Custom Bag Artwork Resources for Designers

Your how-to guide for perfectly pushed pixels.

This is the only time we don't advocate creativity.

We get to see a lot of beautifully designed bags cross our presses, and we love seeing the expression of every designer’s creativity. That said, when it comes to submitting custom bag artwork to Roastar that will cruise on through pre-press review and approval on the first try, there are some definite dos and don’ts to configuring, preparing and sending your artwork files. We’re here to provide you the specific direction and resources you’ll need to keep your (or your client’s) project on track and moving forward. Our goal is likely the same as yours: to get those beautiful custom-printed bags in-hand and on the shelf to wow target customers as quickly as possible!

Artwork prep resources for our professional design partners.

As far as we're concerned, part of our job is to help make your job as easy as possible, so we've compiled a sizeable toolkit for you to help create, configure, and submit that custom bag artwork with a minimum of fuss. Here are the resources we've collected for you.
Artwork specifications

Covering topics from accepted file types to image resolution, color conversions to crop marks, this is your place to get the in-the-weeds details for setting your artwork up for success. View our artwork setup guide.

Artwork templates

Your correct template is entirely determined by the bag type and configuration for the particular project at hand. As part of our project process, we’ll help point you to the correct one to download, but we’ve also collected them all in one place for reference. Find your artwork template.

Pre-screen artwork validation

When you’ve got artwork you think is ready to submit, run it through our pre-screen validator to ensure it meets some of our most-often- missed specifications. Our pre-press team will still do their own validation after you submit the file, but this step will save you time, it’ll save us time, and it’ll help keep your project on track.

Frequently asked questions

While you might come up with a problem we’ve never had to solve, it’s increasingly likely we’ve covered at least some of your questions with other designers before. Cruise through our FAQs and see if we can help answer something on your mind. If not, we’re only a chat, phone call, or email away.

How to keep your beautiful design from failing pre-press.

With over 200 clients and counting, we've worked with a lot of custom bag designers, and we've noticed some patterns, both good and bad. If you want your artwork submission to go as smoothly as possible, here are things to keep in mind.

  • Send us accepted file types (PDF or Illustrator)

    We accept PDF or Adobe Illustrator (.ai) files for custom bag artwork. We recommend PDF, and most any program can generate a PDF file format.

    How to save a file as a PDF

    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'


  • Provide each design or SKU as a separate artwork file

    For as many designs as you are ordering, you need to provide us that same number of files. Do not collect multiple designs in one source file, even if your layers are well-organized. Each file should only contain information for a single design. See our instructions for doing this in frequently used programs below.

    How to 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


  • Your files use CMYK color mode, with no RGB or SPOT color information

    Because our presses print using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK) inks, all elements of the design, including any linked images, must be in CMYK (Process) mode prior to sending your artwork. Please note, this can cause significant shifts in color; we recommend you allow time to carefully review and do any necessary color corrections before sending us the files.

    How to set artwork color profile.

    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.


  • All black color swatches are pure black (100% K)

    When using a black background, or if large areas of your artwork are black, it’s important to ensure your black color swatch is 100% K (Black) and does NOT contain any Cyan, Magenta, or Yellow color values (a.k.a. 4-color Rich Black). Using a black swatch built in all four colors may cause quality issues during printing and production. Additionally, please DO NOT use the Registration color swatch in your artwork.


  • Your files are set to a resolution of 300dpi

    We require a minimum of 300dpi in submitted artwork, especially if your design includes any photographs or raster images. Anything less than that can appear blurry and pixelated. Don’t think that more is better, though – anything higher than 300dpi isn’t necessary, and will likely only mean a larger file size that takes longer to upload to our system. 300dpi is a safe “set it and forget it” for artwork success.


  • All text has been converted to outlines

    When you’re creating your design, you’re likely adding typography via a text tool, which uses font libraries on your computer. Because we can’t guarantee we have the same fonts you do, we need all text to be converted to outlines. Outlining text removes all font information from your artwork file and switches those editable letters into fixed, un-editable objects, which means we can print your text exactly as desired. Do this as a final step after you’re happy with how all text looks on your design.

    How to 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.


  • Your file includes the proper 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.


  • You’ve pre-tested any barcodes to ensure scannability

    We recommend barcodes be set up with the standard white background with black bars for maximum scannability. If you choose to use a different and non-standard color combination, we strongly recommend you test the barcode with several types of scanners to ensure readability. We cannot accept responsibility for non-standard barcode presentations that end up being hard to scan.


  • You’ve skipped the trim/crop or registration marks

    Trim/Crop marks are hairline horizontal and vertical lines printed with your artwork that define where the page should be trimmed. Registration marks are small “targets” outside the page area used in some printing processes to align the different ink separations in a color document. Neither of these marks are necessary for, or used in, our workflow. Please do not include them in your press-ready files.


We're trying to help your bag look awesome.

What makes Roastar different is that we really care. You're not just another designer; it's not just another bag. You're trying to tell a story, and we want to help it come to life. No matter if this is your first time through the process, or if you're a seasoned pro, we're here for you.
VALIDATE YOUR FILES.

Use our pre-screen validator before submitting your artwork to Roastar. It costs nothing, and it can help find some of the big "gotcha" issues before you send your files along, saving everyone time and effort in the long run.

VALIDATE YOUR FILES
Need some help? Talk to us.

If you're not finding the answers you need, or aren't sure you're asking the right questions, we're only a phone call, email or live chat away. We want to help you knock your bag artwork out of the park. Don't hesitate to reach out.

CONTACT US