File Requirements
Guide to artwork submission and tips
Preferred file type is Adobe PDF. Acceptable applications for Mac & PC include (but are not limited to) Quark Xpress, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe PDF. Additional charges may apply if furnished media are incompatible with our software. We cannot guarantee consistent results if files are generated by other applications like Microsoft Publisher. For best results, all rasterized files should be converted to CMYK.

All fonts must be included or embedded. Images must be flattened with CMYK in TIFF or EPS format.

Please follow these guidelines to ensure that your project will be printed as you expect and in the quoted time.

Download Templates
We have created templates to help you format your print products, Adobe® Illustrator®, Adobe® Acrobat® and Adobe® Photoshop. Now visit our website to download templates for printing.

  1. What type of files can I send to CSP?

    You may send PDF, .EPS, .TIF, jpg, psd, ai and Indd. We recommend PDF and eps files with outlined format, all (fonts) must be embedded. These files are easier to handle and will likely speed up your turn-around. If your project contains one or full color images they can be saved as TIF or JPG files. If your project is an illustration, we recommend the EPS and AI formats. Remember to add crop marks and flatten your files before uploading.

    We cannot guarantee consistent results if files are generated by other applications like Microsoft Publisher. For best results, all rasterized files should be converted to CMYK.

  2. What resolution should my file be?

    Images should be always at 300 DPI, and NO LESS. Low resolution files may be printed AS IS or will be placed ON HOLD until we receive new files, slowing your turnaround.
    UNACCEPTABLE: (72 DPI) Low Resolution.

  3. What color mode should my files be in?

    You should always save your artwork in CMYK mode. If you send us an RGB file, there is a chance that a color shift may occur and you may not be satisfied with your job. Spot colors will also cause color shifts. Please do not use pantone colors unless it's for a silver or gold order. Not only may they change, but often times the color will drop out completely. Here are some examples of how various RGB colors connerted to CMYK:

  4. How should I set up my bleed and crop marks?

    We accept 300 DPI files, and no less. Low resolution orders we may have to hold until we receive new files, slowing your turnaround.
    UNACCEPTABLE: (72 DPI) Low Resolution.

    Understanding CMYK
    THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN OVERPRINTING BLACK INK The CMYK color mode is the color mode of paper and press. Printing presses (sometimes referred to as a 4-color press) convert an image’s colors into percentages of CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black), which eventually become the color plates on the press. One at a time, the plates apply color to a sheet of paper, and when all 4 colors have been applied, the paper contains an image similar to the CMYK image created in Photoshop. The CMYK color mode can take an image from a computer monitor to a printed document. Before converting an image into the CMYK mode, however, it’s important to understand that you will lose some color saturation during the conversion. The colors that will not print are defined as being out of gamut. To view the areas of an RGB image that will lose saturation values, click the View menu, and then click Gamut Warning. Photoshop will mask all the areas of the image that are out of gamut.

    You have probably heard or read that process inks are transparent: that when process inks are laid over one another, they act as filters (somewhat like gelatin filters on theatrical spotlights) to subtract certain wavelengths of light and reflect other colors. This is the nature of process color printing.

    However, it's important to remember that not only cyan, magenta, and yellow inks are transparent. Black ink is transparent, too.

    When is this important to remember? When you're overprinting a process color image with black ink. For instance, if you print a portion of a large initial capital letter over a 4-color photo, with a portion of the letterform extending beyond the boundary of the image onto the white paper surrounding it, the black ink overprinting the photo will look different from the black ink printed directly on the white paper. In effect, you will see the cyan, magenta, and yellow of the photo through the transparent black process ink.

    One way to fix this problem is to use a rich black (a combination of process black ink with an additional percentage of magenta and cyan). Different commercial printers will have their own mixtures (ranging around a 50 percent magenta and/or cyan ink limit), and these rich blacks will be either cooler (more cyan) or warmer (more magenta).

    In addition to providing thicker, richer ink coverage than process color by itself (i.e., 100% black plus 50% cyan, plus 50% magenta for a total of 200% ink coverage plus any yellow—as opposed to just 100% black), rich black ink will overprint 4-color process images (or process color screens) without creating a distinction between where they overprint the image and where they overprint the surrounding white paper. (If you specify a rich black in your InDesign file, do check the printer's proof carefully for any color problems.) Another solution would be to manually knock out the 4-color image below any type that would otherwise cover both the photo and the surrounding white paper. To go back to the example above, most print layout applications would print black type over the photo without deleting the image below the type letterform. (This would only be true for black ink. If the overprinting type letterform were any color but 100% black, most page layout applications would knock out the 4-color inks below the overprint.) One can override the default on most if not all layout programs to disallow the printing of black over process colors. In this case, the 100% black letter would print directly on the white paper, whether it is within the boundaries of the 4-color image or outside its perimeter. The portion of the photo beneath the letterform simply would not print. (As long as it is printing process colors on a 4-color press, either of these solutions would cost the same; however, it would still be wise to discuss your options with CSP).

