8 Steps of Preparing Artwork Files
Follow our 8-step Artwork Process to get better printing results
How to Create Effective Artwork for Your Packaging Boxes?
Packaging artwork is a great way to communicate your brand and design. The right packaging art can make all the difference in how people perceive your product. However, there are many factors that go into creating effective packaging designs so it’s important to know what to look for when evaluating potential clients. Here we’ll discuss some tips and tricks on how best use Adobe Illustrator with BoxesGen’s printing service so that you can get started on your next project today!
BoxesGen can accept a wide range of file formats. We support .AI, .EPS, .PDF and TIF files as well as other common formats like JPG and PSD.
We cannot accept RGB color mode (.ai) files with transparency unless they are exported from Photoshop or another image editing software that allows you to save in that format.
If your artwork is imported from an external source (such as an online photo sharing site), then it will need to be converted into CMYK color mode before uploading it here at BoxesGen! If you are not sure about how this works or if there’s anything else I should know about this process please contact us directly via email at [email protected]
To save as a PDF file in Adobe Illustrator, follow these steps:
- Copy and paste the artwork from your clipboard into Adobe Illustrator.
- Select File > Save As from the menu bar or press Ctrl+S (Windows) or Command+S (Mac OS). The Save As dialog box will open.
Click on PDF and make sure that all of the options are checked by clicking on them once each for high-quality printing, color accuracy, etc. You can also check or uncheck any other boxes to customize how you want your final product printed out! If you don’t see an option like this but would still like to save as a PDF document without changing anything else about it, then simply ignore this step until later after making other changes/settings such as resolution size etc.
If you don’t have Adobe Illustrator, you can use Photoshop. You can also use InDesign, Acrobat Pro DC and CorelDraw as well.
If you are using a version of GIMP (GIMP 2), then it should work just fine!
The recommended file size is between 10-20MB. If you want to include a logo, make sure it is vector and not rasterized, as this can cause your artwork to look blurry when printed at scale. If the file size is too large for your printer or laser cutter settings, try reducing it with a compression tool like zip before printing out your box art on paper or fabric!
RGB and CMYK
RGB stands for red, green, and blue. The three values represent the intensity of each color (or channel). CMYK stands for cyan, magenta and yellow. This refers to how the ink will look when printed on paper. Spot colors are created when an image is scanned at a particular location in an image file: it may be part of an object that has been added after scanning it; or for example if you were using Photoshop as an image editor then spot colors could appear on your canvas because you have added some objects there before exporting them back into a local file format which doesn’t support additional layers like PSD or JPG files do!
You can convert between RGB/CMYK by finding out what kind of color profile you’re working with first – this information will be listed under ‘Document Information’ somewhere near top left corner where there’s usually some sort of icon indicating whether this document was created using traditional methods such as Pantone etc., or newer techniques such as Digital Light Processing (DLP) cameras which allow photographers record accurate images even when shooting outdoors during daylight hours without needing any artificial lighting sources nearby.”
To change your document to CMYK color mode, follow these steps:
- Select the document.
- Go to the color menu and select CMYK color mode.
RGB color mode is not a recommended printing method for packaging artwork. It’s better for digital output, but it will not look good when printed on paper.
CMYK is the best choice for print, as it produces more vibrant colors that are better suited to printing on paper (and can be used in variable data printing).
You should print in 100% K value if you want a consistent color. For example, if your text is black and your background is white, you would use K100 to ensure that the two colors are the same.
A text profile is a template that you can use to create your packaging artwork. Text profiles contain the information about your product, such as its name, price and size. These are important for us because we need to know what information we need to print on each box before starting work on them!
If you’re new to designing packaging artwork in InDesign or Photoshop, then it’s best if you start off by creating a basic text profile first so that when we begin working together later on down the line (when deadlines approach), we’ll all have an understanding of how things work together at this point in time.
Once again: if there’s anything wrong with any of these images please let me know so I can fix them up before publishing this guide!
The minimum font size for all caps text is 0.125″. If you’re using a more condensed font, such as Helvetica Neue or Arial, then the minimum font size should be slightly larger than this (0.150″).
If your text has descenders—that is, if it’s taller than it needs to be to fit inside a box—the minimum line height will increase accordingly.
To ensure that all text is outlined, start by making sure it’s not rasterized (a process that converts bitmap images into vector shapes). Use the Outline effect in Photoshop or Illustrator to create outlines around your text.
Next, make sure your font family is consistent with the rest of your artwork—if you’re using a font that doesn’t match with other elements on your design, it may appear as though there isn’t enough space between them or be drawn too small to see clearly at smaller sizes.
