To avoid order delays please review the following artwork guidelines as it relates to the item you are ordering before submitting your files to us. When we receive your file we will review it to make sure it is set up correctly. If we find any issues we will put the order on hold and contact you. If ordering from one of our sister sites please use that site's specific art guide.

 

Guidelines for Full Color Printing
   
Guidelines for Spot Color Printing
   
Templates

     

     

QUICK LINKS TO FULL COLOR GUIDELINES
 
go to full color flyer guidelines go to full color plastic card guidelines

 

General guidelines for setting up artwork for full color printing (CMYK)
   
   
-Set up all artwork one design/name per page, even when there are multiple names.
  • -Start and finish your designs in CMYK color mode. If you send in a job with Pantone colors, the CMYK conversion will change the Pantone color. Before sending your order, make sure all Pantone colors have been converted to CMYK.
  • -The resolution at which your file is created will determine the final print quality. For best results, artwork should be no less than 300 dpi. If you try to increase the resolution of a 72 dpi file to a 300 dpi file, it will produce an image that is blurry, this is why it is important to create your file from the very beginning in high resolution.
  • -To prevent transparency issues, never use shadows, glows, or any other transparency (image or otherwise) on top of a spot color. Always convert your spot color to CMYK and flatten before sending.
  • -Rich black is an ink mixture of solid black, 100% K, with additional CMY ink values. This results in a darker tone than black ink alone. If you print black alone as 100% K, the resulting black may not be as dark as you might like. We recommend using C 60 M 40 Y 40 K 100, this will give you a deep, dark, rich black

 

Business cards

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. For standard size business card, set up artboard at 3.5 by 2 inches with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides. The safety area refers to the area before the cut line that consists of text or image that you do not want to get cut off. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line of the card so that the final artboard size is 3.75 by 2.25. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. IMPORTANT SET-UP INFORMATION FOR RAISED FULL COLOR BUSINESS CARD PRINTING: If your artwork contains black elements, using a built black with a CMYK mix of 80, 80, 80, 95 is required to optimize raised ink results. Light skintones, light colors, and low screen percentages will have a negative impact on the raised appearance of your order.

business card template

 

SPOT UV WITH FULL COLOR PRINTING SET-UP INFORMATION:

When creating a Spot UV job, you must include a Spot UV template file along with the regular full color file. The Spot UV template file is used to show where the UV will be placed. Use 100% K to indicate where you would like the UV. White will indicate no UV.

setting up your business card artwork with spot UV

FOIL STAMPING WITH FULL COLOR PRINTING SET-UP INFORMATION:

Foil mask files are set up just like Spot UV mask files. The file can only be black and white. All black areas should be 100% K or only 100% black with no other colors added. Black in the areas you want the foil and white in the areas you do not want the foil. If you order a foil stamping job with Spot UV, you must provide separate mask files for the foil (foil mask) and UV (UV mask), in that case up to 6 files will need to be provided.

However, please keep in mind that the foil and UV can't overlap. Also please avoid using small / fine text or fonts for foil objects. For best results, please make sure that foil coverage is less than 50% of the artwork area. Also, be aware that there may be up to 1/16" shift on the placement of the foil. Keep this in mind if you are trying to align foil with other printed artwork on the card. Please see images below to see what mask files should look like. Remember that black in the mask file must be 100% K where you would like the foil to go.

setting up a business card with foil and/or uv coating

Letterheads

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. For standard size letterhead, set up artboard at 8.5 by 11 inches with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides. The safety area refers to the area before the cut line that consists of text or image that you do not want to get cut off. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line so that the final artboard size is 8.75 by 11.25. IMPORTANT SET-UP INFORMATION FOR RAISED FULL COLOR LETTERHEAD PRINTING: If your artwork contains black elements, using a built black with a CMYK mix of 80, 80, 80, 95 is required to optimize raised ink results. Light skintones, light colors, and low screen percentages will have a negative impact on the raised appearance of your order.

Envelopes

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. For standard no. 10 envelope, set up artboard at 4.13 by 9.5 inches with a safety area of at least 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. IMPORTANT SET-UP INFORMATION FOR RAISED FULL COLOR ENVELOPE PRINTING: If your artwork contains black elements, using a built black with a CMYK mix of 80, 80, 80, 95 is required to optimize raised ink results. Light skintones, light colors, and low screen percentages will have a negative impact on the raised appearance of your order.

