Artwork Guidelines

Artwork Guidelines

Did you know that an incorrectly set up file is the #1 reason for a bad print job? 

To ensure you receive a top-quality finished product, please follow these guidelines and tips to prepare your file(s). Click HERE to download a PDF for offline reference.


if you want your design to reach the edge of the printed page (no white margin), the digital file you send must have the page elements extend beyond the cut line by 1/8". When your job is cut, the bleed area is trimmed off and there is no white showing at the edges.

Content Safety Zone

All critical elements (text, images, logos etc.) should be kept at least 1/8" from the edge of your piece to prevent them from being cut off during finishing.

Resolution (DPI)

Your file should be 300DPI or higher at final print size. Avoid using low-resolution images from the web because they are typically 72DPI or lower.
re-saving a 72DPI image in Photoshop at 300DPI does NOT make the image better, just larger in size!


Convert your fonts to outlines to avoid changes from computer to computer, Fonts should be no smaller than 8pt to be readable in print. If your file contains white text on a dark background (called a "reverse") you should use a sans-serif font no smaller than 10pt for readability.


For full-color print, be sure to convert all elements to CMYK. Do not send RGB files. If you have spot Pantone colors, ensure that they are named correctly (e.g. PANTONE 123 U). For black-and-white job, use Greyscale mode.

File Format

For best results, save your file as a high-resolution PDF with cropmarks and bleeds. We can also accept native InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop files if the fonts have been converted to outlines and all linked images are included. For multiple-page projects such as booklets and catalogs, your PDF file should be in single pages and not readers' spreads.

White Borders

If your file will have white borders, they should be at least 1/4" wide all around to minimize any visual unevenness during final cutting.


Never use shadows, glows or other transparency effects on top of a spot color. If your file contains any of these, convert those spot color areas to CMYK and flatten all transparencies before sending.

Design Tips

Even a beginner can create an appealing project. Beyond the technical specs above, keep these simple tips in mind:

  • Say "no" to too many colors. Stick with a simple palette that coordinates with your brand.
  • Select a typeface that matches the mood of your project. Keep the number of fonts to no more than three.
  • Don't be afraid of white space! Crowding your message will lessen your impact.
  • Make it easy to understand.