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General Artwork Guidelines General Artwork Guidelines

Listed below are helpful guidelines to quickly and easily submit your artwork, or what to do if you have little or no artwork.

PromoteSource doesn't require you to upload files and move them around on the screen to create your own proof. What that does is make you responsible for what you create, which time and time again creates problems when you receive your order and it is not what you expected. Online proof print shops will say, “Hey, you approved your own online proof, sorry!” We know that most of you are not professional graphics artists, and we would rather have you spend your valuable time finding the right product for your needs.

Simply, send us what you have and we’ll make it work. For the most part, we'll handle the artwork for you. Just send us the files by email or a hardcopy by mail. We will catch unforeseen problems, review your artwork, make recommendations, and lay it out for you for your approval.

However, when you do send us artwork and files, the more you give us that is ready to go, the less costly it will be for you. This is simply because there will be less setup work we will have to do. Here is plenty of information that will help you with that.

Where do I send my artwork to?

We prefer that you send us your files by email or by using an online file sharing service. If you have artwork that needs to be scanned such as signatures, or any other hard copy information we may need, you can send those items to us by using snail mail via USPS, Fedex, or UPS.

For instructions on how and where to send us files, click here.

Specs for Submitting & Archiving Digital Artwork

What is the best artwork?

We can accept both PC and Macintosh platform files.

For best results, submit vector-based EPS files with fonts converted to outlines. EPS format files provide top-quality reproduction allowing images to be resized with no loss of sharpness or detail.

We support Adobe Illustrator CS4, Adobe Photoshop CS4, Corel Draw, Quark Express, and Publisher. Word or WordPerfect files may be submitted for text only. Graphics inside Word or WordPerfect files generally cannot be used, but ask first, and we will check. We need to see Microsoft Publisher files first to see if we can use them.

The Most Common Imprint is a One Color Imprint:

The most common imprint in print media is a one color imprint and the majority of questions we receive are about items we produce that customers would like with a one color imprint. We provide answers to your frequently asked questions about simple, one color artwork and what we need to produce your finished piece at our blog post, One Color Imprint Artwork Requirement FAQ

Vector Art:

Any file created in Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, or Freehand should be saved in an .eps format with all fonts converted to curves or outlines. Any colors used in the image must be specified as either spot (Pantone/PMS) or by a CMYK breakdown, based on the job requirements. We accept Illustrator (.ai) files.

Scanned Art:

Any image scanned into an image-editing application (i.e. Adobe Photoshop) must have a minimum resolution of 600 dpi at 100% of the requested size. This file should be supplied as black and white and must have been scanned from camera-ready artwork, saved in .tif, .eps, or .bmp format.


For certain jobs, we can accept photos and scan them. It does not matter if they are full color or black and white. We will let you know what can and cannot be done with your photos and if any artwork charges apply. Try to give us photos that are larger than the finished image size you actually need. Reducing is always better than increasing.

Artwork with Text:

We recommend that all text be converted to outlines when possible. If not, all fonts, font suitcases, printer fonts and screen fonts must be included with art and files that contain curved copy.

Single Color Artwork:

We prefer Adobe Illustrator files, however we can use .jpg or .tiff files if their resolution is 300 dpi (dots per inch) or higher at the size of the imprint area. The logo should be in black on a white background. Web images are generally 72 dpi (very low resolution) and are almost never acceptable unless extensive (and expensive) clean up work is done.

Multiple Color Artwork:

We prefer original, native vector, .eps files. Again, send us what you have and we will let you know if they are appropriate. PC files such as .doc, .pcx, .ppt, .p65, or .xls are generally not acceptable. These file formats are usually low resolution and only suitable for viewing on screen, not for printing, and cannot be appropriately modified.

Four-Color Process:

Files supplied for four color process reproduction (CMYK) must be a minimum resolution of 300 dpi at 100% of the requested size. The file must be submitted in a CMYK format and saved in either a .tif, .eps, or uncompressed .jpg format. Raw scans and images from a digital camera are RGB and must be converted to CMYK before submitting.

.jpeg, .tif and Photoshop .eps files are ONLY acceptable for CMYK (Four-Color Process). Also acceptable are Quark Xpress and Photoshop files for four-color process. All support files (graphics, placed images and fonts) must be included when placed in page layout programs. These files cannot be used for Spot Color orders.

Color separated art for spot colors to be run in four color process should be separated as spot colors, not as process separations.

NOTE: Pantone® color matches may vary with four color process printing. If exact Pantone® color matching is required, additional color(s) will be printed at an additional charge (note your quotation) per color plus an added color charge.

