General Design Guidelines

Quick Checklist
Fonts
Resolution
Bleed
Colour Mode
Vectors
Non-Vectors
Traced Vectors
Print-ready files
Print-Ready – InDesign
Print-Ready Illustrator
Print-Ready Photoshop
Die-Cut Lines 1/3
Die-Cut Lines 2/3
Die-Cut Lines 3/3
Quick Checklist

Fonts

Resolution

Tab Content

Bleed

BleedTab Content

Colour Mode

Tab Content

Vectors

Tab Content

Non-Vectors

Tab Content

Traced Vectors

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Print-ready files

How create Print-ReadyTab Content

Print-Ready – InDesign

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Print-Ready Illustrator

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Print-Ready Photoshop

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Die-Cut Lines 1/3

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Die-Cut Lines 2/3

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Die-Cut Lines 3/3

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Adobe Illustrator – How To Guide – Print Ready File

Create Your File
Check Your Format
Set Bleed & Margins
Use High Resolution Images
Select Colour (CMYK)
Covert Fonts
Use PDF / X-1A
Configure Grey Colours
Configure Black Colours
Configure Fine Lines
Create Your File

How to create your file for printing in Illustrator

Creating a new document for printing is simple, but you should pay attention to some details when configuring your product. We will explain these details step by step in the following:

With the program open, go to the Top Menu > [File] > [New].Adobe Illustrator - Top Menu - File - NewA window will open where you can choose all settings for your document. Please define first a name for your document in the [Name] field. Second, select the Print option in the [Profile] field.Adobe Illustrator - New Document - Print Profile SelectionIn the next step you have to define the size of your document. In this tutorial we use the business card, format 90x50mm, as an example.

In the [Units] field choose the drive option you prefer. For the business cards, we use [Millimeters]. Set the [Width] of your document to 90mm as well as the [Height] to 50mm in the respective fields.

Check Your Format

How to check your final format and number of pages in Illustrator

To upload your file, you must first check that your format and number of pages correspond to the product you purchased on our website.
Checking and/or changing the size of your file is very simple. We will show you how to do it in the following.
First, please select the [Artboard Tool] in the sidebar of the program. You find it marked in red below.Adobe Illustrator - Artboard ToolsAfter clicking on the [Artboard Tool], your screen will now display the artboard view, which allows you to check and adjust the dimensions of your artboard.Adobe Illustrator - Artboard DimensionsPlease also check, if the number of pages of the product you ordered corresponds with the number of artboards. You can only use one artboard per order. If you have more than one artboard in the file, the number of your selected artboard will be displayed on the right.Adobe Illustrator - Multiple Artboards InfoAfter you checked the format and the number of pages, please press the [Escape-key]/[Enter] to exit the Artboard Tool.

Set Bleed & Margins

How to set Bleed and Margins in Illustrator

In order to get optimal printing results, please provide for 3mm bleed and 3mm safety margin in your artwork. This is crucial, as it may occur that the cutting is a little bit too far in (which is why you need a safety margin) or too far out (which is why you need bleed). The safety margin ensures, that no actual content gets cut out of your artwork. The bleed ensures, that there are no white borders at the edges of your product.

To apply the bleed and safety margin in your file correctly, please follow the instructions below.
Create your Bleed
With your file open go up to the top menu and click on [Document Settings].Adobe Illustrator - Document SetupBy clicking [Document Settings] a new window is opened, where you can simply set the Bleed to 3mm on all sides of your artwork.Adobe Illustrator - Document Setup WindowOnce you click [OK], your artboard will get a surrounding line, which indicates how far your elements have to “bleed” over to ensure a smooth cutting process.Adobe Illustrator - 'Bleeding Over' Surrounding LinePlease ensure that you fill up the Bleed space as indicated below. Make sure that all graphical elements are “bleeding over” until the red line.Adobe Illustrator - 'Bleeding Over' Margin

Create your Safety Margins

To set safety margins in Adobe Illustrator, you need apply the [Rectangle Tool] as a work-around, as safety margins are not supported by default.
First, select the [Rectangle Tool] as marked in red below and click anywhere on the screen.Adobe Illustrator - Rectangle ToolIn doing so, you open a new window, which allows you to edit the rectangle dimensions. Please set the measures of the rectangle to be 6mm less wide, and 6mm less high than the artwork (including the Bleed), to provide for an overall safety margin of 3mm in your artwork. For example, if your business cards have a format of 90mm x 50mm, the Bleed will be at 93mm x 53mm. As a result, please set the rectangle (Safety Margin) size to 87mm x 47mm, as in the example below.Adobe Illustrator - Rectangle WindowThen, click [OK] to create the rectangle (Safety Margin).

