Your One Stop Card Sleeve And Packaging Source Since 1985

Pre-press Guidelines

Revised 2.22.2019

Preparing artwork for delivery

It is best to change all the text to outlines or curves when sending art files. You may also include all
necessary files such as fonts, support art and native files. For 4 color process jobs, CMYK colors are
preferred. For spot color jobs, Pantone Solid Uncoated / Coated colors are preferred. Vector art or 300 dpi or higher files will produce a higher quality print.

Raster vs Vector

Raster images are comprised of individual pixels and tend to look “blurry” when enlarged. Raster art is
preferred for 4 color process jobs that contain photographs. Vector images are made of mathematical
lines, points or curves to create an image and stays “crisp” when enlarged. Vector art is preferred when the layout contains text or simple graphics.


File format submission:

IPC currently accepts native files created with the following programs:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Acrobat PDFs

NOTE:  Always include layered as well as flattened versions of files



Let us know what colors are to be generated as spot colors and what colors will be 4-color process.
Also, if the piece will contain a spot varnish, please indicate the varnish treatment you desire. Please
keep in mind colors may vary on different types of paper.

  • Tyvek Printing
    Subtract 10% screen value from the desired output for Tyvek printing only (On press dot gain of 10%).
  • Pantone Matching System (PMS)
    For spot color printing on uncoated paper, please use Pantone Solid Uncoated colors (example PMS185 U). For spot color printing on coated paper, please use Pantone Solid Coated colors (example PMS 185 C). All monitors display color differently, so the color you see on your monitor may vary on our monitors. Remember, you are seeing RGB rendering of a CMYK color, not the actual color. For best results, pick your colors from a Pantone Solid Uncoated / Coated swatch book.
  • 4-Color Process Printing
    Save all color photographs and vector artwork as CMYK.
  • Spot Color Printing
    Save all art as Pantone Solid Uncoated or Coated colors. When using more than one spot color, vector art is preferred.
  • Black values must be 100%


It is best to convert all text to outlines or curves when submitting artwork. If you are unable to convert
text to outlines, send ALL fonts used in your files. PostScript Type 1 fonts are preferred. Text should be
8pt or higher to be legible.


Window Die

If you wish to apply a type treatment around the window of your piece, please take manufacturing
variabilities into consideration when designing your artwork. IPC suggests that type does not wrap
around the entire window. Also, we typically suggest that type be rotated at a 20-45 degree angle, so
that it is not centered on the window.


Bleed Area

We require 1/8” (0.125 inch) bleed from all fold, score and cut lines. Any designs or color blocks that
bleed to the edge of a fold line must bleed over to the back by 1/8”. Designs, lines or color bands
cannot continue from the outside side seams onto the back of the envelope. They can not be matched
perfectly in our manufacturing process. However, a solid background color can be utilized. Please
reference the master die lines for visual reference.


Live Area

All copy and type must be positioned 1/8” from all cut, score and fold lines. That includes the edges of
the outside side seam flaps on the back of the product.

NOTE: Anything not marked FPO (For Position Only) will be considered live.



  • Format
    Save vector art (Illustrator) as .ai or .pdf files, and raster images (Photoshop) as .psd, .pdf or .tiff. Please include all linked files if the artwork is not embedded in the file.
  • Scaling
    Avoid excessive image re-sizing in page layout programs. Enlarging a raster image more than 20% will degrade quality.
  • Rotating
    Avoid rotating raster images in page layout programs. Rather do this in Photoshop and re-save for
  • Resolution
    Image resolution should be 300 dpi or higher, and not scaled up or down beyond 20% of the original size.
  • Saving/Exporting
    When a pdf is saved from Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, leave “Preserve Editing Capabilities” checked. When a Photoshop EPS is saved, it is important NOT to click on the options “Include Halftone Screen”or “Transfer Functions.”
  • EPS Files
    Note that transparency effects may not be honored. It is best to apply any ‘ghosting’ effects in
    Photoshop and flattening the image before importing into Illustrator. Embedded images cannot be
    edited if they are placed and saved as such in Illustrator. Please provide any an all support artwork,
    whether used in EPS or linked to the layout.
  • Hairlines
    Do not use hairline rules. Make your thinnest lines at least .25 points wide and your thinnest dotted
    rules at least .5 points wide.


Die Lines

It is okay to send your die line with the file, but it MUST BE a separate layer or element that can be
turned off or omitted when printing. It CANNOT BE embedded in Photoshop, the PDF, or un-editable.

NOTE: Per customer request, we can issue master die lines to use as a template for building files.


We hope you find these guidelines helpful in preparing your files for print. We also
acknowledge that every job is different and may have issues that are not addressed here.
Please feel free to contact your sales representative or the prepress department with any questions you may have.

Submit Your Artwork Here