Absolute vector file checklist

If your files have not been approved by our graphics checkup, don’t worry. This guide will become your bible on how to master this area. All tips are based on Adobe Illustrator CS6.

There are many strict but simple rules to follow to ensure you get the most of your designs.

  1. File setup
  2. Colors
  3. Fonts
  4. Backgrounds
  5. Images
  6. Refinements
  7. Saving

File setup

file-setupLet’s discuss Illustator’s New Document window first.

Name: always use a name that is as short and descriptive as possible.

A great file name would be businss_card_biktime-85×55.eps. It tells you the purpose of the file (business card) what design it is (biktime) and the file target dimensions (85×55).

A bad file name would be biktime.eps – it is too general and can apply to many designs for Biktime.

Number of artboards: you should always save all pages in one file. If your design is one-side print (1+0 or 4+0) then you should use 1 artboard.  Any other designs where two-side print is intended should have at least 2 artboards.

Width, height, units: always set these to real dimensions. Refer to popular paper formats to learn more. For most of print products millimeters as base unit will be satisfying. For larger applications, like apparel applications, especially screen, transfer and DTG print or embroidery, use centimeters.

Bleed: is important and often forgotten about. If you are using full color background or your design includes elements with direct edge contact you should always expand them outside the artboard to meet the bleed line.

Color Mode: In Advanced section you should always choose CMYK color mode.

Safe margins: All elements should be moved back at least 3mm from edges towards the artboard.

Layers: use a separate layer for all elements on each artboard.  See Refinements section for more infomation


If you are designing black elements you should always use the following color recipe: C0/M0/Y0/K100. For black backgrounds we suggest using C30/M30/Y30/K100. This also applies to all shades of grey. Each point is build with 4 black dots, instead of full CMYK palette. By using only one component instead of all four, we are able to achieve better color fill and avoid grain effect.

If you are using hues of dark blue, make sure that the total color saturation (sum of C+M+Y+K) is below 250%. Higher values might cause color deviations and rarely separate the paint from the basis. In case you need to use more saturated color, please send us a message to find more.


Before saving the file type elements should be expanded to curves. In order to achieve that, select all font elements, go to Object > Expand make sure Object and Fill are checked and press Ok. This will convert your local fonts to curves. Thanks to this operation your texts will look exactly the same on other computers that do not have used fonts installed.

The minimal font size is 8 pt.


Make sure you follow bleed and color instructions.


All images should be embedded in the file and have 300 dpi resolution.


UV lacquer: create a new layer and place expanded elements to be applied on
Stamping: create a new layer and place expanded elements to be applied on
Sticker shape: create a new layer and mark the shape with 0.1pt stroke


One of the most important actions before you can call it a day. We recommend saving the files in the following order:

  1. .ai (Adobe Illustartor CS6 compatibility mode)
  2. .eps (Adobe Illustartor CS6 compatibility mode)
  3. .pdf


Once you master the list above, we assure your designs will have that crisp look which will make you wow instead of boo. Moreover, it will speed up the production process a lot. We are looking forward to you giving it a try and sharing your thoughts in the comments below.

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