Help Center

File Design Questions

What dimensions should my file be in?

Your file dimensions should be based on the "page-size" of your document. In other words, an 8.5x11" booklet should be sent in as pages 8.5x11", not as spreads of 11x17”. Folded jobs should be sent in using the pre-fold dimension (e.g. a brochure printed on 8.5x11" should be sent in as 8.5x11").

Full bleed designs should be 1/4" or 0.25” larger in both width and height (in other words, 1/8" or 0.125” on all 4 edges). For example, if you need a full bleed 8.5"x11" flyer, your file should be 8.75"x11.25". We will cut 1/8" or 0.125” in from each of the four edges. Click here to read more about full bleed design.

What is full bleed and how do I design for it?

Full bleed is printing on the full surface of a sheet of paper. If you submit an 8.5"x11" document which is entirely black, the final prints will still include a white margin on all four edges. In order to provide you a full bleed print, we need you to design a document which is wider and taller than the final print. We then trim part of the image from the top, bottom, left, and right edges to produce a full bleed print.

How do I design for full bleed?

To design for full bleed, there are three things to do:

  1. Choosing the correct dimension;
  2. Bleeding your background past all four trim edges; and
  3. Providing safety margins for your foreground text and foreground images from the trim edges.

First, your background needs to stretch 1/8" or 0.125” past the trim lines on all four edges. The trim lines are the lines where we are going to trim your image. After we print your document on larger sheets of paper, we will trim 1/8" off all four edges. Whether your document has a red header, a patterned background, or a background image, the background needs to extend 1/8" on each edge.

Second, we advise that you leave safety margins for your foreground elements from the trim line. The best way to explain the reasoning is to describe what happens if you do not. If you do not leave safety margins, by positioning important images or text right on the trim line, they are at risk of being trimmed off. We recommend positioning those important items an additional 1/8" from the trim line.

On each product page, there should be a "Specs & Templates" tab where you can download templates to overlay onto your images to check whether you've met our design requirements.

What should my final full bleed file look like?

Your final document should be 1/4" or 0.25” wider and 1/4" taller than your finished print size. If you want a full bleed 8.5"x11" sheet, your final image size needs to be 8.75"x11.25". Postcards (4"x6") require files that are 4.25"x6.25". Only leave a white margin in your file if the design will not extend to the edge of the page.

Can you print a partial full bleed?

We do not print partial full bleed, because any amount of full bleed requires printing on a larger sheet of paper.

What are templates for and how do I use them in my design?

Template are design specifications that are used to help you make sure your sizing, dimensions, and bleeds are done properly. You can download templates for your product here. When designing, use the templates as a guide by putting your design on top and following the guidelines. Remember to delete the template guides prior to submission.

What file formats do you accept?

We strongly recommend that you submit files to us in the PDF file format. The PDF format maintains the best quality, and is the most consistent method for sending your file.

We do also accept Photoshop(.psd), inDesign(.indd), Illustrator(.ai), .png, .jpg, .doc, .pub, .ppt.

Why are my prints a slightly different shade than what I see on my monitor?

There are two major reasons why there can be slightly different shades of color, one has to do with the CMYK and RGB color space, and one has to do with monitor settings. To read about the CMYK and RGB color space, please click here to read more:

Monitors can be produced by different manufacturers, have different settings, as well as have different renderings of certain colors. In addition, people have different settings on their monitors-some may have brighter colors, some may have more contrast. Monitors that are viewed in a darker room will also represent color differently from monitors that are viewed in a brighter room. Lastly, it is important to note that monitors emit bright colors in the form of light. Printing requires that light be reflected off the paper to create the colors that you see.

These factors make it difficult for our customers who may not have perfectly calibrated computer monitors to know exactly how the colors of their prints will turn out. We do the best we can by calibrating our production systems to accurately represent color prior to printing.

If your print project is color critical and requires precise color rendering, we recommend you contact customer service to request a hardcopy proof.

Is there anything I should do if I have custom fonts?

If we do not have a custom font that you have used, our machines will replace your text with a default font. This will change the way your document looks from what you have designed. We have all standard fonts, and many commonly used fonts, but sometimes a custom font that you used for your design can stump our machines.

To avoid this problem, we recommend that you flatten your file before you send it to us. Most documents store the text and the images separately; flattening it "flattens" all the layers into one single image, including the text.

To flatten an image, just go to your preferred image editor (Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, inDesign, Illustrator, for example) and flatten the file.

Another option to preserve your fonts is to embed the fonts within your file. This is typically done in when you’re saving your document, or in the export settings of your file. Instructions on how to embed your font varies between different design programs.

What resolution should I use when I design my file?

Please design your file at 300 DPI when you design and submit your files. This makes sure that your images remain crisp when we print the files.

To change your image resolution, change that file setting before you design your file. Please note that in most situations increasing the resolution will have no effect on the image if the source image is already low resolution.

Lower resolution files may still print fine; a higher resolution will simply give you the best print quality.

What color profile should I set my file in? RGB or CMYK? And what's the difference?

Please design your file to be in CMYK (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/BlacK). Our production presses use CMYK, so to get the most precise color, we recommend you design your files in the CMYK color mode.

When designing your files in RGB, or a color space different from CMYK, we print using your embedded color profile to give you the most accurate color. Since we print in CMYK, however, there will be some alterations in color when the conversion from RGB to CMYK is made in our workflow.

For most image editors, there is a setting either in the Save action, or the Image Setting action that can convert to CMYK.

What margins should I create in my file for full bleed and/or cutting?

We recommend that you leave critical images and text a 1/4" or 0.25” from the edge of the file when your print requires cutting or full bleed (which cuts to eliminate the white margins). It is sometimes tempting to place text that goes to the edges, but that text is at risk of being cut off. Our production cutting machines are very high precision, but there is still a very small error margin.

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