If you have any questions about data delivery then these topics can help you deliver your data in the right way. When you have questions that weren’t answered in this full data delivery specification pages then please contact us through mail of by phone.

Conditions for a smooth orderflow

When the artwork for your packaging meets the following guidelines, this has a major influence on the order flow and the agreed delivery time can be guaranteed.



Before the file is exported for printing you must ensure that it has the correct amount of bleed to enable us to finish your print correctly. Format supplied by Van de Steeg delivered PDF template (1:1) + 3 mm bleed where necessary. Please do not use ‘Specsheet-PDF” to put artwork on. Dimensions of this kind of documents are not 1:1! Bleed is important for many reasons, it allows us to trim your print to the correct size, for larger prints it allows for stretch and shrinkage. Other reasons include die-cutting and finishing.

  • Supply as high res, PDF/X-4:2008 PDF file
  • We require 3 mm of bleed on each side
  • Please ensure the trim box is defined
  • Include crop-marks offset at the maximum 10 mm or to the edge of the bleed if at scale



  • Only use CMYK and/or PANTONE printing colors.
  • Grayscale for black and white images
  • No use of RGB-colours.

CAUTION! There is a risk that there will be a color difference due to RGB -> CMYK conversion!
That’s why it is better to do the conversion yourself and judge the result. See below instruction video


Convert RGB to CMYK in Adobe Photoshop®

Convert RGB to CMYK in Adobe Illustrator®

  • Please remove unused colors
  • Normal printing order:
    – (on silver- and holographic substrate) White
    – Black
    – Cyan
    – Magenta
    – Yellow
    – (any) PANTONE-colours
    Depending on the artwork this order can be changed
  • Define the die-cut (template) as a separate spot color. We prefer it if it’s applied in a separate layer
  • When printing on silver- or holographic cardboard non-reflective elements should be preprinted using opaque White. Therefore add opaque White as a spot color in the composite PDF
  • Define CMYK black (Rich Black) as:
    – 40% Cyan
    – 40% Magenta
    – 40% Yellow
    – 100% Black
  • The total amount of colors may not exceed the ink coverage of 340%
  • When using ICC profile, please use “ISOCoated_v2_ECI.icc”. You can download this here



  • Embed full fonts
  • Avoid phrasing such as “bold” and “italic” in the style menu of the application. Always choose the original font, so instead of “Helvetica “+” Bold “>” Helvetica Bold “
  • Min. font size black text 5 points
  • Min. font size color text 8 points



  • All lines at least 0.20 mm thick (positive) and 0.25 mm (negative)


Total elements

  • Images at least 300 dpi, • lower resolutions will affect the quality of your product
  • Place images 1:1 or smaller, placing larger will negatively affect the output resolution
  • Convert RGB images to CMYK before adding. See instruction videos
  • Let the filename correspond to the order, eg title- or item number
  • Put white elements on a colored background to knock-out
  • Crop marks 10 mm offset
  • Set Trimbox to net size
  • Do not apply trapping. If desired, trapping is done by Van de Steeg



  • If possible use barcode as a vector.
  • Barcodes to be printed in 100% Black (2). CAUTION! Due to small misregistration when printing in CMYK, a barcode can become unreadable (1).

For a small fee, Van de Steeg – Digital Service Center can place a barcode on your artwork that is guaranteed to meet all requirements. Please contact your Customer Service Employee


Reverse side printing

  • Provide a separate PDF or extra PDF-layer for printing the inside of the spine.
  • The used cardboard has a coated and an uncoated side. When printing the uncoated side a color difference compared to the coated side can occur. We can not guarantee a 100% match.


