Preparing Ad for Magazine Publication

Designing and preparing your ad for magazine publication

Spot color ads are based on PMS colors and should be made accordingly. All spot colors must be vector art and any photos must be monotone or duotone with the correct PMS color name.

BW ads should not have any color elements. Photos need to be grayscale.

4 color ads are CMYK. Convert all PMS colors and RGB color to CMYK. All black text should only be on the black plate.


The smallest type used should not be smaller that 6pt black. We recommended that Reverse type or color type be a minimum of 12pt sans serifbold. Do not set white type to “overprint” fonts. We use OPEN TYPE FONTS. The client needs to include ALL FONTS used with their document.

This includes fonts that are part of a graphic within the document. Reverse Text: is recommended to be at least 12 pt ad bold.


Graphics File format

Any file type can be uploaded, but we prefer TIFF, EPS and PDF files. If/when you upload gifs, jpegs, bmps, wmfs or picts image quality may be lost during


All 4 colors must be in CMYK format. Ensure all colors are prepared for process-color (CMYK) separations. Avoid hairline rules, as they may not reproduce. For thin black lines, use a .5 point rule.

Any fill or vector element that is black should be made up of black ink only or for a richer black, you can use 40% cyan, 100% black.

Be sure to check ALL text, logos, scans, and photos. Make sure your black is 100%K, not a CMYK mix, not 0R 0G 0B, not 32R 32G 32B, not “automatic” or “registration”. Blacks that are not 100%K will print on all CMYK plates have a greater chance of misregistration and look fuzzy or shadowed. We are not responsible for this if your ad is not set up correctly. Make sure your white vector art is not set to overprint.

Grayscale and four-color scans are required to be 300 dpi. Art should be within 5% and cropped for the needs of that particular ad.


All artwork and scanned photos must be included with each ad. Each graphic needs to have a name which does not include special characters.

  • Line art resolution should not exceed 2400 dpi (1200 dpi is preferred)
  • Printer Resolution: 2400 dpi


Set your document to the size ordered. Avoid creating complex clipping paths in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator because they may be impossible to image. A complex path is one that has many control points.

  • Clear the pasteboard surrounding your document of any unnecessary items, and make sure that there are no non-printable items in the document.
  • Check the colors in your document and eliminate non-printing and unused colors. Should your ad be in a bleed position, set the document size to the bleed size and margins to the safe area.

Standard PMS colors

Blue PMS 300, Green PMS 347, Orange PMS 165, Red PMS 185, Brown PMS 464, PMS Yellow, PMS Purple

Portable Document Format (PDF)

PDF is the standard for electronic distribution of documents and is also our preferred file format. PDF files are created when a file is saved as a PostScript file then “distilled” or converted to a PDF file using Adobe’s Acrobat Distiller. Many software packages allow you to create a PDF file from within the application. These PDFs do not always generate a correctly built PDF, and can cause unexpected results in the final output so it is recommended that you use the following instructions. It is a two-step process requiring Acrobat Distiller.

    STEP ONE: Creating the PostScript file.
    STEP TWO: Distilling the PostScript file. Use the PDF-X1a 2001 setting as transparencies need to be flattened. Set the compression to 300 for grayscale and color. Set the compression to 1200 for monotone. If the Ad Is Black & White: All artwork is line art or grayscale (check the mode of images in Photoshop).

If The Ad Is 4 Color: All elements are CMYK (check the mode of images in Photoshop). · All graphics are properly separated for color (blacks are 100% K, not any other mode)

If The Ad is Spot Color. All graphics are either grayscale or the PMS color ordered. Photos to be grayscale, Duotone or Monotone. Other art elements should be vector with the PMS color name.

PDFs should be the job size without any access white space, crop marks or page infomation.

Open your completed pdf to make sure colors are separating properly by viewing the menu: Advanced/Print Production/Output Preview/Seps on.

Is this your first time supplying us with a computer file for output?

If this is the first time your company is supplying us with a computer file for output, we suggest you provide us with the first file or a test file 72 hours in
advance of your ad’s deadline.

If you have questions or need help, please contact Ad Services.