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How to Setup Your File

Each Smartpress product includes one or more Artwork Guideline documents, to demonstrate how to set up your artwork. You can find links to these files on each product page. These files are in PDF format and can be viewed and printed with Acrobat Reader. When in doubt, download and peruse these files. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

To ensure the best digital print job possible, please keep these points in mind when creating and saving your artwork for Smartpress.

  • Please set up your art as “one-up”. We will impose it for the press using special tools here.
  • For 2-sided designs, please include each side of the print in one PDF instead of two PDFs.
  • PDF Files can be saved in a variety of ways, not all of them acceptable for professional printing. To ensure the success of your print job, please see How to Save Your PDF.
  • If your print job has a bleed, please make sure your artwork overlaps the edge of the page by 1/8 to 1/4 inch. 1/8 inch is sufficient for smaller jobs, such as business cards, flyers, postcards, and the like. 1/4 inch is preferable for large format jobs such as posters, signs, banners, canvas prints, or trade show graphics.
  • If your job has a bleed, your PDF file needs to be correctly sized and include crop marks. Some software packages, such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, and QuarkXpress make it very easy to include crop marks and bleed. Other software, such as Microsoft Word, do not. In any case, if you have bleed, this is what your PDF should look like when you are done:
    • Your PDF’s page size should be 1/4″ inch wider and 1/4″ inch taller than the final cut size of your printing.
    • Center your artwork in the middle of the larger page.
    • Place crop marks on all four corners of your artwork to show us exactly where the document is to be trimmed.
    • Size your artwork so that it overlaps the edge of your printed piece from 1/8″ to 1/4″ on any bleed edge.

PDF is Recommended

Because there are numerous software packages and file formats that may be used to create artwork, it is neither practical or possible for a printer to support every possible file format. Also, many file formats make it very difficult if not impossible for the printer to produce the same output that the customer sees on their computer. For this reason, the printing industry has standardized on the PDF file format. A PDF file is a “self-contained” document, and usually has everything necessary to print the file, including necessary fonts. For this reason, all print files submitted to Smartpress are recommended to be in PDF format.

Borders on Artwork

If your artwork has a border, please make sure it is at least 1/4″ thick on all sides. 1/4″ is the minimum thickness; thicker borders tend to work better. Border thickness is important because if it is too thin, there is a risk that the border will be trimmed off and thickness will look uneven.

Color Setup

Smartpress will reproduce color from submitted print-ready files as closely as possible, but even under the best circumstances, an exact color match is not possible. This is an inherent limitation in the printing process. To read more on this topic please visit our Color Page

Application of UV or other coatings may affect or change the appearance of the printed colors; we cannot guarantee the final color appearance of a coated product.

Need help setting up your file?

We charge a prorated hourly rate of $99 if we need to work on a file for more than 15 minutes.

We take every measure to check that your file is set up correctly. We take time to check for important elements (bleeds, crop marks, and image resolution, etc.) and allow 15 minutes per order for any adjustments. Please note if additional time is needed, we will notify you.

If you have any difficulties getting your file uploaded, have questions about other file types, file setup, or just a general inquiry, please contact a Smartpress representative at 1.888.934.6909 or email us at customerservice@smartpress.com.


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