We always recommend utilizing an experience print designer when creating artwork for print. Graphic design knowledge alone won’t prevent unexpected issues with print products. An experienced print designer understands the limitation and requirements for print design.
If you choose to create artwork yourself, we recommend utilizing professional publishing software like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Indesign.
Let’s start with a few common errors we commonly find in artwork submitted for printing. Addressing these issues will help mitigate errors in your final print.
Artwork Dos and Don'ts
Tip #1 – Understand bleed lines, safety lines, and cut lines
We cut the bleed area off your cards to avoid white strips on the edge. Extend any images or background colors to fill this area.
All important text, images and logos should be in the box, otherwise it could get cut off.
This is where we will try to cut the business card. It is normal for the paper to shift during cutting.
Tip #2 – Alignment and Color Matching
What you see on your screen is often different than what you see on paper. That’s because your screen is backlit and paper is not. Expect screen colors to appear duller, lacking in contrast, and variances in color shades when printed.
The paper will slightly move during the cutting process which will affect the alignment of your final print. This is normal in the printing process. The alignment of your artwork on the paper may vary within the tolerable margin of error. Adding a bleed to your artwork, avoiding using borders, and keeping all important elements within the safe area will keep your artwork legible even if there is a shift.
Tip #3 – Avoid using borders
In general we suggest avoiding borders, as they can come out lopsided or uneven. If you want to use a border, we recommend extending it at least 2mm within the safe area. This is to make sure that any inaccuracy during the cutting process is less noticeable.
DESIGNED WITH BORDERS
POTENTIAL RESULT WHEN CUT
Tip #4 – Make sure your artwork is the right size
Make sure your design is the right size. If it doesn’t fit in our template resize your artwork
Tip #5 – Make sure your artwork is the right resolution
If your design looks blocky on screen, or you see a low resolution warning on your proof, you need to submit a high resolution version.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of files can I upload?
PDF, EPS, AI, PSD, TIF, TIFF, JPEG, JPG
PDF is highly recommended.
We prefer that you send PDF and EPS files with outlined fonts. These files are easier to handle and will likely speed up your turn-around. Remember to remove all crop marks and flatten your files before uploading.
Large Format Orders
PDF, EPS, AI, PSD, TIF, TIFF, JPEG, JPG
PDF is highly recommended.
We prefer that you send PDF files with outlined fonts. These files are easier to handle and will likely speed up your turn-around. Remember to remove all crop marks and flatten your files before uploading.
What resolution should my files be?
Most files will require 300 dpi resolution for all elements within artwork. Large format prints have special resolution and scaling options see the LARGE FORMAT FAQ for details.
Can I submit a front and back in the same file?
No. Our systems are specifically set up to process one side at a time, and this requires that each side of a job must be on a separate file.
Not separating files will cause delays and you might have to send the files again. Remember to separate the pages of your .pdf files as well.
What color mode should my files be?
If you send us an RGB file, there is a chance that a color shift may occur and you may not be satisfied with your job.
You should always start and finish your designs in CMYK color mode.
How can I avoid transparency issues?
Never use shadows, glows, or any other transparency (image or otherwise) on top of a spot color. Always convert your spot color to CMYK and flatten before sending.
How should I set up my bleed and crop marks?
Bleed must extend further than the cut line. Please keep all text and anything you do not want cutoff at least .125″ away from the cut line.
Do not include crop marks in the files you submit to us.
Often times, your artwork itself is set-up correctly – however, when you save as PDF – your PDF file will only output the size you have in your document set-up. To ensure your bleed is always acknowledged, you must include the bleed on your artboard in addition to the actual size of your finished size desired. i.e. If you order a 24″ x 18″ PVC sign, your artwork with bleed (.5″ on all sides) and document set-up both should actually be 25″ x 19″.
Banners: If ordering hems, leave a 2-inch safe zone on all sides. Expect to lose between 1/8 inch to 2 inches per side with banners.
Flags: Leave a 2-inch safe zone on all sides and the pole pocket area.