In a next step, you need to center it on the artboard. To do so, go to [Window] > [Align].Adobe Illustrator - Top Menu - Window - AlignIn the window that opens, please click on [More Options] in the upper right corner and then select [Show Options].Adobe Illustrator - Align Window - More Options - Show OptionsThen, click on [Align To] and select the option [Align to Artboard] as marked in red below.Adobe Illustrator - Align to ArtboardOnce you clicked it, you can easily align the rectangle to the center of the artboard, by clicking the Horizontal Align Center icon and the Vertical Align Center icon.Adobe Illustrator - Horizontal And Vertical Align IconsNow, select the rectangle by clicking on it and then make a right click anywhere on the screen and select [Make Guides].Adobe Illustrator - Make GuidesNow, bleed and safety margins are both set properly. Please ensure that all graphic elements extend to the red border while no information is beyond the turquoise border. Information between the turquois and the red line could get lost during the cutting process.Adobe Illustrator - Bleed And Safety Margins Set Properly

Use High Resolution Images

How to use high resolution images in Illustrator

Choosing the right images in your files needs to be done carefully. Just because images appear good quality on your screen does not mean they are in fact high resolution. In addition, the image must be in CMYK, the color mode for printing, and not in RGB mode, which is not usable for printing.
There are two types of images: bitmap images and vector images. Bitmap images consist of a series of little dots called pixels. In other words, many single pixels together form the image. When zooming into your image, you will eventually see the single pixels. Vector images, on the contrary, are not based on pixels, but on mathematical formulas that draw certain lines and curves. This is why vector image are just as sharp when zooming in.
To make sure your bitmap image is just as sharp as a vector image, you should check the resolution (DPI) of it. DPI measures the amount of pixels per inch.
See the example below:Above, you see a gradient with 10 pixels per inch (dpi) as well as one with 300 pixels per inch. It becomes very clear that the poor resolution of 10 dpi impairs your image quality. We call this “pixelated” or “blurry”.
For your image to be suitable for printing, you need to ensure a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. Only then high quality printing can be guaranteed. However, the required resolution also depends on the choice of product. The larger the product, the lower the required resolution. So for instance for a business card we recommend at least 300dpi, but for a poster also 150 dpi are sufficient. To verify that the image in your artwork is in high resolution you must follow the following instructions:
Open your document in Adobe Illustrator, go to the Top menu > [Windows] > [Document Info].Adobe Illustrator - Top Menu - Windows - Document InfoIn doing so, you open a new window which contains the information of your file. Select the [More Options button] on the top right of the window and choose [Embedded Images].Adobe Illustrator - Document Info - More Options - Embedded ImagesSimply choose the image for which you would like to check the resolution. As marked in red below, the Document Info window will then display the resolution for you.Adobe Illustrator - Document Info - Resolution CheckPlease note that it is not possible to increase the dpi of a low-resolution image. If your picture has a too low resolution, you need to replace it by one with a higher dpi.

Select Colour (CMYK)

How to select the color (CMYK) in Illustrator

Always try to mount your artwork in CMYK color mode right from the beginning as shown in Section “Create your file.” Please not that only a CMYK color mode is suitable for printing and therefore it is essential that you create your file in CMYK. If you have not already done so, follow our instruction to make the conversion now:

Go to Top Menu > [File] > [Document Color Mode] > [CMYK Color]Adobe Illustrator - Top Menu - File - Document Color Mode - CMYK ColorYou can also double check in the document information, as shown below.Adobe Illustrator - Document Info

Covert Fonts

How to convert fonts in Illustrator

 

Using fonts
Fonts are sets of lettering styles, which can be installed on your computer. Once in place, you may use them for any file you create. However, when opening your file on another device on which the font is not installed, you may encounter problems with appearance.
To avoid such problems, it is important that you convert the fonts in your artwork to curves. In the following we will lead you through the process. Please note that when saving graphic production files as PDF / X1A you can avoid manual conversion to curves.
Changing fonts to curves
Before continuing, make sure you save the original document under another name first, since at the end of this process you won’t be able to edit text anymore.
First, identify the fonts you want to convert into curves and locate them in your artwork. The “Find Font” tool will allow you to do exactly this.
In the top Menu, click [Type] > [Find Font]. The window that opens, will list all the different fonts in your document.
Adobe Illustrator Top Menu - Type -> Font
To trace the fonts in your artwork, select the listed elements one after the other and click [Find] for each of them. In doing so, you will know where the texts needs to be converted into curves.

Once you identified your fonts, select them one after the other. To convert the selected font to curves, go the Top Menu > [Type] > [Create Outlines].

So with just a few clicks, you convert your font to curves, which prevents any future appearance issues when using another computer. Please keep in mind that converting your fonts to curves will prevent you from further editing it.

