Artwork is an important aspect to getting a great print or a not so great print on your product. Here is some basic information so you can understand what we need to make it a great print.
Most custom printed products require "camera ready", line art or vector artwork, all terms which basically refer to the same thing. Yes, "camera ready" is an old term but it still used in our industry from time to time. This kind of artwork is generally created by graphic designers and typically have file extensions like .ai, .cdr, .eps, or possibly .pdf. These types of files are created using graphic software like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw or other vector or line art creator program. Line art is a really good reference because that is exactly what it is, artwork with points and lines, straight or curved. Line art is scalable to any size without losing any clarity or quality.
Take note that .jpeg, .png, .jiff or other "bitmap" files are not line art. Bitmap images are like photos. If you were to zoom in on your computer and view one of these close up you would notice a bunch of squares "pixels" all bunch together to achieve your image. A good way to think of this is as a mosaic. It may look clear at a distance but when you get up close it looses it's quality. The quality of those depend on the dots per inch (DPI) as to how clear they will be. 95% of the bitmap images I get for reproduction are typically on the lower DPI scale because it's a website graphic. Website graphics are typically very low resolution (DPI) so the websites load faster. Higher DPI bitmap images are sometimes usable for printing depending on if you want a single color print or multiple color. Line art colors can be separated to print in layers, bitmap images cannot be separated since they are colored pixels that make up the image. Is this making sense? I posted some images below to help you visually understand the difference.
**Just a little note: We use graphic software at our office to make small changes or change colors to provided line art artwork. I consider myself creative and come up with some pretty good ideas (if I do say so myself), however, we are not graphic artists and do not have the hours nor the the artwork qualifications to charge those rates. :) I do, though, have access to graphic designers that can create, clean up or convert your artwork at a very competitive rates. Artwork from just an idea will cost more but in general it is still relatively inexpensive compared to most. I can get a quote prior to ordering if you need help in the artwork area. Just send me a message and I would be happy to help. I hope this helps you understand my world of artwork a little better. Please post any comments below. Thanks!
Lana Bento, CAS
Certified Advertising Specialist as designated by PPAI,