For any technical issues with the MDC digital ad upload process please direct the call to Valpak’s Franchise Application Support Team, or commonly referred to as “FAST” at 1-800-825-7259 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For any technical or systems issues with digital products appearing on www.valpak.com please direct the call to your Support Center Analyst on the FAST team.
IMPORTANT: Images submitted that do not follow Valpak guidelines
Valpak is not required to issue franchise calls for artwork that does not follow Valpak submission guidelines.
Valpak will attempt to convert any RGB or spot colors to CMYK or Grayscale whenever possible but cannot guarantee quality or color accuracy.
Valpak may attempt to improve poor quality artwork for printing purposes. In this process an image may be altered slightly from its original state to improve the final printed image.
IMPORTANT: It is the responsibility of the franchise to submit quality artwork, following Valpak submission guidelines. Artwork not submitted following Valpak submission guidelines will not be eligible for credit.
** It is not required for Order Process to notify your franchise office when poor quality, or low resolution images are supplied. Notification from Order Process should be viewed as a courtesy in which they feel the quality may compromise the integrity of your ad. Supplied images that are poor quality, or do not contain the required effective resolution will not be eligible for credit.
Barcodes (Provided As Artwork or used within a press ready PDF or press ready package ad):
When providing a barcode to be used on a coupon make sure it is saved as vector artwork, in either a PDF, EPS, or AI* format. If you submit a raster or bitmap file (such as JPEG or TIFF) we cannot guarantee it will scan on your client/advertiser bar code reader.
Make sure you print and test what you intend to submit to Valpak graphics using your client/advertiser bar code reader. Your barcode must be tested at the size in which it will appear on your coupon. If you require Graphics to reduce the size of the barcode for your printed piece, Graphics cannot guarantee it will scan correctly.
For a barcode to scan properly, it requires significant white space on both ends.
If a barcode is supplied in a raster format, then it must contain a minimum effective resolution of 600 dpi.
Most barcode issues relate to objects, or a shift in color, that appears too close to the left/right edges of the barcode.
Try and provide white space that equals no less than 15 – 25% of the total width of the entire barcode.
Color: Barcodes reley on contrast to be readable. For this reason, all barcodes should be converted to black-and-white, with all image data on the black channel.
QR Quick Response Codes
Valpak Created QR codes:
To utilize Valapk’s service of creating a QR code, a press ready layout needs to include a “blank space” with a minimum of (.87 inches square or 63 points square). Valpak graphics will later insert the QR code into the designated blank space in the layout.
Example of “blank space” provided for a future Valpak QR code:
For more informaton about Valpak QR codes, visit the following page on insidevalpak.com: Click Here
“Non-Valpak” Created QR codes:
Size: 72 x 72 points (1 inch square), is the preferred size of QR Codes on ads. If space is limited it may be sized as small as 54 x 54 points (.75 inches square). Any smaller size, the likelihood of the code scanning diminishes greatly.
A QR code must have ample white space (a minimum of 2 pts) around the entire perimeter of the black/white artwork. (see example below)
Do not place a black or colored border around your QR code. This can greatly reduce the code’s ability to scan properly.(see example below)
Black and white QR code saved as a vector format, such as EPS or PDF will provide the most reliable results. However many QR code generators output only PNG or JPEG. When using such a QR code generator, make sure you output the file using the software’s largest / highest quality settings.
There are a few “online barcode reader” websites that you can use to verify the functionality of your QR code.
For example: Click Here NOTE: This is an external website that has no affiliation with Valpak and Valpak has no control over the maintenance and functionality of this link.
If you wish to find other “online QR code reader” sites we recommend you do a Google search, using the words “online barcode reader” as your search criteria, or Click Here
Valpak will attempt to convert any RGB or spot colors to CMYK or Grayscale whenever possible but cannot guarantee quality or color accuracy. These conversions will be done automatically. Do not embed color profiles into any files submitted as it may cause your file not to print properly or at all. It is the responsibility of the franchise to submit artwork following valpak submission guidelines. Artwork not submitted following Valpak submission guidelines will not be eligible for credit.
Choose “North America General Purpose 2” when setting up your “Color Settings” in Photoshop or other image editing software.
