From Pixels to Print, Preparing Your Design for Production

November 16, 2016

Every day at Lumi, we are transforming digital artwork into physical packaging. Dielines and proofs are pivotal steps along the way. This guide will give you some insight into how that process works at Lumi.

 From Pixels to Print, Preparing Your Design for Production
 From Pixels to Print, Preparing Your Design for Production

Step 1: Send us your dieline

A dieline is a vector file (usually .PDF, .AI, or .DXF), representing the artwork and dimensions of your product with colors, cuts, folds and glue lines indicated for production purposes. Dielines contain all the information used in manufacturing the tooling for your item. What is tooling? It's the combination of cutting dies and printing plates that will be used to produce your packaging.

The are various ways to get a dieline:

  • Download our blank dielines for our stock items and add your artwork
  • Request a quote for a custom size dieline based on our stock sizes
  • Work with a structural packaging designer who can provide a dieline

When your final artwork is on the dieline, send it to us through the Custom Quote form or contact the sales team at if you need more help.

When you send us the final dieline, our production team will give it a once over to look for anything that might be cause hiccups in manufacturing. If we see any issues, we'll let you know. It's important to note that all lead times quoted on the site start from the time we receive your design, and assume that the design won't change during the proofing step.

Step 2: Review the digital proof

Once you place your order with the final dieline, it will be put in the hands of the production team for a process called "prepress." Essentially, your dieline will be turned into the final production-ready files for manufacturing. Those production-ready files will be turned into a digital proof for your approval. This step can take from a few days to a week. The digital proof looks much like your dieline, but acts as a contract between you and Lumi. Its purpose is to ensure that everyone agrees on what is being manufactured. If you see a mistake in the digital proof, this should be addressed before your final approval. The digital proof is your last chance to check for any issues with text, color, or dimensions, before your order goes to print.

Is it possible to get a physical proof? Unfortunately, no. To get an accurate print requires tooling of industrial flexographic, lithographic, or rotogravure printers. Because setup this is such a large part of the process, the cost of making one sample is not that far removed from getting the entire print run made. 

Depending on the project, we are able to offer color drawdowns (swatches of your print color), unprinted size samples, and samples of similar items we've made for other customers. You can request samples by emailing

Step 3: Approve the proof to start production

Signing off on the digital proof is as easy as replying "Approved." Note that if you choose to make changes to the proof, this will most likely extend your timeline. As soon as you we get the A-okay, the tooling process will begin. 

From that moment on, your project will begin its journey through tooling, manufacturing, and shipping. The hardest part will be waiting for your new packaging to arrive!

Header photo and mailer via Cotton Bureau

If you ordered a large volume of boxes or mailers, they'll probably be delivered on a pallet. So while you're waiting for your custom order to arrive, here's how to get prepped for your pallet.

Innovative brands use Lumi to manage scalable and sustainable packaging.

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