How to get your files ready for printing

Make sure your files are CMYK

CMYK and RGB are color formats with different purposes.  RGB is meant for screens and takes advantage of the light emitted by a screen.  CMYK is the color format that all printers use.  When printed, RGB files will not look like they do on your phone or computer.  Please be sure to design your files in a CMYK color space or at least preview them in CMYK to get an accurate idea of the printed colors.

Give your files the correct dimensions

You need to know the dimensions of your files before printing.  You can check the dimensions in Adobe Acrobat by hovering the mouse over the bottom-left corner of the screen.  If your files are not your desired size, it is your responsibility to resize them.

If your design has a background, make sure to include bleeds

Having a “bleed” means any color or design element that goes over the cut line in a design.  A design that bleeds is much easier to cut.  

If you need us to trim your design, include crop marks or frames

Crop marks help us know where to cut your design.  Frames are a little easier for us to use, but it’s less common for a program to export with frames.

When it comes to formatting, let us do the heavy lifting

Don’t worry about putting multiple designs on one page.  Don’t worry about booklet spreads.  Each page of your print-ready files will be the dimensions of one printed piece.   If you’re printing booklets, just give us a multiple page PDF with each page of the book on its own page in the file, not spreads.  

Export your files at an appropriate resolution

300 PPI (pixels per inch) is a good resolution for most documents.  A higher resolution might be appropriate if you need to increase the size of an image or document.  But remember, we have a 2.5 MB upload cap on our website. 

Export your files as PDFs

We only print from PDFs, so we convert all files to PDFs before printing.  It’s a good idea for you to export your files as PDFs before sending them to us, that way you’ll know if the formatting stayed consistent.  Adobe Acrobat is a free program that you can use to view PDFs.  Acrobat also has a Print Production plug-in that lets you preview your files in different color spaces.

Avoid Canva, Etsy, 99Designs, and other cookie-cutter design sites

I get it, hiring a professional graphic designer is expensive.  But you wouldn’t try to fix your pipes if you weren’t a professional plumber right?  Graphic design is no different.    In our experience, files that come from Canva, Etsy, and other template sites are never print-ready.  If you need professionally-designed, print-ready files, please consult our graphic design team.

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