Use PDF / X-1A

Creating a PDF / X-1a file
Before we will lead you through the process of saving your artwork as a PDF, please make sure that your security margins and bleed are set correctly (for more information please refer to our section “Set Bleed & Margins”).
Once your file is ready for print, go to the top Menu and click [File] > [Save As].
Adobe Illustrator - Top Menu - File - Save As
In the panel [Save as type] choose [Adobe PDF (*.PDF)] and click [Save].
Adobe Illustrator - Save As Window
In doing so, you will open a new window with PDF specifications: Set the Adobe PDF Preset field to [High Quality Print] and the Standard field to [PDF/X-1a:2001]. Then tick the panels [Optimize for Fast Web View] and [View PDF after Saving] under options. Note, in some Adobe Illustrator versions, this menu might only show a “Custom” option, but you will still be able to select the options.
Adobe Illustrator - Save Adobe PDF Window
On the left, go to [Marks and Bleeds]. To make sure that your product is cut correctly after print, tick the boxes [Trim Marks] and [Registration Marks] under the Marks panel. Also tick [Use Document Bleed Settings] in the Bleed panel.
Adobe Illustrator - Save Adobe PDF Window - Marks and Bleeds

Configure Grey Colours

How to configure your grey colors correctly

 

Grey is an intermediary color composed of black and white and has to be treated carefully. In other words, grey is a percentage of black (K). Therefore, to compose a tone of grey, you need to set your black (K) color to a certain percentage between 0% and 100%. Do not use the three other colors as it will result in a lower printing quality (set Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow to 0%).
Please see our example below for setting up your grey colors correctly. The instructions can be applied to any image editing program (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), as color palettes work the same way in any program.
Adobe Illustrator - Grey Colors Configuration
On the left, you see how it should be done – grey as a percentage of black (K) and CMY at 0%. Only in doing so, you ensure that the grey areas in your artwork are configured correctly for printing.
On the right, you see the wrong way – grey composed of all colors (CMYK). This way, the grey gets too “loaded” due to the many colors. Such composition can result in lower printing quality.

Configure Black Colours

How to configure your black color correctly

 

Black (K) is a frequently used color when designing artworks. This has various reasons, such as creating contrast or strength. Nevertheless, black (K) is one of the most difficult colors to print and can cause a lot of problems during the printing process. To avoid such issues, it is essential to configure the color correctly. The instructions below can be applied to any image editing program (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), as color palettes work the same way in any program.
Particularly for text elements and thin lines it is crucial to use pure black – 100% black (K) and 0% CMY.
Adobe Illustrator - Black Color Configuration
When using black (K) for larger areas and elements, make sure you use a CMYK composition for black: for instance set Cyan (C) to 30%, Black (K) = 100%, and Magenta (M) and Yellow (Y) each to 0%.
Adobe Illustrator - Black Color Configuration For Larger Areas

Configure Fine Lines

How to configure fine lines

 

When printing, variations of 2 – 3 tenths of a millimeter are common to occur for all elements. With medium to large-format prints, you won’t notice such occurrence. However, for with small element and fine lines you will notice these variations remarkably. They appear as “blurred lines” as illustrated in the picture below.
To avoid any such complications, make sure you do not use more than 2 colors when configuring small elements and thin lines.

The illustration above shows you how such variation when using many colors can look like.
Let’s assume you want to print a brown line. For brown 3 colors are needed (CMY). This can result in tiny variations when printing and thus in a “blurred line”. In this context, using a brown color for thin lines in your artwork may not be the best choice for you. Either use another color or make the element bigger in size to avoid such complications. In our example, the text line should be either in one color (e.g. black), or at least 3-4 points thick.

Corel Draw – How To Guide – Print Ready File

Create Your File
Check Your Format
Set Bleed & Margins
Use High Resolution Images
Select Colour (CMYK)
Covert Fonts
Use PDF / X-1A
Configure Grey Colours
Configure Black Colours
Configure Fine Lines
Create Your File

How to create your file for printing in Corel Draw

Creating a new document for printing is simple, but you should pay attention to some details when configuring your product. We will explain these details step by step in the following.

Go to Top Menu > [File] > [New].Corel Draw - Top Menu - File - NewIn a next step, you need to define the [Name] and the measures of the document. Select the CMYK option under [Primary Color Mode] and enter in the field at least 300dpi in the [Rendering Resolution] field. Then click [OK].Corel Draw - Create A New Document WindowYour file should be looking like this:Corel Draw - New File

Check Your Format

How to check your final format and number of pages in Corel Draw

To upload your file, you must first verify if your format and number of pages this corresponding to the settings you requested in your Printulu order.

