Printed Impressions

Color Mode

All files should be provided in CMYK mode (unless we are running a spot color) When we receive RGB images, we will do a standard-value conversion to CMYK, which may not be perfectly to your liking.  We cannot be responsible for results if you furnish your images with RGB. 

These two swatches are the same color.

The first box (left) is in CMYK
The second box (right) is in RGB

Note: RGB stands for Red Green Blue and this is what your computer monitor or television uses for color. When printing the process is CMYK and it has a color gamut that is not as bright.

Avoiding Blues that look Purple

Anything high in magenta and high in cyan will print purple. 

If you want a more true blue color we recommend keeping cyan and magenta 30% apart from each other to create a blue for example 100% Cyan, 70% Magenta.


All of our four color process printing is done in CMYK printing process.  If you use Pantone colors in a job that will print CMYK process printing, your job might print with undesirable colors. We use a program that converts any PMS files to CMYK using the conversion process from the file’s native program, and the results are not always what you expect. That’s why we highly recommend that customers convert all their files to CMYK using  the values from a Pantone color chart before uploading their art.  Printed Impressions is not responsible for product that has experienced a color shift during the conversion to CMYK printing process. 

Black Text

For best results, thin black text should have CMYK values of 0 Cyan, 0 Magenta, 0 Yellow, 100 Black. 
If you use a mix of CMYK values on small think text it can print out of register.

Rich black

For best results on printing large black areas, rich black (60C, 40M, 40Y, 100K) should be used, for uniform ink coverage. Using only 100K can result an ink coverage and a large black area that is not as dark as one would like. Using a higher percentage values such as 80 Cyan, 80 Magenta, 80 Yellow, 100 Black can result in high ink saturation coverage, causing ink drying problems.

Bleed and Safe Zones

Most files that bleed must include a 1/16” (.0625) bleed area each side, if bleeds are desired. For example, an 8 1/2” x 11” full bleed document will actually be 8.625” x 11.125”, to account for a 1/16” bleed on each edge. 

All non-bleed items (text and photos) must be within the safe zone area.

Full color Safe Zone .125” from the trim.  

Booklets Safe Zone .25” from the trim and also increase bleed to .125

One color Safe Zone .312” from the trim.


300 dpi/ppi is the recommended resolution at your final image size. The more dots/pixels the image contains, the sharper the image will print. As a result, printing may look blurry or pixelated if a 72dpi image is used as compared to using a 300dpi image.

Example above: First image (left) 300dpi/ppi vs the second image (right) at 72dpi/ppi

Preferred Programs

  • InDesign – CS or newer (please packaged files and links)
  • Illustrator – CS or newer (Fonts Converted to Paths)
  • Photoshop – CS or newer
  • Fonts – Convert text to paths, or outlines (vector art). 

If you choose to supply your native files instead of a PDF please be sure to include all images and fonts that are used. We cannot print high quality output files unless we have the artwork, photos and fonts used within your document.

Support Files

  • EPS – Illustrator: Fonts converted to outlines.
  • Tiff – Photoshop: Convert and save as CMYK 300dpi/ppi as used in your document effective dpi/ppi.
  • PDF – PDF/X-1a:2001, high resolution (300dpi)
  • Packaging Adobe InDesign Files – Adobe InDesign has a package feature to collect all of your pictures used, as well as fonts. First, check your links palette to make sure that all of your pictures are updated and not missing. Address any “stop sign” or “caution sign” symbols. Choose File, select Package, then follow the on screen instructions, and be sure that the pictures, fonts, and update links options are checked. Please use Stuffit or Zip to compress the folder before uploading.


  • Microsoft Word – (Include Images in File)
  • Publisher – (Embed all images)


Preferred Art

Preferred Art

  • Press Quality PDF Use this if you are able to convert art and photos to CMYK.

Files should be set up at finished size (plus bleeds when applicable). For example, an 8.5 x 11″ double sided flyer should be provided in a 2 page PDF. Each page should be sized at 8.5 x 11 inch (if no bleeds) or 8.625 x 11.125 inch (if it bleeds).  Files that are sent multiple up on a sheet will incur a design fee.

Secondary Preferred Art

  • PDF/x-1a:2001  – This automatically embeds all fonts, converts all colors to CMYK and embeds all images.