Photoshop Layout Rules

  1. Document Size: Create your document with measurements that match the final trim size of your piece unless you have a bleed. If your document has a bleed then add .25" to your document size. This extra area will be trimmed off during the finishing process. PLEASE BE CERTAIN THAT YOUR CANVAS IS SET TO THE PROPER SIZE AND RESOLUTION/DPI BEFORE YOU BEGIN. THIS IS WHERE MOST PHOTOSHOP FILES GO WRONG.
    • If you are creating an 8.5''x11'' tri-fold brochure NO BLEEDS, your document size should be 8.5''x11''. 
    • photoshop example
    • If you are creating an 8.5"x11" tri-fold brochure WITH BLEEDS your document size should be 8.75 "x11.25". If Your Photoshop Image will be a backgroud used in a page layout application then your image size should be 1/8" (.125") bigger than your final trim size. When you use it in page layout software, it should extend outside the page size if used as bleed. If you have a previously configured document and you did not allow .25" for the bleeds, then go to the Image pull down menu and select Canvas Size. Add .25" to your width and .25" to your height. Make sure that you have the center block selected on the Anchor.
  2. Bleeds: If your document contains images or colors that extend to the edge of the page, it is considered a document with bleeds. To ensure that these images appear correctly, without any white space between the image and the edge of your document, it is important to extend any bleeds .125” beyond the finish size of the document. You do this by creating a document that is .25" larger than the finished size of your printed piece. Please refer the information above in the Document Size section. This extra area will be trimmed off during the finishing process.
  3. Live or “Safe” Area: Make sure that all your images and text are inside of a “safe” margin of .25” around the inside edge of your document. Note, if your document has a bleed then your safe margin will be .325" around the inside edge of your document.
  4. Colors: For spot color, each element should be converted to black mode or grayscale.
    • For four-color process all colors should be created in CMYK.
    • We often work in RGB mode and convert our files to Bitmap (b&w), Grayscale, or CMYK mode when we’re ready to save or export. Always save a copy of your original file in case you need to go make to make changes later. 
    • Black Builds: Use caution when you have a solid area that is Black. Four-color process (CMYK) shoud be used to create a deep, dark, black, however if the total percentage of all four colors is greater than 340% your document will not print properly. Ink will saturate the stock and you will not be pleased with the final product. The only exception to this rule is text, please see the Black Text / Font section. 
    • The optimum settings for Black are:
      • 75% Cyan
      • 70% Magenta
      • 40% Yellow
      • 100% Black
  5. Fonts / Text: Please convert all text to paths. 
    • BLACK TEXT / FONTS: Do not use small size type, it will reproduce poorly. Do not rasterize text. When creating black type please give it the following CMYK break down:
      • 100% Black
      • 0% Cyan
      • 0% Magenta
      • 0% Yellow
  6. DPI: All images used for printing should be a minimum of 300 DPI at the size used for layout. Photo Images should be 300 dpi resolution; 400 DPI if your image has text, 600 to 1,200 dpi for bitmap (black and white) line art.
  7. Scanning: Scanned images that you plan on importing into layout software should be saved in a TIFF (.tif) or EPS (.eps) format to insure the best color and sharpness possible. File formats such as GIF or JPG compress the picture and can cause it to look blurry and off-color when printed. Scan your images a little larger than final size they will appear in your layout to avoid DPI problems.
  8. Scaling Images Be very careful when scaling images that you have imported to your layout. Do not enlarge any image greater than 125% of its original size. If you do, you will decrease the image’s effective resolution and the result will be a poor quality printed image. You may generally reduce an image to any size. Vector art, created in a program like Illustrator or Freehand, may be reduced or enlarged to any size without compromising quality.
  9. Keep a layered file: When submitting a Photoshop file it's always a good idea to keep a layered copy of your file on your computer. Just in case you catch a mistake on the proof, it will be easier to change.

Output Instructions

You can save your file as one of the following file formats:
  1. PDF - it must be created via our settings
  2. .psd
  3. .tif

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