Setting up your files can be confusing at times. You might find yourself asking, “what program should I use?” or “how do I know if I need to use Pantone Colors (PMS) vs CMYK?”. The best answer is to always contact your printer, as they will either send you their artwork guidelines or have you contact someone in pre-press. Our team at Western Packaging wanted to take a moment to break down the artwork setup guidelines for different styles of printing.
We prefer our artwork to be in a native Adobe Illustrator (AI) file. This will allow us to set up your artwork in the best possible way. However, we will still accept any vector format. This includes PDF, esp, SVG, or InDesign. Files that are not acceptable are image files: Photoshop (PSD), png and jpeg. This is because image files have a set dpi, so if you were to print below the recommended dpi your product may print fuzzy or unclear.
When printing on film it is always best to set your blacks to 100% Black (K) vs a “rich black”. This is because the film does not soak up the ink. Once your ink passes the coverage threshold the ink will begin to smear. If you were to use “rich black”, you would want to use the following percentages, 60% Cyan / 40% Magenta / 40% Yellow / 100% Black.
When printing on paperboard, however, you would want to use the rich back when trying to cover a large area. But keep in mind, the more ink coverage the weaker the structure can become.
When setting up for digital printing, it is always best to contact your printer. Some printers will require RBG workspace and others will require CMYK. We require CMYK as well as the use of PMS colors. Our digital press can run up to 7 colors and some spot colors.
For a more in-depth look into setting up your files for digital printing, Click Here
Flexographic (flexo) & Rotogravure uses printing stations, and each station can be used as a single color or effect. It is good to keep this in mind when you are setting up your file for print production. Flexo & Rotogravure presses can range from 8 to 15 stations. It’s always good to ask your printer how many stations they have. Always work in a CMYK workspace, this will give you a truer look vs RGB. 90% of flexo presses only print in 150dpi. So, you will want to make sure if you have any images, to set them between 150 and 300dpi. Rotogravure prints at a much higher quality, so your Images need to be above 300dpi.
For a more in-depth look into setting up your files for flexographic printing, Click Here