Art Guidelines

Jump to: Preferred Art File Formats  |  Preferred Programs  |  Alternative Programs  |  Image Guidelines

Read our guidelines on submitting files for commercial printing. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Preferred Art File Formats

PDF – PDF/x-1a:2001

This file format automatically embeds all fonts, converts all colors to CMYK and embeds all images—this format is ideal for printing. Files should be set up at finished size (plus bleeds when applicable). For example, an 8.5×11 inch double-sided flyer should be provided in a 2-page PDF. Each page should be sized at 8.5×11 inches (if it does not bleed) or 8.625×11.125 inches (if it bleeds). Files that are sent with multiple copies on one sheet will incur a design fee.

Raw InDesign or Illustrator files (.INDD, .AI, .EPS)

Your raw files enable us to quickly detect any issues prior to printing. If sending an .INDD file, please package all fonts and links; Bishop cannot print from an InDesign file without the complete package. Please use your program of choice to compress the files into a .ZIP file.


If sending an .AI or .EPS file, please convert your fonts to outlines.


High-Resolution .TIFF Files

If saving a Photoshop file to a .TIFF format, please save as CMYK with 300 dpi at actual size.


Preferred Programs

We prefer InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop files produced with Creative Suite or newer.


Alternative Programs (Additional Charges Apply)

These programs are acceptable, but not desireable:

  • Microsoft Word (include images)
  • Microsoft Publisher (embed all images)
  • CorelDRAW 12


Image Guidelines


300 dpi (dots per inch) is the recommended resolution. The more pixels (or dots) the image contains, the sharper the image will print. On the other hand, a print will look blurrier if a 72 dpi image is used instead of a 300 dpi image.

First image (left) is 300dpi vs. the second image (right) at 72dpi

Bleeds & Safe Zones

Files must include a 0.125 inch bleed area, if bleeds are desired. For example, an 8.5×11 inch full-bleed document will actually be 8.625×11.125 inches when it includes a 0.125 inch bleed on each edge.

All non-bleed content (text and photos) must be within the safe zone area.

Our Trim Guidelines

Full color Safe Zone: 0.125 inches from the trim

Booklets Safe Zone: 0.25 inches from the trim

One color Safe Zone: 0.312 inches from the trim

Color mode

All files should be provided in CMYK mode, unless we are running a spot color. When we receive RGB images, we do a standard-value conversion to CMYK, which may not be perfectly to your liking.  We cannot be responsible for results if you provide RGB images in a print document.

These two swatches are the same color. The first box is in CMYK. The second box is in RGB

Avoiding Purple-ish Blues

Anything high in magenta and high in cyan tends to print with a purple tone.

If you want a truer blue color, we recommend keeping cyan and magenta 30% apart from each other to create a blue.


All of our printing is done in CMYK.  If you use Pantone colors in a job that will print CMYK, your job might print with undesirable colors. We have a program that converts any PMS files to CMYK using the conversion process from the files native program, and the results are not always what customers expect. That’s why we highly recommend that customers convert all their files to CMYK before uploading their art. Bishop is not responsible for product that has experienced a color shift during the conversion to CMYK format.

Black Text

For best results, black text should have a CMYK breakdown of 0 cyan, 0 magenta, 0 yellow, 100 black. 4-color black text is not recommended.

Rich Black

For best results on printing large black areas, rich black (30C, 30M, 10Y, 100K) should be used, for uniform ink coverage. Using only 100K can result in uneven ink coverage and a black that is not as dark as it could be. Using a higher value mix such as 75 Cyan, 68 Magenta, 67 Yellow, 90 Black can result in high ink coverage, causing ink to smear.

Transparency issues

If your image uses shadows, glows, or other transparency effects on top of a spot color, we sometimes see white boxes or other unwanted results.

(left) what you see on screen;  (right) after file is printed.

The best way to avoid issues like this is to convert all spot colors to CMYK before sending artwork in.

Overprint Issues

Overprint settings are typically used to intentionally overlap inks for a number of reasons but overprint can cause unexpected results so we recommend that you turn off all overprint objects before submitting files. Always check logos and other artwork before submitting.


If you have any questions or trouble with your files, please contact a member of our staff!