The size of your page is visible in the top menu when there is no selected object. If the displayed measurements are not corresponding with size requested by your Printulu order, you can simply edit them in the panel marked in red below.Core Draw - Page Size Settings

Set Bleed & Margins

How to set Bleed and Margins in Corel Draw

In order to get optimal printing results, please provide for 3mm bleed and 3mm safety margin in your artwork. This is crucial, as it may occur that the cutting is a little bit too far in (which is why you need a safety margin) or too far out (which is why you need bleed). The safety margin ensures, that no actual content gets cut out of your artwork. The bleed ensures, that there are no white borders at the edges of your product.
To apply the bleed and safety margin in your file you need to follow the instructions provided here.
With your file open go to Top Menu > [Tools] > [Options].Corel Draw - Top Menu - Tools - OptionsIn the new window, open [Document] by clicking the [+] > [Page Size]. Set the panel [Bleed] to 3mm and tick the box for [Show bleed area]. Do not click [OK] yet.Corel Draw - Options Window - Document - Paper Size

Set Safety Margins

With the window still open, go to the left menu and also open [Guidelines] by clicking the little [+] > [Presets]. At the top, tick the box for [User Defined Presets]. Also tick the box for [Margins] and set all fields to 3 mm in all fields. Finally tick the box for [Mirror margins] as indicated below. Then click [OK]Corel Draw - Set Safety MarginsYour document should look similar to the one shown below. Then, extend or complete the background of his art to the bleed area.Corel Draw - Document Example

Adobe Illustrator - Bleed And Safety Margins Set Properly

Use High Resolution Images

How to use high resolution images in Corel Draw

Choosing the right images in your files needs to be done carefully. Just because images appear good quality on your screen does not mean they are in fact high resolution. In addition, the image must be in CMYK, the color mode for printing, and not in RGB mode, which is not usable for printing.
There are two types of images: bitmap images and vector images. Bitmap images consist of a series of little dots called pixels. In other words, many single pixels together form the image. When zooming into your image, you will eventually see the single pixels. Vector images, on the contrary, are not based on pixels, but on mathematical formulas that draw certain lines and curves. This is why vector image are just as sharp when zooming in.
To make sure your bitmap image is just as sharp as a vector image, you should check the resolution (DPI) of it. DPI measures the amount of pixels per inch.
See the example below:Above, you see a gradient with 10 pixels per inch (dpi) as well as one with 300 pixels per inch. It becomes very clear that the poor resolution of 10 dpi impairs your image quality. We call this “pixelated” or a “blurry”.
For your image to be suitable for printing, you need to ensure a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. Only then high quality printing can be guaranteed. However, the required resolution also depends on the choice of product. The larger the product, the lower the required resolution. So for instance for a business card we recommend at least 300dpi, but for a poster also 150 dpi are sufficient. To verify that the image in your artwork is in high resolution you must follow the following instructions:
To check the resolution of your image go to the Top Menu > [Window] > [Dockers] > [Object Properties].Corel Draw - Top Menu - Window - Dockers - Object PropertiesA tab will open on the right side of your screen and you can simply select the image you want to check. Please make sure that your image is in CMYK Color Mode and has a resolution of at least 150 dpi (300 dpi). In the case below, the resolution is appropriate for printing (310 dpi), but the image is in RGB.Corel Draw - Image resolution settingsIf the resolution is less than 150 dpi (300 dpi) you need to use another picture which is suitable. Please also make sure you use a CMYK color mode.

Select Colour (CMYK)

