When building a file for printing, there are several things that need to be addressed to ensure proper output. We have compiled a list of guidelines to follow that include bleed, image resolution, fonts, and color mode.
1. File Size
When setting up your files, it is necessary to build them to the final trim size. If there is bleed on them, please include at least 1/8” bleed beyond the final trim size. If you will be submitting a PDF file for final output, it is necessary to include the crop marks and the bleed.
There are several types of fonts that can be used when creating a job. When sending us working files (ie. Quark, Indesign…) it is necessary that you include ALL of the fonts used in the job, which will include printer & screen fonts. For a PDF file, fonts must be embedded.
• Do not use styles or attributes within the programs (ie. bold, underline, italic…), but rather the actual font for these (ie. Helvetica bold, Helvetica italic).
• When submitting a high resolution PDF file: please convert the fonts to outlines if you are using a vector based program. If you are using Photoshop, please flatten the font layers, and if you are using a Microsoft program, please embed all the fonts used.
** it is important to understand that if you have any changes/corrections to your PDF files, we may not be able to make them if they have been converted to outlines, or if the fonts have not been submitted.
Images used in file preparation should be no less than 300 dpi to avoid bitmapping or pixeling. Images that are less than 300 dpi may not reproduce as high quality. When sending working files (ie. Quark, Indesign …) it is necessary to send all the linked images and supporting files. If a low resolution file is submitted, you will be contacted about this problem prior to proceeding with the order.
Files should be built in CMYK, not RGB. If there are spot colors, they should be identified as spot PMS. If there are any colors listed that are not used, please remove them. We are able to convert a spot color to process, but please be aware that there may be a color shift when doing so. Some colors, when converted to CMYK, look very close to the original PMS chosen, others do not convert well at all. If the original file being submitted is from a Microsoft program, please be aware that these are RGB based & there will be a color shift when printed in CMYK.
When there are areas of large black color, we recommend using a “rich black”. This is a black built from a mix of cyan, magenta, yellow & black. We generally will use 60% cyan, 40% magenta, 20% yellow, and 100% black. This effect will give a richer, deeper black. It is possible, however, to have too much ink coverage. We would ask that you check your ink builds in your images & color builds and keep them to under 300% coverage. If you know that your job will be printed digitally, the coverage needs to be under 220%.
5. Multi-page documents (books/catalogs)
When submitting a multi-page document, it is important that it NOT be set up in spreads, but rather individual pages in the correct order. This would include the covers as well. With the first page being the front cover, the second page being the inside front cover, and the last 2 pages being the inside back cover & back cover. The total number of pages for book orders must be a variable of 4 for proper printing & finishing.
The orientation of the face & back of your document should be the same in your file. For instance, if the face is portrait, but back is landscape, one of them will need to be rotated 90° for the correct back up orientation.
Please do not trap any files that you supply to us. We will take care of any trapping issues. IF there are any elements that are trapped in your files, please let us know.
It is imperative that you proofread your files prior to sending to us for printing. While it is possible that we may catch any misspellings, we will not be held responsible for any typographical errors from submitted files. If a typo is found and you would like us to correct it, we will do that if the file is in an editable format. An additional charge may be applied. If it is not editable, the file will be kicked back to you for correction.
9. Mailing Requirements
The United States post office has strict guidelines that need to be followed for mailing pieces. There must be at least .625” of clear space at the bottom of a piece to allow for barcode & post office markings. The mailing address area needs to be a minimum of 3.5” wide and cannot exceed 2.75” in height. It’s also necessary for there to be a 1.25” square clear area for the postal indicia. If your mailing piece does not meet the required guidelines, you will be contacted & asked to correct the file. For further assistance, see our Mailing Services area, or www.usps.com.
When submitting a database for us to process for mailing, there are several that we accept, that include Excel, Comma or Tab Delimited, Dbase and Access.
10. Accepted File Types
• .PDF – Adobe Acrobat
• .EPS/.AI – Illustrator CS4
• .PSD – Photoshop CS4
• .INDD – InDesign CS4
• .QXP – QuarkXpress 2017
• .DOC – Word
• .TIF – Tagged Image
• .JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group
• .PS – PostScript
11. File Transfer
For efficient & prompt service, we recommend that you send print ready high resolution PDF files via our artwork upload. But if sending working files is necessary, please organize the files into folders according to category.
• Make a folder with an identifiable name
• Within that folder have separate folders to house the various elements that make up that job (ie. Fonts (screen & printer), images, working file…)
• When you have this completed, the initial folder should be compressed either into a .sit or a .zip file. This will help maintain the integrity of the files being sent & cut down on the risk of any font corruption
• Attach the compressed file to our site for review & proofing
Most programs offer a “collect for output” feature that will help gather all the necessary used elements to work with that file.