Artwork Guidelines

File Formats

Vector: PDF, EPS or AI

Raster: TIF, JPG, PSD


At least 150 DPI at the final printed size for large-format jobs, 300 DPI for small format jobs.


Please convert fonts to outlines. We often need to edit files for cut paths or bleeds and fonts need to be stroked. Fonts can also be included with the artwork upload if more editing is needed.


Please embed links in all files (EPS, AI or PDF) or include them with upload.

Color Space

CMYK. (If an RGB file is submitted we’ll convert to CMYK, there will be a slight color shift.)

Note: RiverWorks Printing will reproduce color as accurately as possible, but due to ink limitations, we cannot exactly match every color.

Crops and Bleeds

Please do not add crops marks.


Many large-format jobs don’t require a bleed. If you are unsure please email to confirm. Some typical bleeds required:

          Banners – 1″ on all 4 sides.

          Contour Cut Prints – 1/8″ on all 4 sides.

Small-Format Prints

Business Cards, Postcards, Flyers, etc.


We can provide a template for design.

Stretched Canvas

Files that are about 2M or larger reproduce nicely on canvases sized at 12×12 or 12×18. Larger files would be needed for 18×24 and 24×36.


Typically, we use the outside 1 1/2″ of the photo to wrap around the edge of the canvas. Sometimes that is not possible due to the subject matter in the photo being cropped tightly.  In that case, we mirror the outer edge of your photo to create the edge that wraps around the stretcher bar.  If you will be adding your own bleeds, below are some guidelines.


1 1/2″ Gallery Wrap – 2″ on each side a.k.a. 4 inches larger in height & width than the size you order. (For a 12″ x 18″, your file needs to be 16″ x 22″ so your image shows on the sides of the stretcher bars. So the outside 2″ edge of your photo all around is not viewable from the front.)


Museum Wrap – None needed. Choose a white or black wrapped edge. We can also sample a solid color from the submitted photo.

  • Your monitor doesn’t accurately show the resolution or print color of your file as monitor resolution is about 72 PPI and in RGB.

  • If using photos from your digital camera, make sure the camera is on the highest setting.

  • When submitting photos, be careful email programs don’t compress the image. or are great ways to send photos without compression.

  • If your image is smaller than 2 Meg, it may not be large enough for print.

More Information


Large Format = 150PPI

Small Format = 300PPI


Resolution (PPI or pixels per inch) refers to the number of pixels (small boxes of color info) that make up an image. Increasing the size of your image, enlarges the individual pixel size, resulting in a larger image, but now there are fewer pixel boxes (holding all that great color info and detail) per inch, creating a rough, pixilated image. Every time you double the size of your image, the PPI gets cut in half. Additionally, in Photoshop, re-sampling an image (inputting a larger number into the pixels or size field in ‘Image Size’ menu, after the image is created) is not an optimal way to get an appropriate file resolution for printing. It often creates a soft focus look to the image. Images should to be created at the PPI needed. Be aware of this when choosing your print size.


Typically, for large-format signage, 150 DPI, at full size, is fine. As a general rule, the higher the PPI, the better the image quality. Beyond 300 PPI however, you’ll see no difference in the final image quality, just a really large file to upload. Small-format (offset prints), like business cards, postcards, door hangers, etc. need to be 300 DPI for best print results.


If you need help determining how large your image will print, we are happy to help. We will always contact you if your file will print very pixilated.



If scanning at 100% size, 150 PPI is great. If you need to enlarge your scan for print, a higher scan resolution is needed to ensure the image still has enough resolution at full, enlarged size.­­ Keep in mind that every time you double the size of your image, the PPI gets cut in half.


Raster (Bitmap) vs. Vector Images

Raster (a.k.a. Digital File, Bitmap):

  • Raster images are made up of colored squares (pixels)

  • Resolution dependent – resizing affects image quality

  • Photos and most scanned images are bitmaps

  • File types are typically: JPG, TIF, PSD and sometimes a PDF (if a digital file is saved out as a PDF)



  • Made up of lines and shapes, like a coloring book

  • Resolution Independent – scaling images does not affect quality

  • Fonts are vector based, with clean lines

  • File types are typically: AI, EPS, PDF