how to set up files


Please follow these guidelines when creating your file.

  • Every color, including no-color (blind deboss) gets its own pass through the press and is charged as such.
  •  Point size of type should not dip below 8 pt in most cases. Some faces work better than others. I have found that thin san serif fonts can perform well if you are planning for very small letters. 
  • All designs must be created in a CMYK environment and be 100% K. This means all black, only black, and nothing but black.
  • Please send files in .ai format. My plate shop only accepts this file type.
  • Stick with line art or a halftone: Any area of solid ink larger than 1/4” sq. may print mottled
  • Small letters spaced very close to one another may appear larger and may appear to be closer together when printed. Consider expanding your letter spacing.
    • Depending on your design, your one color design may require more than one pass through the press. For example, if your design has one area that is heavy with elements , and another area with very little else than one small element with lots of empty space surrounding it, it will be challenging to print both of these accurately with one run.


  • Floods of color are not recommended. Letterpress excels at nicely balanced line work. If you want an area to appear to have full coverage, consider using a halftone or a printing via giclee beforehand. I can provide this service.
  • Lines should not be any smaller than .25 pt. Line weight size in some art brushes in vector drawing programs will often read incorrectly. Please feel free to send me the illustration and I can help guide you.

  • For more than one color, create color separations either on separate file docs or on the same document . If submitting all separations on the same file, use one color for each separation. Magenta, cyan, and yellow.



This one color example in blue ink on blush paper shows a nice mix of sizes, typefaces, expanded character spacing, and a good safety zone around the design to allow for perfect trimming every time. All elements are spaced out well to allow each area to print nicely with minimal set up. Sometimes less is more. 


Additionally this mock up got me to listen to one of my favorites from De La Soul.