Custom die cutting is one of the most unique ways to finish a print project. From simple shapes to complex and intricate cut outs, die cutting gives designers an extra way to add to a design. If you’ve never had your work die cut before it may seem like a daunting process. But in truth it can be as simple as another level of artwork in your print design file.

What is die cutting?

Die cutting is the process of making a thin metal shape that will act like a cookie cutter for your paper designs. The metal is embedded into a block of wood and then used on a press to cut paper to a desired shape. Dies can be made into all kinds of shapes. Dies can be very simple something as simple as in a hole for a door hangar. They can also be complex like the shape of a paper doll or collectible.

As a designer, all you have to think about is your message. What kind of die would work for your design? Something classic like the top of a scroll or rounded edges? Or something unique like an animal or machine shape?

How do I get a die made?

The process of getting a die made begins by consulting with Hotspot Printing. We have staff in house that creates the dies.

Obviously, the more complex the job you are working on the more details you will need to figure out

Once we settle on a design, we can make up a graphic file that will be used to build the die.

I can design the die myself?

Yes, you absolutely can! If you work in a major design program like InDesign, it is as simple as adding another layer of artwork. You could add the layer to your existing design. Label it something like “Die-Lines” and then add an outline of the form you want to create. We usually suggest making the line magenta or some other color that will really stand out on a blank sheet.

It is usually a good idea to include the die line layer with all the final art you submit. It is also good to include a separate file with just the die line artwork. Anything to help add clarity for everyone involved.

A few final tips:

Just as any good design has a little bit of space between the design and the edges of the paper or trim lines, you also need to keep some space between your design and the die lines. You don’t want any of your text to get chopped off by a die!

Have a Printing design that includes Die-Cutting that needs to go from concept to reality? Get in touch with a Hotspot Printing & Packaging specialist today!  You can call us, 310-538-2540, or submit a quote online.

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