We have made a checklist to help designers submit proper files for print. We make every effort to help our customers with their files, however many problems are unable to be repaired. If you have any questions or concerns about our files, please contact our customer service team.
• The Best File Types
The best file types for professional printing are PDF files in either Mac or PC formats.
We can also produce excellent results using JPG, EPS, PDF, PS, PSD, TIF and AI files in MAC or PC formats.
About Quark Xpress™ & Adobe InDesign™ File Types
We can accept .QXD (Quark Xpress™) and .INDD (Adobe In-Design™) file. However, using these file type might not produce the professional results you should expect. We do NOT recommend these file types for professional printing because of common errors made in the design and file "Save" process. Common mistakes you can avoid when using Quark Xpress™ & Adobe InDesign™ are to be certain that images are embedded in the saved file – not linked into the file. Linked images are NOT embedded at full resolution in the file unless you deliberately embed them. Images that are simply "linked" will print pixilated and low resolution. You can resolve this issue by either using the image embedding tools in either program – or by outputting the files to a PDF. We suggest the latter; converting all Quark Xpress™ & Adobe InDesign™ files to PDF. Please review all of your images on your document BEFORE sending to us for print.
About Word, Publisher and other Microsoft File Types:
We DO NOT recommend using Publisher, PowerPoint nor any other Microsoft programs for professional printing. Microsoft programs do not output graphics, alignment or images properly for professional printing. If you need design help, please contact our customer service team for more information.
Illustrator™, Freehand™ and Other Vector-Based Files:
When using vector based programs, including Illustrator™ and Freehand™, you have to convert ALL fonts to outlines. When you do this your fonts will be printed as objects and that means that the fonts you used do not have to be in the file –or on our servers – for us to professionally print your project. This is a very important step to ensure best results. If you do not take this step, we may have to do so for you – at some additional cost and printing time – to ensure quality results that we can both be proud of.
• Get The Artwork Size Right – At 300dpi
Your artwork files should be designed, and saved, to the exact size you need them printed and at 300dpi. As an example, a 10 inch document should be composed of 3000 pixels (300 dots per inch x 10 inches = 3000 dots/pixels). This ensures the best printing results.
Most often, images create dpi issues. A 97 dpi image that is 1" x 1" will print fine if you do not try to enlarge the image. The key is to use images that are the correct size – enlarging images almost never results in acceptable, professional printing results. Instead, start with 300dpi images that are too large for your piece, and scale them down and crop them to size.
If you need help with images – or with finding the right images – please contact our customer service team.
• Professional Printing Is Done IN CMYK
We print almost all of your artwork using commercial printing equipment in process color. Process color (sometimes called CMYK or "commercial printing colors") separates your artwork into Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black to enable the full spectrum of colored printing.
Your monitor and many desktop publishing programs show your artwork in RGB color– not CMYK color. RGB stands for red, green, blue – and this is a way of showing colors but not for professionally printing colors. We suggest that you set your color space to CMYK when starting your project to avoid the confusion and issues that are created when designing in the RGB space.
RGB files can be converted to CMYK but colors will shift considerably when this is done, resulting in often un-welcomed surprises.
About Pantone© colors.
Pantone© is a color system used for spot or PMS colors. These colors DO NOT reproduce accurately when converted to CMYK for professional printing. With no predictability, some Pantone© colors will acceptably convert to CMYK; however accuracy is not guaranteed. If you require a spot color please contact our customer service team.
About Color Matching.
The colors you see on your monitor will NOT be the same as the colors on our presses. Again, this is due to the RGB nature of your monitor, the calibration of your monitors color scheme and the fact that we print in CMYK – not RGB.
We do offer a color proof for your review prior to printing. This provides a much closer representation of the colors you’ve designed as we will print them. For some products, we offer a "proof" on the exact paper you selected. We always do our best to match the colors you specify, but variations inherent in the printing process prohibit us from guaranteeing exact color matches.
A Final Note On Color Matching: The PDF proof we provide to you is not able – nor intended to – show exact color matching. Theses proof are meant to show content and approximate color values. Should we notice significant color issues with your artwork, we will contact you. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for color differences.
• Bleeds and Safety Areas
A bleed is any artwork that extends past the edges of the overall printed size of your piece. As an example, if you have chosen to print an 8.5" x 11" printed size, and you desire bleeds, then your artwork should be 8.75" x 11".25" with 1/8" "bleeding" on all sides. The extended artwork will not be printed, thus providing edge-to-edge printing for your project. Unless you desire the effect, do not place content such as text or images in the bleed area as this content will not be printed.
About Safety Area.
The safety areas are a 1/8th of an inch inwards from the edge of the printed piece. Any text and/or images that run into the safe area might be cut during trimming.
Our trimming technology is excellent. We use the highest possible standards in trimming and cutting your printed pieces, and we guarantee our cuts when the added bleeds are provided within 1/8".
• Naming Files
If you will include the order number in the name of the files that you upload, we will be able to move your files to proofing and printing as quickly and as accurately as possible. If this is not possible, please create a unique file name that reflects specific information about your project or your company. Giving your files a unique name helps us better manage your order – whereas using generic names such as front.tif and back.tif or postcard1.jpg and postcard2.jpg can create confusion on our end. Also, if you are using the same image for both sides, or your document is 1 sided, please let us know. If not, we may assume that if we have 1 document, it is truly one sided.
• About Fonts and "Live" Fonts
If you are using Adobe Illustrator™ or Adobe InDesign™, or other programs that uses "live" fonts, please convert your fonts to objects, outlines or curves. Taking this simple step will prevent you from having to upload your entire font library along with your artwork, saving you printing and upload time.
If you do not convert your fonts, the program we use to prepare your file for printing can default to a different font if we do not have yours on file. Should this happen, the formatting of your file might be disrupted, resulting in a printed piece that varies from your original artwork.
We suggest that you convert your files to flattened .PDF TIF or JPG format. This will handle the font.
• About The Color Black
All small text and lines under 16pt should utilize 1 color black (100% black) to ensure crisp, readable and viewable printing output. Building black with 4 colors on small text areas will produce blurry, and at times, unreadable output. As paper slightly shifts during the printing process (+/- .00001 inch) registration problems in small, detailed text may occur.
Larger text and lines thicker than 16pt. will actually reproduce dark grey if selected as 100% black. In these cases, use a "rich" black such as cyan: 40%, magenta: 40%, yellow: 0%.
Lastly, using more than 70% of all 4 colors at the same time creates an extremely dense color combination and tends to dry poorly with picking issues and offsetting of the saturated areas.
• Do Read Our Terms and Conditions
We really want to exceed your printing expectations. To help us give you the best printing results possible, please read our terms and conditions. If, at any time, you have questions, concerns or comments, please contact customer service. We are all here to be your commercial printing superstore.