Art Prep for Flexo

Quick Reference Guide

  • Line Screen: 85 lpi on displays / 55 lpi on shippers
  • Trap Size: .0625″ on displays / .125″ on shippers
  • Minimum type size (positive text): 4 pt on displays / 6 pt on shippers
  • Minimum type size (reverse text): 6 pt on displays / 8 pt on shippers
  • Minimum rule size (positive): 1 pt displays / 1 pt on shippers
  • Minimum rule size (negative): 2 pt displays / 2 pt on shippers
  • Bar Code Size: UPC 200%, ITF codes no smaller than 80%
  • Fonts: Fonts should not contain thin areas. Must be at least 1 pt thick

Art Submission

  • Use Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop
  • We do not accept art submitted in QuarkXpress or Adobe InDesign. Please convert your art before submitting.
  • Images: All embedded Illustrator bmp’s, jpg’s, tiff’s, or Photoshop files should be provided in their original format in an additional folder named “images”. These files should be full size and at least 300 dpi.
  • Fonts should be included in a folder named “fonts”.
  • Colors should be indicated clearly in the file as PMS or CMYK. Convert all RGB images before submitting.
  • Provide copies  of the Illustrator file in both a fonts outlined and fonts not outlined format. (In case revisions are needed).
  • Photoshop files should not be flattened. Provide with all layers in tact.
  • Upload art to either our FTP site (email us for login info), or your FTP site (send us an email with your login info).

Guidelines for setting up art files for flexo printing

We want to make your printed packaging design and purchase as easy as possible.  Use this guide from our printing experts when designing your artwork.

Our structural department will be glad to send you an Adobe Illustrator file with a 100% template of your packaging design for you to lay out your art.

Sending us your file to review
If you have preliminary art, please feel free to send it to us to review. We can look at your design and point out areas that will not reproduce well with flexo printing and give you the chance to make adjustments.

Ink for printing on corrugated is a little different than other materials. Although we do utilize the Pantone Matching System (PMS), most often, PMS colors are translated into what is known in the industry as GCMI colors. You can find more info on these colors here. We are happy to provide you with either option as well as draw downs for approval on color.

When trapping colors, keep in mind how the colors may look when trapped. For example yellow ink mixed with blue ink will give you a green trap. The results when colors mix may be completely undesirable.

Consider the color and type of board being printed. Color results will vary depending on the type of board to be used with your product. Color printed on kraft board looks different than color printed on uncoated or coated white board.

It is a challenge to print solids and screens of the same color on the same plate. To make the solid nice and dark, too much pressure has to be applied causing the screened area to appear “dirty”. We will advise you of this challenge when we analyze your art and offer another alternative.

Differentiations between tonal values of screens become less obvious above 50%.

Metallic Inks
We will not print in metallic inks. We do have special inks we can substitute that have the look of metallic without being metallic. If interested, please ask  your salesperson to show you samples.

CMYK Images
All images should be converted to CMYK if they are not spot colors (especially when providing images for labeled items). When placing Photoshop images into Illustrator files, please  supply the CMYK Photoshop file separately. (We may need to adjust the image for flexo printing separately).

Depending on the the art, more often than not, dropshadows do not reproduce well on corrugated packaging. We strongly discourage their use.

Fonts vs. Outlines
We will always recommend that two versions of your art file be supplied, one with text converted to outlines and one with live text. Of course, we will also need all fonts associated with the file saved in a folder named “fonts”.

UPC Bar Codes
UPC barcodes should be no smaller than 200%. ITF codes should be no smaller than 80%. If you require another type of code, please advise what type and we will generate for you.

For best results, we recommend bar codes be printed in 100% black on a white background. However, other colors and board can be used.

Bar codes should be placed so the bars are vertical and run through the press. Bar codes that run horizontally are not guaranteed to scan because they may become distorted.

File Format and Transfer
Adobe InDesign and Quark XPress are great for laying out a magazine. But not so great for laying out a box or display for corrugated. We will not accept files built in these formats. Please be advised that both programs provide avenues for exporting into Adobe Illustrator which is our preferred program for artwork submission.

IMPORTANT: Support files must be supplied for all images, including those that are embedded.

Photoshop files should be 300 dpi at the size at which they are placed into the final file.  Please keep in mind that the resolutions of a raster file decreases proportionally when enlarged. For instance, if a 2” x 2” image that is 300 dpi is placed into a file at 200%, the resulting dpi is 150, which is not high enough to reproduce well.

When supplying Photoshop support files, please submit files in CMYK format.

Please supply all fonts in a folder names “fonts”.

Always include either a PDF or a hard copy proof for your final file so that we may verify that the file we have received is correct.  If you have a color target that you would like for us to match please provide it to us and clearly label it as a color target.

You may transfer files by email, or upload to our FTP. Contact us for FTP login info.


Additional Resources:

To establish new bar code numbers:
GSI (formerly the Uniform Code Council):

FDA Food Labeling Guide:

USDA Meat and Poultry Labeling Guide: