DESIGN GUIDE

Acceptable File Types

The following file types are acceptable for upload: jpg, png, pdf or eps. All files will automatically be converted to PDF during the upload process.

Using the Correct Color Mode: CMYK

First of all, when designing any piece in color for printing, please always make sure you are working in CMYK mode, not RGB. Begin with a white (not clear) background.

To briefly summarize the difference between CMYK and RGB: RGB is used for computer monitors and video screen displays. CMYK is used for printing. These two types of formatting achieve color results in different ways that are not interchangeable. If you are designing something in color that you intend to have printed and you have used RGB, the printed piece is not going to look like what you see on your computer screen. You must use CMYK.

About Resolution

Your file should have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). This resolution should look crisp and clean on your screen, even when you zoom in and magnify the graphics. Lower resolution files may look pixilated or blurry when printed.

*Tip – An easy way to check your resolution is to zoom in to 300% or more magnification and check over your entire piece. If any section of your art file has low resolution you will see blurriness, pixilation and/or jagged edges. If everything still looks crisp and clean when you zoom in then your resolution is most likely fine.

*Tip – If you are copying or obtaining graphics or text from the internet, make sure you specifically look for high resolution files (with no copyright issues---you must have free and legal use of any graphic used, and you are responsible and liable for its use). Most internet sites display images at only 72 dpi, which is fine for viewing on screen but not okay for printing.

*Tip – If you are uncertain about the resolution of your art file, order a hard copy color proof so you can see how your piece is going to look before you have it printed.

About Bleeds, Margin Spacing and Borders

Bleeds

Your art file is considered to have bleeds when the printed image runs all the way to the edge of the sheet with no white margin space between the image and the finished edge. It is very important that your art file be formatted correctly for bleeds by extending the image a minimum of 1/8" past the finished edge on every side that has bleeds. For example, if your piece is an 8.5" x 11" flyer and the copy/graphics run all the way to the edges on all four sides, then the image you submit should have cropmarks at 8.5" and 11" showing where the final trim will be, but the overall size of the image should be 8.75" x 11.25", with the understanding that the extra 1/8" on each side will be trimmed off during the finishing process. By making your artwork slightly oversized in this way, it enables us to accurately trim your piece down to the exact finished size with clean looking, professional results (no white stock edges showing).

Margin Space

When you do have margin space, try to keep the margins at a minimum of .25" so that no copy/text is in danger of being cut off during trimming.

Borders

If you are adding a border (solid, graphic, etc.) that bleeds off the edge, the border size should be a minimum of .375" thick (and set up for bleeds as described above). If a border is too narrow it makes the trim more difficult and could result in uneven looking edges.

About Fonts and Transparencies

Fonts

It is very important that you either embed your fonts or convert your file to outlines to preserve the font usage correctly. Failing to embed your fonts or convert to outlines could result in a different appearance to your text etc., because our processing system will default to other common fonts when we don't have the fonts you used and they are not properly embedded or turned to outlines.

Transparencies

Please be sure to flatten transparencies on your finalized piece before submitting.

Using our Downloadable Transparent Templates

Please refer to our downloadable transparent templates to use as a guide when creating your artwork. Very Important: Please remember to remove the layer when your artwork is final. (We will not be responsible for it being left in when uploaded and printed.)

When Color Matching Is Critical

If the color(s) on your piece is critical or you need us to match specific colors (for example, a company logo), please order a hard copy color proof to make sure the colors are acceptable before we print your job.

Is a hard copy color proof necessary if my file is formatted correctly?

Even if your art file is correctly formatted for color, please keep in mind that your computer monitor and/or desktop printer may not be calibrated for commercial printing, or your settings may not match ours, and so the piece could look slightly different. By ordering a hard copy color proof you will be able to see exactly how the colors on your piece will look when printed. If color on your piece is critical for any reason then a hard copy color proof is strongly recommended.

When is a hard copy color proof not necessary?

When it comes to commercial printing, a reasonable variation in color (within a shade) is normal and considered acceptable. As long as you don't have specific, critical color matching requirements (see above), then a hard copy color proof should not be necessary.

Your Responsibility and Liability for your Art File / Acceptability of Finished Product

You are responsible for correctly formatting all aspects of your art file, and you will be considered liable for the resulting printed material from the file you submit and approve, even if that file is incorrectly made. We will not be responsible for any subsequent errors or insufficiencies on the finished piece resulting from poor or incorrect file formatting. Please make sure you are submitting and approving a file that has been accurately formatted.

*Tip – If you are uncertain about any aspect of your file's formatting and preparation, please order a hard copy proof. That way you can see how your finished piece is going to look before it is actually printed.

Please note that a reasonable variation in color (within a shade) shall constitute acceptable product/delivery of all orders. If color is a particular concern or specific color matching is required, please make sure you order a hard copy color proof to verify color acceptability prior to printing.