example displaying safe cut lines

Our design team will need some information from you to start the project. Some of these items include:

  • A vector file of your school logo, typically an .ai or .eps extension.
  • Your school colors in Pantone numbers.
  • Your preferred font.
  • Verbiage you’d like to use like school slogans or character words.
  • High-resolution photos, if applicable.

Please follow our guidelines if you’ll be creating your own design. Good preparation of your files is critical to meeting deadlines and avoiding extra time, effort, and additional setup charges.

Accepted Software:

We can work with artwork created in any industry-standard design programs such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop.

Starting your Document:

If you have not worked with a specific process before it’s important to call BEFORE starting your design. You will need specifications for the product you’re designing.

  • Graphics containing photos along with logos, copy, or line-art will need to be set up as a page layout in inDesign or Illustrator.
  • Displays stretching across multiple panels should always be set up as one continuous layout.
  • Always include bleed for trimming on graphics. See our bleed guidelines for your product.
  • Files can be made at any scale as long as the proportions are accurate.
  • Please indicate any cutouts and die lines on a seperate layer on your layout.
  • Complex and custom cutouts will require a vectored cut path.
  • Perform a Collect or Package to gather your fonts and linked/placed images. All text should be converted to outlines if you’re not providing fonts with your files.

Please send artwork in its native format with all fonts and links included. Many programs have an option for exporting your layouts as a self-contained PDF. These files will need to be flattened and will receive no color adjustments. Approval will be required to print these files “as is.”

Document Advice

  • We don’t recommend using auto trace or making clipping paths using the magic wand selections as they rarely result in a smooth line. Manually drawing paths often produce the best results.
  • Don’t use transparency or opacity sliders to achieve a certain color. Always use a color value or tint to match a specific color.
  • Gradients created in InDesign and Illustrator can cause banding on the final product. To avoid this, create your gradients in Photoshop and link them into your layout program.

Matching your Colors:

It’s important to remember that it’s nearly impossible to match laser prints when doing color correction because color is device-dependent. An identical digital color will print differently on different devices and on different media.

Color Advice

  • When specifying vector file colors, please use PMS (Pantone Matching System) solid coated numbers.
  • When possible, we will adjust spot colors to the closest match for the selected output device and media.
  • It’s important to keep all color profiles across your project’s images. Different profiles may cause color shifting or an unwanted output. We will request new files if your color spaces don’t match.
  • Please let us know in advance if your colors need to be consistent with a previous order.
  • Please keep artwork in a layered format if color matching in a Photoshop file.
  • For Pantone color, our default is coated. Please specify if you’d like uncoated.
  • Please do not use fluorescent, neon, and metallic colors as these can’t be replicated.


We will need the right amount of bleed on your project files. Failure to provide accurate bleed will result in a delay of the project as we’ll need to contact you for new files. Please do not place design elements too close to the outer edges of your project as they may be cut off if your project material shrinks during heat transfer.

Bleed Advice

  • Fabric requires 2 inches of bleed on ALL sides beyond the final trim size. This will be 4 inches in total.
  • Canvas material that will be stretched into a frame needs 2 inches of bleed on ALL sides beyond the final trim size. This will be 4 inches in total.
  • Other materials will require 1/2 inch bleed on ALL sides beyond the final trim size. This will be 1 inch total.
  • Billboards need 6 inches of bleed on all sides beyond the final trim size. This will be 12 inches in total. If bleed is not provided the image will be shrunk down to have a border on all sides in a complimentary color.

Other Branding Services

I've been working with Westlake Media from a professional standpoint for almost six months now, and all I can say is I wish the organization I am with partnered with them SOONER.

They've been instrumental in helping our small organization build our brand through both physical and digital impressions. As a small business, there are many resources we simply do not have at our disposal. This is where Westlake has come in an made their impact felt and done incredible work for us.

Cory Kukkola

North Central University