Preparing Illustrator Files For Printing

Step 1: Creating a New File

Creating a New Document

  • Open a new document (File>New)
  • Set color mode to CMYK
  • Set artboard width and height to the desired final output size

Does your artwork have bleeds?

If your artwork has images or design elements that extend to the edge of the artboar, you must allow bleed in your file.

  • Select the object
  • Click on the object's handle and extend its edges 1/8" form the artboard's edge.

Does your artwork have borders?

When using a border in your artwork, it is essential that your design uses at least a 1/4" of white space between the artboard's edge and any design elements or type that does not bleed.

Step 2: Convert Text to Outlines

All text within the file must be converted to outlines with teh outline set to zero to elminate the need for fonts.

  • Edit>Select All
  • Type>Create Outlines

Step 3: Adding Images

Make sure the Link checkbox is checked (include linked images when sending us your files).

  • File>Place

Resolution and Color Mode

Before you add an image in Illustrator, it has to be converted to CMYK mode and its resolution should be no less than 300 DPI.

  • Click on Window>Document Info - then click on the image to check that it resolution is 300 DPI and that it is in CMYK mode

What is resolution?

For an image to print properly, it must be at least 300 dots per inch (DPI) at the final output size. Do no try to change form a low resolution to a higher one by increasing the DPI (resampling).

Step 4: Color

All files must be in CMYK mode. If your file was not created in or converted to CMYK, do so now.

  • File>Document Color Mode>CMYK Color

What is CMYK Color Mode?

The color mode of submitted files must be CMYK. If your files are submitted using any other color standard, such as RGB or Pantone, they will be converted to CMYK. Conversion from one color standard to another may cause colors to shift.

Does your artwork contain gradients?

Gradients are commonly used in printing and in most instances produce good results. Gradients can be represented in a file as a mathematical equation (Vector) or rendered by the application into a series of pixels (Raster). Whether created as rasters or vectors, gradients below 5% may not reproduce accurately.

Does your artwork contain solid black?

When you want an area of solid black within a document, 100% black (K) will not result in a solid, saturated black. Instead, use Rich Black, as represented by C:40% / M:20% / Y:35% / K:100%.

Step 5: Saving Your File

Before you save your final version, make sure you include cropmarks.

  • Object>Crop Area>Make
Although we can print from any file format, it is best to supply us with the native file format, which in this case is a .AI file.



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