Bleed (All Sides)
What is rich black and how can I get it?
Rich black is an ink mixture of solid black, 100% K, with additional CMY ink values. This results in a darker tone than black ink alone. If you print black alone as 100% K, the resulting black may not be as dark as you might like
We recommend using
C 60 M 40 Y 40 K 100
This will give you a deep, dark, rich black.
Want to learn more? We’ve written a great article on this subject.
What is the standard round corner radius?
We offer 1/4″ and 1/8″ radius round corners on some products.
What is overprint, and how can it ruin my file?
Overprint is used to intentionally overlap inks for a number of reasons, overprint can cause unexpected results. We suggest that you turn all overprint objects off before submitting your files.
The colors from a top layer set to overprint might mix with the colors from the background. Unexpected results may occur if you have accidentally set certain objects to overprint. Always check logos and other artwork before submitting.
How can I make sure my blues do not come out purple?
When using a blue in your design, always make sure to leave at least a 30% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values.
Blue is close to purple in the CMYK spectrum. Remember, use a low amount of magenta whenever using high amounts of cyan to avoid purple.
EXAMPLE: C-100 M-70 Y-0 K-0
How should I set up my file for spot gloss and foil?
When creating a job with a mask file, i.e., Spot UV or Foil, you must include a mask template file along with the regular full-color file. The mask template file is used to show where the UV or Foil will be placed.
Use 100% K to indicate where you would like the UV. White will indicate no UV.
How should I scale my artwork to keep the file size manageable?
It is not always necessary to scale your artwork. Scaling artwork can help to keep the file size manageable. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are scaling your artwork.
We are able to print outdoor banners as large as 150ft x 16ft, however, most software is not able to produce an artboard larger than 228″. Adobe Acrobat and other PDF readers/converters are only able to view a maximum file size of 200″, resulting in a loss of artwork. For this reason, it is recommended to submit files at a smaller scale than the ordered size.
Raster files are calculated by pixels rather than inches. The pixels are converted to inches based on the resolution of a file. The equation for the conversion is (pixels divided by dpi = inches). Raster files have a limitation of 30,000 pixels. A file that is 30,000 pixels set at 150 dpi will be 16′ (200″). If your artwork is more than 30,000 pixels, we recommend dropping your dpi or scaling down your artwork.
How to scale your artwork
To scale artwork we need to proportionally decrease the file dimensions and increase the file resolution.
Here are scaling samples for printing a 40-foot x 10-foot banner.
Note: Banners larger than 15 feet will print below 100dpi
File print size: 40 feet x 10 feet
Full scale artwork: 40 feet x 10 feet @ 100 dpi
Half scale artwork: 20 feet x 5 feet @ 200 dpi
Quarter scale artwork: 10 feet x 5 feet @ 300 dpi
Full scale: 150dpi
Full scale: 250dpi
Coroplast and Adhesive Vinyl
Full scale: 200dpi
Full scale: 250dpi
Full scale: 250dpi
Indoor Banners, Car Magnets, Floor Graphics and Large Posters:
Full scale: 300dpi
Full scale: 200dpi
Full scale: 100 dpi. vector artwork is preferred
What size should my text be if I want to view my banner or yard sign from at a distance?
This depends on what the final output size will be, and its viewing distance.
Please reference our Scale & Resolution Example Chart and Letter Visibility Chart below:
MAX IMPACT DISTANCE
MAX READABLE DISTANCE
This is based on dark text on a plain white background in clear weather conditions
There is an approximate 10% variance when using various color combinations.
Do you offer installations?
No, we do not offer installation services. We recommend professional installation for all of our products. Please take care when ordering any large format product. Take into consideration where the product will be placed and stresses it may be subjected to, such as wind. We stand behind all of our products and will quality control all orders to the best of its ability but will not be held responsible for damages resulting from improper installation or use.
How do I set up a Booklet?
Booklets are a little more complex to design, for best results please use our booklet TEMPLATES.
Here are rules to follow when creating your Booklets:
• Page counts start on the cover as page 1, inside cover as page 2 and so on.
