When it comes to the specs for artwork submitted to or worked on by us, we adhere to digital print industry standards. The specifications for large format digital printing are inherently different from offset printing. It is critical to adhere to these guidelines to avoid any order or production delays.
Preferred File Formats
- Adobe Illustrator - All software versions. The text must be converted to outlines, and all linked images must be included.
- Photoshop - All software versions. Please include all layers, paths, channels, linked images, and fonts used.
Lesser Recommended File Formats
- InDesign - Please include all layers, paths, channels, linked images, and fonts. The text must be converted to outline. DO NOT embed any images. The final result must be saved as a “press-quality” PDF file. Ensure that before sending, the PDF is checked for any errors.
- Quark Express - Please use the “save page as” under the “file” menu. The file format being saved is “EPS.” Open the EPS in Adobe Illustrator and convert text to outlines. Include all linked images. DO NOT embed images.
- CorelDraw - Please include all layers, paths, channels, linked images, and fonts. The text must be converted to outlines. Do not embed images. The project must be exported as an EPS file.
- PDF –Unfortunately, we do not print directly from PDF documents. They have to be opened in Illustrator and checked for errors. When PDF files are created, fonts and images are embedded automatically. When outside programs open PDF files, all embedding is lost. All fonts prior must be outlined beforemaking your PDF. You must also include all linked files used to create the original file.
Not Accepted File Formats
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Publisher
We have several artwork templates provided for your convenience that we encourage you to take advantage of! They can be found on each product order page, and all of our templates are to scale. We highly recommend using Adobe Illustrator to open the template and layer your artwork within it.
- E-Proofs - Every order that we work on guarantees a digital e-proof before it goes into production. The purpose of this is to verify the placement of the graphic and the accuracy of the grammar. E-Proofs ARE NOT indicative of final resolution or color output.
- Hard Proofs - The term “hard proof” describes a sample produced using the printer and materials used to manufacture the final product. They are generally a mini print and a cropped section of part of the full-sized product. These cost $100.00 per proof, and overnight shipping is included for your convenience. While this does increase the cost and production time, it is the only way to ensure that the color output is in line with the client’s expectations/needs. Waiving the hard proofs for any reason automatically means that the client waives their right to reprints at our expense.
We do large prints here. As a result, it is essential to work with artwork that meets the required resolution and size standards. File sizes should be kept under 500MB. We suggest that vector-based software like Adobe Illustrator is used to create the lion’s share of your design. You can keep the file size reasonable by ensuring that photos are finally output at no more than 125 dpi. When creating the files, ensure that the size is in line with how big it should be in real life. This allows you to verify what the output will be when viewing the file at 100%. Our printers can output at a maximum of 720 dpi. However, if your image is pixelated when sent to us, it WILL print that way. We may inform you of pixelated images during the proofing stage, but it is not our responsibility or obligation to do so. The onus is on you to supply print-ready artwork. We do not offer complimentary reprints due to pixelated images.
Our printers output in CMYK. Your graphic files must be generated in that profile, not RGB. Files submitted in RGB have to be converted to CMYK before production on our end. The color output varies according to the specific printer and materials used when dealing with digital printers. The colors displayed on-screen may not be the real-life representation once produced. We strongly encourage ordering hard proofs if the color output is critical for satisfaction.
Vector-based files are the only ones we can color match. Photoshop or flattened image files aren’t able to be color-matched. Differences among printers, ink, and media make it difficult to duplicate colors preciselyoutside vector files. It is a strong recommendation from us that you order printed hard proofs to review the color output for yourself. Colors that must be color matched in PMS solid coating need to be specified. PMS color match fees may apply. While we do our best to match your PMS colors, we can’t guarantee exact matches.
Color Matching Previous Prints
We can’t color match previously printed items. This is because the color output from digital printers changes over time due to environmental exposure. While we suggest PMS color matching as an option, please note that there is no way for us to guarantee that the colors will match any previously printed product.
We can print flattened files if the color output is not an issue. It’s not a bad way to ensure that graphic effects print accurately. However, keep in mind that there can be no guarantee of the color output when we print from flattened files. We strongly encourage ordering hard proofs to ensureacceptable color output.
Tips for Graphic Artists
- To avoid excessively large file sizes, we encourage using vector output as much as possible. Vector programs also allow us to make color corrections to ensure that the productionaligns with your expectations. We work with vector files .eps format, or Adobe Illustrator files.
- It is highly encouraged to use Adobe Photoshop when working with any image files. Image files can be inserted into vectors by using the “place” command. When supplying us with the vector files, please ensure that you also provide us with the original image files that you have “placed.”
- Critical PMS colors in the vector file must be specified using the PMS solid coated color chart. Please note that we can not color-match files that cannot be manipulated.
- When using transparencies, please note that the printed output inherently differs from the transparency when viewed on a monitor. We heavily encourage you to order hard proofs when using transparencies. PMS color matching of transparencies is not technically possible.
- We encourage you to use our artwork templates to ensure that the artwork is sized correctly and contains proper bleeds.
- If your file size exceeds 500MB, we suggest you rework the design using more vector-based imagery or, failing that, contact us to discuss other options!
Most Common File Issues
- Text and Fonts not being correctly outlined.
- The included or placed image files not being supplied along with art files
- Fonts not outlined adequately in linked files
- Files and Designers not following or adhering to art template specifications.
- Low-resolution images being used.
Should you have any questions about these guidelines or require some further artwork assistance, do not hesitate to contact one of our customer service representatives!