File Preparation Tips

General file preparation tips:

  • Build your file in a CMYK color space (not RGB)
  • Preferred file formats: Illustrator (.ai, .eps, .pdf), InDesign (packaged .indd file with linked fonts and images, .pdf) formats preferred. If saving as a PDF, please choose the “Press Quality” option with no color conversion.
  • Make sure all art is set at 100% scale and 100% opacity
  • For single-color plates or manual separations, please build in 100% K (black).
    100% K Black
    Example of correctly set 100% K (0% values for Cyan, Magenta and Yellow)

    Rich Black
    Incorrectly set “rich” black is a mix of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.
  • For multiple color separations, please use Pantone spot colors or CMYK separations.


  • Outline all fonts (in Illustrator or InDesign, go to Type > Create Outlines) or include your font files (safest)
  • No Photoshop type; use Illustrator or InDesign instead for high-quality type resolution.
  • Very small elements should be no smaller than 0.5 point wide. For punctuation, we recommend at least 1 point, especially when using KF152 and KM152 plate materials.
  • Double-check all spelling, grammar and dates, if applicable.

 Crop Marks:

Both InDesign and Illustrator have script options for inserting crop marks. InDesign allows you to specify how long to make them (Illustrator’s default crop marks are really long in comparison):

  • In Illustrator, highlighting the object, then going to Effect > Crop Marks. 
  • In InDesign, highlight the placed image object, then go to  Window > Automation > Scripts, and under the Scripts window, go to Application > Samples > JavaScript >  CropMarks.jsx. We like crop marks at least 10 points long, .25 point thick. Be sure to offset your crop marks, too — we recommend at least by 6 points.

Kindly note that we are not responsible for unintentional screens (which result from elements that are less than 100% opacity), spelling, color space or trap issues. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 415-552-0817 or email us with a draft of your artwork for feedback. We’re always happy to help you build a plate-friendly file!

We process plates in four standard sizes, please feel free to download the templates below for your convenience. We need at least 0.5″ between any artwork and the edge of the plate to ensure accurate processing, the margins are demarcated by a magenta key line in each template. In some circumstances, we may be able to accommodate odd-sized plates, please call for pricing and availability.

Check out our FAQ for more details and in-depth questions!


Download templates for A3 | A4 | A5 | A6

Please delete all of the template art (set in magenta) before submitting your file.