Resources and Tools
Print File Specifications
When designing your project there are a few key items you should keep in mind. Please take some time to read through the specifications we have outlined below. Doing so will ensure a print that resembles the design you create.
Almost all graphic design programs available today allow you to work in both RGB and CMYK formats. Devices like computer monitors, digital cameras and scanners use Red, Green and Blue (also known as RGB) to produce the images you see. However, offset printing uses a different set of colors known as CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) to produce the vibrant colors we all see every day in printed items such as magazines, product packaging and other marketing materials. With this in mind, it is very important to create your files using a CMYK color space to ensure what you see is what you’ll get. Keep in mind that just because you are working with CMYK, that does not necessarily mean that what you see on your monitor is exactly how the colors will look once printed. Most computer monitors are not calibrated to properly show CMYK.
Below are two examples showing the difference between RGB and CMYK. Although the images are very similar, there are slight differences in the colors.
This is one of the most important aspects of your design. We recommend all images you are working with be at least 300 dpi/ppi. This will ensure that your final print will have images that are crisp and clean.
Many people make the mistake of taking an image from the internet and thinking it will look nice in their project. However, images for the web are created at 72 dpi. This is far less than is needed for printing. Below is a dramatized example of taking a small web image and trying to use it for print (1/2 inch print size):
This does not mean you cannot use images from the web in your project. You definately can (and many people do)! If you are going to do so, it is best to find the largest image you can, because you will have to reduce it’s size to preserve it’s quality. [increase resolution to 300 dpi and descrease pixel size]
Bleed & Trim
Bleed – When you are beginning your project it is important to take in account your bleed area. The bleed is an extra 1/8″ on each side of the actual final print. Keep in mind that basically anything you place in the bleed area will be cut off. Be sure you do not place anything in the bleed area that you don’t want to have cut off.
In this example a business card is being designed. A standard business card is 2″ X 3.5″, but to allow room for 1/4″ bleed on each side, the file was created at 2.25″ X 3.75″.
To expedite the pre-press process of your order, we only accept the file formats listed below:
Photoshop *.PSD (flattened) *.JPEG, *.JPG, *.TIFF, *.TIF (for 5th color files)
For more detailed instructions on file preparation click here