  5. Does CSP accept borders on jobs?

    Yes, but if the border is too close to the cutline, it may be cut off-center slightly. We cut through many sheets at a time, so watch your borders to avoid an unwanted mistake.
    DO NOT SEND: (Borders too Close).

  6. How should I set up my file for proper rotation?

    We ask that you send your files horizontal, although certain circumstances may allow you to send them vertical. See examples below on how we rotate jobs before printing.?
    IMPROPER VERTICAL: (Text Reading Down).

  7. How can I avoid transparency issues?

    Any transparency issue can be resolved before saving your file. Within Illustrator, you may artwork, go to Object and choose "Flatten Transparency". Also, please make sure to convert your pantone colors to CMYK. They will interfere with objects and cause things to drop out.
    FLATTENER PREVIEW: (Before Saving your File).

  8. How should I label my files before uploading them?

    All we ask is that the front is labeled as the front, and the back is labeled as the back. For jobs with folding, please indicate the front panel.
    IMPROPER LABELING : (No Indications)
    PROPER LABELING : (Simple Indication)

  9. What is overprint, and how can it ruin my file?

    Primarily used to intentionally overlap Inks for a number of reasons. We suggest that you turn all overprint objects off before submitting your files. Unexpected results may occur if you have accidentally set certain things to overprint.
    TURNING OVERPRINT OFF: (Illustrator Dialogue Box).

  10. Can I submit multiple files in one document?

    No. We are now automating many of the functions we used to do manually, and this requires that each side of a job must be on a separate file. Try naming them 1-fr, 1-bk, 2-fr, 2-bk, etc.

  11. How can I make sure my text wont be cut off?

    Using our templates is a great way to set up your file. Watch where your cutline is, and keep the text at least .125in apart to avoid an unfortunate outcome.
    UNACCEPTABLE : (Text Unintentionally on Cutline)

  12. How should I set up a Spot UV job?

    When creating a Spot UV job, You must include a Spot UV template file along with the regular full color file. The Spot UV template file is used to show where the UV will be placed.
    Normal CMYK Print File
    Spot UV Template File

  13. How do I export a PDF correctly?

    When exporting from any program such as Indesign or Illustrator, use these settings to make sure your PDF files export correctly.
    Export settings for PDF files

    Adobe PDF Preset is set to: Press Quality

    Compatibility is set to: Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)

    Compress Text and Line Art is set to: Off

    NOTE: Due to Adobe limitations, this preset will not convert all colors into CMYK. You must convert all colors to CMYK before saving your file.

  14. What is rich black and how can I get it?

    Rich black is an ink mixture of solid black, 100% K, with additional CMY ink values. This results in a darker tone than black ink alone. If you print black alone as 100% K, the resulting black may not be as dark as you might like.
    We recommend using
    C 60 M 40 Y 40 K 100
    This will give you a deep, dark, rich black.

  15. Why does my business card crack around the edges?

    Cracking of the edges of a business card sometimes occurs when the card contains high values of ink, as in dark colors.

    This usually happens on a small amount of cards in the run. To prevent this, use lighter colors or if you must use dark colors, use as little ink as possible.

  16. Why is there cracking on my scoring job?

    When a job is printed with heavy ink coverage or coated with UV then scored and folded the job may begin to crack. During use, the cracks will become bigger and the ink may start to chip off.

    Close Up Scoring

    Cracking is normal when coated jobs are scored and folded. Prepare your job with less ink coverage or without UV will help but may not prevent this. As the job is used and folded more and more, cracking will eventually happen.

  17. How can Pantone colors affect the way my job prints?

    There are three different ways Pantone colors can affect the way your job prints. The first is by object effects, such as shadows or glows, on top of your Pantone colors. Here is what the effects will look like on screen:

    Here is what the effect looks like after printing:

    As you can see, when a Pantone color is under these object effects, transparency issues show up during printing. To avoid this, convert all your Pantone colors into CMYK before submitting your order.

