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Artwork Guidelines


Universal Smart Cards can either:

1) Design and create your card artwork the price will depend on the complexity of the design you wish for us to put together.

2) Use your existing artwork - please review the two options below, as well as the following guidelines on submitting suitable formats, files, images, fonts, logos etc.

Primary or pre-printed cards - This is the most common method for printing higher runs of cards using an offset/silkscreen printing process at the time of card manufacture.

Post printing of white cards in the Bureau - this is for personalization of cards with names or photos etc., or for quick runs of smaller numbers of cards using a dye-sublimation or retransfer printing method.


Primary or Pre-Printed Cards Guidelines

Accepted software formats
• Adobe Illustrator converts fonts to outlines
• Adobe Illustrator EPS convert fonts to outlines
• Adobe Photoshop this file type is not recommended for files including type as it diminishes the quality when printed
• Adobe Photoshop EPS convert fonts to outlines
• PDF high resolution, embed all included fonts Include all embedded and placed files.
• For more information on files formats please contact us

Colours for printing
• Files will be accepted in CMYK and Pantone colours only. Files in RGB will not be accepted.
• Pantone Colours; Ensure your artwork files specify the exact pantone colour names within the file. All pantones must also be included on your order form.

• Photographs must be a minimum of 300dpi (resolution) at 100%. NOTE: Photos that are imported into other applications and are enlarged, the resolution should be higher.
• Vector Art should remain as editable paths for optimal printing standards.

• All fonts used in the file must be supplied if outlines have not been created, including screen and printer fonts. Fonts must be supplied in True Type Format (Windows) or Post Script (Windows).

Gradients & Vignettes
• Ensure gradients created in Illustrator are set at 2400dpi in attributes and document setup. To prevent banding, it is best to create gradients in Photoshop.
• Also, due to the uniqueness of printing on plastic, gradations should not be 0% to 100%. If gradations are created at about 6% to 99% they have less of a tendency toward banding.

• Any logos included in the file must be supplied as vector drawn images, not bitmap or raster. This ensures the image remains crisp and clear. Alternatively, while not preferred, a high quality logo can be used. If you are unable to supply a suitable logo, we are able to do this for you from supplied artwork at an extra charge.

General Requirements
• Chord marks must be included in your file.
• Frames/borders must not be used to mark the trim if you do not want them to be printed.
• Files can be sent via email, by CD, or uploaded to our FTP server (details of which can be supplied upon request). 3 1/2 floppy disks and zip disks will not be accepted.


Post Printing Card Guidelines

Monochrome Dye-Sublimation
For images/logos that are required to be printed using dye-sublimation in a monochrome color (black, blue, red, green, silver, gold or white), the format of the logo should be one of the following:
• High quality laser print out at 600 dpi or above.
• Windows Monochrome Bitmap file.
o Recommended resolution 300 dpi.
o For logos 2cm by 1cm the image file should be 236 pixels x 118 pixels.
• If the only available logo is a color copy then conversion fees will be applied.

Color Dye-Sublimation and Retransfer
For images/logos that are required to be printed using color dye-sublimation or retransfer, the format of the logo should be one of the following:
• High quality laser print out at 600 dpi or above
• Windows Bitmap or JPEG File
• The following file formats are accepted, but a conversion fee will be applied:
• For all electronic images the following applies:
o Recommended minimum resolution 300 dpi
o For logo 2cm by 1cm the image file should be 236 pixels x 118 pixels
o Artwork should not include card edges or chip positions. Alternatively, provide two versions - one with the card outline (and chip position) and one without

Dye-Sublimation Hints and Tips
• Dye-sublimation printing relies on the printing head being in perfect contact with the card being printed to. In addition the printing process also uses heat to transfer the image directly to the card; and the more heat the better the image
• For these reasons, the following should be adhered to when designing a card:
o Avoid detail within 3mm of the contact plate on the face of the card
o Avoid detail within 2mm of the edge of the card on either surface of the card
o Avoid detail within the exclusion zone (marked in red) on the reverse of the card
o Very pale colors such as light grey, light yellow and light blue may appear washed out