​Preparing a print ready file

Image Resolution

To be ready for printing, your file should be saved at an image resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch). Pictures inserted in your artwork should also be high resolution and converted to CMYK colour mode (see Print Colour, below).


If you want colour to extend to the edge of your document, sign, or sticker, please include an extra 1/8” (.0125”) of your background colour when preparing your file for print. Small variations in the cutting process also create the need for your text or content to stay within a safe zone.

These images show an effective layout and the expected result after cutting on a print ready file.

Print Colour

Your printed colour will not likely look exactly as it does on your screen. Many images, particularly photos taken with your digital camera, use a combination of red, green, and blue (RGB), and your computer uses this colour mode to display images on your monitor. Due to quality, calibration, and size, there is often some variation from one display to another.

Four-colour printers, like ours, use Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK). Because of this, RGB images need to be converted to CMYK before printing. Some RGB colours do not convert well, so it is recommended that you set your document to CMYK mode as the first step in your design process to avoid issues or disappointment. Print ready files are in CMYK mode.


In CMYK printers, standard black is printed as a combination of 0% cyan, 0% magenta, 0% yellow, and 100% black (K). This black printing is great for text, bar codes, and other grayscale applications. In blocks of black colouring, however, it appears a bit faded. For those jobs where you want your black to pop, use a little colour, 40% cyan, 40% magenta, and 40% yellow together with your 100% black (K) to create “rich black”. The difference will be obvious. Remember, though, that your black is a combination of colours and does not classify as a “black and white” print.