Art Specifications

Please downsave any CS4 or higher files. InDesign, CorelDraw and Freehand can sometimes be used ONLY if saved as compatible Illustrator eps files. Quark files should be sent with ALL fonts and supporting placed artwork.

Use Vector Art: In order to print spot colors, such as gold, and to emboss your art, we need vector art (i.e. Illustrator, not Photoshop). Additional art charges will be applied to redraw and convert jpegs and other Photoshop files that are intended to print as spot color and need embossing.

Maintain Layers: When sending Photoshop files, we prefer you keep the file in layers and send it as a psd, rather than flattening it, since this makes it easier for us to edit and adjust colors.

Required DPI: Your file should be 300 dpi AT SIZE for 4 color images. A 72 dpi image at twice the size needed is still half the resolution necessary for clear, crisp printing. Most internet images are too low res to use. ONCE RESOLUTION IS LOST, IT’S GONE. You can not resize a 72 dpi image to 300 dpi – all you’re doing is making a high memory blurry picture. The original taken or scanned image must be at 300 dpi.
Bitmap images should be saved at 2400 dpi.

Product Size: Also try to view your artwork at the size it will be printed. Detail that looks great at 1200% is often too fine or small to see and impossible to print. See text requirements below. Conversely, images that look great small may often be low resolution and look blurry or grainy at full size. Keep this in mind if designing both a band and a bundle wrap – the image that print fine for a band will be too blurry when enlarged to 3 or 4 times the size for your wrap.

Use Photoshop for Effects: Try to avoid using Photoshop effects that are built into Illustrator (such as drop shadows and transparency effects) – do them instead in Photoshop and place your 300 dpi .tif back into Illustrator and send us the Photoshop file along with your art. If you must do drop shadows in Illustrator, be sure your Document Raster Effect settings is set to 300 dpi (as this will affect the size and resolution of the shadow) and the black color is 100% black, not a process build.

Matching colors: PLEASE specify required PMS numbers on spot color artwork. This insures we use the correct colors on press. If unsure, please send a sample of what you’d like us to match and we can choose the correct Pantone on press. If you have a process image or a previous printed label we need to match, it is IMPERATIVE you send the previously printed sample before we output the job so we can make the necessary adjustments to your file. Without a sample we can not guarantee color correctness. You may alternately submit an accurate color print (or matchprint).

Color Mode CMYK: Be sure your Illustrator document is in CMYK and not RGB mode. Printing is done in CMYK and changing color modes after a file has been built will alter colors (such as changing spot black text to 4 color process), perhaps resulting in unintentional color shifts. Same goes for Photoshop; overly saturated intense RGB images can not be achieved by standard printing. Please convert your image to CMYK (and keep your file in layers when prompted) for a more accurate representation of how your image will print. Intense fluorescent colors CAN be achieved by using extra spot colors, however, though you may want to discuss with your CSR if this is appropriate for your particular project.

Dot Gain: Be aware of dot gain in your Photoshop files. A dark process image will print MUCH darker on press. We try to adjust to compensate in pre-press dept., but an overall dark image that lacks definition will print muddy no matter how much we lighten the file. The opposite is true of a high key photo that lacks detail. Once that information is gone, it’s gone.

Using light neutral colors: Also be aware of process builds on light neutral colors, such as tans and grays. These colors can be affected by strong colors in other areas of your job and lead to unwanted tints. We prefer to add a spot color when such cases arise to keep the colors accurate.

General: 4.5 pt. minimum. Avoid fine REVERSE type (make type BOLD). Avoid process builds on type smaller than 12 pt. Please do not set type or layout your label in Photoshop, rather set type and compose file in Illustrator.

Converting Text: Please either convert your text in your file to curves (Create Outlines under Type) or provide the necessary screen and printer fonts so we can open your file. When converting to curves, please be sure to PROOFREAD your file carefully before doing so as this will make your text uneditable.

Light Screens: Any values that run below 3% may not reproduce correctly and will deteriorate the quality of your print job. Screens that drop out to white or drop shadows out to 0% are areas of concern.

Opacity vs Percentage: Keep in mind, when lightening a color in Illustrator, the difference between “opacity” and a “percentage” of the color. If you lighten a spot color’s percentage, it will still print as a screen of a single color. If you adjust it’s opacity, it will now print as 4 color process.

Maintain 1/16” margin from die line for all art, unless it is an intentional bleed.

We prefer to do all trapping in-house to prevent confusion and limit incorrectly built files.

Minimum setting .35 pt. When printing negative (reverse) lines/rules .75 pt is the minimum recommended.

Standard 1/16” beyond the die line or crop marks.

We accept files on cds, dvds, and portable USB devices. You may also upload your files via our website (2 gigs max) or to a storage site (such as,, or and send us the link.
 We are glad to answer any questions or concerns you may have while creating and preparing your file for print. If your question is simple enough to verbalize, just send us an email and we’ll answer your questions as soon as we are able. For more complicated questions, please contact Jason, who can put you through to our art room if necessary.

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(407) 323-2026