Digital Artwork Guidelines
In the decades we’ve served the greater Monmouth County area’s printing needs, our mission has always been the same. At Printing2go, our goal is to help you see Your Vision In Print. We will work with you at every stage of the process. Our objective is to ensure that what we deliver fully meets your every expectation. However, there are some things you can do that will help us with that goal. If you have any questions or concerns about any of these guidelines, please contact us and we’ll be glad to help.
For logos, vector format (.eps) files work best. Native vector graphics files 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! As such, the image may still become distorted if enlarged too much. Also remember to convert all type to outlines.
If you are supplying artwork in a raster format (.tif, .jpg, .bmp, .png, .psd), photos need to be at least 300 dpi at 100% of your image size to print properly. Linework logos should be at least 600dpi. Raster files are resolution dependent 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 halved 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 resolution 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 be color shifts when converted to CMYK.
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, but 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 preferable 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.
A word about edges. 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 extended image sizing 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. Ruler 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.
Let Us Help
Remember these guidelines are just that, guidelines. While following these guidelines will help ensure that your final product is exactly what you want, we are here to help every step of the way. If you need help vectorizing the graphic you currently have, give us a call, send us an email, or drop by our Freehold, NJ, store. Our goal is your success, and we will do whatever it takes to get you there.