DIGITAL FILE REQUIREMENTS
We utilize the latest version of Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, and QuarkXPress on a Macintosh platform. Illustrator is the preferred file format among these applications for label design. QuarkXPress is an excellent page layout program, but it does not offer a lot of flexibility in label design/trapping and is better suited for multi-page documents. More often than not, QuarkXPress files have to be converted to an EPS format for trapping and stepping. This conversion often creates problems with text position, tracking, and leading.
All Microsoft Software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher). This is nothing personal against Microsoft and we will accept these file formats for viewing non-artwork documents. Freehand and CorelDRAW documents need to be converted to Illustrator (AI) format.
Spot colors (PANTONE or custom) have been the most problematic area that we come across in digital files we receive. When designing a label, ensure that spot colors have identical names in each program used or they will output as multiple colors.
Example: PANTONE 185 C, PANTONE 185 U, and PANTONE 185 CVC will separate into 3 plates when output.
Process Black and PANTONE Black are also two different colors and will separate as two colors. Make sure intended spot colors have not been converted to CMYK. Unused colors in the file should be deleted. Gradients must have a minimum 1% dot in all colors. Gradients that drop off to 0% will have an obvious line when printed.
It is highly recommended that you print out laser separations of your file and review them carefully before sending it to us to insure that the file is prepared properly and avoid costly materials and/or time. Color separations can also be viewed in Adobe InDesign 3 and Adobe Acrobat 6 (not Adobe Reader). We will not be responsible for incorrectly defined colors. Let us know if you are unsure that the file is properly prepared for separations so we can check it over thoroughly. Time may be billed for this.
For 4 color process jobs, make sure that all color images used in a file are saved in the CMYK color space before placing them in a file. Failure to do so will give unexpected output. Images should be saved in a TIFF or EPS format. Avoid using lossy compression like JPG and GIF. If an image prints in one solid color (no grays), it is recommended that you save it as a bitmap at 1200 dpi minimum. 4 color process (CMYK) and grayscale images should be around 300 dpi on images at 100%. Use a higher dpi for images that are to be enlarged when output (i.e., 600 dpi for an image being enlarged 200%). It is recommended that you crop and scale images close to the size they are going to be output in Photoshop. Do not embed images in your file, always make sure they are linked and included.
Please supply all fonts used in your file. Type 1 (postscript) is preferred, but not always necessary. If using Illustrator on a PC platform, outline all fonts. Avoid using fonts smaller than 4 point. This is especially important in files with reversed type. Do not use the type palette to format fonts.
We will provide trapping for digital files. Please let us know if you have special trapping/overprinting requirements, or have used any in a file. Try to allow for 1/2 point (.007”) trapping in your design. If using QuarkXPress, check your file for any undesirable automatic trapping.
Allow 1/16” minimum bleed beyond the die line. This is especially important for placed images that cannot be altered as vector graphics.
Positive lines must be a minimum width of 1/4 point (.0035”). Reversed lines must be a minimum width of 3/4 point (.0105”).
It is important that you let us know if there will be common plates when making copy changes to a previously printed file. When designing a label, it is recommended that you take common plates into consideration to save on plating costs. We will not be responsible for comparing old files with new files.
Compress files in a Stuffit (.sit) or BinHex (.hqx) archive when E-mailing.
DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL FILES!
Send copies of files only.
We are not responsible lost or damaged media or files.