Getting your Art Ready for a Custom Metal Die

Getting your Art Ready for a Custom Metal Die

We love making custom books with an organization’s logo or emblem on the cover – no better way to have your book look like it was hand-crafted for your business!   This is a quick guide to help get your art ready to have a metal die created for embossing.  Once your file is ready, please email it to

The file requirements for the die-maker are:

  • high resolution VECTOR file (min 300 dpi)
  • outlined text
  • file saved for Illustrator CS5 (or the option for any version of Illustrator)
    • alternatively, a .pdf file will work, as long as it is saved from a vector program
  • 100% black and white art (no colors/shades of gray) – what is black is what is embossed on your book with a single color or no color (blind embossing)


And the result is great!



Need more specifics, here is a guide we found that is pretty self-explanatory.  To see it, click here.


Need more assistance?  We may be able to help.

A.  CONVERTING a color vector file to black & white:

We can convert some color VECTOR files to black & white at no additional cost.  Here is an example:

– File we received.

File sent over

–  We received the file as a hi res vector file that was not in 100% black and white, so we made a quick correction that is no cost to the customer.  We converted the file to 100% black and white.  Because the file was vector, we were able to “highlight” the design, then select it to be in all black.

Art Conversion

– This is an example of a logo die-ready.  The art is 100% black and white.

Logo - die-ready art

B.  Non-Vector Art:

When a file is not in vector, we cannot change the color.  See how the design elements cannot be “highlighted” in blue like the previous example – only the full design could be highlighted.  This is because the file has been flattened/saved as a non-editable file and it cannot be edited.

Non-Vector Art

In this case, we simply need a vector, hi res file and we can convert it to 100% black and white for you for free (as long as it it not too complicated).  The file your graphic designer created is most likely what we need.  They should retain a vector version of the art so please ask for that.


C.  Challenges with Specific Art Styles:  Some designs pose challenging for embossing and the final result may be less than perfect:

1) Art that is hand-drawn with a lot of detail can be challenging to emboss.  The lines won’t be as sharp and some faint lines may not appear at all.  SOLUTION:  Before we emboss with this kind of art, an understanding that subtleties in the final result is a necessity.  Or, you can have a designer clean up the art, removing some shading or texture.


2) Art with really thin lines, especially amongst art that is thicker elsewhere, will be difficult to see or will appear out of place embossed on a book.  For example, the banner lines and date will be faint to where it can almost not be seen on a book.  SOLUTION:  Make the thinner lines thicker, more closer to the thicknesses of the rest.

Custom Metal Die Example of Thin Lines

3) Art that is primarily black with touches of white may not be possible to emboss.  Since the black is where the embossing/color will go, the small spaces of white (no color/embossing) may not appear.  SOLUTION:  It is recommended that a negative of the art is made, so that what you see here in black becomes white (and white becomes black) so that the embossing is high quality.



4) Art that has small text can be illegible or too small that it bleeds.    SOLUTION:  Make that text bigger. OR, go without that line.  Alternatively, understand and accept this limitation.

Metal Die for Debossing - Custom Books

5) Art that has small or close details can “bleed.”  If your art has small slivers of white space or has items close together such as multiple lines, the white/negative space may be blurry or not apparent at all.  Since the stamping cannot exceed 3″ in either direction, the smaller the logo is, the smaller the white slivers are and the less likely they are to show consistently.  The smaller the logo, it is more likely that the lines will blend together.    SOLUTION:  Make the white spaces larger on your file.  Alternatively, you can accept that the detail will be partially lost or inconsistent, while the overall quality will still be good.

Custom Metal Die for Stamping Logo on a Book

Custom Metal Die for Stamping Logo on a Book



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