Flood Coats, Bleeds & Cut Tolerances
Flood Coats, Bleeds, Cut Margin Tolerances and other requirements have been put in place to help ensure that your custom printed products print with best results. The following details about these print setting requirements are not difficult to understand but knowing about them may help you ensure that your order goes through production smoothly without delay.
Use the following details to learn more about each design setup requirement to learn more. If you need clarification please feel free to give us a call and we will do our best to help explain. Your feedback will be used to improve our flood coats and bleeds page with better details.
Flood coats are primarily used to produce a solid white background for the colors of your print. Without a flood coat application the colors of your print will appear faded and transparent. Some customers will ask for us to remove the flood coat so that their image produces a stained glass look when applied to a window but this does not produce a very realistic results because of the way glass traps and refracts light. Printed surfaces are flat and do not refract but rather reflect light. The end result is less than desirable.
We normally apply flood coats on clear products like vinyl and static cling. We also apply flood coats on face clings and face adhesive decals since these products are manufactured by printing on clear materials in reverse so that you can see the design through the material. Flood coats are not needed on other substrates like dog tags, car magnets and vinyl decals that are not clear because these products are solid and already contain a white background.
In regards to flood coat settings there is nothing for you to do on your end when setting up your design. We handle all flood coatings on case-by-case bases. If your order of clear decals or static clings requires the flood coating we will add that for you when your order goes through pre-production.
Bleeds are important in our manufacturing process when we print your custom designed items. A bleed is simply extra image or color that extends beyond the edge of the cut lines for your decals, car magnets, static cling or other product. We need bleeds to help ensure that if cutting does shift a little the colors and background patterns of your design will still fill the entire product area. Most of the time we simply add our own bleeds to products and will edit your design if needed to obtain the correct bleed amount prior to printing. If you'd like to produce your own files for production and then simply upload them to our website you can create a 0.0625" bleed beyond the edge of your item. For instance: a 5" circle car magnet would have a document size of 5.0625". Your artwork would then fill the entire 5.0625" area where you'll then upload and size your image to be exactly 5.0625". This will produce your 0.0625" bleed amount. If you have questions about bleeds please feel free to contact us.
Cut Margin Tolerances
Cut margins are simply tolerances or safety zones between the edges of the product and vital elements of the design. An example of a vital element would usually be text. All too often cuts can shift a little during production. We require at lease 0.125" (1/8") from the edge of your decal, car magnet, static cling or other custom printed product and important design elements like text. If the cut shift they shouldn't shift very much but when text and other important elements like images are too close to the edge the shifting of cuts becomes very noticeable. This also applies to vinyl lettering that contains a stroke or outline color. We need at lease 0.125" tolerance for us to cut it to shape. All designs that do not meet this requirement will either be subtly adjusted on our end prior to production or simply printed on clear material and then contour cut around the design within 0.0625" from the edge of the design. Clear printing is only available for decals and static clings. When setting up your own designs just make sure all text and design elements are inside the edge of the product by 0.125". The larger the product, the easier it is to meet these requirements. The smaller the item the more difficult this requirement becomes. Meeting these requirements simply helps ensure that better visual accuracy for cutting.
When cutting custom decals to shape, something we specialize in, there are a few things to keep in mind. Bleeds and Cut Margins are certainly important and should be considered when creating your design. Intricacy in your design also plays a very important roll. We can work with some pretty detailed designs but at some point the amount of intricate design elements may cause cutting issues. For example, the thinnest line art should be at least 0.009". The amount of picks will also play a factor. Please read below for decal pick limit details. If we cannot cut your decal to shape for whatever reason, we will print on clear vinyl and then contour cut around your design. The final shape of your decal will still be custom but it will now contain 0.125" border of clear vinyl around your design. We also have a minimum letter height of 0.25" tall. If your lettering in your design is not a simple san-serif font that measures a minimum of 0.25" tall then we will need to print on clear vinyl and contour cut around the design and lettering within 0.125". Reasons your design would need to be contour cut would include not meeting our requirements for Bleeds, Cut Tolerances, and minimum text size limits. Exceeding the maximum pick count can also cause the decal to be printed on clear vinyl and contour cut around the design.
Vinyl Decal Pick Limits
When printing and cutting decals there are always vinyl elements that need to be removed manually. These elements include the inside portions of lettering and the other negative areas of the design that should not be part of the final decal. This is especially true when it comes to custom cut to shape vinyl lettering and decals. We have accounted for 12 picks per decal regardless of quantity. More than 12 picks will produce an additional charge of $0.02 per pick. This may not seem like a large charge but please keep in mind that when order large quantities, the additional charge can add up pretty fast. For instance, say you have a total of 17 picks in your design. Twelve of those picks are included in your default price but you'll be charged for 5 extra picks. For a quantity of 1 decal you'll only be charged $0.10 extra, however, when ordering 1,000 decals this comes to an extra $100. This extra charge helps cover the extra labor that we incur when removing extra unwanted pieces of vinyl adhesive from your design. Ways around this extra charge include editing your design to contain fewer picks, allowing us to print on clear vinyl and contour cut around the design and in some rare cases simply reducing your overall design a little can help.