Print-Ready PDF Files
A properly-formatted ("print-ready") file in PDF format is required for modern-day digital and offset printing (just as a "camera-ready" original was required back when printing plates were created using photographic methods).
Most of today's software, whether web or device based, can easily export documents in PDF format, but there is more to it than that. Please follow these guidelines when preparing your files.
Crop Marks: Many design programs will automatically add lines indicating where the printed pieces are to be trimmed; if not, you must add crop marks manually, making sure each pair of marks does not meet in the corner but rather has a small gap as in this example.
Bleeds: When a design runs all the way to the edge of the paper, as in the case of a background image with no margins, the file must be created with an extra 1/8" on all sides (beyond the crop marks) and the image that bleeds must be extended this additional 1/8". The piece will be printed oversized and then trimmed to the crop marks.
Safe Zone: Your file should not have any text or images within 1/8" of the edges of the paper (other than background images that bleed). This "safe zone" is to prevent items from looking cramped or getting trimmed off.