Weathervane Graphics has moved its offices!

And guess what? No more steep stairs. We're on the ground floor in a lovely office space with a pretty view of the mountains.
Please note our new address is 400-B Kendrick Lane, Front Royal, VA 22630. 

General Artwork Guidelines

For our printing clients with the capability and desire to create their own camera-ready artwork, we would like to provide these helpful tips to aid in developing a proper print file. If you would like to see anything else covered in our help section or if anything is unclear, please let us know. We’d love to hear what you think!

  • Provide a PDF file that meets our specifications to avoid additional charges.
  • Use an accepted software program to create your art if possible.
  • Use one of our templates or ask in advance about how your art should be laid out.
  • Do not use photos or graphics that you lifted from a web page.
  • If you scan your images – check the options – don’t use the default settings!
  • Use images that are a minimum of 300 dpi at 100%.
  • Do not stretch your images after you place them in your document.
  • Font files must be provided or fonts converted to curves.
  • Full color artwork should be converted to CMYK.
  • Color separations should be provided for one- or two-color printing.
  • Digital photos should be sized to their actual print size and resampled to 300 dpi at the same time in a photo-editing program before they are placed in your document. Do not re-size the images first and then change the resolution.
  • If you want any part of your design to go all the way to the edge of the sheet, it must extend 1/8” beyond the edge in your artwork. This is called a bleed.

Each Zip file contains a .jpg and .eps file.

Microsoft's built-in design templates for Word and Publisher are just plain bad. There! I've said it.   If you are planning to design something in any Microsoft program that will be printed by a commercial printer, please save yourself a lot of time and money by starting with a good template. We are more than happy to get you what you need so you can start your project right!

NEW! MS Publisher Template: Tri-Fold - 8.5x11" - Roll Fold - This very basic Publisher template will provide you with proper margin and column guides so your brochure will fold correctly.



We Prefer “Camera-Ready” PDF files that meet our specifications. We accept files created in the following native applications (click title for program specific guidelines):

PDF files are strongly recommended for artwork created in the following native applications:

  • PowerPoint® - Mac and PC
  • Excel® - Mac and PC
  • Word® - Mac and PC
  • Publisher® - Mac and PC

We will accept native files from Microsoft Office programs if necessary, but they will not be considered print-ready. We will need a hard copy from you so we can see what the layout and fonts should look like. We will also need you to provide separate files for any special fonts and graphics that you used. (For MS Publisher you can use the Pack & Go Feature.) Additional fees will be charged on an hourly basis to cover the time it will take to make these files ready for print.


Create one item (1-up) sized correctly per document. Placed graphics and text should be sized at 100%.

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.

If you are creating an 8.5''x11'' tri-fold brochure NO BLEEDS, your document size should be 8.5''x11''.
If you are creating an 8.5"x11" tri-fold brochure WITH BLEEDS your document size should be 8.75 "x11.25".


Using your illustration program, convert all text "to curves" or "create outlines" in your files. Never use the stylization palette to bold, italicize, or add drop shadows to your fonts.

If you are using fonts not owned by Weathervane Graphics, outlines must be created in an illustration program before submitting your artwork or they must be embedded in a PDF file. Otherwise, font files can be provided or we can attempt to match your fonts. In either case, additional prepress fees will be charged.

Margin Requirements

  1. Business cards must be sent 1-up with at least a (.125") margin except for bleeds.
  2. Envelopes must allow (.25") from the top and side except for bleeds.
  3. Letterheads must have at least (.375") at the top and (.25") along all sides and bottom except for bleeds.
  4. Brochures should ideally have at least (.25”) on all 4 sides and (.5”) in each gutter except for bleeds. If a bleed is wanted, the text still needs to be (.25") away from the edge.

Bleed Requirements:

  1. (.125") should be allowed on each applicable side. Please make sure the text still maintains the required margin even when graphics bleed.
  2. Bleeds are not available on full color envelopes without a quote.

Color Matching:

If you need color matching, please contact us for instructions prior to beginning your design. Weathervane Graphics is not responsible for color variances due to conversion from incorrect formats (namely, RGB to CMYK). Within the printing industry, is well-understood that all color is subject to some variation. Screen proofs will predict design layout, text accuracy, image proportion and placement, but not color or density. In short: if color-matching on your print job is essential, you must communicate with us! 

-- The single biggest reason for delayed orders and extra charges is improperly prepared artwork. --

For more detailed information, choose a topic from the list below:

Color | Resolution | Scanning | Digital Cameras | Web Images | Fonts | PDF Files

Questions? Call 540-636-4000