So you want a really fancy looking label/sticker, and the standard shapes just don't work for you? No problem, just follow this guide (or hand it over to your designer) to achieve a good looking contour cut around (or inside) your design! This guide follows Adobe Illustrator, but any vector creator tool will work similarly.
We will use the honey badge above to show you how to set it up for a 2mm outside cut.
- Load your artwork into a new CMYK document in Illustrator!
- Duplicate your artwork layer, and give your layers a sensible name to help us identify them. Use the top layer for your cutline for better visibility!
Select everything on the top layer, and unite all paths using Window->Pathfinder
Use fill if you have any gaps and don't want cutlines inside the artwork. You should end up with one big filled object that resembles the shape of your original
Swap the fill with the stroke to get a solid colour outline! Reduce the stroke to 1pt to avoid any confusion later!
You should never set your cutline to be just outside of your original image. Even with the most precise instruments (like the ones we use at Naked Labels) the blade can move +-0.3mm, just enough to leave you with an unsightly white line. For logos, characters and other complex artwork a 2-3mm white outline works best. For simpler designs you can cut inside the print (also called a full bleed).
The best way to adjust the cutting depth is by using the Object->Path->Offset Path... tool. It should come up in a new window.
A negative offset will create a copy of the stroke inside, while a positive offset will move it outside of the stroke. Just use the built-in preview if you can't remember.
- Click OK and delete your original path!
- Now zoom in and use Direct Selection Tool to clean up any ugly joins!
- Zoom out and check your layers, you should be all done!
You can of course define your own cut shape, one that doesn't follow the artwork boundaries. Simply create a new layer, call it "cutline", and draw your cutline(s) using any AI tool. As long as it is a 1pt path we will know what to do with it :)
Once your document is set up (don't forget to convert all text to outlines!) just send your .ai to email@example.com and enjoy your custom cut sticky labels in a couple of days!
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