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Using Professional Mode Artwork Templates

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Using Professional Mode Artwork Templates

For those that are in a professional setting

Tania Walker, 28 Aug 2023

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Overview

This article will step you through the process of downloading and using Launch Lab's PDF artwork templates for Adobe and Affinity, to make artwork preparation easy. Watch the short video tutorial below or read on.

Preparation

This article assumes you have already signed up to Launch Lab, created a project, and added components.

Using artwork templates

In Launch Lab, navigate to the My Projects page, and click on a project to enter the Component List.

Screenshot: Component list in Launch Lab

Download and unzip template

In the Prepare tab of any component, click the green Download template button to save the template for that component to your computer.

The template is provided in a ZIP file.

Screenshot: Template ZIP folder in a local folder on the Desktop

Double-click the ZIP file on your computer to unzip the contents into a folder.

Template folder

In the template folder, you'll find four files. These include:

  • A set of instructions
  • An AI template file (for Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer)
  • An IDML template file (for Adobe InDesign or Affinity Publisher)
  • A PDF template file (for alternative apps)

Screenshot: Contents of unzipped template folder

Instructions PDF

We recommend you look at the instructions PDF the first time you use one of these templates. Double-click the PDF to open it.

Screenshot: first page of template instructions PDF

Screenshot: second page of template instructions PDF

You'll find useful information in the PDF, including:

  • Which template file to use with your design software
  • How many pages your final file should include
  • The overall dimensions of your final file
  • A thumbnail preview of the component this template matches
  • Adobe PDF preset information
  • Colour space information
  • A pre-design checklist
  • A final checklist
  • A legend explaining all the parts of the dieline in the template

About dielines

When you open your template, you will see up to four different kinds of line.

This is what they each mean:

BLEED (solid blue line)

The bleed is an area of printing that extends beyond where the artwork will actually be cut off (or cropped). It's necessary to print a little extra over the edges, to allow for the crop being off by a few millimeters - without the extra print, you might see blank areas around the edges of your game components. Launch Lab uses 3 millimetres of bleed.

DIELINE (solid red line)

The dieline, or trim, is where the component will be cut out. It's important not to place major elements of the artwork anywhere near the dieline.

MARGIN (dotted green line)

The margin, or safe area, is the part of the component set far enough inside the boundary of the dieline that there is no risk at all of it being cut off. Keep all important artwork and text elements inside the margin.

FOLD (dashed orange line)

The fold line shows where the artwork will be folded - for example, where a box lid is folded to create the sides of the lid. Not all components use folds. When they do, it's important to know where they are so you can plan your design to suit the shape of the component.

Using Templates

Open the template that goes with your design software. The process for working with the template is similar from one application to the next; all differences are outlined below.

Adobe InDesign

First, open the IDML template in Adobe InDesign.

Screenshot: an open template in the Adobe InDesign interface

Artwork setup

In the Layers panel, you should see three layers: dielines, text, and art. We recommend you keep your art and text layers seperate for ease of workflow, though this is up to you.

However, it is vital that your dielines remain on their own clearly labelled layer positioned above all other layers. We strongly recommend you lock the dielines layer to avoid accidentally adding any text or artwork elements to it. You can lock a layer by clicking the small empty square to the left of that layer's name. When you see a padlock icon appear there, the layer is locked.

If you require custom dielines, please reach out to our Support team.

Create artwork

You're ready to begin! Import or create your artwork on the artwork layer, and add text to the text layer. Don't forget to outline or embed your text before exporting your work.

Export artwork for print

When you're ready to upload your artwork to Launch Lab:

  • Export it to a PDF.
  • Choose a folder to store it in.
  • Click Save.
  • You will see the Export PDF dialog.

Export PDF dialog

In the Export PDF dialog:

  • Click Output on the left-hand menu.
  • In the Output pane, click the Ink Manager button
  • In the Ink Manager pop-up, check to make sure you can see 4 spot colours called Bleedline, Dieline, Foldline, and Marginline.
  • Ensure that the All Spots to Process checkbox is NOT ticked.

Screenshot: the Ink Manager pop-up in Adobe InDesign

If you're using the AI or IDML templates, these spot colours should automatically be present. They help Launch Lab's printers process your file correctly.

Click Export to finish exporting your file.

Adobe Illustrator

The process in Adobe Illustrator is identical to that in InDesign, though here you will be working with the AI template file.

Screenshot: an open template in the Adobe Illustrator interface

Please refer back to the InDesign guide above for further instructions.

Affinity Publisher

First, open the IDML template in Affinity Publisher.

Screenshot: an open template in the Affinity Designer interface

Artwork setup

In the Layers panel, you should see three layers: dielines, text, and art. We recommend you keep your art and text layers seperate for ease of workflow, though this is up to you.

However, it is vital that your dielines remain on their own clearly labelled layer positioned above all other layers. We strongly recommend you lock the dielines layer to avoid accidentally adding any text or artwork elements to it.

If you require custom dielines, please reach out to our Support team.

Finally, check the Swatches panel to ensure the spot colours for Bleedline, Dieline, Foldline, and Marginline are all there.

Create artwork

You're ready to begin! Import or create your artwork on the artwork layer, and add text to the text layer. Don't forget to outline or embed your text before exporting your work.

Affinity Designer

When you open the AI template file in Affinity Designer, you'll find that it will import the dielines as a PDF.

Screenshot: an open template in the Affinity Designer interface

Artwork setup

Unlike the other software, here you will have to set your layers up manually.

If your document has multiple pages, you will need to set up layers for each page.

First, create and name new layers for your text and art.

Then name your dielines layer, and position it above the other layers. We strongly recommend you lock the dielines layer to avoid accidentally adding any text or artwork elements to it.

If you require custom dielines, please reach out to our Support team.

Finally, check the Swatches panel to ensure the spot colours for Bleedline, Dieline, Foldline, and Marginline are all there.

Create artwork

You're ready to begin! Import or create your artwork on the artwork layer, and add text to the text layer. Don't forget to outline or embed your text before exporting your work.

PDF template

If you use design software other than Adobe or Affinity apps, you may decide to use the PDF template instead.

It is also useful if you have a pre-existing art and design document that you only need to drop a new template into.

If you're an experienced designer with an established workflow, you might also opt to use the simple PDF template.

Import it into your software to open it.

The process for doing this will vary, but for InDesign, select Place… from the File menu, then select the PDF from the unzipped templates folder.

Ensure you are importing all the pages of the PDF. Many component templates include multiple dielines - for example, a box requires one dieline for the lid, and another for the base. You'll want to make sure all the dielines import into your software.

Select the Transparent Background option, and click the OK button.

The PDF will be imported as a single layer.

Artwork setup

Unlike the other software, here you will have to set your layers up manually.

If your document has multiple pages, you will need to set up layers for each page.

First, create and name new layers for your text and art.

Then name your dielines layer, and position it above the other layers. We strongly recommend you lock the dielines layer to avoid accidentally adding any text or artwork elements to it.

If you require custom dielines, please reach out to our Support team.

Finally, check the Swatches panel to ensure the spot colours for Bleedline, Dieline, Foldline, and Marginline are all there.

Create artwork

You're ready to begin! Import or create your artwork on the artwork layer, and add text to the text layer. Don't forget to outline or embed your text before exporting your work.

Export artwork

The process for exporting artwork will vary depending on which software you're using. If you're working in Affinity or Adobe products, see the relevant section above for step-by-step instructions.

Keywords

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