Additional Printing Options
Additional printing options include:
- PMS Colors (Pantone® Matte & Metallic)
- Spot UV
- Inkjet Printing
You can also choose from a variety of coating methods including matte, glossy laminate, inkjet or UV coating. If you are looking for something more unique than just plain white paper we have laser engraving available as well! Letterpress printing is another option that can be added on to your package design after it’s printed in full color.
Can I print using PMS Colors (Pantone® Matte & Metallic)?
PMS is a registered trademark of Pantone, Inc. Only certain products are available in Spot UV and/or can be printed with PMS colors. If you would like to learn more about the specific availability of your product, please contact our Customer Service team at 302-778-9458 or email us at [email protected].
Is spot UV available on all products?
No. Spot UV is only available on selected products that have been assigned this option by the manufacturer as part of their design specifications for each specific item/set of items being manufactured by BoxesGen.
If you want to prepare files for additional printing options, consider the following tools:
- Adobe Illustrator (AI)
- Adobe Photoshop (PS)
- Adobe InDesign (ID)
You can use these programs to create custom artwork and export it as a PDF file.
Inside print is a method of printing on the inside of your package. With this type of printing, you can use any images that you want and they will be printed directly on the interior surface of your box.
Inside print requires less preparation than outside print because there are no layers to separate or mount, but there are still some requirements to meet when preparing files for inside print.
The first step in preparing files for inside print involves making sure that all layers overlap each other properly so that no part gets lost when it goes through our machine’s presser rollers during printing (more about this later).
The second step involves making sure that all text lines up with each other along their edges.
Dielines are the lines that appear on the outside of a box. They’re used to show where to cut, fold and crease the box. They are also called “cut lines.”
In the world of packaging, there are a lot of things to keep track of. For example, if you’re using a box to ship your product, it needs to be protected from damage during transit. This can be done by lining the inside of the box with some sort of material or stuffing that will hold together when stacked. It also needs some kind of label showing what’s inside so that people know how much they’re getting for their money (and whether or not they’ll need any extra space).
As we’ve already mentioned in our article on packing materials and supplies for shipping products by mail order companies like UPS and FedEx Ground Service Express – there are many different types available depending on what type(s) would best suit your needs at this time!
Cut Line (Black Lines)
The cut line is the area where the die will cut through the sheet. This is where you should place your artwork, as well as any other areas that may need to be processed later (such as collating). The easiest way to tell if a piece of artwork is within this zone is by looking at it closely: if there are black lines on either side of your art, then it’s safe and effective to use them as guides in placing your artwork onto your packaging material.
The best way to keep track of how much space should be between each line is with an invisible grid or ruler tool like those made by Mitutoyo Corp., which provides precise measurements up to 0.25mm away from its edge.
Crease Line (Red Lines)
The crease line is the line that shows where the fold will be. It’s usually thicker than other lines, and its color can vary from red to black depending on what it’s used for.
The crease line can be used as a design element in your packaging artwork, but you’ll want to consider how much space you’ll have before adding any text or images down below the fold.
Bleed Line (Green Lines)
The bleed line is a guide for the printer to cut your artwork. It is not included in the final print and it can be used as a guide when cutting boxes or labels.
The bleed line runs from the edge of your artwork, down to approximately 1/4 inch (depending on how far away you want it from the edge). The minimum distance between your artwork and this line should always be at least 1/4 inch; otherwise, there will be overlap with other products inside a box or label that are printed on top of yours.
Safety Margin (Dotted Green Lines)
The safety margin is the distance between the edge of the box and the edge of your artwork. It’s important to have a safety margin because you want to avoid any unwanted bleed, which could damage your product or even cause injury if it were to break during shipping. The recommended minimum length is 0.125 inches, but this should be based on variables like weight and size of artwork being packed in a given box type.
Perforation (Dotted Black Lines)
Perforation is a hole in the paper that allows it to be separated into sections. This can be used to create tear-off tabs, windows for labels and other purposes.
You can make changes to the dielines, but you will need to re-save the file. If you change the dielines and save it again, make sure that none of your other lines are lost so they’re not overwritten by your new design. If you don’t have access to Adobe Illustrator or another tool that allows for this kind of modification (Inkscape is free), then more than likely there’s no way around editing manually in Photoshop or GIMP instead.
