Design Requirements

File Types

Photoshop Adobe ™ Photoshop ® CS3 or earlier
.jpg, .tiff, .eps, .psd (created at 300dpi)
Illustrator Adobe ™ Illustrator ® CS3 or earlier
.ai, .eps (convert fonts to outlines)
PDF Adobe ™ PDF ® 1.4 or later
.pdf (embed fonts, images and other assets)

Bleed and Trim Overview

Bleed Thumbnail


Other File Settings

    • Resolution must be at least 300 dpi
    • Color mode must be set to CMYK, 8 bit color
    • Borders must be at least 1/4th inch
    • Text must be at least 1/8th inch inside of the cut line on all sides.
    • Black Backgrounds = Rich Black = C:50% / M:40% / Y:40%/ K:100%
    • Flatten all layers.
    • Fonts must be outlined
  • To download a template please visit the specific printing product page. 


300 dpi minimum

Image Media recommends submitting print files at a minimum resolution of 300 dpi (dots/pixels per inch) at size. Files submitted at a lower resolution may be accepted for print, but can result in a softer image on the final product rather than the sharp quality cards we are recognized for by our clients. If you are exporting from a program that does not allow you to select resolution, the program will often give you quality options to select from as an alternative (ie. screen, print, press or low, medium, high). In this case, always select the highest quality selection possible. Another alternative a program may give is pixel count. To obtain the correct pixel count, multiply the height and width of your product size (ie. 4″ x 6″ postcard) by 300 (1200 x 1800). This will provide the correct pixel count for optimum quality.

CMYK and PMS Colors vs RGB

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) are the color pigments utilized in 4-color (full color) printing. Most colors can be composed through various combinations of these 4 pigments, minus florescent and metallic’s. Offset printing at Image Media is printed in CMYK, therefore, all files submitted for printing should be in this color mode.

PMS (Pantone Matching System) colors are premixed inks used to create specific colors required for some applications. If a company has selected a PMS color for their logo, selecting a PMS ink will assure that the colors match in all print jobs. In addition to CMYK, Image Media can print 1 additional PMS color or Metallic ink in-line upon request. A setup fee of $200 will be applicable for the additional color. PMS colors can usually be converted to CMYK providing a close representation of the color selected, but exact color matching cannot be guaranteed.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) are the primary colors utilized to create all colors including florescents on any display emitting light (ie. computer monitors, televisions and projectors). It is a totally different technology than CMYK. It is recommended that all designs intended for print are created in CMYK format from the start. Creating a piece in RGB and converting it after the fact for printing can result in undesirable color variations in the final product. Image Media is not liable for color shifts resulting from converting files from RGB to CMYK.


A bleed is an extension of your background color or image going beyond the intended trim size of your piece, which allows us to provide a final product with color straight to the edges. In summary, your background should extend outside of your card size by 1/8th of an inch on all 4 sides.

For example, if you have a 4×6 – you should design your piece as 4×6, but have your background go .125″ on all sides. The piece you submit to us should be 4.25″x6.25″ This step can be bypassed on larger size jobs, If you keep your active content (pictures, text) away from the edges at least .25″ margin. Your background can go to the edge, but the active content must be in.

No Exceptions, or you risk your job being miscut.

Although our cutting staff is extremely precise, we cannot guarantee any print job cuts with out the added bleed. There are no exceptions. Also, please keep your text at least 1/4″ away from the edge of the piece unless it is a business card or smaller. This way your text is in a “safe” area. If you have any questions regarding this policy you may call us, or use our design templates located on our website.


With ALL designed material we recommend you leave ¼ (0.25) from all surrounding edges of your printed piece. If you leave less than ¼ (0.25), we cannot be held responsible for unequal borders from top to bottom and from side to side. This is due to the final cutting process in which some draw or slippage occurs in the cutting process. This is a print industry standard.


When you want an area of solid black within a document, 100% black (K) will not result in a solid, saturated black.

RICH BLACK = C:50% / M:40% / Y:40% / K:100% 100% black will = a charcoal black Rich black = Nice Black

However, when providing solid black text on a white background, 100% black alone is recommended to avoid the possibility of other ink colors causing a “halo” effect around the copy. This applies especially for any text under 14pts.