When working with PhotoSource images obtained through Inside Valpak, please keep in mind that these are low resolution preview images intended for display reference only for offices and sales representatives. These images are not of a quality suitable for print and the license we have with the image suppliers does not allow us to redistribute the full quality originals.
If you are a franchise artist that has access to Inside Valpak you may browse Valpak’s PhotoSource image library by clicking this link: PhotoSource Library PhotoSource Library requires an insidevalpak.com password.
For use in your own designs, there are a multitude of options available from micro-stock agencies. Just a few of these agencies are listed below:
When purchasing/ downloading from these agencies, pay special attention to their licensing terms. While the basic license should cover most use scenarios, some large print orders may require an extended license and promotional items (such as free downloads) may come with different usage terms.
Valpak will treat any image from these sources uploaded to us as we would any other digital file and under the terms of the franchise agreement, we’ll assume you have the proper licensing for their images/ artwork as long as they do not contain watermarks.
Below is an example of a watermarked image. These are available on all the stock sites listed as “Comp” (Composition) or “FPO” (For Placement Only) images. They’re low resolution files supplied by the agencies for use in basic layouts for initial approval before purchasing the images. We cannot accept these. We are not allowed to remove these watermarks or print unlicensed images that have them. If you’ve purchased a license for an image, the agency will provide a link to download a full resolution file without watermarks.
When looking for images on these sites, be sure to check the size of the image you are about to get. Many offer a variety of size options at various price points. While it’s tempting to save money downloading files listed as Small, Extra Small, or Web Sized, these will not have enough detail to print acceptably on Valpak coupons.
This image is okay on screen but was saved for the web & needs to be scaled very small to look good printed.
IMPORTANT note about fonts used within press ready PDFs:
When selecting fonts, it is recommended that only Type 1/PostScript or Open Type face fonts are used. The use of any other font type (e.g., Multiple Master, True Type, Composite, etc.) may cause your ad to print incorrectly or not at all. If you choose to use a font other than Type 1/PostScript or Open Type, then you should convert the text to outlines. It is the responsibility of the franchise to submit artwork following Valpak submission guidelines. Artwork not submitted following Valpak submission guidelines will not be eligible for credit.
Packaging is an easy way for a graphic artist to hand off their InDesign document to the Valpak Graphic’s Department. Any future changes related to this document can be processed entirely by Valpak without the need for any additional documents from the franchise. When you package a file, you create a folder that contains the InDesign document and any necessary linked graphics. When a franchise submits an InDesign package, Valpak will rebuild the InDesign document using Valpak licensed fonts and the artwork links provided within the package. It is extremely important that a franchise reviews their proof for any possible changes that may have occurred in the rebuild process.
Click the thumbnail to download a PDF you can print out and keep for future reference. The chart diagrams when it is best to submit an (InDesign Package Press Ready Ad) versus the traditional (PDF Press Ready ad).
Do not include fonts within your InDesign Package Ad:
It is your responsibility to use only the fonts found within the Valpak Font List. Using these fonts will ensure that Valpak can properly match the layout of your InDesign document. If you are using a Mac, then you may find this AppleScript Application useful for verifying your fonts within your InDesign document: Click Here
Valpak will not question the use of fonts that are not included within the Valpak Font List.
If non-approved fonts are used, a low resolution PDF is required as an aid for font matching and font substitutions. Valpak will attempt to replace the fonts with something similar. Valpak cannot guarantee a perfect match and Valpak’s font substitution choice is not eligible for credit.
If you feel that Valpak will not be able to match a specialty font, i.e. a logo or fancy headline, then Valpak recommends you Create Outlines for that specific text. (See example below)
Do not convert “ALL” of your fonts to outlines. This would defeat the purpose of packaging and require a new document if future changes were requested.
InDesign documents should be built in accordance with Valpak template sizes specifications:
Click Here for information and downloadable Valpak Templates.
Valpak may not be able process your ad layout if it was built using the wrong size dimensions. At that point your franchise office will receive a Franchise Call requesting that the ad be resubmitted and built according to Valpak proper size specifications.
There should be no instructions and/or change requests appearing on an InDesign Package:
MDC layout submission. Minimal instructions such as copy for copy changes may be accepted pending further review by Valpak Order Process Department. You should treat your InDesign package as a finished document, similar to a PDF submission to be processed by Valpak.