Simple Straight Text Art Files:

For most straight text stamp orders, we generally set the type at no additional charge. However, if you want to send us your own art file for the straight text, that is acceptable. The artwork requirements for simple straight text art files are a little less stringent. We can accept word docs, xls files for straight text as resolution is not and issue with those file types if they are for straight text only. If you have the ability, of course we would prefer the file sent to us as a pdf. Please make all text black and white even if the finished product is going to be in another color other than black. Email all straight text art files and any associated font files to art at promotesource dot com and reference your order number.

File Submissions:

When sending computer-created art to us, please try to make sure that all of the items on this checklist are completed.

If file was created in:

PageMaker: Include all linked files and fonts used.

Quark Xpress: Include all imported files and fonts used.

Corel Draw: Include all linked files and convert all text to paths, or provide fonts used.

Illustrator: Include all imported files and convert all text to outlines, or provide fonts used.

Photoshop: TIFF file is to size. Minimum 266 dpi for color TIFF files, minimum 600 dpi for line art. File must be created on an IBM compatible computer.

Only text, no graphics, can be used from Word or WordPerfect.

All files linked to or used in the document are included on the disk (TIFF and EPS files). No gif, low resolution jpg, cgm, wmf or pict files are used.

Text should be converted to paths, curves, or outlines (vector art). If you do not do this, be sure that both printer and screen font files for all fonts used in the document are included.

Ideally, a laser printed proof of the artwork should be sent. If there is more than one color, send paper separations. If full color, send color printout.


PromoteSource maintains an extensive font library. Please ask us for your favorite. We will help you to pick fonts that are right for your project. Be sure to send all linked files, including all TIFF and EPS files for artwork placed in your document, as well as all printer and screen fonts used. Please include a pdf file, identical to what you expect in return, to verify final output.


Full color printers use cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These colors are called printer inks or CMYK. Black is called “K” so it cannot be confused with blue. Using these four colors, a full color document is created through separations. Most custom imprint work on many promotional products will usually use spot colors. A spot color can be a Pantone Matching System (PMS) color such as PMS 347 green, for example. It can also be a very common color such as Reflex Blue or just plain black.

The same color printed on plastic may look different than on wood or paper. Also, the same color can look very different even when printed on papers of different color and/or finishes. For example, that color will look different printed on a white, cotton, laid finish sheet as opposed to a ivory, sulphite (no cotton), flat wove sheet. Also, different printing processes will make that same ink color appear different. A good example would be how different a specific color looks flat (offset) printed, as opposed to laser safe thermography on the same sheet of paper.

Red, green, and blue (rgb) is used on computers (web) and TV. All other colors are mixed from these. A cmyk file cannot be posted to view online and an rgb file cannot work for print. These can usually be remixed in your graphic program. That is why an electronic proof will give you a great idea of how your project will look, but cannot be a perfect match for color. Ink and computer monitors are not the same thing.

Color Matching:

PromoteSource matches colors based on the Pantone® charts. We cannot print to match ink jet or laser printed colors. Convert all RGB defined colors and files to CMYK for four color process production.

For those who require specific matched colors, please provide us with a "PMS" color number for each special color in their artwork. PMS stands for Pantone Matching System®.


The number of samples per inch, otherwise known as pixels or dots (dpi), determines the scan resolution of an image. A scan resolution that is too low results in a low-quality image while a scan resolution that is too high increases the file size, which needlessly takes up extra memory and sometimes fills in white areas.

The resolution changes when you resize an image. When you scan an image, the number of pixels is fixed so that when you scale (resize) that image, the number of pixels does not change. Due to the fact that the same number of pixels must fit into an area that is smaller or larger than the original, the pixel density (per inch) changes. For example, when a photograph with a resolution of 300 dpi is scaled to 200%, its scan resolution decreases to 150 dpi.

72 dpi images are great for websites, because they keep file sizes small for quick downloads. However, for printing, 300 dpi is a minimum resolution. Note: Enlarging a 300 dpi 200% will lower the resolution to 150 dpi and make it unsuitable for printing. If you have ever noticed the jagged lines on some graphics that have been professionally printed, then you realize what kind of artwork the printer had to work with, or thought they could use. It does not have to be that way. You can have a great job if you have great art.

