When supplying artwork for a product that requires cutter guides, it's important to ensure that the guides are supplied as vector shapes. Vector shapes are a type of digital image that is made up of lines, curves, and points, rather than pixels. They are resolution-independent, meaning that they can be scaled to any size without losing quality or clarity.
In order to create cutter guides as vector shapes, you'll need to use design software that allows for the export of vector images, such as Adobe Illustrator. This will allow you to create the cutter guides as vector shapes and save them in a format that we can use.
The instructions below are based on Adobe Illustrator but you can create cutter guides using any software which is capable of saving vector files as a PDF.
First, create your design in accordance with our artwork supply guidelines. When you're ready to create a cutter line for your artwork, the first step is to create a new layer and name it "Cutter". This will ensure that the cutter line is separate from the rest of your artwork.
Depending upon the shape required, you can either use the freehand pen tool or copy and paste the outline of your design. Either way, it’s important that your cutter line is a 1pt stroke line without a fill.
When you’re happy with your cutter line, you’ll need to make sure it overprints the rest of your artwork. Select the cutter line then Menu: Window > Attributes > Overprint Stroke, then click the checkbox.
Next, you need to convert the cutter line to a spot colour. Select the cutter line, making sure you have selected ‘stroke’ rather than ‘fill’. In the Swatches panel, click ‘New Swatch’ and rename it ‘Cutter’. Set the colour type to ‘Spot Colour’, the colour mode to CMYK and specify the colour as 100% magenta.
Finally, double check that your cutter fits your artwork as expected and that there’s a 3mm bleed around all edges.
Now save your file as a Press Quality PDF. Remember to preserve spot colours, so the cutter line doesn’t convert to CMYK.