954 777

Label Design and Artwork Guidelines

How to make sure your artwork is ‘print ready’

Artwork Requirements
Ensure Your Label Artwork Print-Ready?

  • .PDF
  • CMYK Colour Mode
  • 2.5mm Print Bleed
  • 300DPI Resolution

Download Guidelines PDF

Making Your Label Design & Artwork Files Print-Ready

By making sure your artwork is ‘print ready’ before you send them means we can send your labels to our printing queue as fast as possible. (We love quick turnaround times as much as you do.)

We highly recommend working with a design professional. That way your artwork will be not only print ready but also exactly what you had in mind.

But if you’d like us to check whether your artwork is ‘print ready’ instead then take a look at our artwork correction services.

Adobe Illustrator (.ai File)

Adobe Illustrator is the industry standard for designing custom printed labels. It uses vectors rather than pixels, which means your artwork can be scaled to any size without losing quality.

It also means our graphics team can easily isolate and correct any part of the artwork if necessary.

Artwork Services

It is best to use a graphics program such as Adobe Illustrator, InDesign or ArtPro to create your artwork, as they can provide the professional print data we need to reproduce it. But if you don’t use one of these programs, our artwork services area can check your print data for technical errors and correct them (depending on the selected correction package) so you can get the result you desire.

Artwork Assistant Template

We now have a tool that creates your .ai file to your dimensions all set up with the correct layers and emails it to you for you to place your artwork on. This process allows you to set-up the artwork easily to our specifications so we process your print job quickly and with out hassle for us and you!

Check out our Artwork Assistant Template here.

Bleed area

A ‘bleed area’ is the area outside of your label’s design. It’s used when you want a colour (typically the background colour) to go to the very edge of your labels. As your label is cut to size, this bleed area is cut away from the label.

So why have it? Well, when your labels are cut to size there can be a bit of play in the machine. It may only be a millimetre or two, but without the bleed area you may see a white edge where it’s cut, which doesn’t look very professional.


A barcode is a visual pattern of black and white bars that a machine can decode to determine information about a product. In terms of artwork and label design, the bars must be clear and in a high enough resolution (between 300DPI and 600DPI, with a minimum width of 25mm).


This is the colour model used in digital label printing, and refers to four ink colour used: Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Key (K-Black). You must set up your label designs using this colour model—not RGB (Red, Green and Blue).

If your design has any Pantone Spot colours, convert them to CMYK and label them as your chosen Pantone reference. While our printing operatives will do their best to match it, for larger contracts you should get a label proof for approval.

Die cutting tool

This is what we use to cut your labels to the right shape and size. To make sure they’re cut correctly, please set up the cut path as a spot colour and set it ‘overprint stroke’ in the attribute panel in Illustrator .

This is important, as we use this data to manufacture the die cutting tools.

HPI-White (white undercoat)

Short for ‘HP-Indigo White’ and used in our HP Indigo digital press, this white ink is used predominantly on transparent films and metallic coated papers. This term is important, and you should use it in your label artwork files (where needed) so the machine can recognise it as a special ink and print accordingly.

Outlined Text

Any text in your artwork should be converted to vector graphics (see Adobe Illustrator for more information).

Your custom label design is only limited by your designer’s imagination. But if they use a font that our team doesn’t have the text will be printed in a ‘standard’ font such Times New Roman, which will not only look bad but could also potentially change the layout.

By outlining the text you turn it into a vector so the design won’t be affected.


These three additional colours (Orange, Violet and Green) can be used to expand the CMYK colour model so we can simulate spot colours more accurately.


This is the colour model your computer screen uses to display images, which is larger than the CMYK model.

If your artwork files are set up with the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) colour model instead of the CMYK colour model, we may not be able to produce the colours accurately.

Quick Link:

  • AI – Adobe Illustrator
  • Artwork Services
  • Barcodes
  • Bleed
  • CMYK
  • Cutting Tool
  • DPI
  • Hot Foil
  • HPI-White
  • Internal Margin
  • Overprint
  • OVG
  • Outlined Text
  • PDF
  • RGB
  • Spot Colours

Resources & Good To Know:

  • Beverage Labels
  • Food Labels
  • Cosmetic Labels

Custom Labels Summary:

The Team