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!
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.
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
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.
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.
If you have built each SKU on a separate artboard in Illustrator:
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.
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.
Go to File > Document Color Mode and select CMYK Color.
Go to Image > Mode and select CMYK Color.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This document still shows there are fonts in use.
This document still shows there are NO fonts in use.
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.
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.
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.
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
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