Digital vs Flexo

Digital vs Flexo

 Attribute  Advantage Digital  Advantage Flexo
 Setup Costs  
 Pantone Color Matching  
 Multiple Version Jobs  
 Short Runs  
 Make-Ready Time  
 Long Runs  
 Variable Information  
 Elapsed Time To Press  
 Press Speed  
 Custom Color Matching  

How to Prepare Art Files For Flexographic Printing

How to Prepare Art Files For Flexographic Printing


  • Set your document color mode to CMYK and not RGB.
  • Make sure the art files contain only what is needed to produce the label and nothing else (delete unused colors and layers, hidden or extra objects, etc.).
  • Adobe Illustrator is the preferred software for setting up art files. While other software is acceptable (see list below) they (especially page layout software like InDesign and Quark) require conversion to suit our output devices. Depending on the extent of the work needed an artwork charge may be added to your order.
  • Always outline text to eliminate font issues. When this is not possible, include all fonts (suitcases and all printer fonts contained within).
  • Do not try to trap your files, it’s better if we trap to our own specifications.
  • If your artwork was built in layers keep them, do not flatten or merge them.
  • Include all placed images (even if embedded) in case editing is necessary. If the placed images have been flattened into one layer, also include the original layered files to make any color corrections easier to do.
  • It is a good idea to try to keep a minimum 1% or 2% dot in all Photoshop files.
  • Try to avoid setting type in Photoshop. Type will print sharper if you don’t.
  • Any white type knocking out of a 4 color process background should have a black or spot color outline around it to keep the type edges clean, or should be overprinted.
  • Gradients should end at 3% instead of fading to zero. Include a pdf of your work with all fonts embedded (or better yet outlined) that we can use as a check against the files being sent.
  • All artwork that will be printed must have the correct Pantone color names (PANTONE ###C) applied in order to separate properly.
  • High resolution scans (300 dpi or greater) are acceptable for printing on a digital press.


  • By e-mail or the web: One native file w/live text, one native file w/outlined text, one pdf proof w/fonts embedded, all fonts associated with the job and all placed images contained within.
  • On CD or DVD: Same as above but include a hard copy proof as well. Also include any color matching chips or swatch samples if something other than standard book (Pantone) colors are to be matched.
  • Supported Software: Adobe Illustrator is preferred although it is not the only option available. QuarkXpress, InDesign, are also accepted. Call us to check which versions are currently in use and for the compatability of any other software you may be using.
  • Supported Platforms: Macintosh is the standard platform but we can accept PC generated files in Illustrator and InDesign provided all text has been converted to outlines first.
  • Fonts: If your application allows for it, convert all text to outlines. If this is not an option, make sure to include all fonts contained in your artwork (complete suitcases, screen and monitor fonts etc.). Avoid using “special fills” or other type options such as underscore, bold or italic as these will not convert when brought into another application for processing. Some glyphs (bullets, hyphens, degree symbols) in InDesign will disappear when converting to outlines so double check for any missing items before submitting final artwork.
  • Placed Images: Minimum resolution for all placed images is 300 dpi at final size. Do not embed placed images, instead include separate, unflattened (when possible) files in case color correction is necessary. Convert any text in Photoshop files to outlines. Bitmapped images that contain small text should be a minimum of 600 dpi