Example front side printing


Example reverse side printing

  • Design your artwork on a copy of the template that is mirrored horizontally.
  • The artwork of the 2 inside pages continues on the back of the spine of the finished product (1).
  • Cutouts are required for gluing (2, 3 and 4).
  • The red arrows indicate the parts that remain visible after finishing.
PDF version without flattening


We are committed to offering our clients the best possible service. It is necessary to request that artwork is supplied to a certain standard and file format. We operate a modern workflow system that ensures artwork is checked, colour managed and prepared for finishing requirements before ink hits material. All files must be supplied in PDF format, preferably PDF/X-4:2008. Image files can be supplied at a minimum of 300 dpi at 10% size as a guide, otherwise the highest manageable resolution is preferable. Please convert used RGB-images to CMYK before export to PDF.


About PDF/X

The PDF/X specification supports only a CMYK and spot-color workflow, targeted to a specific printing condition.
Some requirements of PDF/X compliant files include that:
• All fonts are embedded and subset
• Images and graphic objects must be created using only CMYK, DeviceGray, DeviceN, or spot color spaces.
• Color management is not allowed.
• Output intents are specified.
• The trim box or art box is defined.
• Additional keys are included to identify the file.


Instruction-video’s PDF/X-4-export

Below you will find instructions how to export PDFX/4 here (Adobe Photoshop®, Adobe Illustrator® en Adobe Indesign® (version Creative Cloud (2017))


PDF/X-4:2008 export in Adobe Illustrator®

PDF/X-4:2008 export in Adobe InDesign®

PDF/X-4:2008 export in Adobe Photoshop®



Special Finishing

Thanks to our expertise in “Special Packaging” we have years of experience in printing finishing. All these extra treatments in combination with the choice of matt or gloss lacquer ensure a very exclusive look of your packaging.


Spot Varnish


• Keep contours of the Varnish elements sharp and based on vectors
• Minimum line thickness of 0.2 mm. Note: for a small corps with a fine serif (eg Times New Roman), leading to an even thinner line, visibility can not be guaranteed. For very small artwork details there is a possibility to finish your product with all-over Gloss Varnish and Spot Matt Varnish.
• Convert texts to outlines
• Set Spot Varnish as separate spot color in artwork and deliver as a separate document, page or in a different PDF-layer
• Set Spot Varnish element on overprint to not infect underlying artwork

For questions on this you can contact our Technical Services Team.




• Keep contours of the Embossing elements sharp and based on vectors
• Lines min 0.70 mm, thinner lines cause Embossing of poor quality or make the effect of the Embossing poorly observable
• Place Embossing elements 2 to 3 mm from cutting- and folding edges
• Convert texts to outlines
• Set Embossing as separate spot color in artwork and deliver as a separate document, page or in a different PDF-layer
• Set Embossing elements on overprint to not infect underlying artwork


Hot Foil


• Keep contours of the Foil elements sharp and based on vectors
• Convert texts to outlines
• Set Foil elements as separate Pantone color in artwork and deliver as a separate document or in a different PDF-layer
• Set Foil elements on overprint to not infect underlying artwork


Rather not!


• Please do not use Spot Varnish, Embossing or Foil elements that are pixelated. If pixelated elements are included in your artwork, we need to test the quality of tooling. The additional time needed for this can be jeopardise your delivery date and may result in an additional cost



For other technical questions, you can contact our Technical Services Team:
• email: jos.smits@vandesteeg.com
• tel: +31 (0) 53 460 8834

Providing your artwork

It is expected that you deliver the data via the FTP-server. As a customer you automatically are assigned to an FTP-account. This is a protected folder that only you and our Digital Service Centre can access. Log-in credentials are provided by your Customer Services Representative.


URL: https://ftp.agivdsteeg.com
User Name: provided by CSR of Van de Steeg
Password: provided by CSR of Van de Steeg
• Put the data in a compressed folder and choose a name that matches the item-number of your order.
• Fill out form completely. Mark with ‘x’ what is not known. An upload e-mail will be sent to the Customer Services Department.
• Max. upload 500 mb.


For other questions, you can contact:

Van de Steeg
Digital Service Center
tel: +31 (0) 53 460 8861
or send an email to: marco.dewit@vandesteeg.com