How to select the color (CMYK) in Corel Draw

Always try to mount your artwork in CMYK color mode right from the beginning as shown in Section “Create your file.” Please not that only a CMYK color mode is suitable for printing and therefore it is essential that you create your file in CMYK. If you have not already done so, follow our instruction to make the conversion now:
To change the color mode to CMYK in Corel you need to select single objects that are to be converted to CMYK and run the process individually. This may take a bit longer but it is relatively simple.
Go to the top Menu > [File] > [Document Properties] .Corel Draw - Top Menu - File - Document PropertiesA window will open with technical details of the file. All objects which are in RGB color mode as well as images [Bitmap] [Fill] or contours [Outlines] are shown.Corel Draw - Document Properties WindowSimply click [OK] . The important thing now is to locate each element and convert it to CMYK color mode. Again go to the top Menu > [Edit] > [Find and Replace] > [Overwrite Objects] .Corel Draw - Top Menu - Edit - Find and Replace - Replace ObjectsWith this feature you can find and replace specific characteristics of specific objects. To transform objects from RGB to CMYK, choose the option to [replace color model or palette] and click [Next]Corel Draw - Replace Wizard WindowThen tick the field [Find a color model] and select the [RGB] option. In the panel [Replace with the color model] select [CMYK] , tick the [Fill] option and complete the process by clicking [Finish] .Corel Draw - Replace Wizard Window - Find A Color ModelIn the next window click [Find All] to select all elements that have RGB fills and then click [Replace All] .Corel Draw - Find And Replace - Find All - Replace AllAfter that, repeat the step indicated below again – this time ticking [Outline] in the panel [Replace with the color model] . Then click [Finish] .Corel Draw - Replace Wizard Window - Find A Color ModelAfter all replacements are done, a notice will pop up and inform you that there are no more objects in RGB color mode.Corel Draw - 'No more object in RGB color mode' NoticeNow that all objects (outlines and fills) are in CMYK color mode, you need to check the images. For this please follow the instructions here:
Go to the top menu > [Edit] > [Find and Replace] > [Find Objects] .Corel Draw - Top Menu - Edit - Find And Replace - Find ObjectsIn the next window you need to specify what you are looking for. In our case, go to [Object Types] , choose [Bitmaps] and click [Next].Corel Draw - Find Wizard Window - Object Types - Others - BitmapsIn a next step, you need to specify type of bitmap you are seeking. To do this, click [Specify Properties for Bitmaps] as indicated below.Corel Draw - Find Wizard WindowIn the window that opens, you need to specify that you are searching Bitmaps in RGB color mode. Then click [OK] .Corel Draw - Specific Bitmap WindowThen click [Next] in the previous window.Corel Draw - Find Wizard Window - BitmapsIn the following window, confirm that the search specifications displayed are correct and click [Finish].Corel Draw - Find Wizard - FinishIn the next window click [Find All] to find and select all the bitmaps in RGB.Corel Draw - Find AllWithout taking the selection of bitmaps go to the top Menu > [Bitmaps] > [Mode] > [CMYK Color (32-bit)] . In this way, all the bitmaps in RGB will automatically be converted to CMYK.Corel Draw - Top Menu - Bitmaps - Mode - CMYK Color (32-bit)To confirm that there is no other element in RGB on your file go back to the top Menu > [File] > [Document Properties] and check if there is any object or image in RGB left.Corel Draw - Document Properties WindowIf not, your file is completely converted to CMYK.

Covert Fonts

How to convert fonts in Corel Draw

Using fonts
Fonts are sets of lettering styles, which can be installed on your computer. Once in place, you may use them for any file you create. However, when opening your file on another device on which the font is not installed, you may encounter problems with appearance.
To avoid such problems, it is important that you convert the fonts in your artwork to curves. In the following we will lead you through the process. Please note that when saving graphic production files as PDF / X1A you can avoid manual conversion to curves.
Changing fonts to curves
Before continuing, make sure you save the original document under another name first, since at the end of this process you won’t be able to edit text anymore.
To turn your text into curves go to the top Menu > [Edit] > [Find and Replace] > [Find Objects].
In the window that opens, select [Begin New Search] and click [Next]:
Corel Draw - Find Wizard Window - Begin a New Search
In the next window you need to specify what you want to search. In our case this is [Text].
Corel Draw - Find Wizard Window - Object Types Tab
Click [Next] in the next window.
Corel Draw - Find Wizard Window - Artistic Text
And finally click [Finish].
Corel Draw - Find Wizard Window - Finish
Then click on [Find All] as indicated below in red.
Corel Draw - Find Window - Find All
If you see the window below, click [Yes]. This option enables you to ungroup the groups and select the respective fonts.
Corel Draw - Ungroup these groups confirmation
After you have selected all fonts in your file go to the top Menu > [Arrange] > [Convert To Curves]. This way all your supplies will be transformed into curves.
Corel Draw - Top Menu - Arrange - Convert To Curves

Use PDF / X-1A

Creating a PDF / X-1a file
Before we will lead you through the process of saving your artwork as a PDF, please make sure that your security margins and bleed are set correctly (for more information please refer to our section “Set Bleed & Margins”).
For the Corel Draw Software go to the top Menu > [File] > [Publish to PDF].
Corel Draw - Top Menu - File - Publish To PDF
A new window will open asking you to select the file destination folder as well as your preferred file name. Then click [Settings] in the lower right corner.
Corel Draw - Publish To PDF Window
The PDF Settings window will appear. Go to the [General] tab and make sure the box [Current Document] is ticked. Under [PDF Preset] choose [Archiving (CMYK)] and under [Compatibility] choose [PDF / X-1st].
Corel Draw - PDF Settings - General Tab
Then go to the [Prepress] tab. First, tick the [Bleed Limit] option and fill in 3 mm (if it’s not already done). Also tick [Preserve halftone screen information]. Under the panel [Printer’s marks] tick the option [Crop marks] options and [Registration Marks].
Corel Draw - PDF Settings - Prepress Tab
Then click [OK] .

