File Requirements & Setup Guidelines

File Setup Requirements

We prefer vector files (.ai, .pdf & .eps) for a majority of our projects. It will also produce the fastest turnaround time for your project. We’re very flexible at Sticker Genius though, and will accept almost any file type. Some custom products require different file types (see chart below).

General, .pdf, .eps, .psd, .psb, .indd, .jpg, .png & .tif
Exact Cut Vinyl Transfer Decalsai, .pdf & .eps (must be vector graphics)
Photo, .pdf, .eps, .psd, .psb, .indd, .jpg, .png & .tif
Photo Cutouts.psd, .psb, .jpg, .png, .ai, .eps & .tif
Wall Muralsai, .pdf, .eps, .psd, .psb, .indd, .jpg & .tif
Life Size Standupsai, .pdf, .eps, .psd, .psb, .jpg, .png & .tif, .pdf, .eps, .psd, .jpg, .png & .tif

If you are unsure whether your files meet our guidelines, please contact a stickologist. We’ll be more than happy to help you get your project in motion.

Due to variations in acceptable standards with raster based prints. We cannot guarantee the print resolution will meet your qualifications unless you supply us with a high-resolution raster graphic or vector graphic. We will do our best to warn about potential pixelation. Vector graphics will also make sure your cut lines are 100% accurate for custom shaped stickers.

It is always a good idea to zoom in and review your graphics at 100%-400% and scroll around to spot potential problems.

When setting up files for wall quotes or exact cut graphics with really intricate cut paths. There are a couple guidelines to follow. Since this type of graphic is cut exactly to the graphic element and/or lettering. Therefore, leaving no outline to make the sticker one piece. We require a minimum width of .07″ for stokes & fine lines in your graphics. Also, any gaps between letters and shapes must be at least .07″ thick.

custom vinyl lettering decals

Be careful with Chalkboard, Distressed, Handwriting & Sketch type graphics. This style usually creates very erratic shapes and thicknesses. For best results try to make more solid shapes when setting up files for exact cut graphics. If you are creating an outlined sticker as one piece. You can skip this guideline.

If you choose to add sharp thin elements to your artwork. We cannot guarantee the quality for your decal. For best results, we suggest rounding your shapes or making thick solid lines that are greater than .125″.

If elements in your design have sharp points, small cuts, or really fine lines unexpected results may occur. Also, files setup for an exact cut may not contain any clipping masks.

Intricate Patterns

We also try to stay away from tight lined patterns. If you are looking to have a pattern cut that has multiple lines less than 1/4 inch we could experience problems. As you can see in the pattern above these lines would be very difficult to install from transfer tape, because they are so thin.

Thin patterned cut lines for vinyl


If you absolutely need it smaller or don’t know how to check. Please send your file to us, and a professional graphic designer will take a look to see if we can make it happen.

This type of graphic is shipped with transfer tape for installation. Instructions on how to install transfer tape vinyl graphics.

If working with artwork that extends past your cut path. Please add a minimum of .125″-.25″ bleed to your artwork. Also, allow .125″-.25″ of a “safe area” inside of your cut path. This way important text and/or design elements are not trimmed off during our cut process.
All final design files must have fonts or text converted to outlines before submitting. This video will demonstrate how to outline in Adobe Illustrator. This method is similar in Adobe Photoshop, but is referred to as “Convert to Shape”. You will find it in the menu bar by selecting “Type” then “Convert To Shape”.
To prevent any scaling issues. Make sure you expand appearance and expand strokes.
Files that are not saved correctly can sometimes lead to color issues. Since RGB (what you see on your monitor) has a different overall color gamut range than CMYK (printer colors). It makes sense and is fine to create your files in RGB mode, but when saving your final file create a CMYK color mode version to submit to us. The color mode is how your file is set up and saved. If you have Pantone (PMS) Colors assigned to your vectors they will print using those colors. If you intend on printing with Pantone Colors please submit your file with all colors assigned in file.
RGB vs CMYK color modes
This is an extreme case that was used to demonstrate what you see on your monitor is not always what will be printed.
Illustrator Users Menu Bar: File > Document Color Mode > CMYK Color Photoshop Users Menu Bar: Image > Mode > CMYK Color
If you link a lot of your artwork within your files. Please make sure that you embed anything that might not be attached to the final file when uploaded.
Embedding Artwork
How to embed linked files in Adobe Illustrator
Otherwise, use the InDesign or Illustrator feature of “packaging” your project files. Submit packaged folders as zip files. If you choose this method please email files to or contact us about other file sharing methods.
A minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch) should be used as a general guideline for your raster-based files. Sometimes referred to as PPI (pixels per inch). We will accept all levels of dpi just be aware that if you submit a file with low resolution it will most likely have some pixelation and/or blur. We will analyze your file the best we can to let you know how well it will print. DPI Settings

Always check your file image resolution before submitting by zooming into 100% and examining for yourself. This allows you to see pixel resolution at the same size as it will be printed. You can check your documents dpi level in Photoshop by clicking on “Image > Image Size” in the menu bar. DPI or PPI is referred to as resolution.

