CS Labels guide to designing for print

CS Labels guide to designing for print

Designing for different mediums calls for different approaches, Artwork may look fantastic on screen but how can you guarantee to achieve the best result in print.

Here at CS Labels we have pooled our knowledge of digital printing technology to provide you with some guidance to the best practises for designing with digital print in mind.

1. Choose the right software and file type

When designing for print the first question is the type of software and file you want to use. We recommend using vector based software such as Adobe Illustrator CS.

Vector software will ensure that the quality of your finished product is higher than is achievable with raster based artwork, click here for more info on vector vs raster.

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Files should be exported as PDF format with all images and fonts embedded.

If for some reason you are unable to embed the fonts we would prefer if you converted the text to outlines instead, files with missing fonts may cause an issue when we come to process your artwork.

Also be aware of the resolution of any raster/photographic images within your file, these should be at least 300dpi otherwise they may appear pixelated once printed.

2. Bleed

Artwork should be set up with the print and cut processes in mind. Digital printing allows for a great deal of precision on your artwork, However its worth bearing in mind that the process of printing and cutting your labels may result in small movements of the artwork in relation to the cutters.

If your artwork runs up to the edge of the label this movement may cause a white line to appear at the edge of the label once cut.

We advise therefore the creation of a “Bleed” on your artwork. A bleed is an area which goes beyond the edges of the cut label which allows for any movement on the press and guarantees that the label does not have a white edge once cut.

We ask our customers to create a 3mm bleed on the artwork, e.g. The artwork should be 3mm wider and taller than the required print area.

3. Cut Lines

We appreciate the need for our customers to create a “Cutter Guide” to instruct us how to cut your labels correctly. We do however have to remove these lines in the studio prior to print if they are not set to our guidelines to avoid these being printed.

If you want to supply a cut guide with your artwork, please follow the following instructions:

The cut guide should be a stroked line set to a spot colour which MUST be named “CUT”. This allows the press to interpret this colour correctly and use this as a guide for aligning the artwork.

Setting up your cut line correctly will save a great deal of studio time and may avoid the need for the studio to issue a charge for studio time on larger orders.

4. Safe zone

In addition to a bleed the other factor to consider with relation to small movements on the press is the positioning of elements and text.

There should be a “safe zone” just inside the edge of the cut guide of at least 1mm where no text of important elements are located. This will prevent text from becoming clipped off by the cutter should there be any minor movement during production.

5. Material and finish

Think about your substrates, some may darker or lighten the appearance of your artwork once printed. The different finishes also affect the way your labels may appear, Matt effects may dull colours, a gloss laminate may make them brighter.

If you are unsure at any point about the effect this may have on your labels, or if you are particularly colour sensitive perhaps you should take advantage of our press proof service to get a clearer idea of how your artwork will print.

6. Metallics

Our digital process using CMYK toners to create the range of colours in print, That means artwork specifying metallic pantones doesn’t work for us.

The way we create metallic colours is to use a silver substrate and apply a thin layer of CMYK toner to create the hue and colour of the metallic we require.

This means that we have to also create a white base layer on the artwork for the regions where we do not want the colours to be metallic.

This is created by creating a layer above the artwork, with a spot colour named “five” set to overprint. Anywhere our press finds this colour it will print white toner beneath the CMYK artwork.

Please download our artwork guidelines files here – DOWNLOAD

To make the most of our artwork guideline file please download and view in illustrator or acrobat.

We can set up your white base for you here in our design studio, but please be aware you may be charged for studio time.

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