We have created this list of artwork guidelines for our customers so that our customers know what we can and cannot accept as a printable design.
4 Color Process - Multi Color printing typically uses ink of four colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black).
Artwork - The design, text, or logo you wish to print. Hardcopy or Digital.
Bleed - Printing that extends beyond the surface of the sheet and is trimmed to size.
CMYK - A way of specifying a unique color in the color spectrum. Any unique color is made by mixing Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black.
Camera Ready - High quality. A camera ready design most often comes in the form of digital vector artwork files.
Copy - Text
DPI - The printed resolution of your design
PMS Colors - Pantone Color Matching System
Halftone - A color gradient within your design.
Raster Image - Often a low quality image, not usually suitable for printing. File Types: .png, .jpg, .bmp
Vector - Ideal graphics for printing. Designed with a professional art program and contains the information to scale your design as large as possible with 0 distortion.
Vector Graphic Basics
Raster & Bitmap Images vs. Vector Images
A raster image is made up of individual pixels. When you try to enlarge a raster image it looks pixelated because you are taking each block of information (pixel) and just making it bigger. Raster images are often created in programs like Photoshop and have the extension .JPEG or .GIF.
A vector image, on the other hand, is made up of points connected along a curve (or vector). Basically, the visual information is contained in the relationship between the points, not the points themselves, so the image can be expanded to an infinite size. Vector images are created in programs like Illustrator and have the file extension .EPS.
Accepted File Types: .PDF .AI .EPS .SVG (note:only changing a file extension does not change the quality of the image)
The Pantone Color Matching System is largely a standardized color reproduction system. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without direct contact with one another. However, most of the Pantone system's 1,114 spot colors cannot be simulated with CMYK but with 13 base pigments (14 including black) mixed in specified amounts. Pantone colors are described by their allocated number (typically referred to as, for example, "PMS 130"). PMS colors are almost always used in branding and have even found their way into government legislation and military standards (to describe the colors of flags and seals).
Process & Digital Prints. The printing of “full color” images utilizing a photographic color separation process in which each of three primary colors--cyan, magenta, and yellow, plus black--are separated from the original art and given their own printing plate. Or a full color Image can be printed digitally (think your at home printer). We use both methods in printing if the design calls for more than four spot colors.