The invention of printing is the greatest event in history. It is the mother of revolution.

Victor Hugo

Guidelines for preparing materials for digital printing


Materials for printing should be submitted as pdf files:
· with no layers or transparency (flattened)
· in net size corresponding to the size of the job to print, plus any bleeds
· with a properly defined TrimBox
· with properly set margins
· with fonts enclosed.

The file should contain all the pages to be included in the publication, in their running order, together with any blank pages. Do not put any information, such as, e.g. ‘this is a blank page’ or ‘this is an empty page’, on the blank pages.
If the book is split between a number of files, indicate the order of the files clearly and transparently.


All elements of the design (images, graphics, text, background) that are positioned so they print right to the edge of the page should overlap the edge of the page by at least 3mm. The overlap area is the so-called ‘bleed’.

The design has to allow for bleeds on all four sides of the work.

It is not necessary to include crop marks for digital printing. Should they be included, they have to be placed at least 3 mm away from the edge of the page.


All key elements, such as text, codes, logos, etc., should be placed at least 5mm from the trim line. Avoid using relatively narrow (less than 10mm) borders to go round the pages.



Bitmaps (images) should be submitted with a resolution of 200 – 300 dpi and embedded as TIFF files using lossless compression (LZW, ZIP) or a high quality JPEG. Lower resolution will visibly compromise the quality of the printed material, while higher resolution will unnecessarily increase the size of the file without increasing the quality of the printed material. A low quality JPEG (with a high level of compression) will also adversely affect the quality of the printed material.

As far as scanned materials are concerned, the original’s raster has to be removed (e.g. by blurring it). This will prevent the moire effect from occurring on the printed material.

The minimum width for 100% K and colour lines is 0.4 pt. (0.14mm). The minimum width for grey lines is 0.7 pt. (0.25mm).


All the fonts used must be embedded in the PDF file submitted, or – as a last resort – convert all text to vector outlines. The latter solution causes the file to significantly increase in size and complexity, therefore it should only be applied only when there is no other option.

Fonts below 12 pt. should be in colours with 100% saturation of the channels used (100% K or 100% M and Y).


PDF files to be printed should not include ICC profiles.

The correct colour mode is CMYK. It is possible to use the RGB mode for images.

It is possible to use Pantone colours, provided that they are correctly configured. A Pantone colour will be printed as per its name as opposed to the PDF file print preview colour. Elements that are to have the same colour on the printed material must have the same colour mode.

Do not set white elements to overprint. Those elements will not appear on the printed material. Fine, light-coloured elements (e.g. text) should not be placed on dark background printed as an amalgamation of numerous components. Do not use elements in Pantone colours with transparent effects covering other objects or objects with transparent effects covering elements in Pantone colours.

It is not correct to use incomplete colour modes, e.g. CMY without the K channel, etc. If it is important to keep to a specific colour code, then submit a template or provide us with a Pantone colour reference number as close to the target colour as possible.

Book block (interior pages)

Interior pages should be submitted as a PDF file or files containing free-standing pages including all blank pages.
If your interior pages are split between a number of files, remember to indicate the correct order of the files clearly and transparently. The page sizes and margins within the file should be the same as the page sizes and margins in the book and allow for the required bleeds.
If there are any pages that are to be printed in colour (e.g. as inserts), clearly and transparently describe their position within the book as per the folio, or – better still – as per the order of pages within the book.
If changes/corrections are to be made in the files already submitted for printing, the pages where the changes/corrections have been introduced should be sent to us in the form of separate PDF files (one file per page) or in the form of a file containing the entire book with the changes/corrections introduced.
The number of interior pages for sewn binding is always a multiple of 4, while for perfect binding it is a multiple of 2, 4, 6 or 8 – depending on the format and machine used.
With sewn binding, the positioning of inserts printed on a paper different than the rest of the book is not entirely unrestricted and will depend on the setup of the book’s sections. This does not apply to single sheets glued in between the interior pages.

See: interior pages template.

Cover / casewrap

Submit your covers as a separate PDF file using the general guidelines for preparing your materials for printing. See: cover template. Prior to preparing your cover/casewrap, ask our sales representative/one of our customer service staff to provide you with a drawing and determine the thickness of the spine for you. If the cover’s inside pages are to be printed on, the spine is to be left white + 5mm on each side of the spine for side gluing. Book spines narrower than 6mm cannot contain text or graphics, such as e.g. company logos. All text and graphics on the spine should be placed at a distance of at least 1.5mm from the joint (edge of the spine). For aesthetic reasons it is better not to place any text or other free standing elements at a distance of less than 7mm from the spine (due to the joint placed there).

See: casewrap template


It is worth checking how to correctly design the cover and dust jacket for the given book. Preparing the files for printing properly will prevent errors and having to send the design back for modifications following the technological verification in the printing hall, thus reducing the time necessary to produce the book. We have put in place a tool that allows our customers to calculate all the parameters needed to create the right design by themselves. All you have to do is to provide the details for the printing job, such as the number of pages and the type of stock and covers; the calculator will automatically set all the parameters.

check template of cover/casewrap of your publication→


The mask for spot UV coating should be prepared and submitted as a separate file. All coated elements must be in one, 100%, colour. The mask for hot foil stamping should be prepared and submitted as a separate file. Use only single-colour vector elements not less than 0.4mm in width and placed at a distance of not less than 0.2mm from each other.

The mask for dry stamping should be prepared and submitted as a separate file. Use only single-colour vector elements not less than 0.5mm in width and placed at a distance of not less than 0.2mm from each other.


Please note, the graphic design for all refinements must be prepared as part of the drawing for the cover and other parts of the book that are to be refined (taking into account the correct placement of all additional elements and respecting the suitable formats and margins).

Totem logotype

In the event that you wish to include our company logotype in your publication, naming us as the place where the publication has been printed, then download the logo below. Please retain our company colours: PANTONE 541CVC/C:100, M:51, Y:0, K:30, or use the logotype in black (C:0, M:0, Y:0, K:100). When including the information that the printing has been carried out by Totem, please include our company’s full name, i.e. (e.g.: Printed at + logotype).

Download the Totem logo

Prepress checklist

1. The printing house verifies the correctness of the materials prepared for printing. There are two options as regards complexity of the verification process.
a) Standard (obligatory) option:
– verification of completeness of the materials prepared for printing (files),
– compatibility of the format of the materials with the parameters of the order,
– compatibility of the number of pages to be published with the parameters of the order,
– verification of spine width and bleeds within the soft cover/casewrap,
– correctness of positioning of inlays and inserts,
– correct embedding of fonts,
– verification as regards correct preparation of materials for:
     spot coating,
     blanking dies.
b) Advanced option (payable extra):
– verification of bitmap resolution,
– verification of line width,
– correct positioning of crop marks,
– verification of cover graphics against the fixed elements of the binding:
     open creases in soft cover,
     hinge in casewrap,
     flap creases,
– random checks in respect of 100% saturation of black texts,
– detection of white underprint elements,
– presence and correctness of bleeds.

2. The printing house shall not be liable for any errors resulting from incorrect preparation of materials for printing, this to include:
– use of transparency,
– incorrect pagination,
– incorrect blank page location,
– incorrect preparation of split pages in the content,
– positioning of objects and texts,
– incompatibilities in assigning ISBN numbers,
– colour reproduction during printing without colour sample,
– colour reproduction while using colour materials on pages printed in black,
– colour reproduction and the end result following selection of unsuitable substrate,
– spelling, grammar and editorial errors within the content,
– aesthetic aspects of the completed project.