  • Bleed: All art elements that will print to the edge of the die line must have a minimum of .0625” bleed beyond the die line.
  • Print/Die Registration: +/-1/32” (.031”) on standard constructions, +/-1/16” (.062”) on underside and subsequent layers for multi layer constructions.
  • Print/Print Registration: +/-.010” (equivalent to 1.5 dots @ 150 lpi) on standard constructions, +/-.020” on underside and subsequent layers for multi layer constructions.
  • Type: 4 pt. minimum for positive type, 6 pt. minimum for reverse type. Try not to use serif, delicate script or very ornate typefaces for reverse type unless they are of a larger point size where the thinnest parts of the type comply with line weights shown below.
  • Line Weight: 0.25 pt. minimum, 0.5 pt. for reverse rules.
  • Barcodes: All barcodes must maintain a minimum .125” quiet zone in the scanned direction. We cannot guarantee verification of codes below 80% magnification.
  • Color Separations: If a single color is used in screens and solid areas it may become necessary to separate the screens from the solid areas and print them as two separate colors to ensure proper color matching.
  • Color Matching: Color variance: +/-.1 on color density and shade densitometer readings w/typical light and dark ranges. Customer supplied match prints can only be used
  • as guides. In house match prints are a better representation of our process as they are fingerprinted to our presses. Some color variation may still be evident depending upon the substrate the label is printed on. Match prints as a whole do not replicate spot colors (Pantone, Toyo etc.) well and are not recommended for use as a color match on jobs containing only spot colors. If the label contains both 4 color process and spot color artwork, a match print can be generated to check the process work and the appropriate color and tint book will be used for matching the spot colors.

How to Prepare Art Files For Digital Printing

How to Prepare Art Files For Digital Printing

Guidelines for Creating “Direct to Print” Files for Digital Printer:

  • Files must be in a “single file” format that we can simply download to the press, not native files with linked images and fonts. The idea is to avoid file preparation charges.
  • File formats accepted are: PDF, EPS, TIFF, and JPEG. PDF files can be multiple pages.
  • The file should be the exact size that the finished piece will be after it is cut down. Example: A business card file would measure 3.5” x 2”. Do not create a 3.5” x 2” business card on an 8.5” x 11” page.
  • Bleed: If any elements print right to the edge of the finished piece, add 0.0625” to the document size all around. The elements that print to the edge should extend this extra 0.0625” past the final trim boundary. This is called “bleed”. Example: A business card file with bleed would measure 3.625” x 2.125”. The excess image is trimmed off, leaving a 3.5” x 2” card. This prevents a hairline white space from appearing along the printed area of the edge of the finished piece.
  • No crop marks or registration marks should appear.
  • Imposition is done at the press. There is no need to provide a file containing multiples of the same page image to take advantage of paper sheet size.
  • While the Digital Printer does an adequate job of converting RGB colors to CMYK, for more predictable results we recommend creating the file in CMYK or converting it to CMYK before submitting it.
  • Supply us with a hard copy print-out of your file. Not only will this show us what the file is supposed to look like, it may also alert you to any problems that may occur while trying to print your job (will it print?).
  • Indicate the exact name of the file(s) to be printed.

PDF Info:

  • In general, here is how a PDF file should be constructed: Images should be high resolution (not downsampled). Fonts should be embedded. (Some font manufacturers do not allow their fonts to be embedded because of licensing restrictions. These fonts will not work.) Resolution is set to 600 dpi.
  • You will achieve more predictable results if the PDF is created using Distiller than within a native program.
  • PDF files created from Quark XPress using Quark’s Export as PDF feature require that all images placed in the document be CMYK, not RGB. Also, in the “Output” tab of the file’s “Print” window, the “Print Colors” setting should be “Composite CMYK”. Quark uses Acrobat Distiller to generate its PDFs, so you need to make sure that the current Job Options setting in Distiller is correct.
  • After you have created your PDF, open it and check to see that it looks correct.

EPS Info:

  • The image area of EPS files created in Adobe Illustrator is determined by the bounding box of the illustration itself, not the page size it was created on. The image area of text on an 8.5” x 11” page is the area the text covers, not 8.5” x 11”, unless an empty 8.5” x 11” box is drawn to the page boundary.
  • Fonts should be converted to “curves” or “paths” and colors should be CMYK.

TIFF or JPEG Info:

  • Although any resolution will actually print (with varying degrees of quality), the recommended resolution of TIFF and JPEG files is 300 dpi, especially if there is text in the image. Color mode should be CMYK. Try to avoid setting type in photoshop. Type will be sharper if you don’t.