DIGITAL ARTWORK GUIDELINES
If you want your finished piece to extend all the way to the edge of the sheet, it must be printed with a bleed. A bleed is extra image that extends 1/8” beyond the finished cut edge of the piece. The file gets printed on a larger size sheet, then the bleed area gets trimmed off to the final cut size. This way the ink is all the way to the edge with no white edges or margins showing. The bleed also takes into account any design inconsistencies or paper movement when printing and trimming.
To create the bleed in your digital file, set your bleed margins to 1/8” (.125”) on all sides. Extend any graphics, background images or fills on each edge that will bleed to this margin. For example, a 4”x6” postcard file with bleeds will end up being 4.25”x6.25”. Remember to export your pdf file containing the bleeds.
For software that does not allow you to set bleed margins, create your document to the size it will be containing the bleeds, then use ruler guides to set all margins. Rulers guides should be 1/8” in from each edge. This will show the size of the final cut piece. Create ruler guides in from these another 1/8” all around to create your safety zone for any type. Keep all type inside this safety zone. This takes into account any slight shifting during the printing/cutting process, so none of your type will be trimmed.
Accepted File Formats:
Easiest way to send files - Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
Please note - pdf files are only as good as the artwork used in the file, and how they are generated. Adobe programs can create higher resolution CMYK files, as MS Office programs will create lower resolution RGB files. All digital files print in CMYK, so RGB files will get converted to CMYK, which may result in slight color shifts. If using Pantone colors, please note these will get converted to CMYK as well.
- Adobe InDesign (.indd) Page layout
- Adobe Illustrator (.ai, .eps) Vector graphics
- Adobe Photoshop (.psd, .tif, .jpg, .bmp, .png) Raster graphics
- Microsoft Publisher (.pub)
- Microsoft Word (doc.)
- Microsoft Excel (.xls)
Please note - MS programs are limited in their print settings. Type and images may shift from each computer, so it is preferrable to convert these files to a pdf to avoid font and spacing issues.
If files cannot be converted to a pdf, please include all image files and font files packaged with the document. Use the File Package setting or the Collect for Output option to collect all files that will be needed. In Adobe programs, it is recommended to convert all fonts to outlines. Please retain all layers.
For logos, it is preferrable to have files in a vector format (.eps), which can scale to any size without clarity loss. Native vector graphics are made up of paths and curves connected by points, so they can be blown up as large as needed without any distortion. Please note that if you place a raster image into an .eps file, it does not become vectorized! Also remember to convert all type to outlines.
If you are supplying artwork in a raster format (.tif, .jpg, .bmp, .png, .psd), photos needs to be at least 300 dpi at 100% of your image size to print properly, and linework logos should be at least 600dpi. Raster files are resolution dependant image files (usually photos) made up from pixels, so the bigger they are scaled up, the bigger the pixels become and therefore the image can look fuzzy or soft. If you scale up images after placing them in your document, the quality may decline. If you scale a 300dpi image up 200% in your document, the resolution will be halfed to 150dpi, so your image may not look crisp. High resolution tif files are preferable as they contain the most image data. Jpg files are compressed to reduce file size, so save them at the maximum compression setting. Bmp and gif files are low resultion files used for the internet, so they will not produce high quality results. Most images from the internet are only 72 dpi and will produce low quality results. Png files support transparent backgrounds, but only can be in RGB so there may color shifts when converted to CMYK.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us at 732-462-0333, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.