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Basic Guidelines for Preparing Graphics for Stamps

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Designing stamps, it is crucial to keep in mind that stamps have got a very small format. Therefore, adhering to certain rules is essential to avoid undesirable results. The most common issues are fonts, that are too small. Small fonts can become unreadable when the stamp is made. Tiny details can either blur together or be impossible to reproduce on the stamp plate.

You can find the basic stamp offerings here: https://www.expresta.eu/stamps

Safety Zones for Stamps

The stamped area should be 0.5 mm smaller than the dimensions of the stamp on each side. For example, the product Large Address Stamp with dimensions 58.5 x 23.5 mm will have an actual print size of 57.5 x 22.5 mm. In the image below, the red line indicates the area outside the safety zone. The usable graphic area ends at the black line.

Small Graphic Elements - Fonts, Lines, Dots

An important element of a stamp is the font. The font should not be smaller than 2.35 mm in height – this applies to uppercase letters, also known as capital letters. If the font is smaller, it becomes unreadable as the ink can fill in the letter counters such as a, e, b, etc. We recommend sans-serif fonts for stamps, such as Arial, Roboto, Raleway, and similar. Other fonts, such as serif or decorative fonts, can also be used, but they need to be larger than 2.35 mm to ensure readability.

In addition to text, stamps often include graphic elements like lines. These lines can be printed (black) or reversed (white). A black line should be at least 0.1 mm thick; however, at this thickness, it can appear shaky, so we recommend a thickness of 0.2 mm. For reversed (white) lines, the minimum thickness is 0.4 mm. Any line thinner than these dimensions will likely be filled in by the ink.

Another common graphic element on stamps are dots, in both printed (black) and reversed (white) variants. The smallest dot that retains a circular shape should have a diameter of 0.4 mm in the printed version (black) and 0.7 mm for reversed (white) dots. Below these dimensions, the dots will not maintain their circular shape.