Valpak will not process your ad order if it contains missing images:
At that point your franchise office will receive a Franchise Call requesting that the ad be resubmitted with all the necessary linked images.
Valpak will not attempt to improve and will not question poor quality artwork provided in your InDesign package.
Valpak will assume that you accept the quality of your document and any related artwork links included in your InDesign package.
Valpak will attempt to convert any RGB, PMS and SPOT colors to CMYK or Grayscale whenever possible but cannot guarantee quality or color accuracy. These conversions will be done automatically. Do not embed color profiles into any files submitted as it may cause your file not to print properly or at all. It is the responsibility of the franchise to submit ads and artwork following Valpak submission guidelines. Ads and artwork not submitted following Valpak submission guidelines will not be eligible for credit.
Click Here for Valpak artwork submission guidelines.
Archive/Compress your InDesign package and name this file as follows:
“Package”, followed by your “franchise id #”, then followed by the “advertiser name.”
Upload this zip file to the Valpak FTP site: To access Valpak’s FTP site: Click Here.
VERY IMPORTANT: Make a note of the package file name. Whoever is using MDC will need this exact file name when submitting their Press Ready Package Ad to graphics. The MDC submission guidelines can be found HERE.
Valpak recommends that you create a single page InDesign document for ad orders that are two-sided, i.e. CP44, 2FP44. That way you will only need to create one InDesign package folder for your two-sided coupon or flyer. If you choose to create separate InDesign documents for a two-sided ad order then you will be required to package each document following the instructions below. If you make separate package files for a two-sided coupon or flyer, then you will need to combine both package folders into one archived (stuff or zip) file prior to uploading to Valpak.
The following steps assumes that your layout is complete, error free, and you accept the quality of all the image links placed within your InDesign document. Valpak will attempt to convert any RGB, PMS and SPOT colors to CMYK or Grayscale whenever possible but cannot guarantee quality or color accuracy. These conversions will be done automatically. Do not embed color profiles into any files submitted as it may cause your file not to print properly or at all. It is the responsibility of the franchise to submit ads and artwork following Valpak submission guidelines. Ads and artwork not submitted following Valpak submission guidelines will not be eligible for credit.
To package files:
1.) Choose: Menu > File > Package
2.) Click the “Package…” button to begin packaging your files.
3.) Click “Continue” when the “Printing Instructions” window appears.
IMPORTANT: Valpak will discard this text file. DO NOT include any instructions for Valpak because this text file will be never be opened or read by Valpak Graphics.
Simply click “Continue” and leave the Filename to whatever defaults, i.e., “Instructions.txt”.
If you have reasons to use this text file for your internal franchise operations, it’s okay to insert other copy as you please. Just remember that Valpak will not open this text file, and it is not required for you to provide Valpak with this text file.
4.) Enter a name for your package folder and enter a location in which to save your packaged files:
“Package”, followed by your “franchise id #”, then followed by the “advertiser name.” example: Package_3999_ChinaChef
Only check the following two boxes:
Copy Linked Graphics
Update Graphic Links in Package
DO NOT CHECK: Copy Fonts (Except CJK) or Include Fonts and Links From Hidden Document Layers.
In this example the package is being saved to the Desktop.
Your InDesign package folder will contain 3 items:
1.) Your InDesign document (.indd) – OR – The InDesign Markup document (.idml) – only provide this if using InDesign CS5 or CS6. 2.) A folder called “Links” that contains all the artwork placed within your InDesign document. 3.) A text file (.txt) auto generated in the packaging process.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: The text file will not be read by Valpak. You do not need to include this file.Valpak is not requiring you to remove it prior to submission because it is often easier to simply leave it within your Package Folder.
5.) Compress (zip) the folder into a zip archive:
IMPORTANT: Compress BOTH folders into one file if you created a separate package for side one and side two. “Package”, followed by the franchise id #”, followed by the “advertiser name.” example: Package_3999_ChinaChef.zip
This video demonstrates how compress and upload an InDesign Press Ready Packaged Ad to the Valpak servers.
Upload A Package Ad.mov
For those using MDC to submit these ads to home office for processing, please watch this video carefully for an explanation on how to access the “MDC Press Ready (Package) Ad Order Form” template on MDC.
IMPORTANT: Valpak requires that complete ad layouts are submitted as a Press Ready PDF file.
