The top 2 most common reasons design files are rejected or delayed in the manufacturing process are low resolution images and fonts that have not been outlined/converted to curves that are rasterized. The primary purpose of the article is to help you send in artwork in press ready format so that you have a smoother manufacturing experience and avoid the most common rejection notices and delays prior to production of your important projects.

Working with templates

What is a template?

A template is a design file of the specific die-line for a printed package. It’s a flattened outline that can show where the cuts,  folds, glue areas, bleed, and safety margin(gutter) are for your printed product. The template is constructed to be an exact dimension so images and text can be input into the design and resized so they will be of the proper size for the packaged goods in the printing process.

Why use our templates ?

As the dimensions of each template can vary between manufacturers even a few millimeters of difference between similar templates can make for a failure in output if text or images are moved slightly over cut and fold lines if a template from another manufacturer is used for your design. The first step in our process is prepress (preflight) to check over the supplied art work files to ensure that they have submitted ready to print, then proofs are output and emailed to the customer for final review and approval prior to printing. Below is an example of a template for a 4 panel Wallet Die-line showing the Bleed (Blue), Safety Margin (Green), Cut (Red)  and fold lines (Dotted Red) required.

4 panel Wallet Template

 

 

Bleed: Is a printing term that is used to describe the part of the design that extends past the cut line which has images or elements leaving no white margin. When a document has bleed, it must be printed on a larger sheet of paper and then trimmed down. This will ensure that the finished product will have image printed all the way to the finished edge.

Safety Margin (gutter): Is a printing term that is used to describe the area that text should not extend into so that their is a proper margin between the cut or folded edge and where the text of the design begins or ends. it is added to a page layout to compensate for the part of the paper made unusable by the binding (cutting / folding) process.

Cut Line: Is a printing term that is used to describe the area where the cut will fall in the die-line and trim off the excess paper.

Fold Lines: These are the areas that will be creased and folded in the completed product.

Submitting Images in the proper resolution

What is the proper resolution for print projects(image)?

The proper resolution for images for print replacement warranty is 300 dots per inch (DPI)

What do DPI/PPI stand for ?

DPI (dots per inch) refers to the resolution that will be output by a printer (300 dots of ink per inch), and PPI (pixels per inch) refers to the input resolution of a photograph or image. DPI refers to the physical dot density of an image when it is reproduced on a printing press.

Commonly resolution required for images on the internet is 72 Dots Per Inch. For commercial printing it is 300 Dots Per Inch.

Using math to determine maximum printing size of your images.

Because images need to be printed at 300 ppi, there’s a quick and easy way to determine the maximum size that an image can be printed at: simply divide the number of pixels in the image by 300. Here’s an example: The image below is 480 x 270 pixels. 480 x 270 divided by 300 = 1.6 x .9, so the largest size this image can be printed at to keep the print replacement warranty 1.6″ x .9″. That’s not very big! If you increase the size any larger the image will lose resolution. So if you wanted to print the image on a CD Cover at 5 x 5 the resolution would be about 96 Dots per inch. This would be very low resolution, blurry at final size (as shown in the expanded view), and would void the print warranty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s important to ensure that you use the highest resolution images to guarantee crisp, clean output of your final items. Avoid delays, rejections of your art files and voiding your print warranties by submitting only images that are 300 dots per inch at the final print size.

Working with Fonts

What is a font ?

The easiest way to describe a font  is a specific set of letters and numbers that contains the attributes of letters which contains their style details. For example : Impact 12 pt Bold. Verdana 9pt Italic.  Technically a ‘font’ can contain many assets such as typeface/point size, weights, color, etc, you can safely call “Verdana” a font. When you buy a font online you are buying a digital file that you must install on your computer. You can see it best as a small piece of software that will tell you how the letters should look and print.

Ensuring your custom fonts will be printed correctly by any printer.

If the fonts that you use in your design do not exist on the press computer a font substitution will occur and your files will be rejected. In order to make sure that font substitutions won’t occur you can “outline” or “convert the fonts to curves”. Photoshop which is a very popular design program will take the text and make it a raster (bitmap) text.

Vector vs Raster text.

There are two main type of image/text files: Raster and Vector. Raster is created with pixel-based programs or captured with a camera or scanner. They are more common in general such as jpg, gif, png, and are widely used on the web due to their low resolution. A raster image has a specific number of pixels. When you enlarge the image file without changing the number of pixels, the image will look blurry. When you enlarge the file by adding more pixels, the pixels are added randomly throughout the image, rarely producing good results.

Vector graphics are created with vector software and are common for images that will be applied onto a physical product. When you enlarge a vector graphic, the math formulas stay the same, rendering the same visual graphic no matter the size. Vector graphics can be scaled to any size without losing quality.Vector graphics are created with vector software and are common for images that will be applied onto a physical product.

It’s VERY important that you submit vector text for your print projects.

How to convert fonts to curves/outlines in the most common design programs

 ILLUSTRATOR:

1. RIGHT CLICK ON THE TEXT

2. SELECT”OUTLINE” FROM THE DROP DOWN MENU.

3. YOU’RE DONE!

** Please note that once outlined the text is no longer editable, so ensure you keep a backup of the native design as a copy so you can more easily edit text if necessary.

 

 

PHOTOSHOP : 

 

1. MAKE A SEPARATE TEXT LAYER

2. ENTER YOUR TEXT

3. RIGHT CLICK ON THE TEXT LAYER

4. CLICK CONVERT TO SHAPE

5. YOU’RE DONE

** Please note that once outlined the text is no longer editable, so ensure you keep a backup of the native design as a copy so you can more easily edit text if necessary.