When dealing with large format prints such as photo stickers and wall murals. We recommend designing on a certain scale with lower dpi settings. This is described below (WALL MURAL FILE SETUP section).

Ink Layering

We print on clear decals with two layers of ink. There is a base layer of white ink that will be laid down underneath the color inks. This is to provide a more opaque printed graphic on clear decals. Rather than just one layer of CMYK ink. To print with the best opacity and crispness of your graphic. It is recommended to submit vector graphics. This allows us to create proper separations for your vectors and apply exact layering of your printed graphics. If you are only able to submit raster (pixel) based artwork we can generate the white layer, but may not print with the best opacity. See below for full description.

Graphics With Full Color (No White Artwork)

We can print full color graphics on clear decals with all file types. Both raster (pixels based) and vector artwork is acceptable.

Full Color Clear Decal No White Artwork

Graphics With Full Color + White Artwork

We can print full color with white artwork, but require vector graphics for this print type. This allows us to assign the white ink areas correctly. Also, please make sure all fonts have been converted to vector outlines. White Ink Printed On Clear Decal
To prevent cutting off important text or design elements from your graphics. We recommend not having important design elements too close to the edge of your print. It’s recommended to allow .125-.25″ of safety area from your important designs and where the sticker will actually be cut. This also applies to borders and strokes that are on the edges of the cut path. If the area is too thin sometimes it can cut off portions of your design and/or make thickness seem to not look equal on all sides. Not Designing To the Edge Stroke on edge of cut path example (Magenta represents .125″ minimum thickness) Graphic Border Margin Example
Often designers believe that black is created using this default CMYK formula C0, M0, Y0, K100 (which will work). To achieve a rich black for your prints, please use our CMYK formula of C60, M40, Y40, K100. We’ve found that this formula works best in most cases. If rich black is not used your prints could show banding lines. Do not use registration black in your designs C100, Y100, M100, K100. Some printers may request that your blacks have a different formula such as C75, M67, Y66, K90. This is a very common formula as well. We will accept this.
Rich Black CMYK
Do not use registration black in your designs C100, Y100, M100, K100
When submitting your files, please save a “flattened” version of your designs. File sizes can get really large when there are multiple layers of raster artwork. When layers have been flattened you can be sure you have the smallest file size and will eliminate any conflicts when we print your order. Make sure you always save a backup version of your original artwork with layers. Otherwise, you will not be able to edit your file once it is flattened. If you are submitting a JPG or PNG that will automatically flatten your file, but not always the recommended file type to submit due to resolution.

Setup Guidelines

When using our design templates or when uploading your own:
  • Please allow .125″ (1/8″) of bleed to extend past the cut line
  • .125″ (1.8″) inside of the cutline as a safe area
This will ensure that your graphic will cut without problems. Design Template For Stickers
When printing restickable photo stickers, please make sure you upload the original file. If you’ve saved the file from your digital camera or phone camera it should have high dpi and pixel count. Files that have been saved from websites have been compressed to 72 dpi and will not have great results due to pixelation (as shown below). Pixelation Saving photos from websites such as Facebook If you are looking for a photo sticker, and are not too picky about the final resolution. You would be fine printing 4×6’s or 8×10’s with photos from Facebook. They are most likely not the ideal dpi level, but for small prints, you should be just fine. How to check the pixel count of a file Mac Users: Select photo file, right click and select “Get Info” PC Users: Select photo file, right click and select “Properties” How to check the resolution of a file You can check your documents dpi level in Photoshop by clicking on “Image > Image Size” in the menu bar. DPI or PPI is referred to as resolution. DPI Settings

Photo Cutout Decal Guidelines

When taking or choosing photos for photo cutout decals make sure your subject is at least larger than 50% of the photo area. Photos that are too small will only look good when viewed from a distance.


Trim Bleed
If you are installing any of these murals flush to any edges or corners of walls, floor, or ceiling. You will want to add at least 2″-4″ of extra design on each side that may be touching an edge or corner. This allows for the print to be installed with the excess and then trimmed off after installation. This is to accommodate for uneven walls left to right or top to bottom.

