Prepress Checklist

Acceptable File types

Check Yes Graphic Adobe Illustrator

  • A native (originated in) Illustrator file is the preferred file type.
  • All text, dielines, logos, and any illustrations should be created in Illustrator.

X No Graphic  Adobe Photoshop

  • Photoshop is great for retouching and editing photos; it is not the best option for label design. 
    • Linking or embedding necessary Photoshop (image) files within Illustrator is acceptable (see images section for more information).
    • Do not create the entire label in Photoshop and place it in Illustrator – it would still be considered a Photoshop file.

X No Graphic  Adobe InDesign

  • InDesign is best suited for multiple-page documents. While it is not the best option for label design, we will accept InDesign files, include all links and fonts.

X No Graphic  Other Software

  • We do not accept Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, Corel Draw, jpg, tif, or png as final file formats.

All information provided below is based on USING Adobe Illustrator.

File structure

  • Verify that the Artboard size is the correct size for your finished label.
  • Verify the Dieline:
    • On a separate layer.
    • Corner radius is the correct measurement.
    • Correct spot color named Dieline:
      Cyan – 0
      Magenta – 100
      Yellow – 100
      Black – 0
        • Do not convert to CMYK.
  • If you have a custom shaped dieline, the artboard needs to be the exact size as that shape.
  • Verify Bleeds
    • Bleed is set at .125”.
    • All artwork goes past artboard to bleed line.
  • Delete any unused layers, stray points, boxes, or design elements.
  • Safe area – ensure all text, important content, or anything not intended to bleed is .125” away from the final trim size.
  • Barcodes and QR codes
    • 100% Black, not a CMYK version to create the black.
    • Verify barcodes and QR codes function properly before they are printed.
      • It is not a part of our prepress process to check the functionality of barcodes or QR codes.
  • Spell check all of your text.
    • Some text may be locked or on a hidden layer. You need to spell check before you outline the text. (See fonts for more information).
  • Do not include trim marks or crop marks. The artboard should be the final size of the label, so trim marks are unnecessary.


  • Verify color profile
    • Created in CMYK – convert if necessary.
      • File > Document Color Mode > CMYK.
        • Be aware that this can cause a shift in color – adjust accordingly if necessary.
  • Black text should be 100% black – do not use a support black.
  • Rich Black is a supported black consisting of all 4 colors:
    Cyan – 50
    Magenta – 40
    Yellow – 40
    Black – 100
    • Use in only large black areas and NOT on text, barcodes, or QR codes.
  • Delete all unused swatches.
  • Convert RGB, Index, PMS, or any spot colors to CMYK.
    • do not convert if PMS or spots colors are intended to print as such.
  • White ink:
    • Must be specified on a separate layer.
    • All elements need to have a spot color named OP White:
      Cyan – 0
      Magenta – 50
      Yellow – 0
      Black – 0
      • Do not convert to CMYK.
  • Spot UV or other Embellishments:
    • All embellishments must be specified on a separate layer.
    • All elements need to have a spot color named Spot UV or other embellishment:
      Cyan – 50
      Magenta – 0
      Yellow – 0
      Black – 0
      • Do not convert to CMYK.
      • If more than one embellishment is used, each one must be on a separate layer and a different spot color specified for each one.


Fonts and text

  • Outline all text on all layers. Outlining creates the text to be a graphic element vs. editable text. In addition, it prevents your font from being replaced with a different font once sent to prepress.
  • How to Outline your text
    • Unlock all layers.
    • Verify that text is not locked or hidden.
    • Choose Edit > Select All.
      • This will not affect any other art.
    • Choose Type > Create Outline.
      • Save your file with a new name; you may need to go back and edit any text.
  • Any serif or script font below 5 pt., printed in white, or reversed out of a dark background can fill in.
    • Adding a .1 pt stroke to the text in the same color or using a bold font will help with readability.

Save the file

Our workflow utilizes High-Resolution PDFs generated from Illustrator.

    • You can submit an .ai file and all support images (if not embedded); a PDF will be generated for printing and proofing.
  • Save each label as a separate file if you have several SKUs (labels) in the same document and getting printed simultaneously.
  • It is helpful to name your file with a part number (if applicable), brief description, version number (if applicable), the correct file size in the name.
    example: Part no_Description_V#_Size x Size.pdf
  • If this is a reprint with changes, please use the same naming convention used in the previous print run. Your sales rep will need to know what has changed – text, size, color, barcode, etc.

How to save a high-resolution PDF by following these steps.

  • Choose File > Save As OR File > Save A Copy.
  • Type a filename, and choose a location for the file.
  • Choose Adobe PDF (.pdf) as the file format, and click Save.
  • In Save Adobe PDF dialog box, set the desired options to:
    • (Illustrator Default).
    • Standard None.
    • Compatibility Acrobat 7 (PDF 1.6).
    • Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities should be checked.
    • Click Marks and Bleeds.
      • DO NOT check anything under All Printers Marks.
      • DO check Use Document Bleed Settings.

How to save an Illustrator (.ai) by following these steps.

  • Choose File > Save As OR File > Save A Copy.
  • Type a filename, and choose a location for the file.
  • Choose Illustrator (*.ai) as the file format, and click Save.
  • If any linked files are in your Illustrator file, they need to be embedded, or the linked images will need to be included with your final print file by Packaging the file. Choose File > Package.

Submit the file

Choose one of the following:

  1. Email your compressed files to your sales rep.
    • Some files may be too large for an email.
  2. Upload your files using a file transfer site – i.e., Dropbox, Google Drive,,, or any FTP site and email the link to your sales rep.
    • If another printer has printed this label in the past, it is helpful to submit a printed copy of the label to match the previous job.
    • Contact your sales rep if you have any questions about getting your files to Revolution Print and Packaging.

If you have any prepress questions email

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