All RGB, PMS, and custom SPOT colors must be converted to CMYK in your page layout program prior to the creation of your PDF!
Valpak will attempt to convert any RGB, PMS and SPOT colors to CMYK or Grayscale whenever possible but cannot guarantee quality or color accuracy. These conversions will be done automatically. Do not embed color profiles into any files submitted as it may cause your file not to print properly or at all. It is the responsibility of the franchise to submit ads and artwork following Valpak submission guidelines.
Your PDF should not include any rasterized text or line art.
** Build all layouts to the Live Image Area size unless the layout is a bleed **
Adobe InDesign users:
Valpak requires you use Adobe InDesign’s export PDF using PDF/X-1a:2001 with the addition of two setting adjustments: (See section on InDesign PDF Presets below.)
File names should be limited to 30 characters in length using only alpha and numeric characters, dashes, periods and underscores.
All text or line art should be created using fonts or in vector format.
Fonts: must be embedded in your PDF. If you create your PDF following the Valpak PDF settings provided on this page, fonts will be properly embedded.
When selecting fonts, it is recommended that only Type 1/PostScript or Open Type face fonts are used. If you choose to use a font other than Type 1/PostScript or Open Type, then you should convert the text to outlines. It is the responsibility of the franchise to submit artwork following Valpak submission guidelines. Artwork not submitted following Valpak submission guidelines will not be eligible for credit.
If your PDF includes any rasterized/bitmapped text or line art that you wish to print at 450 dpi or higher, then it is your responsibility to make further adjustments to the Image Sampling/Compression Settings. Click Here.
The only color that will overprint on Valpak’s press is C,M,Y,K values equal to 0,0,0,100. Intentionally set overprint attributes for a fill or stroke color other than black will be discarded.
A full color layout is eventually broken down and separated into four process inks – cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (C,M,Y,K). Each of these 4 process inks is assigned to a separate plate that is mounted on the press to transfer ink to the paper. Each color (plate) that is mounted on press must be properly aligned (registered) with the other 3 process colors (plates). The images on all 4 plates print on top of one another to produce a composite full color printed piece. If the plates are not in proper registration, a shifting of ink and gaps will be noticeable on the final piece. This may result in objects or text becoming illegible, disappearing, or having a “ghost” effect.
To Avoid Registration Issues:
Avoid over-saturating the paper. Do not create a “Rich Black” by setting all ink colors to the max (C=100+M=100+Y=100+K=100). These could lead to registration issues.
Instead, just use black or a screen percentage of black:
IMPORTANT: Be careful when using black to darken colors, it could end up looking “muddy” when printed. Valpak is not responsible for the ink colors used on supplied Press Ready ads.
All small text below 12 points must be set using just black or a screen percentage of black to prevent any potential registration issues on press.
Reverse or knock-out style text should not be smaller than 12 points, and reverse or knock-out style text should not use thin fonts of any size. Do not place small reverse or knock-out text on a 4-color background, use a single color such as Black or Cyan.
Avoid using thin vector lines, or thin outlined fonts:
Valpak’s printing process consists of high-speed off-set printing and the risk is elevated when attempting to perfectly print reverse or knock-out type font that is ¼ of a printers point (.003=smaller than one dot). Valpak’s Goss Sunday 4000 presses have a tolerance of 2 dots. Valpak aims to repeatedly produce a high-quality product and thus have put processes, guidelines and requirements in place to achieve these objectives.
If interested, view this video of our printing facility.
Required Effective Resolution of Images within your press ready PDFs
300 dpi or higher for standard photo imagery. 600 dpi (minimum) / 2400 dpi (maximum) for images that contain text or line art.
A press ready PDF containing images that lack adequate effective resolution may* result in Order Process notifying your franchise office. Ads that contain low-resolution rasterized text may result in undesirable legibility. We recommend that Press Ready Ads be built using a vector based page layout program, like Adobe InDesign. We DO NOT recommend using image editing programs like Photoshop for typesetting. However, if using Photoshop for typesetting, the resolution must be at least 600 dpi for images that contain text or line art if you intend the text to print without looking bitmapped or pixelated.
For examples, see this linked PDF file: Click Here
There may be situations when your press ready ad contains images that lack adequate effective resolution and you are aware and accept the quality/resolution as-is. If you encounter this situation, and you wish to prevent Order Process from contacting your franchise, then please instruct whoever is uploading your ad in MDC to include a specific Change Request instruction that states:
“Images are low resolution and we accept quality as-is.”
