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Commercial Printing

Package Layout Guidelines

The Correct Size Box

Your product shouldn't fit in the box too tightly. A good rule of thumb is to leave 1/8" space in all directions. If you need a template, please let us know.

Color

All colors must be converted to CMYK (four color process printing). Pantone spot colors from the "Pantone Formula Guide SOLID COATED" may also be used. Please note that there is a setup fee for each Pantone spot color used. If you want to print with Pantone colors, please call for a custom quote.

Printing

Our standard printing resolution is 150 LPI which means images should be scanned in at least 300-350 DPI. Line art should be provided at least 800-1200 DPI for better printing quality. Be sure any color scanned images are CMYK. Our workflow does not accept RGB images. For gradients, make sure that all the light areas on the slider have at least 2% of the color value.

Bleed

Allow 1/8" of ink/graphics past the edges. A "bleed" is needed when ink will be printed to the edge of a box to guard against a white line being unintentionally added to your box. Areas on the box that will be glued, should not have full ink coverage.

Text

Convert all text to outlines or paths before sending to us. This avoids font issues that typically occur when text is viewed on another computer which does not have the same font installed. Regular type should be no smaller than 4pt for legibility. Reverse type should be no smaller than 4pt BOLD type. We suggest using Sans Serif for reverse type if reverse type is used. The process of reverse type usually requires a stroke around the text as it is vulnerable to the conditions of the press as it moves at high speeds. This is most noticed when running 4-color process and reversed text. Make sure all black text/tine text is created at 100% black and not 4-color process black.

Safety Margin

Leave at least 3/16" between text/graphics/pictures and the folds or edges of panels. This alleviates the possibility of the graphics becoming part of the panel fold, or cut off at the edge of the box. The paper can move up to 1/32" during the process of being cut down into a box after printing.

Picture Quality

Images need to be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). This gives good, crisp graphics—anything less shows poor picture quality. Do not take images from the internet! Linked images should be embedded in the file or included when uploading.

Color Matching

Colors you see on your computer monitor or printer cannot be trusted! A commercial printing press uses a completely different system to print colors than what your screen or printer shows. Consequently, the colors will be slightly different. Use them as a guide at best. What looks great on the screen may not translate well when printed. For a true match of colors, consult a Pantone Matching System book. This is the printer's bible.

Zoom!

Don't be afraid to magnify crucial areas in your artwork, making sure things are where you intend them to be. You'll be surprised to find they aren't as close as you thought.

Maintain Symmetry

Design elements not displayed in a symmetrical fashion look out of balance and detract from the final product. A subtle, yet critical design consideration, symmetry registers subconsciously.

Supported Applications

We support graphics and documents submitted in the following formats:

  • Adobe Illustrator CS6
  • Adobe InDesign CS6
  • Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Adobe Acrobat

Checklist

Consider the following before sending materials.

  • Document Color Mode: CMYK
  • View: Work in OVERPRINT MODE for accurate representation of what the ink will do when your job goes to press
  • Convert all text to outlines
  • Create a separate layer for the dieline. Do not have artwork on this layer
  • Make sure there is bleed around all edges
  • Make sure all colors are CMYK
  • All supporting files should be sent

Tips to get the most from your package

  • Do your homework. Spend time in a retail setting looking at packaging of similar products.
  • Less is more. The most effective designs are usually quite minimal.
  • Construct a comprehensive list of product benefits to be edited, ultimately using only the most important points.
  • Short concise points make the most effective presentation. Rework your points and sentences until they flow well with very few words.
  • Keep pictures and graphics to a minimum. They should clearly demonstrate what a product does.
  • Get feedback from colleagues, they can be your best critics, giving you ideas you hadn't considered.
  • Refine!
Layout Example
Here's an example.