• Total bleed is .25” and total Safety is .5”. For example, an 8.5×11 booklet with bleed should be 8.75×11.25 total. This allows us to set up your crossovers properly.
• Only single pages will be accepted. NO readers OR printers spreads.
• We prefer a multipage PDF but single page files are also ok.
Crossovers are common in booklets and require extra attention. A Crossover is an image, text or other graphic elements that goes from one page to another. Keep text and important images away from the crossover area.
Designers must pay close attention to the crossover design and make sure it is as seamless as possible on the finished piece. Also, do not use text or thin lines as crossovers. Big pictures work best.
Note: Due to the nature of saddle stitch binding, crossovers may not line up 100% on the final booklet.
Artwork completed in Indesign or other layout software as spreads or facing pages must be saved out as single page PDFs. When creating your design, keep this in mind especially when doing crossovers.
What binding options are available for booklets?
Saddle stitching is a booklet binding process that secures loose printed, folded and nested pages with two or three wire staples down the middle of the fold, which becomes the spine. Binding with saddle-stitching creates booklets that can be opened up flat. The binding method is a good binding option for booklets with a relatively low page count.
What are the specifications of the available Roll Label stocks?
Semi-Gloss Paper – 55lb, 3.2mil
Semi-Gloss Paper is a budget-friendly solution that doesn’t sacrifice quality for economy. Semi-Gloss Paper stock has a permanent adhesive that sticks well to a variety of surfaces. It is not resistant to oil or water and is recommended for indoor use only.
White BOPP – 2.3mil
White BOPP is made of Glossy White Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene with a permanent adhesive that sticks well to a variety of surfaces. White BOPP is oil and water resistant but we only recommended it for indoor use.
Clear BOPP – 2.3mil
Clear BOPP is made of Glossy Clear Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene with a permanent adhesive that sticks well to a variety of surfaces. BOPP is oil and water resistant but we only recommended it for indoor use. We offer white ink as a 5th color.
Eggshell Felt – 70lb, 6.3mil
70lb Eggshell Felt features a distinct texture, high opacity, and excellent ink holdout. This facestock also contains 30% post-consumer waste content making it an excellent choice for eco-friendly applications. It is manufactured with wet strength properties to increase performance in moist environments. These are not recommended for outdoor use.
Bright Silver Metallic – 2mil
Bright Silver Metallic comes standard in a 2mil thickness. Offering excellent tear strength and opacity, these mirror-like labels are heat and chemical resistant and are suitable for application on a variety of surfaces. We recommend them for indoor use. We offer white ink as a 5th color.
Label Roll Specifications
Are Roll Labels safe for Food Packaging?
Our Roll Labels are suitable for use with food products only when an intervening layer of FDA approved food contact material is used. It is the responsibility of our customers or the end-user to ensure that use of the products conforms to the relevant FDA regulations.
What lamination options are available for Roll Labels?
For some substrates, we offer either a 1.0 mil clear silk overlaminate or a 1.0 mil clear gloss overlaminate.
Can Roll Labels be written on?
Semi-Gloss without lamination and Eggshell Felt can easily be written on with a ball point pen. Permanent markers work on all substrates and on laminated roll labels, if allowed to fully dry. You may not be able to write on roll labels with gel, ink or other types of pens, nor can you write with pencil. It is recommended that you test your specific application.
Will my dispenser work with your Roll Labels?
All of our Roll Labels have a 3″ core and an outer diameter of up to 6″. This will fit most hand-applied dispensers – please check the specifications of the dispenser prior to purchase if you’ll be using our Roll Labels with any other dispenser.
How do I set up my Roll Label file and what are the bleed requirements?
The bleed and safety line measurements are different to other products so we highly recommend requesting one of our templates by emailing us. Total bleed is 0.125″ out from the cut line and total safety is 0.125″ inside the cut line. Please ensure that the size of your artwork is the same size as the roll label that you are ordering and that it includes the correct amount of bleed. If your uploaded artwork is smaller than the required size it will not print correctly.
