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Sticker Printing: How to Properly Prepare Your Files?

Last Updated: January 13, 2022

If you are wondering how to nail your sticker printing, here’s a technical guide how to do it.
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Stickers are original advertising media that allow you to personalize any surface. The formats and supports are very varied for this type of media. You can find lettering, adhesive vinyl, or micro-perforated vinyl. There is something for everyone. Visit kiasuprint.com for the best custom sticker printing services. 

Proper preparation of files is essential for successful sticker printing. Here are the technical constraints you should respect to properly prepare your sticker file before printing.

Use the correct template

Look for proper templates for each sticker format.  You can download templates from various platforms to help you build your document in the correct dimensions, taking into account overhangs and the internal security zone.

Overhang and lost edges

Allow 5mm of bleed edges all around your file. If your background is in color, put 5 mm of the same color to avoid having white edges when cutting. For example, if you want a 10x20cm sticker, prepare your 11x21cm size file to include the 5mm overhang.   

When cutting your stickers, it is possible to have an offset, which is why it is recommended to provide wider edges.

Safety zone

To optimize the printing and cutting of your sticker, avoid placing essential elements of your sticker, such as text within 3 mm of the edge.  Respecting this area is vital as the text may be cut off during cutting.   

Print format

Work directly on the desired print size to avoid distorting the file when resizing it. If you work your document with a dimension different from that of the printing one, you will have to resize the file by increasing or decreasing the size. If you enlarge the dimensions of your file, then you will lose print quality.  You also risk distorting your visual if the proportions of the formats are not identical (we speak of homothety). For example, go from an A4 format to a 10×20 cm format.

pexels cottonbro 4123764

Image quality and resolution

The higher the resolution of your file, the better quality your print will be. Create files with a resolution of 300 dpi (pixels per inch) to get good quality when printing your stickers.   

Please note, there is no point in saving your file with a resolution of 72 dpi, for example, and enlarging it to 300 dpi. This will not improve the quality of the document. Save your file at a minimum 300 dpi resolution from the start.   

If you print your file at a resolution of 72 dpi, you may end up with a pixelated and poor quality sticker. The lower the dpi, the larger the pixels, which is why in printing, you should opt for a higher resolution

Colorimetry mode

Check that your file is encoded in CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black), essential for use in printing and not in RGB  (Red, Green, Blue), which is the mode used on the screens. CMYK corresponds to the 4 colors used in printing.  

If your files are made in RGB, then they will be automatically converted for printing in CMYK, and the printed color rendering will be degraded.  

Save your file

Saving your file is the last step before printing. But it remains an essential step because if the file is saved badly or in the wrong format, it can affect the quality of the file.   

It is essential to save the document in high-definition PDF format or high-definition JPG format.   

Final checks

Finally, before sending your file for printing, remember to correct your file in case of errors. Even if it seems logical, it is important to proofread your document and have it proofread to ensure that all your information, such as spelling, numbers, dates, addresses, are correct.

cold brew sticker

Choosing the Right Material

After preparing your files and sticker design, the next important step is to choose the right materials for your stickers. The material you choose depends on how you intend to use the stickers. A glossy paper is the best option if you plan to print barcodes or want to use them on small products. Vinyl is the best option if you want your stickers to stay in the perfect shape while exposed to destructive elements like bad weather. 

It is a sturdy material that can’t wear or tear quickly. An ideal way to keep your stickers strong is laminating them. The number of stickers you plan to print can affect the material you choose. Look for a viable option that will also help you cut costs. Preparing your files correctly and choosing the right material is vital if you plan to print quality stickers. 

Written by Geoffrey Poole

Hey Geoffrey here, I’ve been into technology and the internet ever since I can remember. I enjoy writing articles about emerging technology, social media and business. But sometimes feel inspired to cover other topics too. My aim is to make complex topics digestible and easy for anyone to understand.