Pre-Press Requirements

When you are submitting your print ready artwork to us for production set-up, we want to make sure that the finished product comes out as close as possible to the way you envision. 

In order for that to happen, you have to know what we are working with and fundamental design settings that should be taken into account before your design team begins drafting your packaging design.

If you or your graphic designers have any questions at all about setting up the artwork for pre-press, they can call or email us anytime. Our internal design staff and production specialists will be more than happy to assist you in any way they can.

Hardware

Platform: Mac OX

When you are submitting your print ready artwork to us for production set-up, we want to make sure that the finished product comes out as close as possible to the way you envision. In order for that to happen, you have to know what we are working with and fundamental design settings that should be taken into account before your design team begins drafting your packaging design.

Program Proficiency: Creative Suite CS6

 

Flexography Art: (Printing directly onto corrugated board)

Please provide art in Adobe Illustrator. It is the standard for the Flexo Industry. If you can’t supply your art in the program of choice, we can convert it for you, but an hourly art fee will be charged.

File Preparation:

Outline all fonts, rather than to include fonts with the job, since this can get tricky crossing platform from Mac to PC. Please do not imbed files, simply link them. We will preflight all files prior to making printing plates to ensure they are printable and advise of any changes that are needed to make your art successfully print onto the corrugated material.

Design Considerations for Flexography:

Use the box structure file which we e-mail you as a template for your box design. Do not measure the box and do the layout on your own. It will not work because industry standard folding allowances must be added to the blank measurement of a box panel. Open the drawing in Adobe Illustrator and group the box structure as one and designate it onto a layer. Lock the layer. Now put your art onto the next layer so that it can easily be separated.

Design elements meant to hit directly on the score lines seldom will due to the amount of press movement. Instead of attempting this, bleed past the scores or shy away by 1/4.” Keep all copy 1/4″ away from scores as well. Stay away from designs where an art element wraps around and lines up on different angles of the box. Due to so much movement on the press and the die cutter, the design rarely lines up perfectly.

Registered, copyright, trade mark and service mark emblems need to be exaggerated. The rule of thumb is to make them double the size you normally would. Use a screen value of 42.5 dpi for half tone images. Use only 10%, 20% and 30% line value.

Halftone images in Mezzotints are more corrugated friendly than dots.

Minimum type size is 10 point. Positive print requires a lighter typeface with smaller print, but negative print requires a bolder typeface. Non serif typefaces are preferable. The smaller the type the more undesirable serif typefaces are.

Line thickness should be a minimum of 5 points or it may be lost during the plate making process. Beware; it may wobble when printing across the corrugation resulting in a wave in the line depending on the direction of the artwork.

If you or your graphic designers have any questions at all about setting up the artwork for pre-press, they can call or email us anytime. Our internal design staff and production specialists will be more than happy to assist you in any way they can.

Halftone and Gradients:

Flexographic plates can not hold less than a 1% dot. If the edge of your image has a gradient or halftone that registers less than 1%, please be advised that the print will come out with a hard edge. If you need to fade out, please fade out to a 1% to avoid surprises in printing. If your fade is composed of multiple colors, all fades must end or stop at the exact same place to ensure your printed edges do not come out looking “dirty.”

Litho Label Art: (Offset Lithography sheet which is laminated to corrugated board)

Use Vector bases programs, such as Illustrator or InDesign to assemble the job. DO NOT assemble the entire job in Photoshop. The type will pixelate and turn blurry and the file can get enormous.

If you are confident that your files are correct and ready to output to proofs, we will provide you with pre-press requirements on how to create a Press Ready PDF file that enables us to pre-flight your job efficiently. Should pre-flight issues be apparent, we will provide you with an itemized list of problems and the cost involved to fix the issues.

If you can’t supply press ready files, supply them in a Vector based program such as Illustrator or InDesign. Leave them in layered format. Include all linked files, DO NOT embed them. Outline all fonts. All linked files should be 100% to size at 300 pixels per inch. We will pre-flight and fix any issues for you at an hourly art fee rate.

 

Design Considerations for Lithography:

Labels must be trimmed to the specifications provided to you on the die line. (See the red line). Make the document size the same size as the trimmed label size. Note that part of the structure may extend past the red line, because the label will not cover this area.

Backgrounds must bleed 1/4″ over the outer circumference of the die cut as a minimum, but can bleed out to the trim lines.

Non background images must shy away from die cut edges or score lines by 1/8″.

Limit your label size to 28 x 40 whenever possible. While labels up to 54 x 77 are available, they are much more expensive.

A 28 x 40 sheet has a printable area of 26 1/2 X 39 1/2″. A 54 x 77 sheet has a printable area of 53 x 76.

Keep files in CMYK. Beware that converting spot colors to CMYK may change the color and increase the cost depending on the difficulty of the conversion.

Minimum Bursting Test, Singlewall, Doublewall (lbs. per sq. in) Minimum Edge Crush Test (ECT) (lbs. per in. width) Minimum Combined Weight of Facings, Including Center Facing(s) of Doublewall Maximum Weight of Box and Contents (lbs.) Maximum Outside Dimensions, Length, Width, and Depth Added (inches)
SINGLEWALL
125 23 52 20 40
150 26 66 35 50
175 29 75 50 60
200 32 84 65 75
250 40 111 80 85
275 44 138 95 95
350 55 180 120 105
DOUBLEWALL
200 42 92 80 85
275 48 110 100 95
350 51 126 120 105
400 61 180 140 110
500 71 222 160 115
600 82 270 180 120
E FLUTE
150 26 66 35 50
200 32 84 50 60
It also certifies the Mullen Bursting Test ( most common is 200 lbs. per square inch) or the Edge Crush Test (ECT 32 lbs. per inch). The Mullen Test measures the bursting strength of the corrugated linerboard while the Edge Crush Test measures linerboard stacking strength. The 200 lbs. Mullen box and the 32 ECT box are comparable in stacking strength. But that is where the similarity ends. The Mullen Test box is better suited for the protection of heavier contents while the Edge Crush Test box provides lighter weight cartons with good stacking characteristics. When in doubt as to which box to use, always select the Mullen Test box because the construction of the linerboard cannot be altered. For example, 200# Mullen Test linerboard must be made of 42# per square inch basis weight paper and the medium or flute paper cannot be less than 23# per square inch basis weight.

Flutes come in five basic heights and shapes – the most common are “B-Flute”(used for die-cut boxes) and “C-Flute (used for RSCs). B-flute is compressed and appears thinner, but don’t be fooled. It is made with more paper to provide stronger side wall protection from blows and punctures. C-flute is taller, with more air space, but offers enhanced stacking strength. For excellent graphic reproduction, consider E-flute.

The amount of virgin pulp fibers and the length of those fibers in a corrugated sheet substantially contribute to box strength. For example, the difference between a 200# test box and a 275# test box is that the latter has more pulp fibers in its corrugated linerboard. The 200# test box is rated to hold up to 65 lbs. of box and contents while the 275# box can hold up to 95 lbs. A 350# test box is rated to hold up to 120 lbs. of box and contents. The following chart shows Bursting Test and Edge Crush Test performance standards of corrugated box liners based on the combined weight of a box and its contents.

Sneak Peek

With three production facilities, a dedicated corrugation plant and five private warehouses - PSI is a diverse and dedicated partner for mega‑corporations and small business alike.

All Videos

Trusted By The Best

We're Ready. Are You?