Learn How to Make a Direct Mail Press File

Direct Mail Press FilesHow to Save Money on Direct Mail Printing


Picture this: You’ve already learned how to determine what the best size for your mailpiece is. You also know what type and paper weight are best to use for the campaign at hand. You’ve even studied up on how ink affects price.

Now all that remains to be done is getting the file or files to the printer and letting them do their job, right? Wrong. In reality, there’s still an important step that must be taken that we’d like to quickly explain here— how to make a file “press-ready.”

Saving your file properly for print saves money and time. Set-up and turn around takes longer when files aren’t submitted within the parameters defined below.

Press-Ready File Requirements

Preferred Format: High Resolution Adobe .PDF
Your Adobe Acrobat Ready Press-Ready files must conform to these statutes:

  • 300+ dpi resolution
  • All fonts need to be converted to outlines or all fonts must be submitted with the file
  • All photos and images must be CMYK, Spot Color, or Grayscale. RGB files will not be accepted
  • Fonts must be embedded and free from copyright restrictions
  • All images must be linked in native file before saving the .pdf
  • Include crop marks and color bars

Other things to consider when creating your document:

  • Avoid RGB images — or convert them to CMYK before saving your file. RGB images are appropriate for images that will only be featured on screen. Printed images need to be CMYK.
  • Avoid using graphics grabbed from the web. Why? Web graphics are typically very low resolution and will not reproduce well in print.
  • Avoid using images scanned in from pre-printed pieces. Why?  Although it is difficult to see, there is already a dot pattern in those images. Scanned again, the resolution goes down and these photos will not look good printed a second time.
  • Include 1/8” bleed – If your artwork is designed to go all the way to the edge of the finished piece it is said to “bleed” off the page. If you design to the edge of the document only, you create a very difficult cutting challenge for the production team, and often have less than optimal results.  Instead, extend your image 1/8” past the actual cut line. This accomplishes the effect of a color, design, or image continuing to the very edge of a printed piece.

See this detailed visualization of what you should do when creating a press-ready file, and keep on the lookout for our next blog!

Eric Weisgarber

Eric Weisgarber is the founder and President of Allegiant Marketing Group, Inc. His calling is helping business professionals grow their gross profits, net profits, and cash-flow through through marketing services, systems implementation and consulting. His business calling is aligned with his life\’s purpose – developing people and serving the community through discipleship.

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