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How To Setup Artwork For Printing

How To Setup Artwork For Printing

Also see our blog series for complete and detailed tutorials to make your printing the best it can be.  Bleed Setup // Color Format // Print Ready File Prep

Print Setup Essential Checklist

  1. We highly recommend submitting artwork for printing in vector (AI, CorelDraw, EPS) drafted designs. Vector artwork ensures the cleanest printing clarity of any format.
  2. Print Ready Files should be saved in PDF format. PDF format has proven to be the most reliable and accurate platform for printing ensuring the highest quality print results and trouble free production. However, we will accept image files such as JPG and PNG if setup in the correct CMYK color format and high enough resolution of 300 DPI or higher.
  3. Standard bleed setup is 1/8″ (0.125″) on all sides with the exception of booklets and presentation folders which requires 1/4″ (0.25″) on all sides.
  4. No need for crop marks if the bleeds are setup correctly with art board dimensions set properly.
  5. Artwork must be in CMYK color mode. We cannot accept RGB color mode files. We cannot emphasize this enough.
  6. Convert Pantone colors to CMYK.
  7. Resolution must be minimum 300 DPI
  8. Flatten transparency and overprint of artwork before saving to final submission formats to eliminate

Tips to ensure great printing results:

Safety Zone Setup:
Every setup should include a safety zone. As a general rule, keep all important information such as text and logos at least 1/4″ (0.25″) inside the edges of cutting lines.

Rich Black (4 Color Black):
Large areas of black and text larger than 35 points should use “Rich Black”. 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.

Grayscale Preparation:
Grayscale images that are converted to CMYK will have a color shift in the final print. That shift may be green or yellow. Always check the CMYK values of your grayscale in the final CMYK document. If there are other values other than K in your grayscale image, there is a chance that the color will vary. To eliminate all values other than K, use your Channel Mixer (adjustment layer) in Photoshop, then click “Monochrome” and adjust accordingly.

How to setup pages for multi-page booklets:
The outside cover is “Page 1”, the inside cover is “Page 2” and so on. Each page must be setup as individual PDF files. Be sure every page includes the proper bleeds. We cannot accept booklet artwork as a multi-page PDF or any other design format in multi-page format.

Booklets REQUIRE each page as separate individual PDF files. Please number your files by the page number.

Banding issues:
Banding is a result of gradient effects in too small or too big of an area. Avoid gradients in small or large volumes.

How to export a PDF correctly:
When exporting from any program such as Indesign or Illustrator, use these settings to make sure your .PDF files export correctly.


Adobe PDF Preset is set to: Press Quality

Compatibility is set to: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

Compress Text and Line Art is set to: Off

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