Staying true to SunDance's commitment to our clients, we do everything we can to make every single job go as smoothly as possible. That includes making sure that we share any tips and tricks that you might be able to use along the way. Even if you're not a client of ours just yet.

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  • Digital Plotter (Zund) Cutter File Preparation

      • Files need to be created in Adobe InDesign or Adobe Illustrator as a vector image
      • We need 3 or 4 sets of layers, depending on the application in this example we have a cut and score. It needs to have an Art layer, Thru-cut layer, Thru-cut score layer and a Register layer. The naming of the layers is case sensitive.

    Color Swatches

      • Create 3 color swatches: Register, Thru-cut, Thru-cut score, set the colors to be spot colors. The naming of the spot colors is case sensitive.

    In the example below we have a score and a cut; the register marks should not exceed 0.25 inches in diameter all the cut and score lines should be set to overprint. Keep the stroke to 1pt size and solid lines, avoid dashed lines. Export the print ready PDF to include layers, always provide the native files in case we need to make a change.

  • Print Layout

    How To Plan Your Print Layout

    Trim Line: This is the finished size of the piece.

    Live Area: Keep any important information within this area. The live area is smaller than the trim size to take into consideration the binding if the content is placed on the left or right of a spread so that you don’t lose any copy that is too close to the spine.

    Bleed Area: The more bleed you can offer, the better. The minimum bleed for a printed piece is 0.125in (1/8in) but some specs require more than that (wide-format, for example, is 0.25 inches). Take special consideration to keep the bleed area in mind when working with an image in Photoshop that you are placing into InDesign for print preparation.

    Crop Marks: Indicate to the bindery department where to cut the paper. Do not use bleed marks, as this sometimes confuses the cutter.

  • CMYK vs RGB

    Many of the colors you may use in RGB mode are not achievable using standard four-color process printing. It is always best to create your document from the start in CMYK color mode to get a better idea of how your colors will print. Some notable exceptions are tradeshow signs or large format prints, but the best way to know for sure is to check with us first.

  • Crossovers

    Watch out for text and artwork elements that ‘cross over’ from one page to another in bound materials. Be mindful that not all of the finished pieces will line up exactly from page to page due to the mechanical nature of bindery equipment. It's important to design around these issues to ensure your project's success.

    Crossover Text Example

    Crossovers in Perfect Binding

    As a rule we generally advise against doing crossovers in perfect bound books as they do not lay flat. The binding creates a gap that makes it difficult to create a seamless crossover for images and text.
    However, if you choose to do a crossover in a perfect bound format, these design tips can help make for a more successful finished piece:

    1. Create an overlap for the image of at least 3/8"-  or more for a larger book. You can do this by shifting your image 3/8 to the outside of the page and overlapping the image in the center. Make sure this alteration is done on the live art area, not as a replacement of the bleed.

    2. If an image crossover is needed, another option is to blend the image to a subtle pattern or solid color on the inside edge, so that any difference in overlap will be less noticeable.

    3. Stay away from crossing over diagonal lines, letters, or geometric patterns. These images will be much more noticeable if they do not crossover properly.

    4. Avoid centering an image or text over the spine gap. This is one of the biggest issues for crossover, as it is nearly impossible to get this right in a perfect bound book.

    5. Make sure all text is within a safe margin of at least 1/8"-2/8" from your gutter. Copy outside those parameters runs the risk of being cut off in the binding.

    6. Make a mockup and use binder clips as a perfect bound simulation. This can give you an idea of how a crossover will work with your current design, so you can make any necessary adjustments.

    PUR Perfect Bound CrossoversPUR Perfect Bound Crossovers

  • Preparing A File With Spot UV / Varnish Coating

    If you are using a spot varnish or spot UV coating on your printed piece, it is best to create a specific layer and spot color named “varnish” or “UV”.

    • First, create your swatch in the New Color Swatch panel (see figure on right)
    • Then, select the image(s) or text block(s) upon which you wish to apply the varnish or coating.
    • Add a new layer, duplicate the elements (Ctrl/Cmd+J) and apply the spot color to the elements on that new layer.
    • Set new object to Overprint Fill under Attributes panel.
    • Turn on Overprint Preview (under View menu) to preview.
  • Dielines / Score Marks

    As with spot varnish / UV, please create a new spot color called “dieline”. It is common practice to make this display as 100% magenta.

    Also set this to Overprint Stroke under Attributes panel and place it on a separate layer. Score marks can be indicated as a dashed line or placed on a separate layer that is labeled “crease’ or “fold’.

    If you are re-using a dieline from a previous job that we printed, please let us know early in the process so we can save money (and time) by using an existing die!

  • Using Adobe Illustrator

    Always create illustrations intended for print in CMYK color mode

    • Turn on bleed (.125” normally, .25” for large-format) (CS4 and higher)
    • Set Raster Effects to 300ppi
    • Please convert all text to outlines before submitting a native Adobe Illustrator file for output.
    • Use of Adobe Illustrator is not recommended for multiple page documents. This software is intended for vector logos, illustrations, and signs. Feel free to submit Illustrator files for large format work, but we recommend InDesign for page layout for offset and digital work.
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Location & Hours

SunDance is located in south Orlando, near the interesections of The Beachline (SR528), Orange Blossom Trail (US17-92), and Florida's Turnpike (SR91). Just minutes from The Orange County Convention Center, International Drive, the attractions and Downtown Orlando, we service most of the Central Florida Area.

9564 Delegates Dr.
Building A
Orlando, FL 32837
Local & Sales: 844-42-PRINT
Operations: 407-734-7444
8am-5pm M-F




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