How-To: Preparing Your Files for the Perfect Prints

Online printing became one of the fastest-growing industries for its simplicity and relatively quick ordering process, which, not to mention, can be done anywhere, at any time. In order to get your prints looking exactly the way you’d want them to come out, you have to make sure that your files are fully ready to go before you upload them and place your order.

If you’re here, it’s because you’re looking for a guide for just that!

Read on to see exactly what steps you need to take to make your files ready for the presses.

In order to ensure that your prints will turn out the way you have intended, start by opening up your file(s) for a quick run-through and ask yourself the following questions: 

1. Are all the images clear and do the files meet the DPI requirements of the product you’re printing? 

Having your photos and images come out blurry or pixelated will, quite frankly, ruin your prints. Even if the images look great on your computer screen, prints require a specific DPI/resolution in order for photos and images to come out crisp. We recommend 300-350 dpi unless a specific product states otherwise.

2. Have you double-checked spelling, numbers, and overall content information for accuracy?  

We cannot stress this point enough – especially because our processing team will not be checking this for you. Make sure everything is spelled correctly and all the information you’ve added is correct. Having a typo on your prints is the last thing you want, especially when it can be easily avoided.

3. Is the text size you’ve selected legible? 

You want to make sure your prints are legible for all, so we recommend nothing smaller than 8 pt. For peace of mind, we also recommend doing a test with your at-home printer to see the size of the font in comparison to the print size you’ve selected.

4. Is your artwork properly centered and aligned? 

There’s nothing worse than seeing a slightly off-centered element on a print that wasn’t intended, especially if the rest of the print is perfect. Most design programs have guides that will help you with alignment. 

5. Are your files flattened and fonts outlined? 

It’s important to flatten your files before saving the file for upload, to ensure that layers don’t get deleted or skewed in the printing process. Additionally, if your fonts are not outlined, a different font may be substituted in your document. 

6. Does the orientation (horizontal or vertical) of your files match what you’re going to select on the order form? 

This point is a given – the orientation of your files needs to match the orientation you intend to print.

7. Will the right side of your “Front” file align with the left side of your “Back” file when printed? 

Given the product type, most of the time, your front and back files need to both be upright. However, there are certain products that require additional steps, such as Greeting Cards, Brochures, Folded Hang Tags, and Folded Business Cards.

Now that you’re nearly ready to finalize & upload your files, there are still a few things we want to go over with you to ensure your prints turn out just the way you had intended!

File Types & Color Modes

We accept the following file types for upload: TIF, TIFF, EPS, AI, PSD, BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, PDF

If you are submitting an AI file, please make sure the images within the file are properly embedded or linked.

All print files should be in CMYK color mode unless otherwise stated. You can upload in RGB mode, but expect that your print colors will look a little different than what you’re picturing on your screen. You can convert your files to CMYK mode before saving your final design for upload. To be certain on what color mode is best, please check the File Setup tab for each product for the required color mode.

Bleed, Trim, and Safety Line

What are those 3 colored lines you see on the view instant proof screen, and what do they mean?

Black: Bleed line – Make sure your background and any elements meant to go on the edge extend all the way to the bleed line. 

Pink: Trim line – The product will be trimmed along this area to its final size. Borders are not recommended due to cutting shifts. 

Blue: Safety line – Keep text and images within this line. Anything outside this area might get trimmed off. 

Our take on Borders in designs: Due to possible cutting shifts, we recommend you skip printing designs with borders. However, if your design contains a border, we recommend that it falls within the safe zone guidelines and extends to the edge of the bleed line.

If you want to make sure that your designs fall into the guidelines of the 3 colored lines, we have helpful templates you can download for each product that will act as a guide while you are in the designing stages of your prints.

We hope this guide has been helpful, but of course, if you still need help, you can reach out to our friendly customer service team

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