IMPORTANT envelope artwork guidelines for full color envelopes that bleed or full color envelopes with printing on the back flap:

It is required that there be 1/16" overbleed and color wrap around onto the back of the envelope to allow for movement throughout the bindery process.

If the envelope has bleed on the face or print on any flap, it is required that the artwork be placed on one of our templates.

Request an envelope template (When requesting a template specify the size you will need)

Greeting Cards/Note Cards/Announcements

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Notepads

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Send file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Bookmarks

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Rip cards

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. Request a template

Brochures

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Sell Sheets

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Magnets

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Door hangers

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. Request a template (When requesting a template specify the size you will need)

Postcards

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Flyers

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Plastic Cards

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Presentation/Pocket Folders

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. We prefer that you design your file on one of our templates. Contact us if you do not see the template you need.

Tear off cards

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. Request a template (When requesting a template specify the size you will need)

Table tent cards

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least a 1/4 (0.25) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/8 (0.125) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. Request a template (When requesting a template specify the size you will need)

CD covers

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. For standard size, set up artwork at 4.75 by 4.75 inches with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line so that the final artboard size is 5 by 5 inches. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

CD inlays

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. For standard size, set up artwork at 5.9375 by 4.625 inches with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the edge so that the final artboard size is 6.1875 by 4.875. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

DVD covers

Send file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. For standard size, set up artwork at 7.187 by 10.75 inches with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the edge so that the final artboard size is 7.437 by 11. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

Labels/stickers

We employ the flexography process in our label printing. As a flexographic printer, we use polymer plates to apply ink to a substrate. Our inks are water-based (with the exception of our ultraviolet line of labels) and are not opaque.

Screens and Graduated Screens

We can print screens anywhere from 3% to 100%. This information applies to screens (tints) and also graduated screens.

Vignettes and Color Mixing

Due to the nature of flexography, attempting to mix colors can sometimes produce unpredictable results. Furthermore, because our inks are water-based, inks that do mix tend to look "muddy" and dull. This not only applies to one solid color mixing with another solid color, but also vignettes, or color blending. Because of the extreme, erratic behavior of mixed colors, we highly recommend against it.

Lines per Inch

The polymer plates used in our label printing process have an ideal line screen range of 65 to 105 lines per inch. Of course electronic art could be printed at a lower line screen to achieve a certain effect. Unless specified otherwise, we will output your file at 105 lines per inch.

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 300 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. The safety area refers to the area before the cut line that consists of text or image that you do not want to get cut off. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded.

  • Set up all artwork one design/name per page, even when there are multiple names. If your design will be printed with more than one spot color see Creating Spot Color Separations.
  • RASTER ARTWORK (such as artwork created in Photoshop or other image editor): Submit black and white images at 600 dpi in bitmap format.
  • VECTOR ARTWORK (such as artwork created in Illustrator, CorelDRAW and InDesign): Color your art with spot colors (e.g. Pantone). Be sure to use the exact same ink color swatch name throughout your file. For example, if the type in your file is Pantone 201C but the graphic element is 201U these are 2 separate colors. Any imported images must be in black and white bitmap mode at 600 dpi.

Business cards

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. For standard size business card, set up artboard at 3.5 by 2 inches with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides. The safety area refers to the area before the cut line that consists of text or image that you do not want to get cut off. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line of the card so that the final artboard size would be 3.75 by 2.25. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Letterheads

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. For standard size letterhead, set up artwork at 8.5 by 11 inches with a safety area of at least 3/8 (0.375) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. The safety area refers to the area before the cut line that consists of text or image that you do not want to get cut off. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line of the letterhead so that the final artboard size is 8.75 by 11.25. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Envelopes

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. For standard no. 10 envelope, set up artwork at 4.13 by 9.5 inches with an area of free space at least 3/8 (0.375) of an inch wide on all sides. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Request an envelope template (When requesting a template specify the size you will need)

Greeting Cards/Note Cards/Announcements

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Notepads

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Brochures

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Postcards

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Flyers

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Presentation/Pocket Folders

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. We prefer that you design your file on one of our templates. Contact us if you do not see the template you need. If one color file, send file in black and white. If more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Magnets

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Labels/stickers

We employ the flexography process in our label printing. As a flexographic printer, we use polymer plates to apply ink to a substrate. Our inks are water-based (with the exception of our ultraviolet line of labels) and are not opaque.

Spot Colors

Because our labels are printed with the flexographic process, each different color requires its own individual polymer plate. A one-color job requires one plate, a two-color job requires two plates, and so on. Each plate is responsible for the application of a single color. These single colors are referred to as spot colors. Accordingly, electronic art must be set up using spot colors. Most graphics applications have a standard color menu that lists common spot colors (such as black, red, blue, yellow, and so forth). Many allow you to import spot colors from real-world color-matching systems. The most widely used color-matching system by designers would be the Pantone Matching System. When using either standard colors or imported colors, please make sure that you use the same color for different elements in your file. A common pitfall is to assume that colors that look identical on the screen are equal. To make sure that your art is properly separated, print your color separations to a printer.

Screens and Graduated Screens

We can print screens on labels anywhere from 3% to 100%. This information applies to screens (tints) and also graduated screens.

Vignettes and Color Mixing

Due to the nature of flexography, attempting to mix colors can sometimes produce unpredictable results. Furthermore, because our inks are water-based, inks that do mix tend to look "muddy" and dull. This not only applies to one solid color mixing with another solid color, but also vignettes, or color blending. Because of the extreme, erratic behavior of mixed colors, we highly recommend against it.

Lines per Inch

The polymer plates used in our label printing process have an ideal line screen range of 65 to 105 lines per inch. Of course electronic art could be printed at a lower line screen to achieve a certain effect. Unless specified otherwise, we will output your file at 105 lines per inch.

Submit file in pdf format with a resolution of no less than 600 dpi. Set up at the size being ordered with a safety area of at least 1/8 (0.125) of an inch wide around all sides for text or other image that doesn't bleed. The safety area refers to the area before the cut line that consists of text or image that you do not want to get cut off. If there is a bleed, it should extend 1/4 (0.25) of an inch past the cut line. Include crop marks and flatten your file so that the fonts are embedded. If your artwork is to be printed in just one color, assign one spot color to all the text and images in your file. If your artwork is to be printed with more than one color see Creating Spot Color Separations.

Creating Spot Color Separations

If your file contains more than one spot color or Pantone color you will need to color separate the file before you send it to us. To do this, simply follow these easy steps:

1) Design your file with a spot color assigned to each element in your design

2) Use Adobe Acrobat to create a PDF file, and save it as "YourJob_composite".

3) Let's say your file contains items to be printed in blue and items to be printed in red: Select everything that will be printed in blue. Delete everything else. Use Adobe Acrobat to save this version as "YourJob_blue.pdf". Close your file WITHOUT saving the deletions and reopen it. Now select everything that will be printed in red. Delete everything else. Use Adobe Acrobat to save this version as "YourJob_red.pdf". Close your file WITHOUT saving the deletions.

4) You should now have 3 PDF files:

  • a composite file with all elements of your design
  • a file that contains only items to be printed in blue
  • a file that contains only items to be printed in read

Spot Color Separations with Multiple Process Printing

Use these steps to create spot color separations if your design will be printed with spot color(s) and more than one printing process will be used.

1) Create a PDF file of your finished design and save it as "YourJob_composite.pdf". 

2) Open original file and select everything that will be printed with color 1. Delete everything else. (Be careful not to save your deletions in your original file!) Next select all elements with color 1 that will be printed with process 1. Delete everything else. Click Save As and create a new file named "YourJob_color1_process1.pdf. (E.g. FourSistersPrinting_pms23_raised.pdf)

3) Open original file and select everything that will be printed with color 1. Delete everything else. (Be careful not to save your deletions in your original file!) Next select all elements with color 1 that will be printed with process 2. Delete everything else. Click Save As and create a new file named "YourJob_color1_process2.pdf.

4) Open original file and select everything that will be printed with color 2. Delete everything else. (Be careful not to save your deletions in your original file!) Next select all elements with color 2 that will be printed with process 1. Delete everything else. Click Save As and create a new file named "YourJob_color2_process1.pdf.

Keep going until you have separated out all the colors in your design. If there is a back side go through the same steps for the back.

Submit all separated PDF files along with the composite pdf file.