Providing your own art files?


(Also see our Do’s and Don’ts page, as well as our What is a Bleed page for more information on providing quality print-ready art files.)

If you are planning to provide a digital file for us to use to create your project, there are some guidelines that you should be aware of for a successful print run. More often than not, we receive files from customers that are not print-ready and often require adjustments that can slow the project down, and also add costs to your project. Just because your file prints on your inkjet printer or looks great on your monitor, doesn't mean it will look like that, or print that way on our advanced digital machinery and/or offset presses.

We require PDF files for all customer provided artwork.

PDF is an abbreviation for the Netware Printer Definition File. PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that has captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else.

This .pdf format helps us, because in the process of creating a .pdf on your system, it will verify and embed fonts and graphics and ensure stability of the document. If your computer can create .pdfs, but it keeps erroring, it is because something in your design are not postscript-ready, thus, telling us your file won’t print on our system. This is standard in the industry, meaning all print shops require the same specifications.

We have state-of-the-art, high-quality postscript printers that require more than meets the eye. Don’t assume that because you have a program on your computer and can set up something quick, that it will be quick on our end! For example, did you use photographs on your document? Is it an RGB file or CMYK? Printers work in the CMYK color value spectrum and when the machines are trying to convert your RGB file to CMYK, colors shift, which could dramatically cause not-so-pleasant results. This also pertains to spot-color logos. Does your company have special corporate color specifications? Often referred to as PMS (Pantone Matching System), this is a standard color guide used across the board for the printing trade. Just as if you're purchasing a specific paint color at a paint store, we also use charts and mix the exact ink you want. A digital copier prints in CMYK and will not be able to interpret the RGB color values accurately. It will come close and there are tricks to work with inside the file to accommodate and adjust for better quality color.

We would love to talk to you about your project before you get started so we can help you save time and money by getting you on the right track and avoid frustration and errors on your document.

Consider the following:
  • Is the image high resolution or low resolution? Our printers require at least 300 dpi at 100% of the size.
  • Do your graphics go to the edge of the page or is there a white border? All .pdf files which have artwork which goes to the edge of the page requires Bleed Information. Please refer to this page for more on Bleeds.
  • What fonts are you using? If you are using a low-grade font, our postscript printers may not interpret the font as you wish. Some of the older fonts may even be corrupted and not draw some of the characters as you have intended, such as bullets or “&” etc.

Remember, PDFs are the preferred digital file standard for print projects. We require .PDFs for all print projects. If you are unable to provide us a file, we then are not able to guarantee your print run to look exactly as you expected.


More about .PDF files

PostScript(PS) is a computer language for creating vector graphics. It is a dynamically-typed, concatenative programming language and was created at Adobe Systems by John Warnock, Charles Geschke, Doug Brotz, Ed Taft and Bill Paxton from 1982 to 1984. PDF is also an abbreviation for the Netware Printer Definition File. PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that has captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else.

When you are creating a document, you are actually programming a file. Microsoft products such as Word and Publisher are not able to “hold” postscript language, which is the programming information that tells the printer what to do. If you take a Word document from one computer to another, you will find that the text and formatting will change. This is what we am referring to. Saving these documents as a .pdf, will help generate the postscript language and allow the printers to “digest” the files more accurately. Other file types such as .png, .gif and .jpg, also are not vector. Therefore, as a file being sent straight to the printer, it will not translate size, color won’t be accurate, and it can create printing errors.

Please keep in mind, whether you decide to have your project printed digitally copy, offset print, screen print, or variable data printed, each process has its own set of “preflight requirements.” Please give us a call before you get started, so that we can help you save time and money spent recreating or trying to get a file to print properly. So, if you are submitting your file digitally, it is necessary to provide a .pdf file.

For more information on providing a quality print .pdf, check out our Do’s and Don’ts Page, as well as our What is a Bleed Page.


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