Guardian & Observer Print Advertising Guidelines

United Kingdom (National)

Ad Specifications

Please Note


The guidelines below are for both Newspaper and Magazine advertising.

This text is intended only as a general guide to designing advertising that will work well in print. It is impossible however, to cover every possible design and combination of elements in an advert and guarantee it will work. If in any doubt please feel free to contact us via the details below and we will endeavour to help and advise.

Copy supply: 020 7611 9191/020 7611 9190
Copy mail: colour.operations@theguardian.com

A list of delivery methods can be found Here

A list of Approved repro houses that can provide contract proofs and also a few bureaus that can forward your advertising, electronically by one of our approved methods can be found Here




We never accept any artwork with crop marks or other printer’s marks, for any product (Newsprint or magazines)

The sender is fully and solely responsible for the design suitability of all delivered artwork.

Sensible use of colour is always necessary and is the responsibility of the sender. If you are concerned about the design of a particular advert, we are more than happy to discuss it, but obviously common sense has to be used due to the quantity of ads carried on a daily basis.

Black paragraph text should be no smaller than 7pt and should be black (K) only when on a plain, white background (rich black and “shiners” should not be used).

White text, reversed out on a coloured background should be no smaller than 10pt. We recommend the use of as strong/bold a typeface as possible. Thin and/or serif typefaces are not usually suitable. The general guide is to use as big and bold a typeface as possible. This is especially applicable to white paragraph text. Large headings etc. are usually big enough and bold enough to not be affected.

Coloured text should be avoided in small paragraph or body text wherever possible and often causes problems in newsprint if used against another colour background. Black text is always advisable for small body or descriptive text.

Fonts always potentially pose problems; even when embedded in EPS or PDF files. For this reason the following should be considered:

Never use Truetype fonts – we don’t accept them in any form. If you only have Truetype fonts available, you should either ‘Outline’ them or flatten the whole file when finished (often called ‘rasterising’. A typical rasterised file would be a Photoshop EPS)

When sending files, please make sure ALL fonts are embedded, preferably as a subset

Please don’t send fonts to us. In almost all cases this is not legal and we wouldn’t accept them

Guardian RIPs will reproduce knockout or overprint as specified in the artwork. If you do not wish black text to have the hallmark white halos appearing in cases of slight miss-register, then you should ensure your application is set to ‘Overprint’ black.

White ‘Overprint’ is a common problem in print. In some cases it is possible to have white text or objects that have been set to ‘Overprint’. As White is not an ink it can’t be overprinted and will not appear on the printed page despite what you may see on screen previews. There are various tools available to check this and The Guardian takes as many steps as possible to ensure this problem is picked up before going to press. It is, without exception, the responsibility of the sender to ensure that no part of their artwork is set to white overprint before sending the file.

Dot Gain
Input value 10% Dot gain 11% = 21%
Input value 20% Dot gain 19% = 39%
Input value 30% Dot gain 24% = 54%
Input value 40% Dot gain 26% = 66%
Input value 50% Dot gain 26% = 76%
Input value 60% Dot gain 24% = 84%
Input value 70% Dot gain 20% = 90%
Input value 80% Dot gain 14% = 94%
Input value 90% Dot gain 8% = 98%

The first percentage in the table above is the value set on screen. The middle value is the dot gain percentage on that value. The last value is how it would be measured on the printed product. So, if you wanted a 50% grey tint, you would set your screen value to somewhere a little under 30%. Please note however that there is a slight variation across a print run and all these values are approximate.

The Guardian will not supply either printed or electronic proofs without prior agreement (agreement will only be given under strictly controlled circumstances and for a limited time to overcome a pre-existing or recurring problem). If a proof is supplied for any reason it should be noted that any such proofs (email, PDF etc) supplied, do not usually represent a good match for colour reproduction but are for content only. Should a press proof be generated and supplied, it does not represent a contract match for colour and is for guidance only (We do not enter in to ‘signed-off’ contract proofing). If you require contract proofing please speak to one of our preferred/approved suppliers via the link at the top of this page. or Here.

When using Quickcut or Adsend delivery, unless previously agreed, the sender is fully responsible for ensuring that all required Quickcut/Adsend procedures are followed, to ensure artwork meets Guardian specifications.

Gateways or preferred/approved suppliers have not been dropped from use. If you require printed proofs or a more comprehensive service to cover the full range of repro work you can still use these suppliers; a list of which can be found on Specle Here.

For magazine bleed ads, all vital advertising material (text and images) should be kept within the type area to avoid loss of content during product trimming. We cannot accept responsibility for any advertising material lost during trimming outside of the type area if this is ignored.

This list represent only general guidelines and assumes some knowledge of the terminology used. The Guardian always aims to provide the best possible service and quality. If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to relay them to your usual contacts or get in touch with one of the people whose contact details are given on this page.


Thank you


We're sorry, but something went wrong.

×