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Artwork Specifications

Set your artwork up for success.

Want your bags fast? Make sure your artwork’s ready.

The quickest way to slow down turnaround time on your custom bag order is to submit artwork to us that doesn’t meet our press-ready requirements. Before submitting every artwork file, ensure you’ve covered the following bases, and you’ll be setting your project up for smooth sailing.

  • 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.
    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.


  • 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.


  • You've embedded all referenced image files

    If you’re using Illustrator to set up your file, you’ll need to ensure all images are embedded. An embedded image is fully contained within the document or a part of the document, and is not solely a reference to another location.

    How to embed files and images.

    InDesign

      Your linked images or files will automatically be embedded when you create your PDF document if you choose the [Press Quality] Adobe PDF Preset.

    Illustrator

    There are two ways to embed links in illustrator
    1. From the Links panel, highlight the item(s) and choose Embed Image(s) from the dropdown menu.

    2. Or, save the file as an Adobe Illustrator (.ai) format,

      and then choose the option to Include Linked Files from the save dialog window.

    Photoshop

    Your linked images or files will automatically be embedded when you create your PDF document if you choose the [Press Quality] Adobe PDF Preset.


  • 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.


  • White ink printing

    We offer white ink printing on a variety of substrates, including metallic, clear, kraft and compostable paper. White ink can be printed as the solitary color in the design, or it could be combined with full-color printing, with white as a fifth color in the CMYK process. Our white ink is semi-opaque so results vary depending on the paper stock.


  • Most Popular Applications for White Ink

    White ink is most commonly applied as a base layer on metallic, clear, and kraft stocks. In these applications, white ink is printed first followed by cyan, magenta, yellow, and black inks on top. In these instances, the white ink is used to block out the color of the paper or other substrate providing a white background or base. On clear substrates, white is printed under the entire design except for where the window is indicated, thus providing a way to showcase the product inside of the package. On metallic substrates, white ink is printed to block out the areas of your design that you do not want to appear as metallic.


  • Set Up of Files for Digitally Printed White Ink Jobs

    It is best to create a separate white ink layer on top of all of the other layers in your file. A good color to use to indicate the white is Magenta or another color that stands apart from the rest of the design. It is also helpful to name the color swatch ‘White’.

    If you are unable to setup your file for white ink printing, we do have a prepress team that can set it up for you but if your design requires an extensive white layer setup, additional charges may apply.