Guidelines for file preparation

When setting up digital files for printing, please follow these guidelines:

  • If your file will be die cut after it is printed, place the dieline on a separate top layer. This will help in placing elements around cuts and folds, but still gives you the option to turn off/on the die layer to check the fit. Name the color used for the dieline separate from other colors used in your file. Set dieline stroke to overprint.
  • Add 1/8” bleed to files. This insures that after the file is printed and cut, ink will print to edge of sheet.
  • Do not nest objects, meaning do not embed one graphic file inside of another. Example: You create something in Illustrator and save it as an EPS. You then place the first EPS into a new Illustrator document and save it as a second EPS.
  • Use only TIFF and EPS graphic file formats for any graphics included in a page layout document. Convert JPEGS to TIFFS and be sure to check that the resolution is high enough. 72 DPI is considered low resolution.
  • Crop, rotate, and resize graphic elements before placing them in your page layout program. Any resizing you do in your page layout program can affect output quality.
  • Remove unused colors from the swatches palette.
  • Use swatch books to assign colors. Remember, what you see on your monitor isn't necessarily what the press color will be. Assign spot colors only if you intend for those colors to really separate out as spot colors. Otherwise, assign CMYK values if you are using process colors.
  • Print accurate proofs of your document before you send your files to us. If you can't print it, chances are we can't either. Also, you may want to print color-separated proofs. This allows you to check color breaks and see if your colors are separating properly. If possible, please include the proof with your order so we can check it to our proof.
  • Avoid using hairline strokes. On high-resolution devices, hairlines may become too thin.
  • If you use “white” from the swatches palette, be sure it is not set to overprint. If will become invisible when ripped if overprint is checked.

Some of the most common problems with digital files that we see include:

  • Artwork doesn't fit die template
  • Missing fonts, missing printer fonts
  • TIFF and EPS files wrong or missing
  • RGB images instead of CMYK
  • Incorrect resolution
  • Bleeds not set
  • Spot colors set to separate as process
  • Duplicate spot colors: (Example: PMS 281U and 281C)
  • Use of compressed images
  • Hairline assigned to lines or borders

Digital Proof/PDF Checklist

It is critically important to check our Digital proof, as it is the guide we will use in producing your job. Here is a suggested checklist to insure the file is correct:

  • Check how many colors are used in file and what the colors are.
  • Proofread every sentence and every word to avoid typos. This will avoid costly mistakes.
  • Have someone else proofread it as well.
  • Check color breaks.
  • Check all graphic elements. Are they high resolution or pixilated?
  • Check for font substitution.
  • Check that all pictures and graphics are cropped, sized and positioned correctly and that any text flows around images properly.
  • Use bold or brightly colored markers to indicate any corrections to the proof.
  • Correction made in ink pen or pencil may be hard to see.
  • Write complete and detailed instructions for corrections.
  • Indicate any special printing instructions: (Example: if you are printing a varnish, indicate areas of no varnish such as glue flaps.)