The PSD setup guides are a necessary tool that help you prepare your files for printing. If used correctly the guides ensure that your product will print correctly. If used incorrectly or not at all, the design could be off-center, text might be cutoff and borders can be lost or uneven. In this post we will go over basics, correct & incorrect design examples, and we provide a couple Photoshop tips that should help along the way.
ProDPI products that require ProDPI’s PSD setup guides: Press Books, Press Albums, Folded Cards, Flat Cards, Accordion Booklets with Photo Covers, MOD Cards, etc. Just about every product with the word “press” will have a PSD guide. All of our PSD setup guides can be found in our download section at prodpi.com/download/
When ordering a press product in ProDPI Roes you will notice that there are red and blue lines that look similar to our PSD guides. It may seem like your file is fine without using the PSD guide but this is not always the case. Roes is not an accurate preview of how your press product will print unless you have used the correct PSD guide.
File size is the first step to a perfectly prepared file. Before getting started, take note of the document size (file size) for the guide you’re using. For example, the 5×5 Flat card guide is 5.25″x5.25″ at 300 dpi. The additional .25″ is entirely normal and required for printing and trimming. The final printed size of your product will still be 5×5. Taking note of this is a good idea so that you can double check your final design before saving as jpeg.
Cut area (RED)
The red area of the guide represents where final trimming will occur. If you have an image or design in your file that you want to bleed off the edges of your final product, you must make sure that it extends all the way to the edge of the guide. This means filling: the center area, the blue, the red, and the area outside of the red. If you have text in your design it must be within the white (inside) area of the guide. If your text falls anywhere into the red area there will be issues.
(image left) This entire gray area is safe for text placement, even the blue line.
Suggested Border Thickness (BLUE Line)
The blue line is there to show you how far to bring your border in from the edges. If you are using a border in your design we strongly suggest that you make it at least as large as the BLUE line in the guide. The BLUE line is ONLY relevant if you are using a border and does not affect the other elements of your design.
Text & Border Placement
1. PERFECT! Text placement is clear of the red and the border fills the area from the blue all the way to the edge of the guide.
2. The border is perfect, and the design bleeds all the way to the edge of the guide, but the text will be cutoff.
3. The text is good, even when touching the blue line, but the border is too small. On the final product this border will show as tiny uneven slivers around the outside of the product.
Tips & Recommendations
Checking File Size - Go to Image> Image Size. This is the final size that your file needs to be.
Creating Guides in Photoshop - Use Photoshop guides for centering your design and creating even borders.
First you’ll need to turn your rulers on so they appear at the top and left side of your document. Turn on ‘Snap’ (optional) to make things easier for centering. To create a guide: click anywhere over your ruler, hold, and drag a guide to the desired area of your file. With ‘Snap’ on, Photoshop automatically recognizes where the center of the file is which helps with centering!
For borders: drag in four guides one at a time (two from the top ruler and two from the left ruler) and line them up with the blue “suggested border thickness” lines. Your final guides should look like this (image right).
Zoom In and Check Placement
From far away your guides probably look perfect, but you should double check! Zoom in to the areas where you have placed your guides to be sure they line up in the middle of the blue. If you need to adjust, click and hold over the guide to reposition.
Important to Note
Every lab has their own setup guides and not all of them are the same. No matter which lab you use, be sure to download and use the correct sizing guides before ordering. If you’ve purchased a design template from a template company, it is still important to check it with the proper guide from your lab before ordering.