? Do they require ads in JPG, TIFF or PDF (or something else)? Is it RGB or CMYK?
  2. If you cannot produce ready-made artwork to their specifications, find someone who can (me, for instance!). If you are even remotely unsure of how to create a good ad, don’t even try. The people laying out the publication will almost certainly complain and you could waste valuable time.
  3. Once you’ve found a designer, send them all your advert elements SEPARATELY. This means logo, images, text, all in separate files. Do NOT lump them all together in a Word doc, or even in a PDF.
  4. Use the most recognised file formats for text and images – JPG, GIF and PNG (plus TIFF if you’re either sending on disc or using file transfer programs, as these are big files) – and .doc or .txt for text. Anything else is likely to cause your designer a headache trying to find file conversion software to open it. Recent such instances I’ve come across have included Microsoft Publisher (.pub) and Microsoft Works (.wps) files. Someone even sent me an image as a Powerpoint file!
  5. Make sure your images are as high-resolution as possible – 300 dpi is the print industry standard.
  6. Remember, if you don’t send your designer text and images in the correct formats, they will need more time to sort it all out – so they will charge you more.
  7. Always ask for a proof if you’re getting a designer to make up your ad.

These are, to me, the most important issues when dealing with businesses who want adverts making up. It continues to astonish me that so many do not know the basics, when publicity is obviously one of the most important things to get right first time – especially in the current climate.

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