HOW TO PRINT AND CREATE PRINT-READY ARTWORK

"A bag without great artwork is just a sad sack."
-Roy Staar, Shelf Appeal Coach

Your product speaks for itself before they open the bag.

The artwork on your bags is much more than just a pretty picture. It's the start of a story about who you are and why you are the perfect choice for your customer. It's your calling card on the shelf, and a key expression of your brand. Artwork is probably the most critical part of the custom bag printing process, and a place where details really matter. Don't worry, though. Whether it's your first time through, or you're a seasoned pro, we're here to help.

Let's get started!

Which fits you best?
I NEED A DESIGNER

You know what you like when you see it, but aren't sure how to get there. Now's not the time for a do-it-yourself approach. Working with a qualified graphic designer on your artwork is critical to a smooth, easy and fast bag printing process. We can help you find one, and give you all the resources they'll need to get setup for success..

GET HELP WITH YOUR DESIGN
I AM A DESIGNER

This isn't a hobby, this is what we do. You're a print designer who can push pixels in your sleep. Our pre-press team couldn't throw any design jargon at you that you couldn't handle. Come get the templates, specs and nitty-gritty guidelines you'll need to get that bag artwork right the first time.

SEE OUR DESIGNER RESOURCES

Here's how to get an A+ in bag artwork.

1
If you aren't as designer, work with a designer.

Any delays in getting us press-ready artwork are delays in getting your bags produced and in your hands. If you don't have a designer on speed dial we can help you find one.

2
Use the right template for your bag configuration.

We keep our templates up to date and ready to receive artwork for all our different bags and configurations. Your job is to make sure you're using the right one. Not sure? We can help

3
Follow our artwork specifications.

You'll find a lot of good, time-saving guidelines in our specifications area. If your artwork files align with them, things will go well. Need additional help? You can always contact us.

4
Review our frequently asked questions.

There aren't many problems that arise while getting artwork ready for the presses that we haven't seen before. It's a decent possibility that we already have the answers for your questions.

Frequently asked questions about bag artwork

You and your designer may have a beautiful shorthand, and he or she may be excellent at taking your bag design ideas and turning them into something amazing. Even when the creativity is flowing, successfully configuring and submitting artwork doesn’t happen by accident. You and your designer will likely have some questions along the way. Good news is, we’ve been through this a few times, and likely have answers. If not, you can always contact us or fire up a chat with one of our customer service reps.

How do I save a file as a PDF?

Generally, from whatever program you are working in, you should be able to go to ‘File’ and choose ‘Save As’. From that window you can than choose the PDF file format to save it as. For more detailed instructions, see below.

InDesign

  1. Go to 'File' and select 'Export...'

  2. Format should be Adobe PDF (Print)

  3. Choose the [Press Quality] Adobe PDF Preset

  4. Click 'Export'

Illustrator

  1. Go to 'File' and select 'Save As...'

  2. Format should be Adobe PDF (Print)

  3. Choose the [Press Quality] Adobe PDF Preset

  4. Click 'Save PDF'

Photoshop

  1. Go to 'File' and select 'Save As...'

  2. Format should be Photoshop PDF

  3. Choose the [Press Quality] Adobe PDF Preset

  4. Click 'Export'

How do I save each SKU's artwork separately?

InDesign

You can either Export each page from your InDesign file separately, or export your multi-page PDF from InDesign, open that file in Acrobat, and Extract each page individually from there.

Illustrator

If you have built each SKU on a separate artboard in Illustrator:

  1. Go to 'File' and select 'Save As...'

  2. Format should be Adobe Illustrator (ai)

  3. Choose the [Press Quality] Adobe PDF Preset

How do I set my artwork color profile?

When you’re creating artwork files, you have a choice in color profiles for your design. RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is used for screen display, like websites. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) is what’s generally used in physical printed objects, like the bags and pouches that come off our presses. It’s important your artwork files are set up in CMYK format at the beginning of your design process so what you see on screen most closely matches what will actually come off the press. Files produced in RGB mode may produce unwanted color shift and disappointing results, as many bright values seen on screen cannot be reproduced in print.

InDesign

Any color swatches you use should be set up in CMYK by selecting Process in the Color Type dropdown and CMYK in the Color Mode dropdown of the Swatch Options menu.

Illustrator

Go to File > Document Color Mode and select CMYK Color.

Photoshop

Go to Image > Mode and select CMYK Color.

All Spot colors need to be converted to Process

All Spot colors need to be converted to Process before submitting any artwork files. From InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop, you can convert a Spot color to Process by selecting Process in the Color Type dropdown.

How do I convert text to outlines?

InDesign

  1. Choose the Type tool
  2. Click inside the text frame you want to outline
  3. Do a Select All
  4. Go to the Type menu and choose Create Outlines

Illustrator

  1. First, delete any elements of the design that you don’t want to print. For example, you might delete the template layer, or any elements of the design that are on a layer you’ve turned off or made invisible.
  2. Ensure all remaining layers are visible and unlocked. To do this, go to the Object menu and choose Unlock All and Show All.

  3. Do a Select All

  4. Go to the Type menu and select Create Outlines.

Photoshop

  1. Right-click on the Type layer and select Rasterize Type

  2. NOTE: If there are any "Smart Objects" used in your file that contain text, you will need to rasterize those as well.

Check for remaining fonts

If you’ve properly converted all the text in the document to outlines, there should no longer be any font information in the file. In Adobe Illustrator and InDesign, you can confirm this by going to the Type menu and selecting Find Font…

You should see a resulting window that says there are zero (0) fonts in your document. If you get a list of one or more fonts, there is un-outlined text that needs to be addressed.

INCORRECT:
This document still shows there are fonts in use.

CORRECT:
This document still shows there are NO fonts in use.

How do I include bleed?

Bleed is the area outside of the trim line that will get cut off. While it ultimately gets removed, it plays a critical role in the final presentation of your product. Designing for bleed makes sure your design, whether photo, graphic, or solid color, reaches all the way to the edge of your bag when it’s trimmed, avoiding unintended white edges.

A minimum of .0625” (1/16”) of bleed is required. We strongly recommend you use our templates for your artwork, as they already include the required amount of bleed.

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