File Specifications

This information will help you in preparing your files for the best possible printing quality.

While we can work with most modern graphics formats, we work quickest and most efficiently with high-resolution print-ready PDF files. We can also work with a TIFF file, or high-resolution JPG file. When sending artwork in other formats some artwork charges may apply.

Creating PDF files

Consider the following when creating PDF files:

Compression

Compression is the elimination of redundancy in a file in order to reduce the file size. Typically, this results in a reduction of quality in the file. To be sure your file retains its quality, turn the compression option to “None” or “Do Not Downsample”. If there is an option to reduce the resolution, you’ll want to avoid it. Always keep your files at a minimum of 300dpi. (See "Image Quality" below)

Transparency

If the option exists for transparency flattening, always choose “High Resolution”.

Bleed, Safe Area, and Borders

Bleed is defined as any printing that extends to the edge of the paper. This applies to photographs, text, vector graphics, and anything else that will be printed with the intention of running off the sheet. Desktop printers call this “borderless printing”. For your print project to have bleed, the artwork must extend beyond the intended cut line by 1/8” (0.125”).

Programs like Photoshop that do not allow the creation of "bleed" will require an image area that is 1/4" (0.25") larger than your desired final overall image area in both dimensions. This artwork extension will guarantee there is no white space left on the edge after trimming.

Safe Area is another trimming related consideration. The Safe Area is the 1/8" (0.125") area inside the trim line. You will see this on all of our downloadable templates. To insure the trimming does not trim off critical information, do not put important information within this 1/8" Safe Area.

Borders when they are near the trim line and are too narrow, will not trim out consistently. If you want printed borders, they must be placed a minimum of 1/8" (0.125") inside the trim line and include bleed. This will ensure that minor cutting variations will not be obvious.

Marks and Bleed

When designing your project with bleed, (see "Bleed, Safe Area, and Borders" below) specify 1/8” (.125”) bleed. When creating the PDF file include bleed.

Fonts & Lines

When creating files using vector-based software such as Adobe Illustrator or CoralDraw, all text must be converted to outlines before generating the final PDF file. If working with Photoshop, flatten the image before generating the final PDF file. Do not use fonts smaller than 8 pts. Also remember that small or very narrow fonts may not print well against dark backgrounds.

Keep all lines at least .5 pts thick. While thinner lines may be visible on your computer monitor, they may not show when printed.

Color Output

Leave the color conversion choice to either “No Conversion”, “Leave As Is” or “Composite”, telling the program to preserve the color settings in your file and not to convert them to any other color mode. (see "Color Considerations" below)

Image Quality

When it comes to photos in print, higher resolution is better. The resolution of a photo is the density of its pixels. The higher the density of pixels, the better the detail and quality of the image. Resolution is generally defined in dots per inch. In the print world, 300 dots per inch (dpi) is ideal.

Web/screen resolution is only 72dpi, which is why many images taken from the internet will not print well. To ensure your photos will print at their best quality, never reduce the resolution of photos. Be sure to use the highest quality setting on your camera when taking photographs.

Below are high-resolution and low-resolution images. You can see the jagged edge that results in an image having too low of a resolution. High resolution images maintain fine detail and subtle shading that can get lost in a low-resolution image.

When creating artwork for envelopes (offset) the quality is best reproduced from vector artwork.

Color Consideration

When creating a project for print, convert the artwork to CMYK before sending it to us. Your graphics software should have a ready explanation of the process. After converting, check to make sure the reds and greens didn’t go flat, the blues didn’t go purple and the yellows are still yellow.

Proofs and File Check

None

Select this option to print "as-is". This is the quickest option; your job drops into production when you confirm your order.

Hard Proof FREE with First Order

As a new customer, this option is offered when you have any concerns with how your printed product will look.

Soft Proof (PDF File) Free

With this option, we will send you an email with your PDF proof or a link to the online PDF proof. This option is best for positioning and content. Precise color proofing cannot be done with a PDF proof due to the variance in computer monitors and viewing conditions.

Hard Proof (digitally printed, no finishing)

This proof will be printed and mailed to you without finishing. For postcards and other flat printing, finishing is not as critical. Envelope proofs will be digitally printed with Pantone color matching.

Hard Proof (digitally printed, with finishing)

This proof will be printed and mailed to you with finishing. For hard proofs, this option is most common for booklets and folded products.

File Check

If our graphics or production departments see anything questionable with your file, we will contact you via email. There is no charge for this service. File checking does not apply to Proof option of "none". "No-proof" jobs print from the exact file(s) you upload unless it is not possible to print because your supplied file does not match the specifications ordered. If you ask us to make changes that we are able to make, there may be an additional charge applied.

Mailing Checklist

1
Indicia. Leave 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" white space in the upper right-hand corner for the postal Indicia.
2
Address Area. Leave a 2" high by 4" wide white space for printing the recipient's address and the barcode.
3
Rounded corner cards, above .125” radius, are not acceptable for bulk mailing.
4
Thickness must not be less than 0.007 of an inch (65# Cover) or greater than 1/4" (0.25) inch. Select papers with 10pt, 12pt, or 100# cover weight.
5
The weight of each piece must not exceed 3.5 ounces.
6
Dimensions can be 3.5” x 5” up to 6.125” x 11.5”. Automation discounts are not available for pieces smaller than 3.5" x 5.6".
7
Address file must contain at least 200 valid addresses for Marketing Mail (formerly known as Standard Mail or Bulk Rate Mail).
8
Address file must contain at least 500 valid addresses for First Class Presort Mail.

If a mailing exceeds the above limitations, we can mail as “Flats”. "Flats" allow dimensions up to 12” x 15”, thickness up to .75” thick, and can weigh up to 16 ounces.

If a mailing exceeds the limitations of "Flats", we can mail as “Commercial Parcels”. 

About

Star Digital Print
5609 S. 49th Street
Lincoln, Nebraska, 68516

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