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Design Tips


It's always good to remember the basics: 300dpi, CMYK, JPG w/ maximum resolution (10 or 12). Fonts should be converted to graphics (i.e. convert to Outlines in Illustrator). If you can't convert the font, be sure to include the font files with your submission.


This is a common format throughout the industry and solves many common problems with fonts, images, and so on. Although PDF is okay, we prefer EPS and TIFF files.


Bleed and edge spacing

Files should have at least a 1/16"- 1/8" bleed all around. What is a bleed? This is extra space around a flyer that lets the paper cutter be more accurate. Use one of our templates for best bleed and layout.

We also suggest not positioning any significant artwork closer than 1/8" to the edge, and all written information no closer than 1/4".


"We love blue!"

New designers (and clients) often get excited about the wonderful shades of blue that they can achieve on their computer and rush out to print them - only to end up with unexpected bad greys and purples on the end product. What happened? Your computer monitor can produce shades of blue (and green) that are richer than what we can print with traditional CMYK-process inks. See next step for solution.

RGB --> CMYK Preview mode

The best way to obtain accurate colors while working in Photoshop is to work in RGB - CMYK Preview mode. This means you'er working with a RGB file, but the colors match more closely to the end result. while giving you access to all of the Filters. When you're all done, convert the final file to CMYK.

Best shades of black

While Black ink is very good for text, it's not good for solid blocks of color and may appear slightly washed out. To get darker shades of black, it's best to consider adding extra color from Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. This increases the ink flow from the press and makes the Black "richer." But be very careful not to over-saturate your Blacks either. The best rule of thumb for a strong black shade is for the ink percentages to be no bigger than 250-300% when you add up their values. For example: C 70% M 60% Y 50% K 100% add up to 280% - which will give you a solid, dark Black.


Name your file in steps

This may sound obvious, but it's a good idea to save files in stages. Let's say you're working on flyer "Love Parade." You may want to work with a sequenced ID system like "Love Parade Layered 1.0" and "Love Parade Layered 1.1." This allows you to go back in case your current file dies. By using the term "Layered" you'll know that this is a work-in-progress file with many layers. Remember to archive your most significant Layered files when you're all done.

File names for submission

When naming your submitted file, use FRONT or BACK in the file name, as well as the physical size (i.e. 3x4, 4x6). Also make sure the file name is easy to identify: "New Years Flyer" is awful during a rush season.

Font clarity

Type is always going to be the most important part of your design - so keep it neat and legible. Never use a font size smaller than 6pt, and make sure there's enough contrast between the font color and the background color. Black on white is the most common and strongest contrast. The more similar the colors, the harder it may be to read.


Printing pictures taken from the internet

Many times a novice designer can't find a particular picture and ends up pulling it from the internet. The problem is that internet images are at a lower resolution than print (72dpi vs. 300dpi). The end results could be tragically bad.


Non-Adobe software

We work mainly in Mac-based Adobe design applications including Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. If you don't use these programs to create your file, its a good idea to talk with us before submitting items to print.





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