For example, if your wall is 120″ x 96″. Make your final dimensions for this design 124″ x 100″. If the extra bleed has been applied, be sure to let us know what the actual wall dimensions are before bleed.

For large murals, we provide the prints in multiple panels to create the overall dimensions. Our software will automatically add the overlaps and sections. By default, we set up your final prints with a 1″ overlap at the seams to help with installation. The panels can be provided as long vertical panels (similar to wallpaper) or long horizontal panels. These parameters can be customized if need be for your prints.

File Scale
We require that you design your large-scale graphics be set up to a scale. This is mainly due to file sizes for very large layouts. You may select any scale just indicate this in your order notes or in the file.

Common scales to design to are: 1/2 Scale, 1/4 Scale, 1/10 Scale or 1/12 Scale. If your print will be viewed up close (office, lobby, etc.) you will want to design to the smallest scale and high dpi setting. For wall graphics that are viewed at distances greater than 10 feet you will be fine designing to a smaller scale, and will most likely get away with a very low dpi setting. DPI settings should be 300dpi or above. If your file is viewed from a distance you may go lower.

If you are working with vector graphics or low-resolution raster graphics. We will accept full-scale designs.

Why do we design to a scale?
The main reason we do this is due to the file size. With a smaller file size, it will be easier to make edits to your file and not overload your computer. Also, sending us your file will be a lot easier with a manageable file size.

The other reason is due to how the human eye perceives these graphics. For example, when you look at a billboard as you’re driving you would think that the print is perfect. In reality, if you were to walk up to a billboard graphic you would notice heavy pixelation (unless the design is completely vector). When viewed from a distance the human eye will not notice the pixelation. This same thing applies to wall graphics that are viewed at even a closer distance than billboard graphics.

If your design is completely made up of vector graphics. You are safe to design at any scale.

DPI for large-scale wall graphics/murals
After you have chosen the appropriate scale you can then choose your project’s resolution. With large prints, you will want to choose a dpi that is below 300 dpi. This may sound crazy considering most graphics are printed at 300-600 dpi. The reason we choose a lower dpi is for the same reasons stated above. Manageable files and how the human eye perceives large scale prints.

Toggle ContentYou can indicate a custom path for a photo cutout. Photoshop users (preferred method) please create a work path using the pen tool. Save your work path by double-clicking on the working path to save and name path. Save your final file as a .PSD file. Illustrator users please save final file (.PDF or .AI) with a 1 pixel stroke indicating your cut path. We will add appropriate bleed. Do not crop out background if you wish for us to add bleed to your final printed graphic. Paths window in Photoshop – Menu Bar > Window > Paths Custom Die Line Stickers
Price Modification Due To File Setup Files that are setup incorrectly, or ganged to layout multiple designs on one print may be subject to price modification from the original purchase price.
Due to the cutting process. It is recommended to save your designs with borders no smaller than .125″ thick. This will prevent your sticker from having a border that can appear to have some sides thicker than others.


File Extensions

.jpg or .jpeg (Joint Photographic Expert Group)
.png (Portable Network Graphics)
.ai (Adobe Illustrator)
.psd or .psb (Photoshop Document)
.pdf (Portable Document Format)
.eps (Encapsulated PostScript)
.tif or .tiff (Tagged Image File Format)
.indd (Adobe InDesign Document)

Vector and Raster Graphics

Answer: A vector file is a graphic that is made up of nodes, shapes & paths (not pixels). Vector graphics can be scaled to any size without losing quality, and normally are very small in file size. Vector files are made with graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, etc. A raster file consists of pixels (little squares). Every photo or raster based graphic is made up of pixels and the resolution of images are measured in ppi (pixels per inch) or dpi (printed dots per inch). The higher the ppi or dpi and larger dimensions for your image or design the better it will print. Our graphic designers can vectorize your logo or design if you need a file in a more scalable format.
Answer: Yes! We can take pretty much any graphic and turn it into a print ready vector file for as low as $25. We have a very fast turnaround on all graphic design projects. Please send all inquiries to This fee is often waived or reimbursed for large orders.

Answer: If your files exceed our 12MB upload limit, or have multiple files you want to submit at once. Please contact us at to send files via email.

We are also open to cloud-based file sharing websites such as Dropbox, Hightail, Box, Copy, Google Drive, etc.

Just send your folder or file invites to

Beginners Guide To Understanding File Types

Need assistance with your file? Call us at 855-784-2553

Graphics that are not set up according to the setup guidelines listed above and require additional editing/setup are subject to additional production fee(s).

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