Preparing Your Artwork
Do you need assistance with setting up your artwork?
In most cases make your document files the trim size of your card. If your art has a bleed off the edge of the card make sure you extend it to .125 past the trim. For example, 4x6 would now be 4.25 x 6.25.
We have a support team ready to assist you with the finer points of correctly setting up your artwork for printing. We can either give you the instructions you need, or accept your files and perform the necessary pre-press production work. Call Kerry at 760-223-3161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I properly set up Bleed and Safe Areas?
During the printing and finishing process, it is normal for there to be slight variances when cards are trimmed to their final size. Therefore, you should add 'bleed' to your artwork when there are elements that reach the edge of the card. The Bleed Area should extend past the trim dimensions by .125" on all four sides. For example, 4x6" postcard art with Bleed Area has a final image area of 4.25x6.25". Many design applications provide options for setting the bleeds of your document separately, and you'll need to specify that you want to include bleeds when you save your PDFs. If you are working in an image application like Photoshop, you should set your document size so that it includes the Bleed Area.
The Safe Area is used to describe an area .125" within the trim on all four sides. This is the area where it is safe to place critical design elements like logos and text that you don't want to appear too close to the edge of the card when finished.
What image resolution should I use?
We get this question a lot, and the answer is a little trickier than you might think. Since the early days of desktop publishing, the industry standard resolution for offset printing has been 300 dpi (dots per inch). Setting the resolution of image files to 300 dpi ensures that there is enough pixel information to print high-quality images. However, the age of digital photography has also meant that photos, no matter how many megapixels, are by default 72 dpi. This doesn't mean they are low-quality, it's simply that 'dots per inch' isn't a good indicator of detail when describing digital photos. The important piece of information is how many pixels an image contains. In short, if a photo was taken on a decent digital camera or smart phone, it will have enough pixel detail to print well on your cards. If you are creating a document in Photoshop, do specify that it's 300 dpi, at the dimensions in inches that you need. Easy, right?
How do I set up a rich black CMYK mix?
Our recommended CMYK color mix for rich black is: C 40% M 30% Y 20% K 100%
How do I save my artwork as PDF files?
We require press-ready pdf files. When saving PDF files, choose an option that is 'high-resolution' or 'press-ready'. It is not necessary to select a color profile. Our printing process converts all files to the necessary CMYK profile before printing. Please include trim or crop marks for both sides even if you do not have any bleed items.
See program specific instructions below: