File Preparation Tips FAQ

FAQ > File Preparation Tips

Popular File Format Tips on a few of the more popular file formats:
.AI – Adobe Illustrator. Convert all fonts to outlines and embed any linked graphics.
.INDD – Adobe InDesign. Converting your fonts to outlines is recommended if you are not using True Type
.JPG or .JPEG – Photographic images. Set your camera to the highest resolution if using your own photos. Note that most jpeg images downloaded from the web are low quality and unsuitable for printing.Fonts (.TTF). Package your files to include your fonts and links. Compress the packaged folder (.zip or .sit) before sending.
.PSD – Adobe Photoshop. Flatten your layers before submitting your files.
.TIF or .TIFF – This graphic file format will retain the highest possible image quality.
Bleed
Does your artwork contain images, text or graphics that extend the the very edge of the finished piece? This is called "bleeding off the edge" or simply "bleed". Files with bleed need to be built to the final trim size plus 1/8" extra on each side for the bleed. Example, if you are ordering an 8.5" x 11" sell sheet, the graphic file's size should 8.75" x 11.25". When saving the file into the proper format (preferably PDF), do not use any crop or printer's marks. These will increase the dimensions of the file.
Borders
Does your piece contain a graphic or artistic border close to the paper edge? See related Bleed above and Safety Zone below. When paper is trimmed there is a cutting tolerance of 1/16" which may result in uneven borders. For this reason we do not recommend borders. However, if they are necessary in your piece, the border should be at least 1/4" thick and at least 3/8" from the bleed line. Perfect trimming is not guaranteed.
Color Mode
Does your piece contain more than black color? Files that contain color text, artwork, or images must be saved in four color "CMYK" (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) color mode. Files submitted in the RGB or Pantone color mode will need to be converted to CMYK. Note that converting RGB to CMYK will cause a color shift as they are not the same color spectrum.

Is your piece black and white? Files that are black and white must have all artwork or images in Grayscale color mode.
Fonts
Are you using vector-based software such CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, or Adobe Freehand? For vector files such as these all text must be converted to outlines before creating the file (preferably PDF) you send us.

Are you using a bitmap-based (a.k.a. raster) software application such as Adobe Photoshop? For bitmap files such as these, simply flatten the image. Avoid font sizes smaller than 8 pts or fonts that are very narrow as these may not print, or will lack crispness, or may not display well against dark backgrounds.
Image Resolution
While your computer screen will display low resolution images well, when printed they will look rough, blurry and jagged. For best printing results, a resolution of at least 300 dpi is recommend. Files with resolution lower than 300 dpi can be printed, but the results may be unsatisfactory.
Lines
Do you have lines on your piece? All lines should be at least .25 pts thick to make them printable. Thinner lines may display on your screen but be too thin to print.
Safety Zone
Does your piece have any images, text or other elements close to the page edge? If too close, it may get cut off. Establish a no-go "safety zone" of at least 1/8" from the edge of the final trim size. To avoid any images or text being cut off when the piece is trimmed, do not place them in the safety zone.
Size
Does your artwork contain images, text or graphics that extend the the very edge of the finished piece? This is called "bleeding off the edge" or simply "bleed". Files with bleed need to be built to the final trim size plus 1/8" extra on each side for the bleed. Example, if you are ordering an 8.5" x 11" sell sheet, the graphic file's size should 8.75" x 11.25". When saving the file into the proper format (preferably PDF), do not use any crop or printer's marks. These will increase the dimensions of the file.

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