Trapping Artwork in Illustrator

 for Prepress File Submission  

trapping files Trapping Artwork

Click to play

If you’re printing a pouch or bag with multiple colors, incorrect registration by the printer can result in gaps between the colors on the final product. Which is why it’s important to use a trap to compensate for potential gaps. Simply put, a trap is a small area of overlap between colors and is used by designers to avoid unsightly gaps between colors. You've seen art with traps on many products you've purchased, but you've probably never really understood what they were.

Sample Art 2 Trapping Artwork

There are two types of traps, Spread traps and Choke traps. Some complex rules relating to the order of the color cylinders can come into play here, but here is a general rule of thumb for when to apply a spread trap vs a choke trap. 

Spread Traps

A spread trap is where a foreground object extends over the background color. Apply spread traps when a lighter color overlaps a darker color background, and after trapping the lighter color will expand into the darker area. 

Choke Trap

A choke trap is where the background color overprints the foreground object. Apply a choke trap when a darker object falls within a lighter background, and so reduces or squeezes the object. 

trapping definition Trapping Artwork
Main template 1 Trapping Artwork
how to add trapping 2 Trapping Artwork

Easy Trapping Steps in Adobe Illustrator

Below is a quick and easy method to trap art, using path offsets, and transparency darkening to integrate traps into your art design.


Step 1: Make sure your artwork is in CMYK color mode for printing.

Step 2: Select the topmost object you tend to trap.

Step 3: Click Object >Path > Offset Path

Step 4: For a choke trap apply a negative 0.2mm offset. For a spread trap apply a positive 0.2mm offset. 

Step 5: Click OK

Step 6: Make sure you’ve selected your offset path. 

Step 7: Then click Transparency > Darken

There you’re done!

CarePac logo white Trapping Artwork

CarePac can help 

As you can see, creating a trap in Adobe Illustrator can be quite complex. Fortunately, our design specialists can take care of the heavy lifting for you. By engaging with CarePac for the design and manufacturing of your bags, we’ll take care of all the steps in between. Contact us today to learn how we can help you design the bag you’ve always dreamed of. 


Flexible Leadtimes


Digital & Plate Printing

We offer the full array of printing styles, bag finishes, and effects. 

Totally Custom Bags

customize every ASPECT of your bag. Size, material, features, configuration.

Testing & Compliance

Our materials are FDA CFR 73, BPA & Phthalate Free, and meet all the major compliance standards.


Welcome to Our New Site!

We hope you like the updated look and feel. Be sure to check out our new instant online calculator too