*It is not required for Order Process to notify your franchise office when (low resolution images or low-resolution rasterized text) are detected within your press ready ad. Notification from Order Process should be viewed as a courtesy in which they feel the quality may compromise the integrity of your ad. Press Ready Ads with images that do not contain the required effective resolution will not be eligible for credit.
DO NOT use the Apple MAC standard print feature to create your PDFs. Using this process converts the document to a page-based virtual display to create a PDF intermediate, which is then converted by the printer driver into the data required by the print engine. As this intercepts the normal printing process, it uses the built-in OSX PDF engine (known as “Quartz”) to create the PDF. Once Quartz creates the PDF, one would assume that everything that is possible within a PDF file is also supported by Quartz. This is not the case. Quartz only uses some of the features of PDF, and it is only based on a subset of the full PDF specs. This type of PDF may not output on a commercial 4-color press correctly.
The PDF settings listed on this page are not applicable if you use InDesign and the ExportPDFs.app to create your PDFs, or use the export PDF functionality in InDesign when prompted after executing the End-Of-Ad-IssueDetector.scpt.
Both scripts are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Instructions and Page to Download InDesign application scripts: Click HERE
InDesign PDF Presets:
When exporting a Press Ready PDF from InDesign choose the Preset setting [PDF/X–1a:2001] as a starting point… but you will need to make some adjustments to these settings:
1.) Change the Compatibility setting: It should be set to “Acrobat 7.0 (PDF 1.6)” on all the image settings.
2.) Modify the Image Sampling/Compression: It should be set to “Do Not Downsample” on all the image settings.
If you are not using InDesign to create your layout, please use the Preset setting [PDF/X–1a:2001] as a starting point when creating your PDF, and adjust the Compatibility and Image Compression settings as shown below:
1.) Change the Compatibility setting: It should be set to “Acrobat 7.0 (PDF 1.6)” on all the image settings.
2.) Modify the Image Sampling/Compression: It should be set to “Do Not Downsample” on all the image settings.
Valpak Policy: Replacing existing files with newly submitted PDFs
If a new press ready pdf is submitted for a referenced ad, or at proof stage and no changes are requested, Valpak will use both sides of the new uploaded file. Replacing your referenced ad, or proof ad.
When a new press ready pdf is submitted for a referenced ad, or at proof stage, with a change request, Valpak will only use the new digital file that changes are requested for. (i.e. if a change is requested for side 1 only, and the new file submitted contains a PDF/Graphics for both sides, only the new side one file will be used.
If your intention is for both sides of a new press ready pdf is to be used when requesting changes to only one side of an ad, an instruction must be included to use both sides of the new file upload.
Data Management For Ads: How long does Valpak store your PDF?
All Press Ready ads are stored on Valpak’s graphics database for one year.
This allows you to reference your previously submitted ads for future mailings as a repeat with expiration date change only. However, if the previously submitted file can’t be edited in order to make the expiration date change, it may result in a new file request or your ad being rebuilt. Any other changes requested may (at Valpak’s discretion) result in a new file request or your ad being rebuilt. In the event an ad is rebuilt, font(s), color(s), and other types of substitutions may be necessary and Valpak cannot guarantee quality.
I can’t tell you how many times I have told people that these lines won’t print and that they are an anomaly with how a PDF is displayed on the monitor (on screen). This post will explain why these lines exist and it will cover a simple display preference adjustment to eliminate these lines from showing on your PDF: CLICK HERE
2. Do not include an instruction such as; “Make sure this fits correctly.”
An instruction like the one above may be misinterpreted causing your PDF to get rebuilt by the Order Process Graphics Department. In some cases this may result in slightly altering the look of your ad due to the replacement of fonts, modified artwork files, etc. You are better off letting the Order Process Preflight Department do what they do best and determine the best approach to take when and if your PDF is over/under-sized.
It is for similar reasons why an “Upload Ad Notice” appears on the MDC Digital Ad Upload screen (see screen shot below). Make special note of the last paragraph: “The Preflight department inspects all uploaded pdf of ads and will adjust and/or resize to print properly. If they are unable to do so, you will be contacted by the Order Process Customer Service Department.“