When submitting files for print, certain products will require a ‘separation’ file which is in addition to standard artwork files. Examples of these are products with Spot UV, Foil, Emboss and Letterpress. The ‘separation’ file reflects the area which will have the special print treatment. This article will outline how to correctly set up separation files.

Step 1: Identify Area(s) with Special Treatment

Take your existing CMYK files and identify the areas you want to apply the additional print treatment.

Step 2: Define Separation

Once you have determined the areas that will have special treatment, create a separate file with only these elements. The file will be black and white, where the black represents the area which the print treatment will be applied to.

Note that the black elements need to be 100% black and as a vector format.

Step 3: Check Alignment of Separation(s)

We strongly recommend to check that your separation aligns with your artwork. To do this, place your separation artwork and CMYK artwork on two different layers. *TIP: Play around with the opacity of the top layer so that you can see if the two properly align.

Step 4: Export Files

When exporting files, we recommend naming each file with its corresponding print method so that we can clearly identify which file is to be used for the print processes you chose. For example, a spot UV order with spot UV on both sides will have the following files and file names:

  1. BusinessCard_Art_Front
  2. BusinessCard_Art_Back
  3. BusinessCard_SPOTUV_Front
  4. BusinessCard_SPOTUV_Back

If you ordering multiple sets of business cards or having multiple print processes, make sure to export and identify each file clearly to avoid any delays with processing your order.

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