Designer Notes: general guidelines for Designers sending in artwork for us to letterpress.

If you are new to submitting artwork for letterpress, please review this page as it is very important so that you get the best results in your final print. We want to make sure we provide the highest quality prints for your client.

Please review: so you understand the limitations on letterpress printing.  This is very important so you can communicate correct expectations to your client, and the reason why you designed a certain way.  Simply put, we do not recommend large ink coverage, knock-outs, small fonts and lines less than 0.35 pts.

File Formatting for Letterpress:

1. We would like to receive all files in Adobe Illustrator (.ai) file.

2. If you have linked images, please make sure to embed the image so that we will be able to see the image. Vector images area always preferred, try to avoid using jpeg.

3. Fonts may differ computer-to-computer and to make sure there is no difference, please make sure all fonts are outlined (Type > Outline)

4. Please use Pantone Solid Uncoated Formula Guide for color matching.  We hand mix all our ink, so there may be very slight differences in color, especially since we cannot use “Transparent White” to mix our ink.  We have to use Opaque White and try to get the colors to match the colorbook.

a. Please use the correct colors in the design so we know what color goes with which part of the artwork.

b. If you are printing “blind”, please use grey (20K).  If 20K is used in your design, please use either 20Y, 20C or 20M and let us know.

5. If you are adding background color or cardstock color in the artwork, please add that as a separate layer and name it “cardstock” so that we know that color is not part of the print and we can exclude it when making the plates.

6. For each side (front or back of cards) or piece (Invitation, Response Cards, etc), please create a separate file for each.  Please make the artboard (File > New) the correct size of the piece.  So if you are sending files for and Invitation, Response Card and Direction Card, there should be three separate .ai files. If the Invitation is A7, the artboard should be 5″ x 7″ and if there is a bleed, then at least 1/8″ (0.125″) should be added as a bleed in the artboard.

7. If the design is not a bleed, we would like a 1/8″ border if possible.  Anything within 1/8″ from the edge of the artwork will be considered a bleed.

8. Please avoid using fonts less than 8pts if possible.  We cannot guarantee the outcome of small fonts.

9. The lowest resolution we can go for lines is 0.35pts and 1pt for any dots (including periods, colon, etc).  Anything less may not come out.  The same holds true in fonts, if there are lines thinner than 0.35pts, the font may look “muddy” or there may not be clear separation between let’s say the the title (dot) and stem (body) in “i” and may end up looking like an “l”.

10. THE FILE MUST BE A SEPARATED FILE.  If the final file is a flattened artwork, we will not be able to separate the colors and change the artwork to pure black (100% K) for the platemaking process.  So please make sure that all the layers are not flattened, especially if made use in Photoshop.


Letterpress Disclaimer:

Please make 1000000% sure that the design is proof read and that everything is ok because once the plates are ordered, there will be additional fees to redo the plates, and if the print is complete (even if not delivered yet), there will be a plate redo and reprint fee.


There are lots of information above, but we want to make sure the files are setup correctly so that we can deliver excellent prints to your clients.  If you have any questions, please contact us without hesitation. We are always here to help you through the process.

Thank you!


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