An excellent way to start setting up your files is to make use of one of our templates. If you prefer to setup your own files follow these basic guidelines:
We prefer to receive PDF or Illustrator (.ai) files
Setup your file to be CMYK colour mode
All files should be fully vector for best results
Make your artboard the same size as the final trim size of your piece
If elements of your design extend off the edges of the printed piece, add an 1/8" bleed around your entire art board
Create separate files for each of the pieces that we are printing for you. If you are ordering plates to print yourself, you can gang up artwork to save on the cost of plates. The largest plate size we can process is approximately 8.5" x 11"
You don’t need to add crop marks if we are printing for you. Our templates already have them included or we will add them in for you.
If you are ordering photopolymer plates to print yourself, you can add crop marks if you wish, it depends on how you prefer to work and print. Just make sure that crop marks meet the minimums for the line weights that your plate will hold.
For a single colour letterpress print, let us know what colour you would like us to use (you can just mention this when you submit the files). You should use the Pantone Uncoated colour book to specify the colour.
Setup your file with the graphics as 100% black. Be careful not to use a rich black (which contains yellow, magenta, cyan and black).
For prints with multiple colours use spot Pantone colours for each different colour. Create a separate layer in your artwork file for each colour.
Line & Dot Minimums
In order for fine details to hold up on a plate and to print properly they must meet certain size minimums. Fine lines should be at least 0.25pts and dots should be at least 1pt. Make sure to double check the line weight on fine serif fonts and the sizes of dots on “i”s or periods. If you’re not sure if the details are suitable just ask us and we’d be happy to take a look for you.
Fonts & Text
Make sure that you convert all they text in your design to vectors by creating outlines. This will ensure that text is rendered properly even if we don’t have the font you’re using installed.
Simply select all the text in the piece and go to Type > Create Outline.
Considerations for Handmade or Pre-cut Papers
Since the presses we use need some room to grasp and register the paper there is a small area the cannot be printed on a sheet. This is generally not a problem since we will leave extra paper that gets trimmed off after printing. However, this final trim isn’t possible with handmade paper or pre-cut stock. Therefore you must leave at least 0.25" margin all around for letterpress and 0.5" margin for foil stamping.
Need more information for designing for letterpress?