Yes, there are special design file requirements for paperboard folding cartons to ensure that the final product meets the desired specifications and quality. When designing folding cartons, it is essential to follow these guidelines:

File format: The preferred file formats for folding carton designs are vector-based files such as Adobe Illustrator (AI), Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), or Portable Document Format (PDF). These formats maintain the quality and scalability of the design elements without losing resolution.

Die line/template: If you don’t have a template, get the correct die line or template from Clear Print, as this will ensure that your design fits the carton’s specific dimensions and folding requirements. The die line should be placed on a separate layer within the design file and should not be modified.

Bleed and safety margins: Include a bleed area (typically a minimum of 1/8 inch or 3mm) that extends beyond the die line to account for minor cutting variations during production. Also, maintain a safety margin (usually 1/8 inch or 3mm) inside the die line, keeping critical design elements and text away from the edges to avoid trimming issues.

Resolution: For raster images (e.g., photographs) in a design, use a high resolution of at least 300 dpi at the final print size (100%) to ensure sharp and clear printing.

Color mode: Use the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black) color mode for your design, as this is the standard color model used in the printing industry. Avoid using RGB colors, as they probably won’t reproduce accurately when printed.

Fonts and text: Convert all text to outlines or embed fonts in the design file to prevent font substitution issues during printing. Also, avoid using very small font sizes or intricate fonts, as they may not print clearly on the carton material.

Spot colors, coatings, and special finishes: If your design requires spot colors (Pantone colors) or special finishes (e.g., foil stamping, embossing, coatings, or varnishes), be sure to clearly indicate these in your design file and discuss them with us to ensure proper execution.

File submission: Before submitting your design file to Clear Print, double-check for accuracy and completeness, ensuring that all necessary elements are included. It’s also a good idea to provide a low-resolution PDF or JPG proof for reference.

By following these guidelines, you can be sure your paperboard folding carton design will be accurately produced and meet your desired quality standards.

For other design questions, review our File Preparation FAQs.

Or call us at 818.709.1220 to discuss your project and ensure it’s set up correctly.