Configure Grey Colours

How to configure your grey colors correctly

 

Grey is an intermediary color composed of black and white and has to be treated carefully. In other words, grey is a percentage of black (K). Therefore, to compose a tone of grey, you need to set your black (K) color to a certain percentage between 0% and 100%. Do not use the three other colors as it will result in a lower printing quality (set Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow to 0%).
Please see our example below for setting up your grey colors correctly. The instructions can be applied to any image editing program (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), as color palettes work the same way in any program.
Corel Draw - Grey Color Configuration
On the left, you see how it should be done – grey as a percentage of black (K) and CMY at 0%. Only in doing so, you ensure that the grey areas in your artwork are configured correctly for printing.
On the right, you see the wrong way – grey composed of all colors (CMYK). This way, the grey gets too “loaded” due to the many colors. Such composition can result in lower printing quality.

Configure Black Colours

How to configure your black color correctly

 

Black (K) is a frequently used color when designing artworks. This has various reasons, such as creating contrast or strength. Nevertheless, black (K) is one of the most difficult colors to print and can cause a lot of problems during the printing process. To avoid such issues, it is essential to configure the color correctly. The instructions below can be applied to any image editing program (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), as color palettes work the same way in any program.
Particularly for text elements and thin lines it is crucial to use pure black – 100% black (K) and 0% CMY.
Corel Draw - Black Color Configuration
When using black (K) for larger areas and elements, make sure you use a CMYK composition for black: for instance set Cyan (C) to 30%, Black (K) = 100%, and Magenta (M) and Yellow (Y) each to 0%.
Corel Draw - Black Color Configuration For Large Format

Configure Fine Lines

How to configure fine lines

 

When printing, variations of 2 – 3 tenths of a millimeter are common to occur for all elements. With medium to large-format prints, you won’t notice such occurrence. However, for with small element and fine lines you will notice these variations remarkably. They appear as “blurred lines” as illustrated in the picture below.
To avoid any such complications, make sure you do not use more than 2 colors when configuring small elements and thin lines.

The illustration above shows you how such variation when using many colors can look like.
Let’s assume you want to print a brown line. For brown 3 colors are needed (CMY). This can result in tiny variations when printing and thus in a “blurred line”. In this context, using a brown color for thin lines in your artwork may not be the best choice for you. Either use another color or make the element bigger in size to avoid such complications. In our example, the text line should be either in one color (e.g. black), or at least 3-4 points thick.

PhotoShop – How To Guide – Print Ready File

Create Your File
Check Your Format
Set Bleed & Margins
Use High Resolution Images
Select Colour (CMYK)
Covert Fonts
Use PDF / X-1A
Configure Grey Colours
Configure Black Colours
Configure Fine Lines
Create Your File

How to create your file for printing in Photoshop

Creating a new document for printing is simple, but you should pay attention to some details when configuring your product. We will explain these details step by step in the following.
Note: Photoshop is not the best graphics software for creating your artwork and getting it ready for print. Nevertheless, there is a way to mount your file in Photoshop correctly.
Go to Top Menu > [File] > [New].Photoshop - Top Menu - File - NewAs marked red in the following screenshot, enter the measurements [Width] & [Height] at least 6mm to more bleeding (3 mm on each side).
For [Resolution], enter at least 300 pixels / inch and for [Color Mode] choose CMYK color and 16bits. Always try to set the [Background Contents] to Transparent.Photoshop - New WindowNote: These settings are crucial for generating your file in Photoshop.
Once you click [OK]. Your file should be looking like this:Photoshop - Blank File Window

Check Your Format

How to check your final format and number of pages in Photoshop

To upload your file, you must first verify if your format and number of pages this corresponding to the settings you requested in your Printulu order.

Checking and/or changing the size of your file is very simple. We will show you how to do it in the following.
In this software, your artboard is called Canvas, as opposed to Illustrator. To check the measurements of your canvas go to Top Menu > [Image] > [Canvas Size].Photoshop - Top Menu - Image - Canvas SizeA new window for editing your canvas will open, which allows you to check and adjust the dimensions of your artboard.Photoshop - Canvas Size WindowOnce you checked whether everything correct, click [OK].

