You can download our pre-formatted start file
Or create your own file from scratch
To create new document select File > New. For business cards, create a file 91 mm x 61 mm. Colour mode should be CMYK. For postcards the size should be 151.5 x 108 mm.
Page sizes for other products can be found here.
For business cards create guides 3mm and 6mm from each edge, and for postcards create guides 1.5mm and 4.5mm from each edge.
Trim and text area
Your document should now look something like this. The colour of your guides may be different, that’s fine.
You are now ready to create your design within this template.
Please note, nothing should extend to the outer edge of the document other than items that extend right to the edge of your cards, like a background colour or all-over image for example. For more information on "bleed", please refer to our file preparation tutorial.
The first guide lines (3mm for business cards or 1.5mm for postcards) show where the cards will be cut. The inner guides (6mm for business cards and 4.5mm for postcards) show the 'safe' area for your design. You should try to keep your all your text and images within the inner guides to avoid the possibility of anything on your cards being 'clipped' when we cut them.
You can now design your cards within this template. The only items that should touch the outer line are those that "bleed" off the edge of your card. The middle line shows where the cards will be cut, you should try to keep all your text and images within the inner line to avoid the possibility of anything being ‘clipped’.
Use the Document Info palette (File > Document Info) to ensure any images you use are all at least 300dpi and are CMYK.
Very fine text, rules and keylines should be avoided.
Ensure you have the page rulers showing (View > Show Rulers) and that they are displaying in millimeters (Edit > Preferences > Units).
Set the co-ordinates of your artboard to be 0,0 at the top left-hand corner by clicking and dragging the cross from where the two page rulers meet at the top left of your screen.
Now click in the ruler at the top and drag down a guide to 3mm into the page, and let go. Do this again at 6mm down, 55mm down and 49mm down. Click in the side ruler and drag to 3mm, 6mm, 79mm and 85mm across.
The bounding box does not show in your design, but is very important as it dictates the size of your eps file.
Select the rectangle tool.
Click once on the top left corner of your artboard, this will open a window into which you can enter the size of the box.
Set the size for business cards to 91 mm x 61 mm and for A6 postcards to 151.5 mm x 108 mm.
Ensure the box has a transparent stroke and fill (Window > Show Colours) and is positioned exactly over your artboard.
Saving your artwork
Save the file as an Adobe Illustrator (.ai) file. This is your back up in case you need to make alterations at any time in the future. This file cannot be uploaded.
View the document at 25%, ensuring you can see all round the outside of your page, now Edit > Select All. There should be nothing outside the outer box. If there is, delete it.
Convert text to outlines
All text within your document should be changed to outlines, all hidden characters removed, and black text set to overprint.
Edit > select All > and then Type > Create outlines.
You must also ensure there are no hidden characters (∞) on your artwork. (Type > Show Hidden Characters). If there are any of these on your document, you should delete them.
Ensure none of your artwork is set to overprint. This option can be found in Window > Attributes.
Select File > Save As. Choose Illustrator EPS (.eps) and save the file.
Please note: Using Illustrator filters and transparencies sometimes produce elements in your design that do not print correctly. If you have used these effects in your Illustrator artwork, we recommend that you export your artwork as a 400 DPI TIFF.