How to prepare your custom label design for the printer

The best file format (especially for logos, typefaces, and simple graphics) to submit to your printing professional is a vector file created in a program like Adobe Illustrator. File extensions include .ai, .eps, and .pdf (a PDF must be an editable PDF, otherwise it must be treated as a bitmap). Vector files are great because they offer a lot of flexibility. There is no limitation on print size (as is the case with every bitmap file), colors can be changed extremely easily and elements can be moved and changed for each new use.

It is important to make sure that all text is converted to outlines. By doing this, you can avoid a lot of future frustration and unnecessary back and forth with your print shop if the file contains a font they don’t have in their system. By sending text within outlines, you also maintain control over the final look of your text, as any accidental font changes can be avoided. It also doesn’t hurt to email the font with your file in case any changes need to be made to your text.

Color is a very important aspect of printing. Colors may not always print as viewed on the computer. If color is important to your design, assign a PMS value to each element of your design. By providing the print shop with the PMS values, you allow them to check the colors and correct them if necessary to provide you with the colors you want. If you cannot provide PMS values ​​or numbers, make sure the file is provided in CMYK. When a file is submitted in RGB, it must be converted to CMYK before printing. These two color spaces contain different color ranges and depending on the colors there may be major changes when converting from RGB to CMYK. If your file comes in RGB and printed in CMYK, you might not like what you get. Avoid this disappointment and create your design in CMYK or, preferably, with specific PMS or Pantone values ​​that you have selected from a Pantone color book.

If your design should touch the edge of the label, it should be printed with a bleed. The bleeds are 1/8 of an inch on each side of the label outside of the cut line. If your bleed contains intricate artwork that extends beyond 1 / 8th of an inch, this creates additional print work, which you may be charged for. Avoid clipping masks (they don’t fix the problem on the printer side, they just make the artboard clean) and remove the unwanted bleed extension.

To avoid confusion for the printer, make sure that the file you submitted does not contain additional elements or design ideas surrounding the artboard or hidden on additional layers.

It never hurts to call your print shop for clarification if you have any questions or concerns on how to prepare your file for printing. A well-prepared file means a smooth and hassle-free printing experience for your print shop and, more importantly, for you.

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