pre-press, large format file setup, printing guide, print file
Helpful Tips from the Pre-Press Manager

Have you ever wanted something printed, but weren’t sure if you were submitting a good quality file? Or have you ever submitted a file, only to have the printers send it back to you with an issue? Maybe you had expectations for a print job, but the final outcome wasn’t what you were expecting? We’re here to explain the best way to submit files to us, so you can be ensured that what we’re printing is exactly what you want. Redsmith Graphic Solutions is here to meet and exceed your expectations when it comes to your graphic needs.

File Size

The first thing you’ll want to check is the size of your file. Make sure the dimensions are the correct size, or at least proportional to the size you want the graphic to be. If you cannot make the graphic the correct size, we can try our best to fit the graphics into the dimensions you want, but keep in mind that some stretching or cropping may occur. We’ll be happy to send you a proof of the product before we send to production; all you need to do is request one. For small prints that go on cardstock, you’ll want to be sure to add bleed around the graphic, to ensure that when we trim it out, there will be no white, from the natural color of the paper, showing around the edges. A 1/8-inch of bleed is recommended for small copier prints, such as invitations, flyers, business cards, and anything else you may want on cardstock.

Types of files and resolution

Next thing you should be aware of is the type of file you send, and our restrictions when it comes to certain kinds. We work best with vector files, which can be made with programs like Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. Vector means that there are no pixels; therefore resolution does not matter because it can be blown up as big or as small as you’d like and still retain crisp, clean quality. PDF’s saved from working vector files are recommended when you send us files that need to be scaled up in size, or when we are die cutting your art. Keep in mind that if we are die cutting your graphic,  the cut lines would need to be drawn in Illustrator and a bleed would need to be added to ensure full color around the edges of the cut.

Vector files are extremely important when it comes to color matching to your specifications, it is much more difficult to work with raster images when it comes to matching specific Pantones and CMYK colors. Now if you have a photograph that you want printed, keep in mind that if you want to blow it up in size, it will need to have good resolution, meaning at least 200 dpi or higher.  Dpi stands for dots per inch, or pixels per inch, and the more pixels you have in an inch, the crisper the image is going to print. You can find out what the Dpi of an image is through image editing programs like Photoshop, or we can tell you if you don’t have access to these kinds of programs.

Color Modes

We print in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) color mode. CMYK is specific for printing, and RGB (Red, Green, Blue), a different color mode, is meant specifically for web and digital viewing. We recommend the files you send to us be in CMYK, otherwise when we convert from RGB to CMYK in preparation for print, there may be unexpected color changes. We want you to be aware of exactly what kind of color you will be getting back on your graphic, and if you send us a file in RGB, we cannot guarantee that you’ll get the colors you were expecting. We do color match to Pantone colors and specific CMYK codes, just be sure to mention that to us before we go to print. If you would like to see a sample or proof of a section of your graphic, you can always request one before we run your entire job, making sure the color is exactly to your specifications.


When working with specific fonts, if you have sent us an editable vector file, always be sure to either outline the font or provide us with the font itself. Outlining a font ensures that a default font won’t replace the text when we try to open your file or print. We don’t always have the fonts that are in your files, and outlining or sending us the specific font file will guarantee the right font is being printed, and will move the printing process further along, eliminating any kind of interruptions or setbacks in your deadline.

Large sized prints

Now let’s say you have a file that is meant to print at a large size, but design programs have a limit on the measurements and overall size of a file. You can always send us the file at a smaller, proportionate size. For example, if you have an art file that is meant to be 300 inches wide by 100 inches high, but programs like Illustrator has a limit of 227 inches. You can make the file 150 inches wide, by 50 inches high, and tell us that it is at half size when sending the file. You can go smaller than half size, but this is just an example. We recommend anything that is large scale be vector based. Images will not scale as well as vector, and you may notice pixilation in your final print.

These are just a few examples of what kind of files and preferences work best when printing, but if there is anything you are unsure of, we will be more than happy to answer and assist you in any questions or concerns that you may have. RedSmith Graphic Solutions is here to help you all the way through the printing process, making sure you are truly satisfied with the final product.

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