Below are some resources to help you understanding file formats, color matching, and somethings about the printing process. This information will help you know the requirements to best prepare print-ready files for the best results with your label projects.

Submitting Artwork

Supplying correctly-formatted, print-ready, quality artwork is required for the best printing results. Before being able to give you a precise print quote, we may need to see your final art files. Your Label Specialist will contact you if we need to review your  files for printing.

Carefully review our print ready file requiriements. See the Color Matching section below for details about critical color requirements for your label project.

You may email your print-ready artwork fires directly to your Label Specialist or use the form below.

Color on computer
vector vs. pixel art

General Artwork Guidelines

Artwork must be print-ready per the following specifications:

Vector-based Art Files

Purely vector-based artwork is highly recommended as it produces the best quality output. It’s typically scalable up or down in size without any loss in image resolution. Typically, file types ending in .ai, .eps, .cdr, .svg, and sometimes .pdf contain only vector-based art files.

Pixel-based Art Files

Pixel-based (also known as raster or bit-mapped) artwork may be used if the minimum resolution is 300 dpi/ppi (dots/pixels per inch) scaled to the exact size of the label. There should be no file compression. These types of files typically end in .psd, .tif (.tiff) .jpg (.jpeg), .gif, and .bmp. Any compression in these types of files usually produces unwanted artifacts making the image look pixelated (blurry) or distorted in color.

Mixed Art Files

Occasionally we receive vector-based artwork that has some pixel-based elements included or embedded in the file These types of files generally do not produce good results and should be avoided.

A Note about Color

We do not guarantee color output. However, colors can be matched more accurately by using vector-based art files with colors specified in the Pantone® Solid Coated Color Swatch Book. Read on for more information about color.

Acceptable File Formats

All files must be submitted in a PC compatible file format.

Acceptable vector-based art files include:

  • Adobe Illustrator (.ai)

  • Encapsulated PostScript (.eps)
  • CorelDraw (.cdr)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg)
  • Portable Document Format (.pdf) exported directly from Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw

All fonts must be turned into outlines and expanded to ensure proper results. The files must be free from any pixel-based elements.

Acceptable pixel-based art files include:

  • Photoshop (.psd)

  • Tagged Image File Format (.tif/.tiff)
  • Joint Photographic Experts Group (created with minimal compression) (.jpg or .jpeg)
  • Portable Network Graphic (.png)
  • Graphics Interchange Format (.gif)
  • Windows Bitmap (.bmp)
Vector file typesPixel file types

Note that some of pixel-based file formats are inherently compressed and may appear pixelated and/or lose accurate color information.

Artwork that is not print-ready will either not be usable by us, or will require an artist to make the artwork print-ready. Having our artists fix your files will likely incur an additional artwork fee.

CMYKHalftoneSpot colors

Printing Color

Understanding some of the challenges of printing color will help you better prepare your print-ready art files and manage your expectations of color matching.

Process Color Printing

Process color printing, also known as four-color process printing (full color), is a printing method that reproduces finished, full-color artwork and photographs. The four colors that are used in process color printing are cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). These inks are translucent and are used to simulate different colors. For example, green can be created using cyan and yellow. The black ink is used primarily to create fine detail and shadows. Process colors are reproduced by overlapping ink dots (halftones) to simulate a large number of colors. These overlapping dots essentially trick the human eye to see a multitude of different colors.

Spot Color Printing

If you need to match a particular color—perhaps a specific logo color—then spot color printing is often the best choice. Spot colors are printed with premixed inks on a conventional press, or replicated on digital press, or with ribbons on a thermal printer. Each spot color is reproduced using a single printing plate or color ribbon. To ensure that the printer uses the exact intended color, the Pantone® Matching System (PMS) is used. Each PMS number references a unique spot color found on a swatch chart. By using this type of numbering system, designers can specify exact colors for elements on a printed piece with repeatable results. It’s important to note that not all spot colors can be reproduced by process printing. Unlike process printing using a series of overlapping dots, spot colors are printed individually in various dot sizes to created different shades or tints of the spot color. 

Color Matching

Making Color

Color matching is very important because not all of the colors we can see in nature can be reproduced. Our computer monitor recreates colors by projecting red, green and blue (RGB) lights.

Printing traditionally recreates colors by mixing cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) inks. Color matching is important because your monitor cannot display every possible color you can see in nature. A commercial printer can reproduce even fewer colors than we can see! It is important to remember that it is difficult to get vibrant colors with process (CMYK) printing.

What color am I looking at?

Light (projected) color is perceived differently than printed (reflective) color. Perceived color can be influenced by many factors including the ambient light source of a room or even by the health of the person looking at the color. This combined with the fact that every computer screen and color office printer displays colors a little differently, presents a unique challenge to the printing industry. It has always been so. The color red on one’s computer screen may be seen as a dark orange on another’s screen. 

Color matching is a challenge across the whole printing industry. cannot guarantee the color printed will match the color on your computer screen. This is whyrecommendsa pre-production sample run if color matching is critical. You may decide that color on your job is not considered “critical” in which case we do our best to print color based on the files and samples you provide. 

Pantone® Color Match System

One tool that the industry has developed to solve the challenge of color variances is the Pantone® Color Match System. Thousands of Pantone® Colors are printed in booklets that usually need to be replaced frequently as the colors in the booklets fade and change over time. One type of Pantone® booklet shows both the spot color value and closest corresponding CMYK-values equivalent. It’s interesting to see that in many cases CMYK process colors cannot match Pantone® spot colors.

Another type of Pantone® booklet shows the spot color values of various colors. Our color profiling system at allows us to print to most Pantone® spot color values. Pantone® spot colors provide us with a physical color match, but not all Pantone® colors can be matched exactly. Embedded color profiles in your vector-based artwork will help the final outcome of full-color artwork.

Colors in NatureCMYK Printing PressLight chartPantone spot color book

unrelenting durability in any environment

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