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Setting Up for Dies
August 4, 2020

Designing for Dies

The first step in creating a unique die-cut or embossed product is to design it! Choose where you want each score, cut, perfo, or emboss to go and place a line (or in the case of embossing, a shape) to signify it.

Always remember to add at least a 0.125” bleed outside the die line for cut out designs. When creating die-lines for cutting, perforating, or scoring, make sure to always use a path (also referred to as a line or stroke), not a filled shape. Don’t outline paths before exporting for print! Use a unique spot color to make it easy to differentiate from the rest of the file. Tip: Get creative! Use die cutting to knock out your logo over a decorative background page, cut out a personalized sticker, put interesting folds on a brochure, and much more!

How to Set Up a File With Dies

Creating Different Layers

To avoid confusion, always create a new layer for unique spot colors. For instance, all spot-colored lines that represent scoring should stay together on a Score layer. As should all perforating lines, cut lines, and embossing.

Choosing a Spot Color

Spot colors for specialty options should typically be bold and obviously different from the rest of the piece. Name the spot color according to the type of die used.

Below are the CMYK values we prefer to use for our die-cut effects:

  • “Die Line”: C100 M0 Y0 K0 (Use a solid line for cuts and a dashed line for perfs)
  • “Score Line”: C0 M100 Y0 K0
  • “Emboss”: C0 M0 Y0 K100

Creating a New Swatch

See our guide on Preparing Spot Colors for Specialty Effects for instructions.

Download the Guide