Flattening the dieline layer with your artwork layer is a great way to make sure you have clean edges, especially if you’re using a lot of effects. If your artwork looks like it has lots of pixels on one side, then flattening will help smooth out those lines so they are more uniform. However, flattening can also leave behind some unwanted artifacts in certain cases (such as where one area has more pixels than another). If this happens to you and you want bleed through just for fun, there are ways around it!
- Minimum line width: 0.1 mm
- Minimum line spacing: 0.1 mm
- Minimum line weight: 0.1 mm (example excludes white space)
- Maximum length of lines in one direction is 500 pixels; maximum length in the other direction is 350 pixels (example excludes white space).
- Lines should be drawn with a 90 degree angle at their ends and have no gap between them when viewed from above or below.
The minimum thickness for all strokes and thin lines is 0.01 pixels. This means that if you have a stroke or thin line with a thickness of 0.02 px, then it will be considered as two separate strokes rather than one single stroke with a larger size (0.03 px).
- Use RGB color space.
- Use CMYK color space.
- Use vector graphics, if possible (vector images are much more flexible than rasterized images). If you’re not up to drawing your own artwork, consider hiring someone who can do it for you. You don’t want your box’s design to look blocky or pixelated at 300 dpi! It should be smooth and clean without any jagged edges or corners; this is especially important for logos that will be printed on labels inside the box (the logo itself will not actually touch any barcode).
- Make sure the typeface used matches what’s in your logo file—you’ll want something legible when scanning barcodes at checkout lanes! For example: if I’m designing an orange juice carton with a glass bottle illustration inside my logo image file then I’d probably use Helvetica Neue Bold Extended rather than something like Century Gothic which would not show up well enough against dark backgrounds like those found inside most retail stores’ shelves where people find their favorite juices sold.”
To embed images in your box, follow these steps:
- Go to the “Embed Images” feature in BoxesGen. Make sure you’re using the right image format and size, as well as quality! You can also add a link here if you want people to share it on social media (like this one).
- Click “Add Image(s).” This will open up another window where you can choose which image(s) to add into your box design.
- Click OK when done selecting all of them!
- Open the image in Adobe Illustrator and select the File menu, then select Document Properties.
- On the summary tab, check to see if your resolution and color mode are correct (see Figure 2). If not, make sure that you’re using RGB or CMYK for your print settings with this particular file format before proceeding further with this tutorial on creating box art for packaging design purposes!
If you’re printing your artwork at 300 PPI, it’s important to know that the quality will be best if you use a printer that has built-in anti-aliasing. Anti-aliasing is an optical technique that helps smooth out jagged edges in an image and make them look more realistic. Some printers have this feature built into their software, but if yours doesn’t, try using Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to check how good they are at rendering your design before printing it out.
- Open your image in Adobe Illustrator
- Select the color picker tool from the toolbar
- Hold down shift, click on a color in your image and you’ll see the RGB values of that color.
The graphics you use in your packaging artwork should be high resolution and designed with the appropriate color space. For example, if you’re using a red label for an item that requires a blue background, make sure that it has been converted to CMYK.
If you can, use vector graphics instead of raster images (bitmap files). Vector images look sharper and produce better results on any device that displays them: print-quality printing, online presentations or display screens such as projectors or televisions. You’ll also want to think about how much detail is required for each part of your design; sometimes less will do just fine!
Vector graphics are best for logos, text and other artwork that you plan to scale to different sizes. Vector graphics are scalable without loss of quality. They’re created in vector editing software, such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
Vector files can also be imported into BoxesGen as an alternative option when importing from Photoshop (PSD).
- The resolution of your image should be 300 PPI (pixels per inch).
- If you upload a resolution lower than 300 PPI, BoxesGen will automatically scale down the size of your artwork to match.
- Image quality is based on how many pixels are in an area and how large that area is. For example: A 10×10 pixel image has 10×10 pixels covered by ink; therefore, it’s considered high-quality because there are more colors per square inch than simple black-and-white artwork would require for printing at a given size.
Still Have Questions?
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us directly. We can help you with your project and are happy to help! We can also assist with any questions that you may have about packaging artwork guidelines.
We Collaborate With People and Brands
We are a team of designers, developers and consultants who work together to create packaging artwork that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Our clients include leading brands in the technology, consumer goods and retail industries.
With years of experience in creating packaging design for clients around the USA, we have developed an extensive portfolio of award-winning designs for some of the most prestigious companies in USA. Our reputation is second to none; our work has been featured on many major platforms.
Let’s Build Something Great Together!
We are here to help you build something great together. Our team of designers, packaging experts and marketers have a lot of experience in this area, so we’ve been through the process many times before. We know what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to packaging design, packaging development and marketing your product or service.