Preparing Your Artwork for Printing

We want every print project to be a success for you and your company. In order to ensure the best quality printing, it's important that your artwork files have been properly set up for print. Before you place an order, follow these steps below to make sure your artwork is print-ready. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 800-227-7377. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and walk you through file preparation.

1. Set up your file

In your design software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc), create a file that is equal to the size of your printed piece. For example, if you are printing a 5' x 3' banner, you will need to create your file as 60? wide by 36? tall. If you are printing a 6" x 4" postcard, then your file size will be 6" wide by 4" tall. For small format products (postcards, flyers, business cards, booklets, etc), make sure your resolution is set to at least 300 PPI. For large format products (banners, yard signs, backdrop displays, etc), make sure your resolution is set to at least 100 PPI. This ensures your artwork will not be pixelated when it prints.

2. Set your bleed & margins

We require at least .125" bleeds for all small format products and 1" bleeds for all large format products, so be sure to add this bleed when creating your file. Also, be sure to add margins so that important elements are not too close to the trim edge. For small format products, add .125" margins. For large format products, 1" margins are best.

3. Stay within the lines

Extend your artwork to the bleed line, but keep in mind it will be trimmed to the file size you set up (remember, that’s the same size as your printed piece). Keep all important elements (particularly text, portraits, and logos) within the safe area. We don't want a logo trimmed off, or a grommet added to someone's smile.

4. Save your file

Once your masterpiece is finished, save it. Make sure that your fonts are embedded. For the best results, we recommend saving your file as a high resolution PDF (preferred) or TIFF.

A note on color: U.S. Press uses a 4-color, CMYK printing process, which means our presses print a wide range of hues using cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink. For best color accuracy, we ask that you create and save your files in CMYK mode.

5. Upload your artwork

There are two ways you can upload your artwork. If you are placing an order online, you can upload your files directly to each product page. If you are placing an order by phone or email, you can still upload your files online using our Send Files page.

As always, we're here to help. If you need any assistance with your artwork files, give us a call at 800-227-7377 or email us at