HELPful information

Printing at any shop can be intimidating. That's why we've created guidelines for file preparation, as well as a collection of resources and tutorials.

File Preparation Guidelines

Please ensure that your file meets the following specifications:

  • We recommend preparing files in 'Press Quality' PDF format. For simple instructions on exporting a PDF from InDesign, click here. If you are unable to send a PDF, we also accept high-resolution JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and more. 

  • Please set up your file as "one-up". We use special in-house settings to impose files for our press. Example: for a business card file with color to the edge, you would set up your document size at 3.75"x2.25" and create one page for the front of the card and another for the back. 

  • Use a minimum of 300 DPI (image resolution) at output size. Try not to reduce resolution of any photos or logos while making your project, including when you are exporting your final file. For a more detailed explanation of image resolution, click here.

  • CMYK colorspace is recommended (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). These are industry standard colors for printed materials. CMYK is different than RGB (Red, Green, Blue) used for digital display. RGB is accepted here at Bug, and sometimes produces great effects, but color will shift.

  • Include a 0.125 inch bleed on all sides of trim line if you want color to the edge.

  • Ensure all important elements are 0.125 inches within trim line. This prevents losing information during cutting. 


Save time by using Bug Press PDF presets. Download our custom joboption file for Adobe programs.
For more information and installation instructions, click here

Bleed, Safe Area, and Trim


A bleed is the portion of your design that extends past the trim size. The bleed is cut off when the document is trimmed to its final size. The purpose of a bleed is to ensure that the design or background color extends to the very edge and that no white edges are visible. A 0.125 inch bleed on all sides is required for all projects with a background color or photograph that extends to the edge. Example: for a standard business card, the full size of your document with bleed would be 3.75 x 2.25 inches.

To create a bleed: In Adobe InDesign or Illustrator, go to File > Document Setup and enter 0.125 inches for Bleed, then click 'Ok'. It will add bleed guides around your artboard. Simply extend any background color or image to this guide. 

Trim Line

The trim line is the final dimension of your project. Artwork and photographs must extend past the trim size (see "Bleed") to avoid white edges or loss of information after cutting. For a standard business card, the trim size would be 3.5 x 2 inches. 

Safe Area

This area is located within the trim line. It is smaller than the final size of your project. Any critical information, such as logos, text, or imagery, should be located within the safe area to avoid being cut off during processing. A 0.125 inch safe area within the trim line is strongly suggested for all projects. For a standard business card, the safe area would be 3.25 x 1.75 inches.

When ordering online, all project descriptions list the trim size and full bleed size to make file creation easier. 
Example of bleed, trim line, and safe area in a business card project.

Example of bleed, trim line, and safe area in a business card project.

Common Project Sizes:


4.25x5.5" size

with bleed: 4.5x5.75"

3.375x4.25" size

with bleed: 3.625x4.5"

2.875x4.25" size

with bleed: 3.125x4.5"

3.5x5.375" size

with bleed: 3.75x5.625"


Business Cards

without bleed: 3.5x2"
with bleed: 3.75x2.25"


without bleed: 8.5x11"
with bleed: 8.75x11.25"


without bleed: 11x17"
with bleed: 11.25x17.25"

Note Cards (5x7 folded)

without bleed: 10x7"
with bleed: 10.25x7.25"


without bleed: 4x6"
with bleed: 4.25x6.25"

Frequently asked questions


Placing an order

How do I place an order?
Your orders may be placed in person, by phone, email, or online. In person orders can be made Monday through Friday 9-5, no appointment necessary. Orders through our email can be placed at any time. Online orders can be made through

How long will my job take to complete?
Completion depends on current work load and the complexity of your project. Whereas posters or flyers can be done in a day or two, jobs with extensive set-up or bindery such as greeting cards will take longer. If there is a deadline, we will work with that timeframe.

How can I send files?
There are a few ways to send your files.

  • One is by creating an account on and going to the Upload page. Shoot us an email with instructions if it's a custom job.  
  • For files under 25MB, we accept files through our email,
  • You may also use our Hightail uplink page.  

Can I come in to look at samples?
Yes! It's incredibly helpful to personally look at papers to get a feel for weight and texture. In addition, our previous projects offer great inspiration and can give a sense of the quality of work we do here. We also offer free posters monthly, so we like visitors. 

Do you work with out of area clients?
We sure do. Variables to consider are cost of shipping and payment transfer. Shipping varies by distance and desired speed, and we can usually give you a pretty accurate estimate. Credit card payments can be accepted over the phone or through bugxpress.  

Preparing art for print

What is the best software to prepare files for print?
Usually, Adobe InDesign or Illustrator are recommended for most print design and setup. If you are unfamiliar with design software like Adobe Creative Suite, there are other options. A great free tool for file preparation is Canva, where you can create your artwork from templates and then email us the prepared PDF files. 

Do you offer graphic design?
Yes, we provide in-house design services for any printing project. We also do consulting for marketing and promotions. 


Can I see a PDF proof before printing?
We can email you a preview of your job before printing and notify you if there's a problem with sizing, color, et cetera. Let us know you'd like a PDF when you place your order. 

Can I see a color accurate printed proof?
Yes, we can print a color accurate proof on the paper you've chosen for $15. A press proof is recommended before a large run quantity, or for verifying artwork. 



We've put together some tutorials and shortcuts that would be helpful if you are creating your own file for upload. Please follow the Print Guidelines above to ensure the best quality results.


Exporting files to PDF

PDFs are the preferred file type to work with for print. They preserve layout and color, allow fonts to remain intact, and can prevent rasterizing of company logos or important elements. Here are instructions to export PDFs from a variety of common design programs. 


Tools & tricks

When creating files yourself, it's important to have a good understanding of the controls available to you. Adobe shortcuts allow you to quickly access commands and settings without using the mouse. Job Option files allow you to prepare files faster. 



For business cards, flyers, and posters, here are some tutorials for building your own projects or sending mailing lists.