Artwork Info for Promotional Products
If you have an artwork file to upload, please scroll to the bottom of this page, complete the form, and select "Next". You may also upload your file during the online order process.
When it comes to imprinting on promotional products, the type of artwork files accepted will vary depending on the product(s) ordered.
Vectorized artwork is always recommended for optimal printing, and is required for most print jobs. For certain products, such as note pads, rasterized artwork may be accepted as well (contact us if you are unsure). The resolution for colored rasterized artwork should be set at 300 dpi or higher. For Grayscale rasterized artwork you should provide 1200 dpi artwork. We can not be responsible for the quality of printing using lower resolution artwork.
Generally, you should always use fonts that are at least 6 PT in size (as compared to a standard Arial font) and line thicknesses of at least .5 PT, for all artwork elements that you supply. Occasionaly, a product, or printing procees, may require larger sized fonts and line thicknesses. Vector artwork usually prints sharper than rasterized (bitmap) images, and is always preferred unless your artwork includes photographs. If you aren't sure about what is required, feel free to call us.
Adobe Illustrator CS5 (or earlier), CorelDRAW 12 (or earlier) , EPS and PDF files are accepted, but please make sure to convert all text to outlines/curves/paths in Illustrator and CoreDRAW, prior to saving and sending us your artwork files. We can accept properly configured PDF files, created by other software programs, that have the fonts embedded when the PDF is created. Regardless of what format your file is saved to, always embed images that may have been linked, prior to saving your file for submission. Microsoft Publisher files are not supported, and you should convert these files to PDF files (with fonts embedded) or high-resolution JPG files. Please make sure that these files are created with CMYK, and NOT RGB, colors for proper color printing.
If you need assistance with your artwork, or just have questions, feel free to contact us by phone or email. Each order includes, in the pricing shown here on our web site, 30 minutes of FREE artwork time. If your order will require additional time, we are happy to give you a FREE quote. In all cases where you submit either a new order, or a repeat order with artwork changes, we will email you a FREE imprint proof, for aproval, prior to your order going to production. We are happy to supply you with artwork templates, upon request.
How to get us your artwork.
You can upload your artwork when placing an order on our website. You can also upload your artwork files using the form below, or you may email your files to Sales@ColumbiaDesign.com, for files of 8 MB or less.
Common Printing Terms
4-color Process: a system where a color image is separated into 4 different color values by the use of filters and screens (usually done digitally). The result is a color separation of 4 images, that when transferred to printing plates and printed on a printing press with the colored inks cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black, reproduces the original color image. These four colors can be combined to create thousands of colors, and are often abbreviated by the acronym "CMYK".
Bitmap Image: See "Raster Graphic" below.
Bleeds: printers cannot print right to the edge of a paper sheet. To create that effect, the printer must use a sheet, which is larger than the document size. Then the printer prints beyond the edge of the document size (usually 1/8?), then cuts the paper down to the document size.
Camera-ready: artwork that is black and white and has very clean, crisp lines that make it easy to scan and suitable for photographic reproduction. This may also refer to artwork that is digitally produced and is ready for reproduction.
Colorfill: screen printing an image and then debossing it onto the vinyl's surface
Debossing: depressing an image into a material's surface so that the image sits below the product surface
Die-casting: injecting molten metal into the cavity of a carved die (a mold)
Die-striking: producing emblems and other flat promotional products by striking a blank metal sheet with a hammer that holds the die
Drop Shipment: an order shipped to more than one location will be charged a fee for each additional destination.
E-mail Proof: an electronic proof that is e-mailed, usually in Adobe Reader PDF format, showing your artwork as it will be printed. Depending upon the product being be printed, the proof may, or may not, show the colors to be printed.
Embossing: impressing an image in relief to achieve a raised surface.
Embroidery: stitching a design into fabric through the use of high-speed, computer-controlled sewing machines. Artwork must first be "digitized," which is the specialized process of converting two-dimensional artwork into stitches or thread. A particular format of art such as a jpeg, tif, eps, or bmp, cannot be converted into an embroidery tape. The digitizer must actually recreate the artwork using stitches. Then it programs the sewing machine to sew a specific design, in a specific color, with a specific type of stitch. This is the process known as digitizing.
Engraving: cutting an image into metal, wood or glass by one of three methods--computerized engraving, hand tracing, or hand engraving.
Etching: using a process in which an image is first covered with a protective coating that resists acid, then exposed, leaving bare metal and protected metal. The acid attacks only the exposed metal, leaving the image etched onto the surface
Grayscale Raster Graphic: Grayscale is a range of monochromatic shades from black to white. Therefore, a grayscale image contains only shades of gray and no color. See "Raster Graphic" below for additional information.
Hot Stamp: setting a design on a relief die, which is then heated and pressed onto the printing surface.