Set Bleed & Margins

How to set Bleed and Margins in Photoshop

In order to get optimal printing results, please provide for 3mm bleed and 3mm safety margin in your artwork. This is crucial, as it may occur that the cutting is a little bit too far in (which is why you need a safety margin) or too far out (which is why you need bleed). The safety margin ensures, that no actual content gets cut out of your artwork. The bleed ensures, that there are no white borders at the edges of your product.
To apply the bleed and safety margin in your file you need to follow the instructions provided here. Please note that Photoshop is not the ideal software to prepare your files for printing.
Set the Bleed
To apply a Bleed to your document in Photoshop, you need to change the size of your document as a whole, as there is no way to extend the canvas beyond its boundaries. In other words, you need to add the Bleed to the total size of the canvas (beyond the paper limit). Before applying your Bleed, you need to place guidelines at the edges of the file, so that you know the paper limits. If the rulers are not visible on your screen, go to the Top Menu > [View] > [Rulers] and drag the lines to the edges of your artwork.Photoshop - Top Menu - View - RulersFor example, if you are mounting a canvas for business cards with the size of 90x50mm, you need to add to all sides a 3mm bleed, or your canvas must have the size of 93mm x 53mm.
To do this, go to the Top [Menu] > [Image] > Canvas Size [size of canvas].Photoshop - Top Menu - Image - Canvas SizeIn the next window, add the bleed measure the size of your document, + 3mm in height and width and the click [OK].Photoshop - Canvas Size Window

Set Safety Margins

Please set the set the Safety Margins 3mm inwards from the paper limit into your artwork. For this, you can again use the ruler tool as before.
Your document should be looking similar to the one shown below. Please make sure that you fill up your Bleed with al graphical elements, as shown below. Please also make sure that the critical content of your artwork is inside the Safety Margins, to guarantee that during the cutting process no information gets lost.Photoshop - Safety Margins Example

Use High Resolution Images

How to use high resolution images in Photoshop

Choosing the right images in your files needs to be done carefully. Just because images appear good quality on your screen does not mean they are in fact high resolution. In addition, the image must be in CMYK, the color mode for printing, and not in RGB mode, which is not usable for printing.
There are two types of images: bitmap images and vector images. Bitmap images consist of a series of little dots called pixels. In other words, many single pixels together form the image. When zooming into your image, you will eventually see the single pixels. Vector images, on the contrary, are not based on pixels, but on mathematical formulas that draw certain lines and curves. This is why vector image are just as sharp when zooming in.
To make sure your bitmap image is just as sharp as a vector image, you should check the resolution (DPI) of it. DPI measures the amount of pixels per inch.
See the example below:Above, you see a gradient with 10 pixels per inch (dpi) as well as one with 300 pixels per inch. It becomes very clear that the poor resolution of 10 dpi impairs your image quality. We call this “pixelated” or a “blurry”.
For your image to be suitable for printing, you need to ensure a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. Only then high quality printing can be guaranteed. However, the required resolution also depends on the choice of product. The larger the product, the lower the required resolution. So for instance for a business card we recommend at least 300dpi, but for a poster also 150 dpi are sufficient. To verify that the image in your artwork is in high resolution you must follow the following instructions:
Go to the Top Menu > [Image] > [Image Size].Photoshop - Top Menu - Image - Image SizeIn the next window uncheck all the options at the bottom if they are selected. If your image is at 150 dpi (300 dpi) or more, it is suitable for printing.Photoshop - Image Size WindowWhen you change the resolution of a file, it undergoes changes in its size. Lowering the resolution is not a problem, however, increasing it is. In this case, you need to create a new file with higher resolution.
Please note that Photoshop does not allow you to verify the resolution of individual images, because the software works with pixels. In other words, it identifies the entire document as a single image.

Select Colour (CMYK)

How to select the color (CMYK) in Photoshop

Always try to mount your artwork in CMYK color mode right from the beginning as shown in Section “Create your file.” Please not that only a CMYK color mode is suitable for printing and therefore it is essential that you create your file in CMYK. If you have not already done so, follow our instruction to make the conversion now:
To turn your file to color mode CMYK go to the Top Menu > [Image] > [Mode] > [CMYK Color]Photoshop Top Menu - Image - Mode - CMYK ColorIn doing so, several warning signs may appear. The reason is the following:
If there are ‘Smart Objects’ in your document, the first warning states that the change in color mode will lead to changes in appearance. You will be asked if you want to rasterize the smart objects. In this case, click [Don’t Rasterize].Photoshop - Don't RasterizeThe second warning will inform you that the color mode change may discard some adjustment layers.
Here you must click [Merge] in order to keep the other setting of your document. Please note that if you prefer to click OK, you must watch out for any other changes in appearance in your file.Photoshop - Color Mode Change - MergeThe third warning only tells you which profile you are using when converting (the color profile is a pattern according to the ISO system adopted in each country).
Just click OK, because your software fits this pattern automatically.Photoshop - Conversion Confirmation WindowWhen clicking [OK], the color conversion will start.Photoshop - Converting Colors Progress WindowTip: If you want to view your document in CMYK without changing your color just go to the top Menu > [View] > [Proof Colors].Photoshop - Color Conversion Example

Covert Fonts

How to convert fonts in Photoshop

 

