Artwork Descriptions

VectorBitmap2We often get questions from clients about what format artwork needs to be in for decorating products, so we have put together a brief description of file types and a list of commonly asked questions.


    • Artwork needs to be in a vector file format, either .eps, .ai or hi res pdf. Vector files are preferred for printing, laser engraving and embossing.
    • All fonts must be converted to paths/outlines, otherwise the relevant font file needs to be provided.
    • Artwork for print is usually vector at 300-600dpi high resolution.  The higher the dpi (dots per inch) the better the reproduction.
    • Bitmaps .bmp, .jpg or .pdf files can be used for embroidery, but are not recommended for high quality printing.


    Can I use a graphic from my web page as artwork?
    Generally, no. Your logo or artwork needs to be in a vector file format with a dpi of 300 to 600 or better.  Images on the web are smaller at around 72dpi.

    Can I use a graphic created in Microsoft Word?
    Generally, no.  These graphics are usually too low in resolution to provide a high quality clear print.

    What is a vector graphic?A vector graphic is one of the two major graphic types (the other being bitmap). Vector graphics are made up of many individual objects with individual properties such as colour, fill and outline.  Vector graphics are resolution independent because they can be output to the highest quality at any scale.

    Why do I need vector graphics?

    Vector images are very easy to edit, scale, crop, manipulate and apply specific Pantone / PMS colours.  They have 100% control and freedom for preparing artwork for decorating to different sized print areas.  Because vector files do not contain dots to make up the design, pixilation does not occur when the file is enlarged, thereby provide a crisp and clear printed logo.

    What resolution works best?
    The best results will be when the logo or artwork is between 300-600dpi.  For embroidered items, 200dpi is usually fine, but once again, the higher the dpi, the better the quality of the artwork.

    What is a Bitmap Graphic?

    A bitmap graphic or image is made up of countless tiny coloured pixels/dots set in rows and columns to create a photo realistic image or drawing.  The quality, overall size and sharpness of a bitmap graphic relies on the resolution (dots per inch – dpi) because bitmap images are resolution dependant.  Bitmap images can be either high resolution (used for printing photo realistic results) or low resolution (commonly used for online purposes).  Bitmap images do not enlarge smoothly because the image has to generate/create more coloured pixels/dots to accommodate the increased size and this exaggerates the ‘pixelation’.

    How will the colours of my logo look on an item?

    Correct Pantone / PMS colours will be matched according to industry standards at all times.  Where full colour printing processes are used, Pantone / PMS matching cannot be guaranteed, but the colours will be matched as close as possible.

    Do I need to worry about the quality of reproducing my logo?

    If we have questions or feel we need better artwork, we’ll contact you with details immediately and offer additional advice to avoid any unnecessary additional charges.

    Can you print halftones?

    Generally yes, on most products, except on very small plastic items, dense surfaces such as stress-relievers or heavily textured surfaces such as canvas and some plastics.

    What does ‘colour separated artwork’ mean?

    Colour separation is the process by which original artwork is separated into individual colour components for printing.  The components are cyan, magenta, yellow and black … more commonly known as CMYK. By combining these colours, a wide spectrum of colours can be produced on a print to photographic quality.  The artwork should have small registration marks as each corner which allow the colours to be lined up so they print together correctly.

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