Promotional Products FAQs – Artwork Format

Promotional Products FAQs - What is the best file type for artwork my promotional products order?Our new blog series will focus on common questions we receive from clients. Our hope is to educate you and make the process of ordering promotional products as easy as possible by addressing many frequently asked questions (FAQs) for you during your research phase, rather than waiting until the buying phase. This educational series will ensure your ordering process is seamless and easy.

FAQ: What type of artwork file should I submit with my promotional products order?

Answer: Your artwork format will differ depending on the printing process. See more details below. 

For Spot Color Imprints: For artwork that will be printed with 1 or 2 colors, vector artwork is needed to obtain a crisp and clean print. Vector artwork includes the following file formats: .ai (Adobe Illustrator), .eps (Adobe Illustrator), a vector .pdf, and even an .svg. Vector artwork can be infinitely scaled and never lose quality, as opposed to a .jpg image which pixelates and blurs as the size is increased. Most promotional products include a simple 1 color logo, which is often the most cost-effective. Spot colors are determined using the Pantone Matching System (PMS). See a PMS Chart here. Individual promotional items from various factories have stock ink colors available which are included in the pricing. If you need an exact PMS color match, that can be achieved with a PMS Color Match charge.

For Full Color (CMYK) Imprints: Designs that will be in full color use 4 different colors to achieve the full color print: Cyan, Magento, Yellow, and Black. This file will often be a high resolution Photoshop file. These files should be saved to print size (or larger) at 300 dpi. File formats include .jpg, .tif, or .psd (Adobe Photoshop). Vector files can also be full color and are accepted as well. For full color artwork, all colors should be converted to CMYK color mode and NOT RGB. RGB is a color format for computer monitors only and not for printing. The CMYK printing process is the same type of printing used by ink jet and laser printing with the 4 cartridges. Through the 4 colors and the white from the paper (or product), millions of color shades can be printed.

Notes about art files

Website logos: Obtaining a logo to print from a website is not acceptable because online images are optimized for fast downloading for the web and are typically shown at only 72 dpi. A minimum of 300 dpt is needed to obtain the best print for full color prints. For spot color prints, a vector file is needed. Check with your graphics department or the original designer who created your logo and ask for a vector format of your logo. You will often not be able to open this file if you don’t have Adobe Illustrator installed on your computer, but this doesn’t mean the file is corrupt. Often, business owners don’t save this file since they can’t open it. This should have been explained if you originally used a reputable graphic designer.

Converting .jpg, .gif, or .tif logos to vector: Unfortunately, you can’t simply open a low resolution file and “save as” a vector format. We often get clients doing that and re-sending to us. If it were that easy, we would do it ourselves rather than asking you to send us a vector file. Once a file is low resolution, it will always be low resolution unless it is printed smaller than the original file size or redrawn.

Print Color Variations

When printing on a product with any surface color other than white, the final color may look different. For example, when printing Red ink on a Black product, the final print may look Orange or Brown due the product color properties showing through the print. If an exact color match is critical, you should always print on a White product and request an exact PMS color match.

It is extremely important to begin with the proper artwork format because the old principal of “Garbage In, Garbage Out” fully applies when printing promotional products. When you begin with the correct file, the end result will be a beautiful print which elevates your company branding.

If you don’t have the proper format, don’t fret. We have a team of incredible in-house graphic designers that can convert your logo from a low resolution format to a vector format for a nominal charge. Pricing depends on the complexity of your design and the time required by the designer.

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