Imprint Area: the maximum area on a product, with specific dimensions, in which the imprint is placed.
Laser or Foil Stamp: applying metallic or colored foil imprints to vinyl, leather or paper surfaces.
Less than Minimum: the fee charged for ordering 50% fewer items than the quantity listed in the minimum or first column. This option is not available on all products.
Outline Fonts: The process of converting fonts into vector graphics, which can no longer be edited as fonts. Outlining fonts eliminates the incompatibility problem when a particular font being used to create a file on one computer, is not installed on second computer opening the file.
Overrun / Underrun: An Overrun is common in the printing industry. Often, print orders will have some rejects as part of an order, due to imperfections. An overrun is the additional product printed to make sure that you receive no less than the quantity you order, after imperfect product is rejected. Typically, press operators will print up to 5 to 10% more product than you have ordered. Instead of throwing out the Overrun product left after rejects, and passing this cost on to all customers, many printers ship this additional product and invoice for it. We will invoice for any Overrun, up to 10% of the quantity ordered, depending upon the product, unless you specify "NO OVERRUN" when placing your order. Please note that by specifying "NO OVERRUN", you may receive less product than ordered (an UNDERRUN). If there is an OVERRUN, we will charge your credit card for the additional quantity, and send you a paid Invoice, after the product ships. If there is an UNDERRUN, we will credit the shortage back to your credit card and send you a Credit Memo.
Pad Printing: a recessed surface is covered with ink. The plate is wiped clean, leaving ink in the recessed areas. A silicone pad is then pressed against the plate, pulling the ink out of the recesses, and pressing it directly onto the product.
Paper proof: Impression of type or artwork on paper so the correctness and quality of the material to be printed can be checked. The least expensive is a regular black and white faxed paper proof.
Pantone Matching System (PMS): an industry accepted book of standardized colors, in a fan format, used to identify, match and communicate colors in order to produce accurate color matches in printing. Each color has a coded number (or name) indicating instructions for mixing inks to achieve that color.
Personalization: imprinting an item with a person's name using one of several methods such as mechanical engraving, laser engraving, hot stamping, debossing, sublimation, or screen printing, to name a few. Personalization is always an extra charge, above and beyond the pricing for the standard imprint, and implies that each item produced will have a separate individual's name on it.
Pre-production Proof: an actual physical sample of the printed product itself, produced and sent for approval before an order goes into production.
Raster Graphic: Often referred to as “bitmap” images. Most images you see on your computer screen are raster graphics. Pictures found on the Web and photos you import from your digital camera are raster graphics. They are made up of a grid of pixels, commonly referred to as a bitmap. The larger the image, the more disk space the image file will take up. For example, a 640 x 480 pixel image requires information to be stored for 307,200 pixels, while a 3072 x 2048 image (from a 6.3 Megapixel digital camera) needs to store information for a whopping 6,291,456 pixels.
Since raster graphics need to store so much information, large bitmaps require large file sizes. Fortunately, there are several image compression algorithms that have been developed to help reduce these file sizes. JPEG and GIF are the most common compressed image formats on the Web, but several other types of image compression are available. GIF images, however, are never acceptable for professional printing.
Raster graphics can typically be scaled down with no loss of quality, but enlarging a bitmap image, from its original design size, causes it to look blocky and "pixelated." For this reason, scalable vector graphics are often used for certain images, such as company logos, which need to be scaled to different sizes.
File extensions for raster images: .BMP, .TIF, .GIF, .JPG
Screen Printing: an image is transferred to the printed surface by ink, which is pressed through a stenciled screen and treated with a light-sensitive emulsion. Film positives are put in contact with the screens and exposed to light, hardening the emulsion not covered by film and leaving a soft area on the screen for the squeegee to press ink through. (Also called silk screening)
Vector Graphic: Unlike JPEGs, GIFs, and BMP raster images, vector graphics are not made up of a grid of pixels. Instead, vector graphics are mathematical expressions comprised of "paths", which are defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves, and angles along the way. A path can be a line, a square, a triangle, or a curvy shape. These paths can be used to create simple drawings or complex diagrams. Paths are even used to define the characters of specific typefaces.
Because vector-based images are not made up of a specific number of dots, they can be scaled to a larger size and not lose any image quality. If you enlarge a raster graphic, it will look blocky, or "pixelated." When you enlarge a vector graphic, the edges of each object within the graphic stay smooth and clean. This makes vector graphics ideal for logos, which can be small enough to appear on a business card, but can also be scaled to fill a billboard. Common types of vector graphics software include Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW. Vector images are the preferred file type for most screen or pad printing applications such as for printing on pens, cups, Frisbees, etc.
File extensions for vector images: .AI, .EPS, CDR.