Design Guidelines

Learn our Print Guidelines before Creating your Products!

The printing specifications for many types of merchandise goods are varied. Therefore, it is advised that you follow these instructions for optimal production quality:

Download the print guideline and template files

You can download the print guideline and template files at the bottom of the article. When you download, you will receive a .ZIP file containing many folders for each product. There are two file formats in each folder: .AI and .PDF, as well as an image file containing the canvas legend and a few additional printables.

Note: We recommend using the latest version of Adobe Illustrator to ensure the design process runs smoothly.

A quick tour

The image above shows a general view of the template file. A product can be different, depending on the print specifications.

  • Artboard Area

This area displays the canvas and the lines in it. This area is the place where you can create your design.

  • Print Guideline

This area shows various printing instructions that you can follow for optimal print results.

  • Layer

The bar displays the layers in the template file.

1.Cutting Line

The layer shows cut lines, fold lines, and bleed areas.

2. Design

The layer where you can put or create your design.

3. Guideline

The layer that shows the print guidelines.


  1. You are required to put or create the design on the 'Design' layer.
  2. When you are done creating your design, it is recommended that you delete the 'Cutting Line' and 'Guideline' layers. However, if you forget to delete the two layers, it is not a problem, because Adobe Illustrator will automatically hide the two layers.
  3. This layer bar may not appear by default in your Adobe Illustrator workspace.


The image above shows the standard legend in the template file. A product can be different, depending on the specifications of the printing method and the material.

  • Print Area

Maximum design area that can be printed. Make sure the important design elements are within this area.

  • Cut Line

The guidance shows where the merchandise is cut after printing. Generally, this line applies to paper products. This line can also serve as the borderline.

  • Border Line

A guideline to indicate the outer boundary of the design area. Generally, this line applies to products that do not require a cut line such as fabric products.

  • Fold Line

The guidance shows where the merchandise is folded after printing. Generally, this line applies to paper products.

  • Bleed

Tolerance area outside the cut line. It is recommended that you expand your design background (if any) so as not to leave any white areas after printing. Generally, this line applies to paper products.

Supported design elements and file formats

There are a few things you can do with the design elements and the design file format to get the best print results. The image below shows some of the elements and file types supported by Arterous Editor.

  1. Design Elements are all the elements you can use when creating a design. There are two supported element types: vector and bitmap. Vector elements can be points, lines, shapes, text, and so on. Bitmap elements can be photos or images in JPG and PNG format. If you are using bitmap elements, make sure they are in high resolution.
  2. Final Artwork (FA) is the file used for uploading to Arterous Editor. We recommend saving your file in .Ai or .PDF format.

Extra Guidelines

There are a few things you need to pay attention to when uploading your design files to Arterous Editor:

  1. You are required to create your design in CMYK color format.
  2. When you are finished creating the design, make sure all the text has been converted into an outline to avoid missing fonts when printing.
  3. If your design file contains a photo or image, make sure it is embedded.
  4. You do not need to add additional cut and fold lines yourself except for custom-shaped merchandise.
  5. There are several guidelines you need to follow for certain merchandise products for the best print results. For example, for clothing products, the thickness of the design parts should be no less than 2 mm, as seen in the image below.


Download print guidelines for merchandise products

You can download the guideline according to your needs at the category link below

Clothing & Apparel
Soft T-Shirt, Premium T-Shirt, Heavyweight T-Shirt, Youth T-Shirt, Raglan T-Shirt, Premium Long Sleeve Shirt, Heavyweight Long Sleeve Shirt, Polo Shirt, Sweatshirt,  Pullover Hoodie, Zipper Hoodie, Coach Jacket, Windbreaker Jacket, Bomber Jacket, Hijab 
Baseball Cap, Snapback, Trucker Hat, Scarf, Tote Bag, Pin, Acrylic Keychain, Pop Socket


Hardcover Notebook, Soft Cover Notebook, Postcard,  Greeting Card, Matte Sticker, Glossy Sticker

Home & Living
Tumbler Tube, Tumbler Flip Top, Tumbler Sport, Tumbler Active, Tumbler Pin, Mug, Fridge Magnet, E-Toll Card, Photocard, Small Poster, Large Poster



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