Lake Coast Print :: FAQ's :: File Prep

How should I prepare a file for printing with you?

The basic and easiest answer to this question is that you supply a PRINT READY .PDF file. We recommended a minimum of 300dpi, converted to CMYK colorspace, all fonts outlined AND embedded. Specify your trim area with crop marks (Don't place crop marks inside the work area). Make sure you have a minimum of 1/8" (0.125") BLEED on all edges of your job, and a 1/8" (0.125") SAFE area that has all critical design element such as text, pulled away from trim.

Following these guidelines, and CAREFULLY CHECKING THE RESULTING PDF before uploading will greatly reduce the possibility of error and accelerate your job through production.

PDF print ready files:

  • Minimum resolution of 300 dpi
  • CMYK colorspace
  • All fonts outlined and embedded
  • Specify trim area with crop marks (Don't place crop marks inside the work area)
  • Artwork should have 1/8" (0.125") bleed from trim line
  • Information content ("Safe Area") should be 1/8" (0.125") away from trim line.
  • Flatten ALL artwork

What file formats do you accept?

We accept the following file formats below, keep in mind anything other than (.pdf ) files will incur additional charges. A properly prepared PDF file will greatly reduce processing time and error on your proofs, as opposed to working with external elements such as fonts, images, and layout files.

  • PDF
  • AI (Adobe Illustrator)
  • PSD (Adobe Photoshop)
  • TIFF
  • PEG

How much bleed do you require?

We require a minimum of 1/8" (0.125") bleed on all projects. This will add 1/4" (0.25") to your overall image area, on both dimensions. Below are some example layout files incorporating our templates available in our Product Templates section.

Why is bleed important?

In commercial 4 color printing, all final jobs are cut in stacks. The accuracy of cutting in stacks is never perfect. Sometimes, the pressure on the stack from the cutting blade will cause a slight shift on the paper, losing the precision of the intended cut. This is why bleed is necessary to compensate for the shifting.

If bleed is not provided on a document, the final result of a trimmed job may possibly result in a slight white border around the edge.

How much safe area do you require?

Although we have digital state-of-the-art cutters, and very savvy operators, printing is a multi-variable process, and is not exact. Just as we require bleed, we require a clearance area between the cut and the important image area. The important design elements are those which you cannot risk cutting into, such as contact information and text. We recommend a 1/8in (0.125in) safe area inside from trim line. If you choose to make less than this minimum clearance, we will NOT be responsible for items that are cut off in this area.

What is "safe area"?

Safe area contains all critical elements/information of an artwork that cannot risk being cut off, and is any area that is 1/8" (1.125") from within the trim line. Generally, important information such as text, addresses, borders and titles rest within the safe area.

Artwork with borders

It is common for designers to place their borders too close to the trim line. Art borders that are not within the specified safe area may result in an uneven border on the final trim, therefore it is important that enough clearance should be provided. Safe area contains all critical elements/information of an artwork that cannot risk being cut off, and is any area that is 1/8" (.125") from within the trim line.

What type of file format do you prefer?

A print-ready Adobe Acrobat (.pdf ) file. We recommend a minimum of 300dpi, CMYK colormode, all fonts outlined AND embedded. Make sure you have a minimum of 1/8" (0.125") bleed on all edges of your job, and a 1/8" (0.125") safe area that has all critical design element such as text, pulled away from the trim.

What if my project is in a format not listed?

File formats that are not listed in our accepted formats, must be converted to an accepted format. Examples of file formats that require conversion include Microsoft Publisher, CorrelDraw, and Microsoft Word. For Windows users, there are many free utilities such as PrimoPDF ( to convert your job to .pdf form. Please understand that we are not responsible for how you convert these unsupported file types. Please double check your final .pdf before submission. If your job comes out incorrectly because of problems stemming from a bad conversion, we will not be responsible.

What is CMYK?

CMYK is also called 4-color Process. Colors in CMYK images are composed of varying amounts of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This is the way a printing press prints color, so it is vital that your image be in this color mode. For 1-color Process it needs to be grayscale or bitmap (which only use Black).

What is RGB?

RGB is an abbreviation for Red, Green, and Blue. This is a color system commonly used for monitors, digital cameras, televisions, etc. This color system works well for DIGITAL items but not for printing ink on paper. You MUST convert your files from RGB to CMYK prior to uploading your files. You will notice that some colors (especially fluorescents), will convert to a much darker color. It is important you handle the conversion on your end so have a realistic idea of what can print, and choose your colors accordingly. Even better is to begin your new document in CMYK to avoid having to convert later.

What is PMS, Spot colors, Metallic Colors?

Pantone Matching System (PMS)

A popular color matching system used by the printing industry to print spot colors. Most applications that support color printing allow you to specify colors by indicating the Pantone name or number. This assures that you get the right color when the file is printed, even though the color may not look right when displayed on your monitor. PMS works well for spot colors but not for process colors, which are generally specified using the CMYK color model.

Spot Color

Refers to a method of specifying and printing colors in which each color is printed with its own ink. In contrast, process color printing uses four inks (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) to produce all other colors. Spot color printing is effective when the printed matter contains only one to three different colors, but it becomes prohibitively expensive for more colors. Most desktop publishing and graphics applications allow you to specify spot colors for text and other elements. There are a number of color specification systems for specifying spot colors, but Pantone is the most widely used.

Why do I need to convert to CMYK?

In order for a job to print, it must be converted to CMYK. It is important to do this conversion on your end as a client so you have a realistic idea of what your job will come out like, and give you an opportunity to make subjective color adjustments that we would be unable to do here in the case of a colorshift.

Do you keep copies of my files?

Due to the volume of print we process, we are only able to archive jobs for 30 days from the point they are uploaded. Please, please, please... keep copies of your files. We are not responsible for client's sole copies of files.

The only copies we archive are the jobs that we design for clients.

Are there extra charges for file corrections, like adding bleed or fixing safe content?

Yes. All of our pricing is based on print-ready files. Please check and correct any issues BEFORE uploading your files. If a prepress technician finds something lacking in the file, they will either contact you with a description of what the issues are that need to be resolved with your file or if they can't get in touch with you they will correct it (you will be responsible for charges incurred).

What are print ready files?

Print-ready files are files that follow all our guidelines and require almost no intervention to print.

How do I specify which side will coat of my "UV 1 side" or "AQ 1 side" job?

In the case of UV 1 Side jobs, or AQ 1 Side jobs, the odd pages in your supplied .pdf proof will always be the coating surfaces. For example in a single-version postcard, page 1 would be coated. In the case of a 3 version business card, pages 1, 3 and 5 would be coated. If you are supplying individual files for the front and back, you may want to name them "Coating" and "NoCoating". Remember, despite how you submit files, you will be held responsible for checking the coating sides of your job in your proof from us.

What if I found a mistake in my artwork before I recieve a proof, and I want to upload new files?

This will incur an additional fee. Please carefully check your files before uploading. If this job has not been worked on, we MAY be able to spare you this fee. We reserve the right to charge the re-rip fee regardless. Also, please be aware that files coming into our FTP site are time stamped. If you upload files after a proof is sent, you will definitely be charge a re-rip fee.