Creating Artwork for Print with the Adobe Creative Suite

Creating Artwork for Print with the Adobe Creative Suite

Read Time: 3 Minutes


18 Jan 2021

For more experienced designers, programs included as part of the Adobe Creative Suite, such as Photoshop and InDesign, offer an unbeatable way to create a quality finish for print designs. If you’re not sure how to set up your artwork and export the finished design for print, our guide has got you covered. 

Here, we’ll talk you through how to create artwork for print using Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Illustrator and InDesign – so take your pick of the bunch and let’s get started!


How to Create Artwork for Print in Photoshop

Setting up your canvas

  • Open up Photoshop and go to File > New
  • Select a unit of measurement (we recommend mm since that’s what we use!)
  • Set the height and width up to the size of the print item you’re designing
  • Choose your orientation
  • Set resolution to 300dpi
  • Set colour mode to CMYK
  • Click ‘Create’ to start designing!


Adding bleed

To avoid a white border around your design when the paper is cut, we recommend adding a 3mm bleed area to your artwork – however, you can also do this using our online proofing tool when you upload your artwork, so no need to worry if you’ve skipped this step.

  • Go to View > Rulers
  • Right-click the ruler and change the unit of measurement to mm
  • Click and drag the blue ruler lines to the edge of the canvas
  • Go to Image > Canvas
  • Add 6mm to the width and to the height


Exporting as a PDF

Once your design is complete, all that’s left to do is export it as a PDF. This locks in all your fonts and layers by flattening the document, so nothing will move around when we open your artwork up to perform one last check on it before sending it to print.

  • Go to File > Save As
  • Choose PDF
  • In the Save Options, tick ‘As a copy’, untick ‘Layers’ and set Color to CMYK
  • Name your file and click Save
  • In Adobe PDF Preset, choose [PDF/X1a:2001]
  • Click Save PDF


How to Create Artwork for Print in Photoshop Elements

Setting up your document

If Photoshop Elements is your weapon of choice, this is how to set up your new document.

  • Open up Elements and click ‘Edit’ on the welcome screen
  • Go to File > New > Blank File
  • Name your file and insert the height and width of the print item you want to design
  • Set resolution to 300dpi
  • Click Okay to create a new document


Since Elements is primarily used as a photo editing tool, we recommend keeping important text away from the edge and using our online uploading tool to add bleed to your PDF when you upload it to our website.


Saving your document

  • Go to File > Save As
  • Choose Photoshop PDF from the format list
  • Name your file and click Save

How to Create Artwork for Print in Illustrator

Setting up your document 

  • Go to File > New
  • Name your file
  • Change the size to suit the print document size you need
  • Add 3mm bleed area to all sides of the document
  • Under Advanced, change the colour to CMYK and set resolution at 300dpi
  • Click OK to start designing


Exporting your document

Our preferred document type is PDF because this locks everything in place, making it easy to review and print your artwork. Here’s how to save your document:

  • Go to File > Save As
  • Select Illustrator PDF from the Save as Type drop-down menu
  • In the Adobe PDF Options dialog box, select the following Preset option: PDF/X-1a:2001
  • In Compression, select Do Not Downsample from the drop down
  • Name and save your file


How to Create Artwork for Print in InDesign

Setting up your document

  • Open up InDesign and go to File > New > Document
  • Select Print from the Intent drop-down menu
  • Enter the number of pages you’re designing – don’t tick facing pages if you’re creating a booklet as you will need separate pages, not spreads
  • Change the page size for the print item you’re designing
  • Add 3mm bleed to each side of the document
  • Click Finish and start designing


Saving your document

To export a file as a PDF for print in Adobe InDesign:

  • Go to File > Export
  • Choose Adobe PDF as your file format
  • In the Export PDF Window, choose settings: PDF/X-1a:2001
  • Name and save your artwork file


And there you have it! If you’d like some more help setting up your artwork for print or more product-specific guides and templates for Adobe Creative Suite, head on over to our Artwork Help page, or get in touch with our Personal Artworker team for specific artwork questions.


About the Author

Hi, I’m Hollie. I’m one of instantprint’s Artworkers. I create content to support our clients to create professional print, no matter their experience.