    The second way Pantone colors can affect your file is when you use transparent images. Here is what a transparent image looks like on screen:

    Here is what a transparent image looks like after printing:

    You can see the image is no longer transparent on top of the Pantone color. These white areas will show up during printing. To fix this issue, convert all your Pantone colors into CMYK. This must be done before submitting the order.

    The last way Pantone colors can affect your order is the color conversion between a Pantone color and CMYK. If you use Pantone colors in a job that will print CMYK, your job might print with undesirable colors.

    Here are some examples of what the Pantone color looks like in the Pantone color book and what the CMYK print will look like:

    If you send in a job with Pantone colors, the CMYK conversion will change the Pantone color. Before sending your order, make sure all Pantone colors have been converted to CMYK.

  18. What is CSP's standard wound corner radius?

    We offer 1/4" and 1/8" radius round corners to all of our customers. The image below shows the two different radiuses for comparison.

  19. Are CSP Bumper Stickers durable enough for outdoor use?

    Yes, CSP Bumper Stickers are intended for use on car bumpers and are resistant to even the harshest weather conditions. Outdoor application will not result in product damage.

  20. Are CSP Bumper Stickers removable?

    Unlike Low Tac Wall Graphics, CSP Bumper Stickers use a strong permanent adhesive. We do not recommend removing them once they've been applied.

  21. What are NCR (carbonless) Forms?

    NCR Forms are the modern alternative to carbon paper and are an efficient way to provide multicolored copies of a single document with handwritten or typed information. Use them as order forms, packing lists, invoices, receipts, and more.

    They're available in 2 Part (White, Canary) and 3 Part (White, Canary, Pink) collated sets that are glued on the short edge. NCR Forms are printed on 20LB stock on high tech digital equipment.

  22. Do the NCR (carbonless) Forms come pre-collated? Are they glued in sets?

    Yes, NCR forms come pre-collated. They come in 2 Part (White, Canary) and 3 Part (White, Canary, Pink) forms and usually are glued on the short edge.

  23. Can you imprint on NCR (carbonless) Forms using standard desktop printers?

    Our NCR forms can be imprinted on variety of equipment, but we recommend you test your specific application.

  24. Are NCR (carbonless) Forms printed in full color on each sheet or is the print black ink only?

    NCR Forms are printed with full color (CMYK) on each sheet. You can also choose to use black ink, if you prefer. We only except one artwork file which will be printed on all parts of the NCR Form.

  25. What are the file requirements for NCR (carbonless) Forms? Can I have full bleed?

    • At least 0.25" of space on the glued edge (short edge) should be free of ink.
    • Full color and solid colored backgrounds are not recommended, as it may effect your ability to read the text and write on the form.
    • Light ink coverage is highly recommended.

Artwork Repair: $25.00 Fee (Flat Rate)
For a $25.00 fee, our art department can repair most problems with your artwork or upload. Our designer can repair most common file problems such as missing bleed, resizing files, rotating artwork, formatting text for caution zone, typesetting business cards, making changes to press ready PDF and fix other common artwork problems. We can also create press ready PDF files from most common software programs.

For assistance with your artwork file, call 703-321-8100. After hours, you can email to the art department directly.
Art Check:
Check file to ensure it will upload and process without any issues
Add bleed (extend artwork) if artwork on proof does not extend. This will ensure any image or element on a page touches the edge of the page
Caution Zone:
Fix text or other elements that extend beyond the caution line
Fix files to center correctly on the electronic proof
Combine Files:
Combine single JPEG, TIFF of PDF files into multi-page PDF for booklet jobs
Create PDF:
Export native files (InDesign, Publisher or Word) into PDF file for upload
Embed fonts in artwork files for proper upload & processing
Fold Panels:
Verify and adjust artwork for correct positioning after folding
Incompatible Files:
Repair files that fail art upload due to incompatbility with our proofing system
Low Resolution:
Replace low resolution images *if* high resolution images are available. It is not possible to fix low resolution with original files containing low resolution images. Some photos may be able to enhance, resolution issues can sometimes be resolved with Publisher or Word files if original design files can be provided
Rotate pages to ensure artwork prints with correct orientation
Separate Files:
Split one file containing 2 pages into 2 separate files for proper upload
We can fix or perform minor type changes
Design issues not covered by File Repair
Moving a graphic or design element
Layout, extensive typesetting or design services
Re-sizing a file (i.e resizing artwork from a postcard for a business card etc.
Upload Only -0 No Charges
Upload customer file 1 time free of charge, whether provided via email, FTP site or disk. Any subsequent repairs or uploads are subject to a file repair fee.