How to Prepare Digital Artwork for Printing

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The biggest hurdle for most startup decoration businesses is preparing artwork to be printed.  Screen Printing requires the artwork to be either a vector (AI, EPS, PDF, or CDR) or a high resolution bitmap image (PDF, PNG, EPS, JPEG, and PSD), and should be created using either Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Print Fundraising’s website design tool.  To run a successful decoration business, it is extremely important to understand the difference between bitmap and vector artwork.

Bitmap images are composed of many tiny dots, or pixels, which combine to create an image.  Most photos that you are likely to see online, or in catalogs, are bitmap images. The problem with bitmap images is that, because they are composed of small dots, they cannot be resized without compromising the image quality.  When you increase the size of a bitmap image, you are just enlarging the pixels. Once they become a certain size, the individual pixels become distinguishable- thus the term “pixelated.” To avoid these issues, you must save bitmap images at the exact size necessary for your print, otherwise you might end up with a low resolution print.  To be digitally printed (sublimation, direct-to-garment, wide format), an image should be at least 300 dots per inch (DPI). Having more DPI allows for sharper images with greater detail that will jump off of whatever surface they are printed on.

 

Vector images, however, are more flexible.  Vector images are created through use of mathematical formulas rather than pixels, using lines and curves to create images.   This allows vector images to be resized without issue and make them the choice for images that will need to be resized often. For example, your business logo ought to be a vector image so it can be used to print on a wide variety of media and sizes to promote your brand.  EPS, AI, and PDF are common vector image types. Vector images can be saved as bitmap images, but bitmap images cannot be saved as a vector. A good way to think of the difference between the two is the vector should be your “source file”- the original from which you can save and create bitmap images in the exact size necessary for a specific print.

 

We, at Print Fundraising, charge between $10.00 and $25.00 to vectorize an image depending on its complexity, and we will give you the vector file formats for future use.  We do not charge artwork fees for vector images as they are easy to manipulate and set up for printing. 

 

Preparing artwork is a vital part of the screen print transfer process.  Poorly created, edited, or vectorized artwork will result in low quality transfers being produced.  Print Fundraising will always do our best to catch errors or problem artwork before we print your transfers, but we cannot be held responsible for errors made in your artwork that you submit to us.  If we make an error in setting up your artwork, however, we will correct the mistake at no extra charge.

 

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