If your print job requires extra finishing, such as a folder with a pocket, packaging or a die cut business card, you may be asked to supply the printer with a cutter guide. It is important that this is set up properly in order that the final job is cut and folded correctly.
There are a number of things to consider when designing your job if you will be using a die cut. For example, it will add to the amount of time the printers and finishers need to complete the job and it may be expensive depending on how complicated the design is. Therefore, it is always worth asking the printer first if they have a template available that can be used in which you can build your design around. This will mean you do not have to create the cutter guide saving you time, it will be correct from the printers point of view so no costly revisions or time lost at this stage and the finishers will already have the die made so may not charge you what it would cost for making a new one up.
Tips to create a bespoke design
If you require a bespoke design, there are a few things to be aware of when setting up your guide.
You can supply it as a separate PDF or incorporated into the actual design. Either way, it is best to make the edges of the cutter line a solid spot colour at 0.5pts and any folds as a dotted line also at 0.5pts and in the spot colour. It would be wise to rename the spot colour Cutter Guide. In addition to this, you would need to make sure the guide overprints the artwork below so the artwork below is not knocked out when printing.
Your cutter guide will then be constructed using a Gerber machine. The solid lines denoting the cuts will be made from sharp metal and the dotted fold lines are converted into recessed blunt metal strips. This die is then punched into the print, giving you the final product ready to assemble, etc. The punching is usually done from the front as this gives a much cleaner edge. Therefore, it is best to always design your cutter when looking at the design from the front. Just makes it easier for the finisher.
Take advantage of our cutter guides
At PrintHouse, we have a library of templates for various cutter guides; some of which may already be made into die cuts and others that have been used previously that we know to be correct. Should you require any help with creating your cutter guide, just contact us and we will be able to advise you.
Feel free to use the quick contact form below and we’ll get right back to you about your cutter guide and print project.