How do I set up white ink on Clear and Bright Metallic Silver roll labels?
With Clear Labels, you have the option to use white ink as your base color so your prints can be opaque in some areas and transparent in others. With Bright Metallic Silver, white ink will hide the foil material to make solid colors.
Similar to Spot UV masks, White Mask files are separate from your artwork files and Black color indicates where the white ink will print.
Make sure to create your mask file the same size as your color art file. This will prevent alignment issues during printing.
Note: White Masks must be made in vector form as shapes and be saved as EPS or PDF.
Use vector paths/shapes to create black color areas that will indicate where the white ink base will go. The rest of the area will represent the Metallic or Transparent label stock.
Here is a sample of a printed clear label with white ink. First how the artwork and white mask files look like, then the result from these files:
What is the total print area for the Mugs?
What process do you use to print Mugs?
Mugs are printed by a CMYK digital print process.
Do I need to set-up my artwork file differently for various colors?
No. For all Tote Bags; the background color of your artwork must be transparent if you want the color of the bag to show. Saving a transparent PDF or TIF file is the best way to do this. You can also send in EPS files with no background.
Can you print on both sides of the Tote Bag?
Yes, 4/4 printing is available on both sides of the Tote Bag.
What process do you use to print Tote Bags?
Our Tote Bags are printed by a CMYK+W digital print process.
What size Tote Bags do you offer?
Product size: 14.5″W x 16″H x 1″ / Printable area: 9″W x 13″H – both sides.
What color Tote Bags do you offer?
Natural (off-white), Blue (royal), and Red
What type of Tote Bags do you offer?
We offer a sturdy 100% cotton Tote Bag that’s eco-friendly and useful for anything from grocery shopping to hitting the gym. The 6-oz cotton canvas material is washable and reusable. Dual self-fabric straps offer convenient over-the-shoulder carry, leaving hands free for shopping applications.
What is the total print area for the T-Shirt?
Only vertical 8.5×11 designs are available for the women’s and youth T-Shirts due to their smaller size
What printing process do you use for T-Shirts?
T-Shirts are printed by a CMYK+W direct to garment digital print process. Printing is available on the front and back of the T-Shirt
What T-shirt material do you offer, and how does it fit?
Men’s – Basic, Tank Tops and Kids’ shirts are 6.0 oz (10.0 oz Canada) 100% Cotton Tubular Jersey. Classic fit, double-needle bottom hem and sleeves with shoulder-to-shoulder tape. Pre-shrunk to minimize shrinkage.
See Alstyle #1301 for Men’s Basic Short Sleeve reference: https://www.gildanbrands.com/en-us/alstyle-1301
See Alstyle #1304 for Men’s Long Sleeve reference: https://www.gildanbrands.com/en-us/alstyle-1304
See Alstyle #1307 for Men’s Tank Top reference: https://www.gildanbrands.com/en-us/alstyle-1307
See Alstyle #3381 for Kid’s Short Sleeve reference: https://www.gildanbrands.com/en-us/alstyle-3381
See Alstyle #3384 for Kid’s Long Sleeve reference: Link Not Available
Men’s – Premium shirts are 4.3 oz (7.15 oz Canada) 100% Combed Ring-spun Cotton Jersey. Set-in rib collar with shoulder-to-shoulder taping. Double-needle sleeve and bottom hems. Preshrunk to minimize shrinkage.
See Alstyle #5301 for Men’s Premium Short Sleeve reference: https://www.gildanbrands.com/en-us/alstyle-5301n
Ladies’ – Premium shirts are 4.3 oz (7.15 oz Canada) 100% Combed Ring-spun Cotton Jersey. Set-in rib collar with shoulder-to-shoulder taping. Double-needle sleeve and bottom hems. Preshrunk to minimize shrinkage.
See Alstyle #5562 for Ladies Premium Short Sleeve reference: Link Not Available
See Alstyle #5564 for Ladies Premium Long Sleeve reference: Link Not Available