FAQ: How to Create Print-Ready Files


To produce high-quality graphics, we need high-quality, print-ready files. Though our team can provide graphic design services, we realize that many of our customers prefer to send their designs directly to our print department. With more than 60 years of experience, we know what files it takes to get the job done well, but we understand it can be tricky if you’re not a Digital Color Expert.

So, to ensure the best results, be sure you’re submitting a print-ready file that meets the criteria explained below. First, you’ll need to determine whether your print project falls under the large- or small- format category.

Small-format printing encompasses color copy orders, such as proposals/spec books, booklets, brochures and fliers, which each require a slightly different set-up process.

Large-format print projects typically include floor graphics, indoor graphics, giclee prints, custom displays and more. With our cutting-edge equipment, our DCX experts can deliver big color and big results when provided with suitable, print-ready files.

Here are some steps to help you create print-ready files:

Small-format Printing:

  • Proposals/Spec Books: With proposals/spec books, the print file needs to be combined into a multipage PDF in the correct order listed in the Table of Contents. Likewise, when submitting a multi-page PDF, each section must end with an even number. In the cases of sections ending with an odd number, an additional blank sheet must be added. (This rule is only negated if you are requesting simplex, or single-sided printing.)
  • Booklets: Booklets also need to be combined into a multi-page PDF in the correct page order in order to be ready for printing. The total number of pages MUST be divisible by four or a blank white page will be printed on the inside and/or outside cover. The files should contain no crops or bleeds.
  • Brochures/Fliers: Because brochures and fliers are produced as a single page and sometimes folded, an individual file without crops or bleeds should be submitted as the final file.

Large-format Printing:

Ideally, your print-ready file should be submitted as a PDF, but we will take other formats such as EPS, JPG, or TIFF.

PDFs are the best way to ensure that the design comes through correctly, since fonts can change or reflow, and elements could move in layered files, like PSD, or even EPS.  Please do not send us an InDesign file, Word Document, PowerPoint, etc., because there are too many variables that can cause items to move or change. If you must send an InDesign file, please package the job and send us ALL elements (like fonts, images, etc.). When possible, the files should arrive flattened and true-to-size (or half-size for oversize jobs, but be sure to let us know) and contain no crops or bleeds.

If you still have questions about how to create a print-ready file, please contact us today! We look forward to working with you!

Birmingham: 800-292-3806 • 205-252-8505  |  Montgomery: 800-463-5610 • 334-263-0529