Print Advertising File Submission Guidelines

Washingtonian is dedicated to ensuring your ad prints to your satisfaction. The most common errors are images not converted to CMYK, low-resolution graphics, text outside the safety margin, inclusion of spot or RGB colors, and missing bleed allowances on bleed ads. Please help us by reading the following information.

Failure to follow these guidelines can result in loss of agency discount.

What To Send

  • We prefer a PDF/X-1a file (see section 6).
  • We accept select native files (see section 7) that include all graphic support files, linked
    and updated; and the fonts used in the layout file.

Materials Deadline

Run-of-book advertising materials are due to the Washingtonian advertising department by the 1st of the month preceding the issue date.

How To Send

  • E-mail completed advertising files to
  • FTP: Contact your Washingtonian sales representative for upload instructions.

Ad Sizes

Bleed/Non-bleed Ads

  • Full-page bleed ads should be made to the trim size of the publication. Add .125” bleed to all four sides of the ad when creating the PDF.
  • A safety margin of .25” must be taken into account when creating a bleed ad. Do not put any live copy closer than .25” to the trim size.
  • Bleed charges may apply to any ad with bleed. Check with your sales representative.
  • Do not add a bleed allowance to non-bleed ads. They should simply be created to the proper dimensions of the ad space. See links in Section 4 for ad sizes, and select the proper publication.


PDF Specifications

  • PDFs must meet PDF/X-1a standards with 300 dpi images, CMYK colors, and embedded fonts.
  • Export or “Save As” using the PDF/X-1a settings from Adobe InDesign (preferred), Photoshop, or Illustrator.
  • For quality-control purposes, advertisers who submit PDF files may be required to supply native files if the PDF is problematic.


Acceptable Native Applications

  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Photoshop (see Photoshop font issues in section 11)
  • Adobe Illustrator (with type converted to outlines)


Unacceptable File Formats

  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint



  • All colors must be CMYK or grayscale. No RGB, spot (Pantone), Lab or Index color.
  • Tints and color type in two-, three-, and four-color ads must be produced in a CMYK equivalent.
  • Do not submit color files for black and white ads.
  • Do not use rich black of any kind for text.
  • Do not set white objects to overprint.



  • Images should have an effective resolution of 300 dpi. 72 dpi images, or images downloaded from a website, are of unacceptable quality for magazine printing.
  • PSD, TIFF and EPS format files are preferable to JPG.
  • CMYK or grayscale files are acceptable. RGB, Lab or Index color files are unacceptable. Do not embed an ICC color profile.
  • Use or scale your images as close to to the actual reproduction size as possible; a 20% margin plus or minus is optimal.



  • We prefer that you use OpenType or PostScript Type 1 fonts, however TrueType are acceptable.
  • Do not apply bold or italic styles to plain fonts or your type may not output correctly. For example, if italics are desired, then the italic version of the font should be used.
  • Illustrator .ai or EPS files should have the fonts converted to outline.
  • Photoshop users: 
    • We prefer to receive Photoshop files as Photoshop PDFs. In order to preserve font-quality type in your Photoshop PDF, you must use the PDF/X-1a setting in Photoshop’s Adobe PDF Preset field. Never use the “Faux bold” and “Faux italic” options.
    • In order to preserve font-quality type in a PSD or layered TIFF, fonts must be supplied for output. Never use the “Faux bold” and “Faux italic” options. If no fonts are supplied in a PSD or layered TIFF, the file will be flattened, compromising the type quality.
    • The type in flattened Photoshop files is of noticeably lower quality than other file formats. Font-quality type can only be preserved by submitting a PDF or layered file with fonts (see above). However if the file is already flattened, it should be at least 300 dpi; type-heavy ads should be 600 dpi.



  • Johanna Daproza, Production Director: 202-739-2409;
  • George Perikles, Systems Manager: 202-862-3511
  • Paul Chernoff, Director of Information Technology: 202-862-3504
  • Advertising Department: 202-296-1246