Artwork extending to the card edges requires a 0.125” bleed for die cut tolerances. Images and text that don’t bleed should be 0.0625” inside die cuts. See below for more about bleeds and die cutting.
Specify whether jobs are to be printed in PANTONE® spot or CMYK process color. When creating BLACK backgrounds, use a rich black color mix of 20% cyan, 20% magenta, 20% yellow and 100% black. Black text should be 100% black only. 100% black is the only thing that should be set to overprint, never overprint white or any other color.
Compatible file formats
You can submit artwork in any of the following file formats:
- Acrobat PDF
- Photoshop (but please read this)
Artwork created in Microsoft Office programs such as PowerPoint, Publisher or Word will NOT be accepted.
Scans, images and photos
Scans, images and photos must be at least 300dpi at actual size. Save as CMYK TIFF or EPS format. Provide a layered Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign file in addition to any flattened TIFF or EPS files used in the layout. Any rotation, skewing or distortion of files should be done in Photoshop to expedite postscript output. Avoid JPEG files if possible.
All images should be linked rather than embedded so that adjustments can be made if needed. Send the linked files at the time artwork is submitted.
Acrobat PDF files are suitable for brochure and multi-page documents. Card artwork, however, often needs to be edited, which necessitates having the original art (the file the PDF was created from). For example, if the original art file was created in Illustrator or InDesign, it’s more efficient to edit those files than a PDF.
If a PDF is the only means you have of providing art, convert all fonts to outlines and specify when spot color printing is desired.
PDF files need to be press-ready and saved for high-resolution printing. Contact us for questions about how to create your press-ready PDF file.
Include all type fonts when you send the job, or convert all type in the document to outlines (note that converting type to outlines renders the document’s type uneditable). Fonts should be in a platform-neutral format such as TrueType or OpenType. When sending fonts, please put them in a zipped folder to avoid possible corruption.
Text for card backs should be editable text built in one of the above programs or text that has been converted to outlines. Please avoid providing text as raster images unless special effects are being used. See this document for more about rasterized type.
Bleeds, buffers and die lines
When laying out art work for plastic cards, keep in mind how the cards are produced. First, the files are sent to an offset printing press where the images are printed onto a plastic substrate, such as Teslin. After lamination is applied to the printed sheets, they are cut out to the finished size and shape. Unfortunately, the die cutting process is not precise, so we ask that you include:
- A .125” (1/8 inch) BLEED, or background art that extends beyond the intended die line.
- A .0625” (1/16 inch) BUFFER. The BUFFER is the space between the die line and the LIVE area. It is critical that important information like type or logos not encroach on this BUFFER area, or they run the risk of being cut into when the printed sheets are die cut.
Anatomy of a credit card-sized card
Anatomy of a keytag
How to get your files to us
We can receive data files from a variety of sources:
Any of the above-mentioned file types may be sent as a file attachment via e-mail. If you’re emailing a data file, please include your order number and company name in the body of the e-mail (acknowledgment of receipt available upon request). Also, please provide the following information:
- Quantity to be produced
- Beginning barcode number
- Ending barcode number