Artwork Guidelines

Artwork Guidelines

RGB vs CMYK vs PMS Pantone spot colors...What's the difference?

Watch this short video and learn which color mode is right for you.

Download a Free CMYK Process Color Reference Guide or...
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, Artwork Guidelines

What is "bleed"? - Bleed is the section of the artwork that will be cut off when the final printed product is trimmed to the final size. The purpose of which is to continue a background color, image or design all the way to the edge of the card. On our templates, the red lines indicate the bleed section. Please make sure all backgrounds are extended all the way to this line. Bleed size is typically 1/8 of an inch (or 0.125) outside of the final trim size.

Optimal File Specifications

  • Bleeds: all files must have a 1/8″ bleed on each side
  • Safe Area: keep all critical text and artwork inside the trim
  • Colors: supply your files in CMYK color mode if you are printing 4-color process
  • Colors: supply your files with correct Pantone (U or C) colors selected in file.
  • Resolution: 300 dpi
  • Fonts: fonts must be converted to curves/outlines
  • Transparencies: flatten all transparencies
  • File Types: Preferred: PDF, EPS | Also accepted: TIFF or JPEG
  • ICC Profile: Japan Coated 2001

How to Prepare Files for Finishes

If your project includes foil stamping, spot UV, embossing, or die cutting you will need to provide a mask file (per finish) alongside your design files.

Create a black and white pdf file where all black areas have a color value of

K = 100%  (C=0 M=0 Y=0 K=100)

Black areas represent where you want the finish to be located and white means no finish will be applied.

If your project contains more than one finish, you must provide separate mask files for each finish.

, Artwork Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions - Artwork

What is “banding” ?

There are several causes of banding. It can be due to the program that it is exported from like Indesign or Corel. Also, too many … Read more

Why does my business card crack around the edges?

When business cards crack around the edges, it is usually because card might contain high values of ink, as in dark colors. CLOSE UP OF … Read more

Rich Black CMYK Values – How to get the darkest black possible with 4color Process Printing!

Rich black is an ink mixture of solid black, 100% K, with added CMY ink values. This CAUSES a darker tone than black ink alone. … Read more

Can I have grayscale images in my art?

Yes, but please note Grayscale images will have some color shift in the end print which are converted to CMYK. The shift might be either green … Read more

What are your preferred PDF export settings?

Use the following export settings when you are exporting from any program like Indesign or Illustrator. This guarantees correct export of .pdf files. EXPORT SETTINGS … Read more

How do I make sure my blues don’t turn out purple?

When you want some blue in your design, always leave a minimum 30% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values. 100% C 100% M 0% … Read more

How do I setup a Spot Gloss UV artwork?

For a job of Spot UV, include a template file of Spot UV and a file of regular print. The template file of Spot UV … Read more

What is meant by overprint and ways it can affect my file?

Overprint is exclusively used for intentional overlapping of inks for numerous reasons, but it can originate unexpected results. All the overprint objects are recommended to … Read more

Should I send a mockup proof with my art files?

It is not required but can sometimes be helpful in explaining your vision to our Pre-Press design team.

How do I avoid transparency issues?

Before saving a life, you can resolve Any issues in transparency. To prevent this, do not use glows, shadows or any further transparency (image or … Read more

Helpful Information

1. Color Mode

The full-color printing process requires artwork to be saved in four-color CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black)mode. That's because printing presses use 4 plates (one plate for each color) to achieve the final combination of that compose the artwork image.

However, the total black and white artwork or images must be in GRAYSCALE color mode in order to get that full, rich black in the final output. Files in RGB (Red, Green, Blue), as well as Pantone colors, will automatically be converted into CMYK.

2. Fonts

As much as possible, please outline your fonts(in illustrator and inDesign). This is to avoid any font issues when your job is printed. If you are submitting Quark Xpress or InDesign files, please include a font folder containing all the typefaces used in your layout. Please do not use a font size smaller than 8 points. Typically, very small or very thin fonts may not be readable especially when printed against dark or busy backgrounds.

3. Proof Reading

Before submitting your artwork, please check and review all copy/text for typos or misspellings. A PDF will be available for viewing after artwork submissions to provide the opportunity to check everything before your jobs go into print. Once the job is approved, we cannot be responsible for any misprint or errors in the finished print.

4. Resolution

To ensure the best output quality, the minimum resolution for artwork is 300 dpi(dots per inch). Make sure your link files or images (especially in illustrator, QuarkXpress, and InDesign)are in this resolution or higher. Images need to be created at 300dpi or higher to ensure there will not be a substantial drop in quality-typically resulting in blurry images with jagged edges. If you are scanning pictures, please make sure the settings are for a photograph and that the resolution is also 300 dpi or higher.

5. File Size

For files larger than 10MB, we recommended that you compress your file using software programs like WinZip (for Windows) or Stufflt (for Mac). You can also send your artworks by signing up for a free account on We Transfer.

6. Upload Time

Uploading file may take a while depending on the speed of your connection and the size of your artwork. Uploading a 4MB file could take about 5 minutes on a DSL connection. If you are having issues with our uploader, you can always email your files to or use a file sending service like We Transfer.

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