File Guidelines

Please verify these following guidelines before sending us files. Although we can work with nearly any file, these file guidelines will allow us to expedite your order processing.

File Guidelines for Sending Files

File Formats:

Preferred – Without Contour Cutting: JPG, TIFF, PNG, PDF, PSD

Preferred – With Contour Cutting: AI, EPS, PDF: MUST Follow Contour Cutting Guidelines

Acceptable – CDR, SVG, PSB

For PDF, .PSD, AI, EPS, CDR, SVG, PSB please provide a JPG “Proof” image so we can make sure there is no element dropout, also provide expected finish size so we can verify correct scaling.

Resolution:

We recommend a minimum of 150dpi to a maximum of 300dpi. If the finished product is to be viewed from a distance of greater than 15ft, resolutions as low as 60dpi are acceptable. Above 300dpi the image quality difference is negligible, these increased resolutions only increase total time of file handling and storage requirements.

Color:

We can accept RGB, CMYK, SPOT Colors, and Greyscale. For rich saturated colors or photo-reproduction RGB color space is preferred. For Accurate color matching CMYK, or Defined Pantone SPOT Colors will lead to higher accuracy. Greyscale is preferred for B&W printing to prevent color creep.

We employ color calibration, and normalization techniques to achieve accurate color reproduction. Images viewed on a monitor are not guaranteed to be accurate or match output. If a color is critical please request a printed proof.

Fonts:

To prevent errors please outline or convert all fonts to curves. We can not guarantee accuracy with live fonts in a file. Even if you provide us a correct font, every design program handles fonts differently.

File Setup:

  1. Transparencies – To prevent errors in rendering, flatten all transparencies before saving and sending us files. As a best practice guideline, it is recommended to not use shadows, glows, or any other transparency type over a spot color if accuracy is required.
  2. Bleeds – Due to many variables in machine accuracy, bleeds of a minimum of .125” (1/8″) on all sides of an image are recommended. If bleeds are not provided, we can’t guarantee no “visible white bordering” on a finished image. If bleeds need to be generated by us there will be a setup charge of a minimum of $25 (depending on complexity).
  3. Safety Zone – Due to many variables in machine accuracy, an inset safety zone of a minimum of .125” (1/8″) on all sides of an image is recommended.
  4. Borders – Due to many variables in machine accuracy, borders are not recommended. Sometimes borders may appear uneven depending on cutting accuracy, if a border is required we recommend a minimum of .25” (1/4″) on all sides of an image is recommended.

Contour Cutting:

  1. If a custom shape is required (i.e. not square or rectangle) a vector cut path in your file is required. The Following are steps we recommend for the best output, other methods are available but may not yield ideal results.

     

    1. Generate a vector path with your ideal finished layout in mind.

    TIPS FOR SUCCESS:

      1. Utilize a minimal amount of Control Points (Nodes) as possible to assure smooth cutting.
      2. Avoid open shapes, these lead to unpredictable cutting results.
      3. Generating Paths in Photoshop may lead to less than ideal results.
    1. Make sure to bleed your image .125” (1/8″) beyond the cut path, Please mind overlapping colors as they may appear misaligned in detailed cutting.
    2. Create a SPOT color in your design program labeled “CutContour”, Assign 100% M as the color in CMYK color space.
    3. Make sure your Vector Path is a Stroke (Outline) and is .5 pt (hairline) thickness
    4. Your Cut Path must be the topmost layer in your Art File. For best results rasterize (flatten, convert to bitmap) your printed image at a minimum of 150dpi. This results in a Vector Layer (Cut Path) and a Raster Layer (Printed Image).
    5. Save your ready file as one of our preferred file formats: AI, EPS, PDF

Proofing:

When providing “Print-Ready” or “Camera-Ready” files, it is the expectation that you are familiar with the design process. We are employing a semi-automated proofing process and the responsibility of accuracy is on you, please take the time to verify all order related information before approving. If a Color Accuracy is critical, please provide us the expected PMS / Pantone Color code and request a physical color sample (a fee is associated) for approval.

Scaling:

Sometimes scaling is necessary due to designer application limitations (i.e. Illustrators 240” x 240” artboard). If this happens please submit your artwork scaled and in the notes, call out your scale. Also, please refer to our “Things to Remember” section for tips about scaling.

Things to Remember:

  1. Resolution and Pixel count makes the biggest difference in image quality with Raster images. Please be sure that your image resolution is as follows:
    1. 100% scale (full-size as output) at minimum 72 dpi, 150 dpi is recommended
    2. 50% scale (half-size) at minimum 144 dpi, 300 dpi recommended
    3. 25% scale (quarter-size) at minimum 288 dpi, 600 dpi recommended
    4. 10% scale at minimum 600 dpi, 720 dpi recommended
  2. Vector Line art is the most preferred image type we prefer. This is because its resolution never changes no matter how small or how large you make your image. You also don’t experience pixelation, also known as raster artifacts, so your lines stay crisp and your detail is never lost no matter how large you make your images.
  3. File types/extensions are not absolute, they are just “containers” and many of them can contain Vector and Raster data. Saving a Low-resolution image as an EPS, PDF, or AI will not convert the image into a vector.
  4. Please make sure that your PDFs are not encrypted or saved with a password. This will cause delays or the cancelation of your order.