Wide Format Artwork Checklist

Achieving stunning results requires careful preparation of your artwork.  The following checklist is intended to produce the absolute best outcome for your project.

File size must be the exact same size as what is ordered.   Do not scale your file. If using a template, the file provided should match the exact 'template size' (different than 'graphic size'). 
checklist checkmark BLEEDS: 1/2"
Artwork should be built to the final cut-trimmed size, plus an 1/2-inch bleed on all sides.  This means the edges of the design should be 1/2-inch larger than the actual finished size of the project. An 18×24-inch sign should be built as an 19 x 25-inch file to account for bleeds.
checklist checkmark SAFETY: 1/2" (2" FOR BANNERS)

Do not include important text or images in the Safe Zone (the space 1/2-inch from the final trimmed size). The 2" safe zone on banners allows for grommet placement every 2'-3' across the top and bottom.

Critical information placed in the safety area risks being cut off when your printed document is trimmed down to size.

checklist checkmark COLOR: CMYK ONLY
ONLY use CMYK color profiles. We do not convert or print RGB, 5th, Spot or Pantone color files. While you can use C0, M0, Y0, K100 - it typically yields a very dark grey, not the rich black expected.  For Rich Black please use: C60, M40, Y40, K100
checklist checkmark   FILE FORMAT: FLATTENED PDF
Flattened (single page) PDF files are preferred, files should be less than 300 mb for upload.  Also acceptable file types are .TIFF, .TIF, .EPS, JPEG
checklist checkmark IMAGES: EMBEDDED, 150 DPI
Must be embedded and saved at 150 dots per inch (DPI) at its final output size. Resolutions greater than 150 dpi are acceptable, but do not necessarily improve print quality. We do NOT print non-native art. 
checklist checkmark FLATTEN ARTWORK: YES
All files should be saved as flattened artwork before sending to print.  Flatten all objects, gradients, swatches, symbols, special effects and transparencies. If using Compound Paths to create transparencies and shapes, please completely rasterize or flatten them into the file or they risk printing incorrectly.

*Remove EVERYTHING from your file that you do not want printed on the final product - especially hidden layers and template guidelines.  
checklist checkmark PRINTER'S MARKS: NONE
Crop and bleed marks are not necessary, please do not use them. 
checklist checkmark FONTS: CREATE OUTLINES
All fonts must be converted to outlines to avoid any default or missing text.
checklist checkmark TEXT: DOUBLE CHECK IT
Spellcheck and proofread documents in detail before sending to print. We cannot assume responsibility for typographical errors or grammatical mistakes.
checklist checkmark INDESIGN USERS: CAUTION! 
Please flatten the file in Illustrator or Photoshop and export to a JPEG ONLY,  as we don't recommend using Indesign for wide format printing. 


We realize that not every business has the time, staff or expertise to create print-ready artwork. If you'd like to work with a Curative designer to bring your vision to life, just let us know. 


  • Apparel Printing

    Artwork guidelines for apparel print: polos, hoodies, long and short sleeve t-shirts, hats, etc.

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  • Digital Printing

    Artwork guidelines for most paper print: brochures, business cards, booklets, flyers, postcards, etc.

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  • Wide Format Printing

    Artwork guidelines for coroplast, PVC, foamcore, magnets, banners, posters, etc.

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