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How to be Print Ready

All commercial print services require Print Ready files, the MCAD Service Bureau is no different. 

Having a Print Ready file means: Service Bureau staff can hit print on your document, without needing to make any adjustments or changes to your file. You retain all artistic control over your files and there will be no surprises when you pick up your completed prints.

Please note: Save your Print Ready File as a copy! You should always retain your original layered Working File for future edits.

MCAD SB Print Ready requirements: 

  1. High Resolution File - 300dpi at 100% scale is standard print resolution, any less than 150dpi is not recommended as your image will look pixelated/blurry, 72dpi is web resolution and will look terrible printed
  2. File @ Print Size - Create/save your file at your preferred output size/dimensions (if you want your print to be 11x17” it must be created and saved saved at 11x17” at full resolution)
  3. Appropriate File Type* 
    1. PDF (preferred for most print jobs)
    2. TIF (must be flattened)
    3. Packaged InDesign folder (for books/booklets or by SB request only)
  4. Borders, Bleeds, Trim Marks, and Safe Area. These need to be included/accounted for in the document wherever necessary
    1. If you need a 2" border around your image, you need to save the file with that border built in
    2. If you plan to have a print trimmed down at any point (books, full bleed posters, business cards, etc), you must include a bleed area extending artwork beyond the final trim size
    3. If you have multiple images laid out on a larger page (business cards, postcards, multiple small photographs, etc), you should include any trim marks necessary within the document
    4. Account for a safe area (around .25" or 6mm) inside of the page size, and make sure you keep any important elements within that safe zone - normal print drift and trimming can cut into those areas
  5. Multiple PDF files with the same specifications (image size, paper type, quantity, etc) should be saved as multi-page PDF
  6. Files should be saved in an appropriate color space (Adobe RGB 1998 for printing at MCAD will get you the best results, see our KB article for details)
 * There are some SB processes that require alternate file types (eg. .AI files for vinyl cutting, layered .psd for Risograph, etc), each order form will detail the specifics for that process

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