When you send a print job to our team of professionals, there are a few things we need to ensure your project is produced correctly. We have outlined several best-in-practice file preparation tips and guidelines on this page and in our Prepress Guide to assist you. Your Account Manager can also help you get your project scheduled for production and answer any questions you may have along the way. We appreciate your business and look forward to working with you.
We accept files from both Mac and PC platforms and prefer PDF/X-1a files. Our systems are current with all graphics applications and versions. If you’re unsure your software version is compatible, please contact your friendly Account Manager.
Typos and grammatical errors can negatively impact the reader’s experience. Ensure your documents have been thoroughly edited for proper spelling and overall flow. Also be aware of such things as the splitting of words at the beginning or the end of a paragraph ( widows and orphans ) , the length of lines themselves ( 50-60 characters per line is recommended ) and even text spacing ( tracking and leading ).
One really important thing to watch for is in maintaining consistent line lengths when breaking sentences.
If your layout is designed to print to the edge of the page (or bleed), we require a minimum 1/4-inch margin built into the design. You can build the file 1/4 inch larger than the final trim size [ example: If the document is 8½” x 11″, the PDF size should be 8¾” x 11¼” ]. If no bleed is required, please build the file to the final trim size.
Please do not include crop marks on your final file.
4 Color Process ( CMYK ) should be used. Convert all spot colors to process before creating your PDF if you are printing on our Digital Offset Press. If your files require printing with a spot color, use the Pantone Color naming convention. Please delete all unused colors in your document.
Blacks ( CMYK Recipes ):
Below are a series of recipes for using different versions of CMYK Black.
Cool Black ( CMYK ): C:50%, M:0%, Y:0%, K:100% ( for when a cold or cool feeling is desired )
Designer Black ( CMYK ): C:70%, M:50%, Y:30%, K:100% ( rich and well suited for most applications )
Flat Black ( CMYK ): C:0%, M:0%, Y:0%, K:100% ( ideal for thin lines and text )
Golden Black ( CMYK ): C:0%, M:0%, Y:60%, K:100% ( a warm and earthy feeling )
Registration Black ( CMYK ): C:100%, M:100%, Y:100%, K:100% ( used for registration lines only and should not be used for your designs )
Rich Black ( CMYK ): C:60%, M:40%, Y:40%, K:100% ( general purpose black but not suited for fine details )
Warm Black ( CMYK ): C:0%, M:60%, Y:0%, K:100% ( best for product based prints )
Avoid font styles or subset fonts. Please use the actual font by name ( i.e. Helvetica Oblique ) instead and do not use type smaller than 7 points in your layout.
If your job is to print with variable or customized data, please setup your file the way you would like your data to appear in layout and notate the desired imprint, location, color, font, etc.
Resolution of all images should be at least 300 dpi when used for printing. Images pulled from the internet are typically 72 dpi ( low-resolution ) and are not suitable for printing. Line art should be at least 1200 dpi.
- Color: All images should be converted to CMYK.
- Ink Density: Please keep the maximum ink density at 300.
- Compression: Do not apply compression to files ( e.g. JPEG or LZW ).
Collecting Your Files
Collecting a job for output is very important. It is essential all the files and graphics associated with your project is received by our team. When sending files, please provide a final PDF copy of your document. This gives us a guide to refer to as we prepare your file for the press.
- Adobe InDesign: Go to File > Package…
- Quark XPress: Go to File > Collect for Output
Creating PDF Files
To avoid potential problems and delays, we recommend high-resolution PDF files, more specifically a PDF/X-1a file. Creating PDFs properly will save you time and money. A PDF/X-1a file is specifically developed for the graphic arts industry and is intended to create a smoother transition to press and eliminate common errors in file prep today. Most applications have the ability to directly export your document to a PDF/X-1a format. We the most common applications are highlighted in our Prepress Guide and can help you through the procedures for each application. Mac platforms are designed to easily produce PDF/X-1a files, but other applications can be more challenging. Please contact your Account Manager if you need assistance.
Preflight is a necessary step in the printing process. Our team thoroughly reviews your files and can save you time and money in errors caught prior to your press date. You can get ahead of the preflight process by ensuring your document contains all necessary fonts, your images are saved at a high resolution ( and are included in the file ), required Pantone or PMS colors are included ( especially true for custom brand colors, etc. ), bleeds are accurate, and your file is not corrupt. Please contact your Account Manager if you need assistance and they will connect you with one of our preflight pros.