Bitmap Resolution must be 300dpi at 100% of the finished size. For example, if your poster will be 18" x 24", the dpi at 18" x 24" should be 300. Using this same example, if your document dimensions are smaller than 18" x 24" and the file is already 300 dpi, when the document is blown up to 18" x 24" the dpi it will no longer be 300.
Include a 1/8" bleed margin if your design will be printed all the way to the edge. For example, if your project will be 11" x 17", your file document dimensions will need to be 11.25 x 17.25 (.125" extra on all 4 sides), and your design will need to extend all the way to the edge.
Make sure to include a 1/8" safety area. Any information you do not want trimmed off your design should be at least 1/8" away from the trim line.
More information and visual examples about bleeds and a safety area can be found in the examples below; click the thumbnails to enlarge.
Make sure your file is built in the correct color mode.
- Four (4) Color: CMYK
4 color (or full color) needs to be in CMYK. One of the most common file problems occurs when artwork is submitted in RGB, which is the color mode for on-screen viewing. Printing is done with 4 colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, so your file must contain this color information in order for us to process it. Spot or PMS colors need to be converted to CMYK in the file.
- Spot Colors
For multiple spot color jobs, your file must be set up in PMS spot colors in order to print correctly. Only Postscript programs such as Illustrator, InDesign, Corel and Quark, etc., have the ability to set up artwork to print as separate spot colors. Your artwork colors must be set-up as spot colors (not CMYK builds) with a pantone (PMS) color specified for each.
- Grayscale or B&W
One color and Black and white printing only uses one ink, so your file will need to be set up in Grayscale. Bitmap grayscale files need to be 600 DPI.
- If using Photoshop, artwork must be flattened.
- If using Illustrator, all fonts need to be converted to outlines or curves, or supplied.
- Make sure all images have been embedded, and all embedded images meet the resolution and color requirements. As a reminder, images should be at least 300 dpi and in CYMK color mode.
- SPELL CHECK your text. After a proof has been generated, file re-submit fees will apply.
Art Preparation Tips
We've prepared some additional tips that will help you produce a better quality product.
- If at all possible, try to avoid using fonts smaller than 8pt.
- If you are using thin typefaces, please lay out your type in a vector program such as Illustrator. Bitmapped images make it difficult to control trapping.
- The same applies to lines that are below 3/10 of a point (0.3). These are known as "hairlines" and require special attention to the colors around them.
- If you are using Microsoft software to produce your files, be sure to create a PDF to send the file to us. Double check that the output settings are 300dpi and in CMYK.
Preferred File Types
We accept any file created from a postscript program: Illustrator, Freehand, Photoshop, Quark, InDesign, etc. Of these, the preferred types are AI, PDF, or EPS files. We accept Photoshop files, however the file size will be much smaller and upload quickly if the file is flattened and saved as a Photoshop PDF. Saving as a Photoshop PDF will not diminish the quality of your finished product.
If you supply a Quark or InDesign file, make sure to collect and zip the entire file hierarchy as it links in the source document. If you are using digital painting programs such as Corel Painter or Corel Draw, please save your file as a PDF or EPS..
Other File Types
While we will accept non post-script files, these files will result in additional charges. This applies to Word, Publisher, Excel and PowerPoint. If you do use a Microsoft program to create your file, we highly recommend saving your document as a PDF or JPG. To do this, you will need a program called Acrobat but there are also numerous free PDF creation programs.
If you are unable to create a file in the preferred format, do not hesitate to call customer service at 1-813-626-1070. One of our online printing experts will assist you and find a way to print your design.
File Type Quick List
** extra charges apply
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