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Submitting Print Ready Artwork

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Although it is our recommendation to seek a professional graphic artist like ours here at Creative Printing we understand the desire to save money on set-up cost. Below you will find some tips to help you insure your files are production ready.

Submitting Print Ready Files - Artwork - Creative Printing of Bay County - Panama City, FL

1)   Talk to Your Printer FirstCreative Printing of Bay County - Panama City, FL - Logo

It is important to talk to your printer before you get started with any print project. All print shops have different requirements and standards for submitting production ready files.


2)   Use High-Resolution Images

All images need to be high-resolution; we will NOT be responsible for the outcome of print-ready files submitted. That means at least 300 dpi (dots-per-inch). Most photo utility programs will enable you to check the resolution. Images saved from the internet, are typically 72 dpi. Re-sampling images to 300 dpi from a lower dpi image will result in a less-than-optimal results. “Re-sampling” an image is the act of decreasing its dimensions in the same ratio that you increase its resolution.

3)   Choosing the Right Colors Print Ready Files - Color - Creative Printing of Bay County - Panama City, FL

Full color files submitted for offset printing will need to be in CMYK (4-color process). Please understand that due to the difference between CMYK (printing colors) and RGB (computer/monitor colors) there may be a slight difference in color, contrast, brightness, and tone, from what you see on your monitor and the final print piece. If your job will print 2-3 pantone colors than your file will need to separated correctly. For example: If your letterhead is red and blue you will need to use a pantone red such as 185U and a blue such as 072U so you end up with just two colors in separations. If this does not make sense you should probably let us set-up your files for you! Please do not hesitate to call us at Creative Printing if you have any questions on color.


4) Process Black vs. Built BlackBuilt Black vs Black - Print Ready Artwork - Creative Printing of Bay County - Panama City, FL

Process black is using all 4 inks CMY & K to build the black instead of just 100% black. This will ensure you end up with a rich black. Process black should be used in graphics and backgrounds but NOT text. Black type should be 100% black for best printing results.

All Black type should be 100% black NOT built black.


5)    Leave Room for The Document to Bleed

In the printing world, bleed is when the design extends outside of the final area to avoid white space around the finished printed piece. To accomplish this, you must add an additional 1/8" to all sides that bleed to your image or background outside of the final design. Keep in mind the bleed will be trimmed off, leaving your intended design. It is recommended that you keep your information and graphics at least 1/8" inside of the edge of the design to avoid anything getting cut off. Below you will find a diagram that shows how most printers need your files setup to achieve this.

Print Ready Files - Bleed - Creative Printing of Bay County - Panama City, FL

6) Folds

It is important to keep in mind when your design has to be folded that it is set up correctly. For example, on a tri fold brochure the panel that folds in, will be smaller than the other panels. If you do not have your file set-up correctly your brochure will not look right. If you need assistance with your file, contact your printer. Upon request we have templates we can send you to help insure your job will fold correctly.


Brochure - Fold - Print Ready Artwork - Creative Printing of Bay County, FL

Brochure - Fold - Samples - Print Ready Artwork - Creative Printing of Bay County

7)   Fonts

When you spend hours working on your layout and getting the fonts you desire it is important that you send the fonts that your using to the printer in case they don't have your font. If you convert your font to outlines in Illustrator or turn them into vector objects you don't have to worry. If you worked in Photoshop you can save the design as a flattened tiff and then your design will print with ease.


8)   File Type

All printers have different requirements for file submitting, so be sure to contact your printer first if you have any questions about the process. Creative Printing prefers a press quality or high quality PDF with all fonts embedded or converted to outlines. If you are sending the native files make sure you include all fonts, links and graphics used as well as a PDF to proof by. We accept Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Corel Draw and Microsoft Publisher. When submitting native files we require a proof approval before production.

Keep in mind when submitting production ready files we will NOT PROOF READ, OR MAKE ANY ALTERATIONS to your file. All files must go through the pre-press department to check your files before production. If the pre-press department finds anything incorrect you will need to re-submit new artwork and will incur charges for every new file submitted. To avoid this, please be sure to check your file(s) to be sure the fonts are embedded and everything is correct before sending artwork. Proofread/preflight the application files (i.e. InDesign, Word, etc) and review the PDF after it is created as well.

At Creative Printing of Bay County we happily accept your production ready files. It is important to save your files accordingly so that we can provide you with the best results in a timely manner. Now aren’t you ready to GET CREATIVE!


Bleed-  refers to printing that goes beyond the edge of the sheet after trimming leaving the desired design.

Trim- the final size of a product after its unnecessary parts have been cut off or removed.

Live Area – is the area where your art and type should be safely formatted so they are not trimmed or cut-off.

PDF X1A – Common file type for printing. The purpose of PDF/X is to facilitate graphics exchange, and it therefore has a series of printing related requirements, which do not apply to standard PDF files. For example, in PDF/X-1a all fonts need to be embedded and all images need to be CMYK or spot colors.

PDF- (Portable Document Format) is a file format created by Adobe Systems in 1993 for document exchange. PDF is used for representing two-dimensional documents in a manner independent of the application software, hardware, and operating system

TIFF- (Tagged Image File Format) is a high resolution loss-less file format that is ideal for saving images for print.

DPI- Dots per inch (DPI) is a measure of spatial printing or video dot density, in particular the number of individual dots that can be placed within the span of one linear inch (2.54 cm). The DPI value tends to correlate with image resolution, but is related only indirectly.

PPI- Pixels per inch or pixel density is a measurement of the resolution of devices in various contexts; typically computer displays, image scanners or digital camera image sensors.

Image Resolution-describes the detail an image holds. The term applies equally to digital images, film images, and other types of images. Higher resolution means more image detail.

EPS- Encapsulated PostScript is a a vector format designed for printing to PostScript printers and imagesetters. It is considered the best choice of graphics format for high resolution printing of illustrations. Unlike jpg's and tiffs, EPS's can be manipulated.

Process Color- referred to as process color or four color, is a subtractive color model, used in color printing, also used to describe the printing process itself. CMYK refers to the four inks used in most color printing: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key black.

PANTONE Color -The PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM is the definitive international reference for selecting, specifying, matching and controlling ink colors.
Blog posted from 1328 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, FL 32401, USA View larger map

Creative Printing of Bay County, Inc. is a locally owned and operated "One Stop Print Shop" that has been located in Panama City, Florida for over thirty years. We offer printing services to the Florida Panhandle and beyond. We understand budgets and deadlines.


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Guest Wednesday, 29 November 2023