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File Guidelines

Please follow these guidelines for the best results

File Formats

All digital files must be submitted as print ready, soft proofed, high resolution PDFs with fonts embedded.  We do not accept native files such as Indesign, Publisher, Word, etc.  Reason being is that accepting these files creates many problems with the layout and also font issues that result in unexpected format changes. All major design programs allow you to easily save/export a PDF from the native program. Doing this allows you to see exactly how it will look, allow you to “soft” proof it and will drastically cut down on output problems.

Document & Print Size

Digital files must be submitted at the size of desired output. Example: business cards should be set to 3.5 x 2. Brochures 8-1/2 x 11 or 11 x 17, etc.  Using your desired layout program (Publisher, Indesign, etc.) begin by setting your document size.

Standard print sizes are:

3.5 x 2 – (Business cards)

4 x 6, 6 x 9  (Postcards)

8-1/2 x 11 (Letter)

8-1/2 x 14 (Legal)

11x 17 (Tabloid)

Document Resolution

(or “DPI”) is the term used to describe the number of dots, or pixels, per inch used to display an image or file. Higher resolution means that more pixels are used to create the image, resulting in a crisper, cleaner image. An image will print pixelated when its resolution is low, or the image is enlarged significantly resulting in loss of quality. As a general guideline, 300 dpi is a sufficient resolution for most printed materials.

Document Color Mode

Make sure your document is set to CMYK Color Mode.
Why CMYK? Digital printers use combinations of four toner colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and  Black) to achieve many different colors on a full color print project. Attempting to print files that are in RGB or a mix of RGB and CMYK can cause color matching issues. This will result in unexpected color shifts on the printed piece.

RGB: Any pictures or files that are submitted in RGB color mode must be converted to CMYK prior to printing. RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is intended for screen-viewing only. There are RGB color combinations (particularly very bright colors) that cannot be reproduced using CMYK process.
Pantone Swatches: Because digital printers use a four-color process, they have a limited gamut range. What this means is that only so many colors can be achieved with CMYK. CMYK can match some but is not able to match many Pantone colors. Please let us know if color matching is an issue and we will make every effort to match Pantone colors as close as possible. However keep in mind that we can’t guarantee a Pantone color match using CMYK.

Bleeds Versus No Bleeds

Bleed: Files that have text, images, or colors that run off the trim edge of your final printed piece must be submitted with an extra 1/8″ (.125) border all around. For example: if you are submitting a business card file that requires a bleed it should be 3.75 x 2.25. This extra extension of your graphics is called a bleed. A bleed is necessary because it is impossible for a cutting blade to hit the exact same location on every page when cutting printed sheets in a stack.

No Bleed: If you do not want a bleed on your document, it should be submitted with at least a 1/8″ (.125) white border all around.

Trim Edge & Safe Guide

Any text or images that are not meant to run off the edge of your final printed piece should be at least 1/8″ (.125) to 1/4″ (.25) away from your trim edge. This is called the safe guide. Due to the very slight shifting that occurs when cutting, any text or images that are too close to the trim edge may be cut off or show inconsistent margins. If you have text or images that do run off the edge of your final printed piece, they must extend at least 1/8″ (.125) beyond the trim edge in your file.