DESIGN GUIDLINES & ADVICE
File Setup Specs
FILE PREP GUIDELINES
Please take a minute to also read our COMMON ERRORS and SOLUTIONS page, which lists the most common errors that M13 Graphics has with digital files received from customers.
What is Bleed? – What is dpi or resolution?
To get started, please use one of our FREE TEMPLATES or follow this STEP-BY-STEP-GUIDE:
STEP 1 – Create a new document (File / New) for each side of your project.
For this example we would create one Photoshop document for the front side and another file for the back side.
These specifications apply whether you are creating a new image, scanning, or resizing an existing image.
Step 3 - Set Bleed Guides Drag four guides from the rulers exactly 1/8” (.125) on each side. This will be where your printed piece will trim and will leave you with the final size that you ordered (in this example, 4” x 6”).
Be careful, as text, borders, or images that are too close to the edge may appear uneven or get cut off. Also be sure to allow “full bleed” images to extend into the bleed area or the white of the paper may leak into the postcard image.
In the example above, the text “TYPE TOO CLOSE!” will get trimmed off, and the image will have a small strip of white on the right-hand-side.
Step 4 – U.S. Postal Regulations for Postcards
If you plan on mailing your postcards, the back-side layout must meet U.S. POSTAL REGULATIONS.
Step 5 – Check Image Resolution, Quality and Color
Please keep in mind that M13 Graphics only prints EXACTLY what is sent to us. We do not have the time or resources to alter or color correct your files. Image resolution, quality and good color all will affect how your final printed piece looks.
To prevent bad looking images your file(s) should meet some basic standards of quality and color:
Resolution: 300 dpi (dots per inch)
Front or Outside Color Mode: CMYK
Back or Inside Color Mode: CMYK
Other image quality/color issues: JPEG
Compression, Adobe Illustrator Color Settings,
Digital Camera Settings.
Step 6 – Make Large Black Objects and Images “Rich”
For black borders, headlines, and large black text to appear dark and saturated (or rich), you should set your CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) values to:
CYAN = 30%
MAGENTA = 30%
YELLOW = 30%
K – BLACK = 100%
Step 7 – Flatten Image
Flatten your Photoshop document by using the menu in the layers palette and choosing “Flatten Image”. Or go to the Layer Menu / Flatten Image. This will remove all layers and reduce the size of your file significantly.
Step 8 – Save and Prepare for Upload
Save your file(s) in .JPEG format. To save as a JPEG file, go to the menu File and then select Save As… and select JPEG from the format list. Be sure to save with a Quality no smaller than 10. DO NOT USE THE SAVE FOR WEB OPTION.
After saving your files, you are ready to Upload them to us for print.