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How to Set Up File for Contour Cutting


These instructions show a step by step method to create a path that will be used to cut out your artwork from the background (on adhesive stock only).
The method is shown for Adobe Illustrator but you should be able to achieve the same results with any similar mainstream program (eg. InDesign, Corel Draw.)
Step 1
Open your file. Create and name a Spot Colour (any colour that visibly differs from what it is overlaying is suitable – usually 100% Magenta is suitable). Choose: WINDOW – COLOR – Select CMYK mode – set to 100% Magenta – Create New Swatch – Swatch Name – CutContour – Color Type – Spot Color – OK.
Step 2
Create an outline over the top of where you want cutting to occur. It is mandatory to create this outline on a separate layer called

Step 3

Here is an example of a text character converted to outline, with a thick stroke of same colour added to expand the bleed, duplicate pasted in front, the fill is removed and the stroke colour changed to the colour of the Swatch named CutContour and weight set at 1pt.
The shape that is cut out is determined by the outline that is assigned the CutContour colour name.
Step 4
Assign stroke weight to 1pt. Which should be easily visible on the final artwork at its 100{c04257e765cc040dca4db910a8ba0647e6f24fa79b2bd9fdc276a4418982718c} size.
Step 5
Change attributes to Overprint stroke.
Step 6
Check colour plates: WINDOW – SEPARATIONS – PREVIEW (You should have 4 colours visible – turn on Overprint Preview and Deselect the CutContour colour separation – you should see the Cutting outline disappear without leaving an underlaying knockout outline).
Step 7
File save as PDF. Checking Cutting setup with Acrobat Pro (if installed).
Open the pdf in Acrobat and select: ADVANCED – PRINT PRODUCTION – OUTPUT PREVIEW
Observe the output behaviour as you turn off the CutContour plate. It should disappear from view without leaving a knocked out
white outline