Art Requirements

It all starts with your images, art and graphics.  The better your artwork is, the better your final product will look.
The information below serves as a brief guide to help you understand, create and send us artwork that will work best for your projects.

Artwork Requirements

This is a list of some of the basic requirements when uploading artwork to us.  Following these requirements will help prevent errors and delays in the processing of your artwork.

Outline or Rasterize Fonts

We won't always have the same fonts that you do. If your artwork is finalized and will need no further editing, outline the fonts. This can be done in Vector based programs such as Adobe Illustrator.  If your artwork is Raster based then you need to rasterize the fonts as you can in Photoshop.

In certain instances you may be sending artwork that needs to be edited, or will used as a template for additional signs and graphics that use the same font.  In cases like this it's ok to keep the text editable as long as you also send us the fonts that are used in the artwork.

Outline Strokes

Only required for Vector basted artwork. Using a 30 point stroke in the creation of your artwork may look great, but it may not always translate or print properly, especially after scaling or other processes.  Outline strokes to keep the look of your artwork intact.

Embed Images

Images in Vector files should be embedded as opposed to linked.  In the case of multiple artwork files that use the same Raster images, then linked images make more sense to use

See below for more information on using Raster and Vector images, and the scaling and sizing of Raster images.

File Formats Not Supported

Some file formats are not supported due to inconsistencies and other problems that arise when converting files from one format to another. See the list of accepted file formats to the right.

File Formats Accepted

Vector  Adobe Illustrator Icon EPS Icon DWG Icon SVG Icon PDF Icon
AI - Adobe Illustrator
EPS - Encapsulated Postscript
DWG - AutoCad Drawing
DXF - AutoCad Exchange
SVG - Scalable Vector Graphics
PDF - Portable Document Format
WMF - Windows Metafile

Raster  Photoshop Icon PNG Icn JPEG Icon TIFF icon Bitmap Icon GIF Icon
PSD - Photoshop Document
PNG - Portable Network Graphics
JPG/JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group
TIF/TIFF - Tag Image File Format
BMP - Bitmap
GIF - Graphical Interchange Format

Fonts  TrueType Font Icon OpenType Font Icon
TTF - TrueType Fonts
OTF - OpenType Fonts

Compressed File Formats  Zip icon Rar icon 7Zip icon
ZIP - Windows Zip/WinZip
7Z - 7-Zip

Formats Not Accepted  Microsoft Word Icon MS Publisher Icon PowerPoint Icon InDesign Icon CorelDraw Icon

DOC - Microsoft Word
PUB - Microsoft Publisher
PPT - Microsoft Powerpoint
INDD - Adobe InDesign - Export as EPS
CDR - Corel Draw

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Raster Vs Vector Images

Raster Images

Raster images - also known as bitmap images - may sometimes look just like Vector art, but they are comprised of pixels. Pixels are tiny squares that are displayed on your monitor. When Raster art is enlarged the artwork can get pixilated, or look blocky and/or blurry. Some graphics require the use of Raster images, and that's ok as long as the right image size and resolution is used for the specific application.

Raster images have a physical size, which can also be thought of as its print size. For example; 8" x 10". They also have a resolution size. Resolution is measured in dots per inch (dpi), or pixels per inch (ppi).  A standard computer monitor displays images at about 72 dots per inch. That means a 1" x 1" image is comprised of about 72 dots, or in this case, pixels.

When a Raster image is enlarged, the pixels are also enlarged, or more pixels are used to replace each of the original pixels.  Either way, you get an image that is blocky, as shown below on the left, or blurry.

Raster Vs Vector side-by-side comparison

Unless your artwork contains photographic (Raster) images, Vector art is the best method to create and send us your artwork.

Vector Images

Vector art is scalable: Think of Vector art as wireframe graphic elements that are filled with various colors.  No matter how large you make them, they will not lose any resolution and will always remain sharp. They don't become pixilated like Raster images do when blown up to larger sizes.

Vector images are usually created in programs like Adobe Illustrator, CAD applications, Corel Draw, and other design programs and saved in formats such as .ai, .eps, .dxf, .pdf, etc.

While these programs may allow you save raster images as .ai, .eps, .pdf, files, it does not mean that the art magically becomes a Vector file that can be scaled to any size without losing quality.  A Raster image will always be in Raster format no matter what file type you save it as.  Likewise, a Raster editing program like Photoshop can save a Raster image as an .eps or .pdf file - but it will still be a Raster image subject to the same quality issues when enlarging.

Artwork may contain a mix of Raster and Vector images. When it does, it should be saved in one of the Vector formats mentioned.
Image Size and Resolution

What resolution should my Raster art be?

One would think that the larger the final print needs to be, the larger the resolution needs to be - but that's not always the case.  In fact, most of the time it's just the opposite.

Small items such as business cards, postcards, letterheads, stickers, etc. need to be created at a higher resolution since they will be seen up close. 300-600 dpi is normal for these types of prints. At the other end of the spectrum, artwork for billboards can be as low as 20 dpi because it's being view from much farther away. Your eye cannot make out the individual, larger printed dots when viewed at great distances.

In general, small prints such as business cards and up to about 8.5" x 11" should be created at or around 300 dpi. 

An image that will be printed and put on a vehicle door or a t-shirt should be created at around 150 dpi

Larger images, such as a wall covering, or 4' x 8' job site print can be created at 72 dpi

We say created because you cannot take a 72 dpi image from a web page and convert the resolution to 300 dpi and expect the image to still look decent.  Remember, enlarging a Raster image's size or resolution will degrade its quality.

Determining resolution when creating art

If your artwork requires a minimum of 300 dpi and you want to print an image in an area that is 3 inches wide, multiply 300 pixels x 3 inches
(300 x 3 = 900). Your image must be at least 900 pixels wide.

If your artwork requires a minimum of 150 dpi and you want to print an image in an area that is 20 inches wide, multiply 150 pixels x 20 inches (150 x 20 = 3000). Your image must be at least 3000 pixels wide.

Determining what size exiting art can be printed

Divide the pixel dimension of your image by the resolution required by your print.

Note: To view and edit an image pixel dimension you must use a photo-editing program like Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro to open the raster file.  Some operating systems will allow you to view images dimensions and other information about an image file just by clicking on an image in the file browser.  Also, some image viewing programs will also allow you to view size and resolution information.

If your image is 2500 pixels wide & requires a resolution of 300 dpi
(2500 ÷ 300)  It can be printed at 8.33" wide

If your image is 1975 pixels wide & printer requires 72 dpi
(975 ÷ 72)  It can be printed at 27.43" wide

Please contact us if you need any further assistance.

Visit our Artwork Upload page here.