Using fonts
Fonts are sets of lettering styles, which can be installed on your computer. Once in place, you may use them for any file you create. However, when opening your file on another device on which the font is not installed, you may encounter problems with appearance.
To avoid such problems, it is important that you convert the fonts in your artwork to curves. In the following we will lead you through the process. Please note that when saving graphic production files as PDF / X1A you can avoid manual conversion to curves.
Changing fonts to curves
Before continuing, make sure you save the original document under another name first, since at the end of this process you won’t be able to edit text anymore.
As Photoshop works with images, i.e. pixels, and not vectors, it is not possible to transform the fonts into curves. Therefore, we need to complete a process of rasterization of fonts.
In the [Layers] window select the text layers you want to rasterize:
Photoshop layers window
Then go to the top Menu > [Type] > [Raster Type Layer]
Photoshop - Top Menu - Type - Rasterize Type Layer
The other option is to click the right mouse button on each text layer and choose the [Rasterize Type] option.
Photoshop - Rasterize Type

Use PDF / X-1A

How to convert fonts in Photoshop

Creating a PDF / X-1a file
Before we will lead you through the process of saving your artwork as a PDF, please make sure that your security margins and bleed are set correctly (for more information please refer to our section “Set Bleed & Margins”).
Please not that in order to complete this step, you need an additional program as Photoshop cannot complete the process fully.
With your file open go to the top Menu > [File] > [Save As].
Photoshop - Top Menu - Save As
As format, choose [Photoshop (*.PDF, *.PDP)] and click [Save].
What about the color below?
Photoshop - Save As Window
* Should a dialog box pop up and ask you if the PDF default settings can be overridden, click [OK].
Photoshop - Default Settings Confirmation
In doing so, you will open a new window with PDF specifications: Set the Adobe PDF Preset field to [High Quality Print] and the Standard field to [PDF/X-1a:2001]. Then tick the panels [Optimize for Fast Web View] and [View PDF after Saving] under options. Note, in some Adobe Illustrator versions, this menu might only show a “Custom” option, but you will still be able to select the options.
Photoshop - Save Adobe PDF Window
Please note: In some versions of Photoshop, available option can be PDF / X-A1: 2001.
Then simply click [Save PDF]. Once completed you must open your PDF file in one of the other software programs mentioned and save it again with the marks and bleed.

Configure Grey Colours

How to configure your grey colors correctly

 

Grey is an intermediary color composed of black and white and has to be treated carefully. In other words, grey is a percentage of black (K). Therefore, to compose a tone of grey, you need to set your black (K) color to a certain percentage between 0% and 100%. Do not use the three other colors as it will result in a lower printing quality (set Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow to 0%).
Please see our example below for setting up your grey colors correctly. The instructions can be applied to any image editing program (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), as color palettes work the same way in any program.
Photoshop - Grey Color Configuration
On the left, you see how it should be done – grey as a percentage of black (K) and CMY at 0%. Only in doing so, you ensure that the grey areas in your artwork are configured correctly for printing.
On the right, you see the wrong way – grey composed of all colors (CMYK). This way, the grey gets too “loaded” due to the many colors. Such composition can result in lower printing quality.

Configure Black Colours

How to configure your black color correctly

 

Black (K) is a frequently used color when designing artworks. This has various reasons, such as creating contrast or strength. Nevertheless, black (K) is one of the most difficult colors to print and can cause a lot of problems during the printing process. To avoid such issues, it is essential to configure the color correctly. The instructions below can be applied to any image editing program (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.), as color palettes work the same way in any program.
Particularly for text elements and thin lines it is crucial to use pure black – 100% black (K) and 0% CMY.
Corel Draw - Black Color Configuration
When using black (K) for larger areas and elements, make sure you use a CMYK composition for black: for instance set Cyan (C) to 30%, Black (K) = 100%, and Magenta (M) and Yellow (Y) each to 0%.
Corel Draw - Black Color Configuration For Large Format

Configure Fine Lines

How to configure fine lines

 

When printing, variations of 2 – 3 tenths of a millimeter are common to occur for all elements. With medium to large-format prints, you won’t notice such occurrence. However, for with small element and fine lines you will notice these variations remarkably. They appear as “blurred lines” as illustrated in the picture below.
To avoid any such complications, make sure you do not use more than 2 colors when configuring small elements and thin lines.

The illustration above shows you how such variation when using many colors can look like.
Let’s assume you want to print a brown line. For brown 3 colors are needed (CMY). This can result in tiny variations when printing and thus in a “blurred line”. In this context, using a brown color for thin lines in your artwork may not be the best choice for you. Either use another color or make the element bigger in size to avoid such complications. In our example, the text line should be either in one color (e.g. black), or at least 3-4 points thick.