Graphics Prepress

Designing Labels for Flexographic Printing

We've prepared this guide to give graphic designers some basic guidelines to follow to improve the printability of your job. Following these guidelines helps ensure you'll be satisfied with your labels. Any questions about the development of your artwork can be addressed to your Account Manager or Customer Service Representative.

When sending artwork for printing, please include the file, fonts, and linked graphics, even with PDFs. Please provide any previously printed sample for color continuity and reference.



We work with most Mac and PC files. A hard copy or high-resolution PDF of your art should be sent for comparison.

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We prefer all art in a vector format; EPS, AI, or PDF. Any artwork not supplied in the preferred programs could result in additional set up time and/or additional costs.

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Artwork may be sent to us on a CD, email, or sharefile (for files over 8MB). When sending artwork via email, please be aware that our receiving capacity is 8MB for any attachments. Compressing the file will reduce the file size and will protect files from corruption. Please contact your Account Manager or Customer Service Representative with any questions.

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File Formats

  • AI
  • EPS
  • TIF
  • High Res JPEGs
  • High Res PDFs
  • PSD


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Image Specifications

Raster images need to be 300 dpi or higher. Anything lower than 300 dpi could cause degradation of quality. Louisville Label will determine the line screen. Maximum line screen used is 175. Vector images can be made as small or large as needed, because they are mathematically defined and will not lose resolution.

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Type Specifications

All fonts should be sent with your file and should include the screen and printer fonts. If fonts are not sent, we will attempt to match fonts as closely as possible. We can also purchase fonts for you. Prices for fonts vary.

Alternative options

If screen and printer fonts cannot be sent, you can manipulate the text in your art program. Vector programs (Adobe Illustrator, etc.) create outlines or curves. Raster programs (Photoshop, etc.) rasterize text.

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Minimum Font Sizes

  • Positive Text: 5 pt
  • Reverse Text: 6 pt
  • Reversed Text with Two Colors: .5pt, with black outline/keyline added around text
  • Reversed Text with Four Colors: .5pt, with black outline/keyline added around text

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Bleed Specifications

Any images or colors that bleed off the label will need to extend 1/16" past the die cut. The bleed accounts for any movement that might occur when the die cuts the stock. Images that do not bleed off of the label need to be a minimum 1/8" inside of and away from the die cut.

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Color Specifications

Labels can be printed in four color process or spot colors. Please provide the PMS colors for all spot color printing. Four color process labels must be saved in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta,Yellow, and Black), not RGB (Red, Green, Blue) mode. Images saved in RGB mode can result in color shift when converted to print in CMYK. Please send a hard copy for all color matches prior to production. Some files will be printed in four color process plus spot colors to provide better color consistency.

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Trapping Specifications

Overlapping images are used to compensate for misregistration and paper stretching. Dead fits are not possible due to press movement. As a general rule, lighter images will be trapped into darker images. When colors are too small to trap, they will overprint onto the underlying color. This may result in a color change. Louisville Label will do trapping on all labels. The least amount of trap used is .0694".

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Gradient and Screen Specifications

A smooth blend cannot be achieved from "color" to "no color" unless it is done with a very light color, such as yellow.

Gradients and screens that are less than a 5% screen of a color should not be used. Once on the press, 5% is the minimum dot that we can hold. For long runs, gradients and screens should not go below 5%, especially on large background areas. Color inconsistencies will occur due to movement and vibration on the press.

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Barcode Specifications

Barcodes should not be less than 85% in size. Also, there should be at least 1/8" quiet space (white area) between the barcode and the edge of the label. We cannot guarantee scanability if specifications are not met.

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