Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Sending Illustrator die-cut files to the printer

From: Print Production Essentials: Embossing, Foil Stamping, and Die Cutting

Video: Sending Illustrator die-cut files to the printer

I finished designing this card, I've created the die line and now I'm ready to send this to the printer, to have it printed and die cut. Now, not all printers do their own die cutting, a lot of printers don't build their own dies, and it's often a collaboration between the printer and a finishing company. But in this case, my printer actually does their own die cutting. They've already had the die created based on the die line art that I gave them and now, it's time to send them this artwork so that they can print the job, and then die cut it. They're going to lay it up, they're going to have multiple instances of this card on the press sheet. But that's not something I do, because it's up to them, they know what size stock it's going to run on, they understand their presses the best, it's just my job to give them a good, healthy file.

Sending Illustrator die-cut files to the printer

I finished designing this card, I've created the die line and now I'm ready to send this to the printer, to have it printed and die cut. Now, not all printers do their own die cutting, a lot of printers don't build their own dies, and it's often a collaboration between the printer and a finishing company. But in this case, my printer actually does their own die cutting. They've already had the die created based on the die line art that I gave them and now, it's time to send them this artwork so that they can print the job, and then die cut it. They're going to lay it up, they're going to have multiple instances of this card on the press sheet. But that's not something I do, because it's up to them, they know what size stock it's going to run on, they understand their presses the best, it's just my job to give them a good, healthy file.

So they've asked me to send them a PDF and of course, my native Illustrator file. When I choose File > Save a Copy, and I'm going to do that to save my PDF. Why would I do that? Well, funny thing, Illustrator can make PDFs without having to use a print process or an export process. Under the hood, Illustrator files kind of are PDFs. So here I'm going to choose Adobe PDF, click Save, now the default is something called Illustrator Default and it's sort of an odd bird, it's really sort of a two for one file, it's really your Illustrator file inside a PDF.

The good news about that, is that, Illustrator can safely open up a PDF like that because it's really going to reach inside and just get that native Illustrator content. But that's going to add to the file size and that's not really what my printer wants this PDF for, they're not going to be editing it. This PDF is going to serve as sort of the digital equivalent of when we used to send lasers. Remember when we used to print lasers and send with our jobs? It's still a good idea, but for this I'm going to say I want it to be high quality print, even though it's not going to get printed. This is not the file they're going to use for printing, they're just going to use this as an on-screen reference, just, for the mechanics of the file.

So, to keep the file a little smaller, and because editing isn't going to happen, I'm going to uncheck Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities, Optimize for Fast Web View does not make it a smaller file, I'm going to uncheck that. As far as marks and bleed go, all of the bleed is actually inside my file dimensions and I don't need to add marks. Again, it's just a PDF that's just for visual reference on screen and I'm going to click Save PDF, and then of course, Illustrator's going to squawk a little bit, because it says, you unchecked Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities. It's not a problem, and I know that, so I'm going to click OK. Now to save my Illustrator file, I just say File > Save As, I'm going to put it back in that same job folder that I'm going to send to the printer, and it gives me this little squawk about spot colors, but this is a process color job. What's my spot color? It's my die line, because that's a spot color.

This doesn't mean that I have a problem, it's just Illustrator being polite saying, are you sure you want to do a spot color, yes I am. And, if these things annoy you, remember you can always check this Don't Show Again box. So when I click Continue, I'm just going to click OK because all the default options are going to be fine. So what happens when this lands at the printer? What do they do with it? Now, this is not an actual press sheet but I wanted to give you sort of an idea how a job like this might print. Now, we can still see the die line, that would not print, that's something that's just a guide for the die creation. But, I just wanted you to see how the die relates to the printed artwork. And it's always a goal to try to make the best use of the piece of paper. So, here's something that could happen with a job like this, so that the printer can make just one cut, to separate these cards, there's no bleed where these two cards meet.

So that would just be a single cut. And as far as how close to put a row of cards next to the next row of cards, again, it's just going to depend on the press that they're running on, the size stock that they're printing on and how the die is going to be built. Now, it's not up to you to build this kind of layout, that's something that's going to happen at the printer. You're going to provide them with just that one single card, and it's up to them to determine the position for these, what we called ganged printing for these cards. And they're going to make that arrangement based on a collaboration between them and the die cutting company. Now, some printers do their own die cutting, a lot of them don't build their own dies, though, so they would have the die cutting company prepare the dee for them, supply them the die, and then the printing company performs the die cutting. Some printing companies don't do this fancy die cutting at all, they'll send this entire job out once it's printed to a separate die cutting company. They'll make the die and they'll perform the die cutting. So it's important of course, that the printing company and the die cutting company communicate with each other, and that the die line of course, lines up with the final ganged up art work.

So yes, it's a complex process, but the results are really nice. So, I would suggest that if you're entertaining the notion of creating something like this, of course, you want to talk to your printer, but go to the printing company, watch something like this run, watch it come through the press and then either, go to their finishing department and watch a die cutting job being handled, or go to a finishing company and watch a die cutting job being handled. It gives you an appreciation for the craftsmanship that's involved but, I think you also find that in addition to being sort of an education, it becomes sort of an inspiration when you see what's possible, when you change the shape of paper I think it gives you some great ideas for future projects.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Print Production Essentials: Embossing, Foil Stamping, and Die Cutting.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.