How to Prepare Art Files For Flexographic Printing
Our In-house Graphics Department will thoroughly pre-flight your artwork and let you know of any issues we have before production begins. Following this guide should eliminate most common problems. As always you can contact us at 215-657-5366 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding issues not covered in this document.
ELECTRONIC ART FILE GUIDELINE:
- Set your document color mode to CMYK and not RGB.
- Make sure the art files contain only what is needed to produce the label and nothing else (delete unused colors and layers, hidden or extra objects, etc.).
- Adobe Illustrator is the preferred software for setting up art files. While other software is acceptable (see list below) they (especially page layout software like InDesign and Quark) require conversion to suit our output devices. Depending on the extent of the work needed an artwork charge may be added to your order.
- Always outline text to eliminate font issues. When this is not possible, include all fonts (suitcases and all printer fonts contained within).
- Do not try to trap your files, it’s better if we trap to our own specifications.
- If your artwork was built in layers keep them, do not flatten or merge them.
- Include all placed images (even if embedded) in case editing is necessary. If the placed images have been flattened into one layer, also include the original layered files to make any color corrections easier to do.
- It is a good idea to try to keep a minimum 1% or 2% dot in all Photoshop files.
- Try to avoid setting type in Photoshop. Type will print sharper if you don’t.
- Any white type knocking out of a 4 color process background should have a black or spot color outline around it to keep the type edges clean, or should be overprinted.
- Gradients should end at 3% instead of fading to zero. Include a pdf of your work with all fonts embedded (or better yet outlined) that we can use as a check against the files being sent.
- All artwork that will be printed must have the correct Pantone color names (PANTONE ###C) applied in order to separate properly.
- High resolution scans (300 dpi or greater) are acceptable for printing on a digital press.
WHAT TO SEND:
- By e-mail or the web: One native file w/live text, one native file w/outlined text, one pdf proof w/fonts embedded, all fonts associated with the job and all placed images contained within.
- On CD or DVD: Same as above but include a hard copy proof as well. Also include any color matching chips or swatch samples if something other than standard book (Pantone) colors are to be matched.
- Supported Software: Adobe Illustrator is preferred although it is not the only option available. QuarkXpress, InDesign, are also accepted. Call us to check which versionsare currently in use and for the compatability of any other software you may be using.
- Supported Platforms: Macintosh is the standard platform but we can accept PC generated files in Illustrator and InDesign provided all text has been converted to outlines first.
- Fonts: If your application allows for it, convert all text to outlines. If this is not an option, make sure to include all fonts contained in your artwork (complete suitcases, screen and monitor fonts etc.). Avoid using “special fills” or other type options such as underscore, bold or italic as these will not convert when brought into another application for processing. Some glyphs (bullets, hyphens, degree symbols) in InDesign will disappear when converting to outlines so double check for any missing items before submitting final artwork.
- Placed Images: Minimum resolution for all placed images is 300 dpi at final size. Do not embed placed images, instead include separate, unflattened (when possible) files in case color correction is necessary. Convert any text in Photoshop files to outlines. Bitmapped images that contain small text should be a minimum of 600 dpi
FLEXOGRAPHIC PRINT STANDARDS:
- Bleed: All art elements that will print to the edge of the die line must have a minimum of .0625” bleed beyond the die line.
- Print/Die Registration: +/-1/32” (.031”) on standard constructions, +/-1/16” (.062”) on underside and subsequent layers for multi layer constructions.
- Print/Print Registration: +/-.010” (equivalent to 1.5 dots @ 150 lpi) on standard constructions, +/-.020” on underside and subsequent layers for multi layer constructions.
- Type: 4 pt. minimum for positive type, 6 pt. minimum for reverse type. Try not to use serif, delicate script or very ornate typefaces for reverse type unless they are of a larger point size where the thinnest parts of the type comply with line weights shown below.
- Line Weight: 0.25 pt. minimum, 0.5 pt. for reverse rules.
- Barcodes: All barcodes must maintain a minimum .125” quiet zone in the scanned direction. We cannot guarantee verification of codes below 80% magnification.
- Color Separations: If a single color is used in screens and solid areas it may become necessary to separate the screens from the solid areas and print them as two separate colors to ensure proper color matching.
- Color Matching: Color variance: +/-.1 on color density and shade densitometer readings w/typical light and dark ranges. Customer supplied match prints can only be used as guides. In house match prints are a better representation of our process as they are fingerprinted to our presses. Some color variation may still be evident depending upon the substrate the label is printed on. Match prints as a whole do not replicate spot colors (Pantone, Toyo etc.) well and are not recommended for use as a color match on jobs containing only spot colors. If the label contains both 4 color process and spot color artwork, a match print can be generated to check the process work and the appropriate color and tint book will be used for matching the spot colors.