Conventional File Prep Guides

Acceptable File Types

The following files are recommended other versions are accepted.

• Adobe Acrobat CC
• Adobe InDesign CC15, CS6
• QuarkXpress 11,10
• Adobe Pdf (high resolution) with fonts and images embedded. Include bleed and crop marks.

Working in the Right Software

Prepare your art in the program best suited for the task. Illustrator is a drawing (vector) program, ideal for Large Format graphics. Photoshop is a pixel-based (raster) program that lets you size, color-correct and manipulate digital images such as photos and flat art. InDesign is best suited for multi-page layouts.


The area beyond the trim edge of your page document is considered the bleed area. When butting a color or image up to the edge of your page, it’s required that the color or image “bleed” beyond the edge to prevent an unwanted white border from showing when the document is trimmed. For the bleed to show up you must indicate 1/8” (.125) bleed in your document page setup. Make sure all boxes and images are pulled to bleed or enlarged enough. In some cases you may have to add bleed to a photo by cloning it in Photoshop.

Safe Area

Remember to keep important elements within the safe margin (at least 1/4” to 3/8” from the edges) to ensure that they aren’t cut off when your document is trimmed or in the binding like Wire-O or Perfect binding.

Rich Black

Since our equipment uses 4-8 colors of ink, use rich black on large solid black areas. The rich black combination we prefer is C - 60, M - 40, Y - 40, K – 100.

Keep Track of Your Colors

Delete unused colors from your swatch palette before submitting your file. If the piece is printing entirely in CMYK, convert any spot colors you may have used. This eliminates any question as to whether you want the color printed as CMYK or matching a spot. Having said that, it’s still best to indicate the color specs when you upload your file, especially if you want it to print with matching spot colors.

Fonts and Linked Graphics

All fonts and graphics must be included with your files. Take advantage of the “Package” feature in InDesign. It will help you collect all the fonts and images used, and search for missing items. (Your document may show the placed image, but the actual file may have become unlinked when saved in a folder that differed from its original location. Missing links can cause delays in the process.)

Maintain Image Quality

Images must conform to the specifications for minimum image resolution – 300 dpi. Photoshop provides tremendous pixel control, however, raster software cannot enlarge images without a loss in quality. It’s better to start out big when producing a digital image, as you can scale down with impunity. If you need to make an image larger, it is best to re-scan or re-shoot it at a higher resolution. Vector graphics, however, retain high image quality at any size.




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