We have four standard sizes for plate orders (A6, A5, A4, and A3). Please click on the links below for PDF templates and pricing.
File formats accepted:
- Adobe Illustrator (.ai), InDesign (.indd) and PDF (.pdf) files.
- All files, including images, should be submitted at 100% scale.
- All files should be set up in CMYK color mode (no RGB elements).
Line weight: We recommend using a minimum line weight of .25 pt for all line art (both text and graphics). Line art with a finer weight may result in broken or bent lines.
Text in digital files:
- Refrain from setting text in Photoshop, which often leads to blurriness in the printed piece. Instead, set text using Illustrator or InDesign for greater printing acuity.
- Turn all fonts to outlines to avoid missing font issues. In Illustrator or InDesign, simply select your type, then go to Type > Create Outlines.
- We recommend using text size at least (if not greater than) 3 pt size for sans serif fonts/4 pt size for serif fonts.
Converting Photoshop images to vector objects in Illustrator:
- Many photographic images are unsuitable for letterpress printing. However, you can convert your .tiff, .jpg, or .gif file to vector art in Adobe Illustrator.
- Please see this excellent Smashing Magazine article as well as our article on this topic, which covers scanning, cleaning up edges and using Adobe Illustrator’s Live Trace tool.
Maximum print size: Your files must be no larger than 14 x 23 inches (maximum film size).
back to top
Margins: Add at least a 1/2 inch margin to all four sides of your digital file. If you include crop marks in your file, add 1/2 inch margin beyond the crop marks, not the image or text area.
For example, if you are setting up an A4 size (8.25″ x 11.7″) document, count on having 7.25″ x 10.7″ as your active art area (if you have any crop marks, make sure they fit within the active art area dimensions).
back to top
Trim Marks: If including trim marks in your file, turn their color to Registration and offset the marks by at least 1/8″. This way, when you trim out your printed press sheet, you won’t see the edges of your printed trim marks on the cards.
The easiest way to add trim marks is to save your file as a PDF (see below). Otherwise, follow these simple steps:
To add trim marks in Illustrator:
- Select the object, then go to:
- Object > Create Trim Marks
To add trim and/or registration marks in InDesign:
- Select the placed image object, then go to:
- Window > Automation > Scripts
Bleeds: Bleeds are encouraged if your artwork extends beyond the edge of the final piece. We recommend setting 1/8″ (.125″) bleeds in your file document setup.
Use either Illustrator or InDesign to apply trim marks and bleeds:
- Set the document size to be the final size of your piece, with 1/8″ bleed on all four sides if your artwork extends beyond the trim line.
- You can modify the document settings by going to File > Document Setup
You can also create a PDF from your Illustrator (.ai) or InDesign (.indd), with both trim marks and bleeds (see image below):
- Go to File > Save As
- Choose the “Adobe PDF (pdf)” option under the “Format” dropdown menu.
- In the Save Adobe PDF dialog box:
- Click on Marks and Bleeds on the left side
- Under the Marks section, check the box next to Trim Marks
- Under the Bleeds section, enter .125 in all four fields (Top, Bottom, Left and Right).
- Click the Save PDF button to finish.
Ganging: When ganging or composing several pieces onto a single sheet of film or plate material, be sure to arrange the pieces in rows or columns for easy cutting. Add at least 1 inch between pieces for trim allowance. If you’d like us to cut the plates apart, please make a note in the message body of your order submission.
back to top
Multiple colors: It’s fine to submit one file that has multiple colors. We will output individual plates for each color separation.
- Set the first color to 100% K (black), and 0% Cyan/Magenta/Yellow.
- Set any additional colors in 100% of any other color, such as 100% Cyan.
- You can also set Pantone Solid Uncoated spot colors (e.g., PMS 462 U):
- With desired elements selected in InDesign or Illustrator, go to Windows > Swatches to open the Swatches panel.
- In the Swatches panel, in the upper right corner click on the drop-down arrow menu.
- Select Open Swatch Library > Color Books > Pantone solid uncoated.
- Click the swatch you’d like to use to change the highlighted type to your preferred spot color.
Trap, Knockout and Overprint: When printing multiple colors, it is a good idea to apply a small trap (.25 point stroke) for the second or third colors. This helps avoid any white gaps from imperfect registration, as seen in the image to the left.
Manually Setting Overprint in Illustrator: If the second or third colors involve very little surface area (such as thin type over a solid area), then it is not necessary to trap; you can simply set the text to Overprint the solid background. Select both the overprinting text and the background shape, then go to Window > Attributes > Overprint Fill.