File Formats:

When providing us with a graphics file, it should be in its “native” format. Try to stick with graphics programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and Adobe Photoshop. An Illustrator .eps file which has been placed in PowerPoint or PageMaker will not work. You can scan files into Photoshop, as long as you set up at 100% size and the appropriate resolution.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

The EPS format is PostScript vector artwork, widely compatible with a variety of desktop publishing and graphics applications. EPS files provide high quality work. They can be easily imported in many applications, including Adobe PageMaker, Quark Xpress, and Microsoft Word.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

TIFF files are versatile and support almost any picture bit depth. The files come in monochrome, 16 and 256 colors, 16 and 256-grayscale color and true color (24-bit). TIFF files can be saved in uncompressed or compressed formats; the latter format has a higher degree of compression. The file extension is .tif.


GIF is a good format for images used on the web, but unusable for printing of any quality. They can have anywhere from 2 to 256 colors; they have a high compression rate and are an efficient way to store larger image sizes. The file extension is .gif.


JPEG files also work very well for images on the web. They are either true color or grayscale. JPEG files reduce image file size by selectively reducing the amount of detail beyond human vision contained in the image. Very high resolution JPEG files can be used for many spot color projects, but it is best to let us see it first. The file extension is .jpg.


Adobe Acrobat format, also called Portable Document Format (PDF), preserves the original appearance of a document without requiring you to possess the software that created that document. You can get a free Acrobat Reader(needed to view Acrobat files) from Adobe's website.

There is a common misconception that all pdf files are vector. The pdf output is based on the original file. If you are starting with a non-vector file, it will remain a non-vector file once saved as pdf. If your original file is vector it can be saved as a vector pdf using common design software such as Adobe Illustrator.

Camera Ready Artwork:

Camera ready art is artwork that can be scanned without further preparation or changes. All artwork should be color separated and registered to size. Precise details as to color, crop marks and placement should be noted.

Crisp black and white printed artwork of 600 dpi or higher is acceptable. Mailed not faxed. We recommend sending black and white laser prints at 200% larger than size to be printed.

Camera ready art IS NOT undersized paper laser prints, photocopies, hand sketches, imprinted merchandise, stationery or business cards.

Please Note…the following is also not camera ready:

Faxed anything, photographs, slides, transparencies, halftone (grayscale) art, low resolution laser printed artwork of less than 600 dpi or undersized, photocopies. Low resolution images taken from a website are almost never camera ready. Other art that needs to be touched-up, color separated, or multi-color art to be made one-color or otherwise improved is not camera ready. Scans and stats of the above are also not considered camera ready. Remember, you can never make it better than the original.

Non Camera Ready Electronic Artwork --- low resolution jpg, gif, or bmp

Artwork Cleanup/Conversion Fees:

If you do have artwork, however it is not provided in a format or is not in the resolution or quality required to produce your item, we can in many instances, create a high resolution, vector piece of art that is print quality for a flat fee of $39.95 for a Level 1 Simple Layout. For a Level 2 Moderate Design Layout, the charge is $67.95, and for a Level 3 Complex Layout, the charge is $99.95. We will also email the finished art file to you so you can use it for other future applications.

Many of our customers would like to be able to use their newly modified artwork later on for many other applications and printing needs and need the logo in other file types. If you would like us to make your artwork print and web ready for other uses besides the order you have with us, we can create a complete library of your logo in the following formats for a flat rate of $149.95. This price takes the place of the above pricing structure and is not in addition to the above prices. This complete library is an excellent way to get your logo in a variety of file types in one easy step and for one low price.

Just ask us about this popular service. Your complete set of logos include:

.eps color
.eps b/w

Hi res .jpg color
Hi res .jpg b/w

Lo res .jpg color (website use)
Lo res. .jpg b/w (website use)

.pdf color
.pdf b/w

.tif color
.tif b/w

Those who have no artwork:

If you don't have artwork, it's not a problem with us. Sketch out or send us any file you have and describe what you're looking for and we will help you out. We do simple typesetting at no charge!

We maintain an extensive library of fonts, logos and other camera ready types of clipart. In the event we don't have the particular clipart you are looking for, we will be more than happy to work with you to create simple artwork. Many instances there will be no or very little charge to create what you need. Upon completion of your artwork, we will send you an email proof to review and approve. Once approved by you production of your product can begin. Your new artwork will also remain on file at PromoteSource for up to 3 years.

Note: If you already have a logo on paper and can't find it in an electronic format, you can probably ask the person or company who originally created it for the file and have it emailed to us.

Please remember, bad or no artwork should never get in the way of bringing your project to a finished reality. As we have said earlier, we can always assist at no charge or very reasonable rates. We will tell you up front what the additional charges will be, if any. Once we create or recreate your art, you won't have this charge again for future products if used in the same way. Of course, a proof will be provided for your approval.

To find out what type of price structure your artwork modifications will require, please contact us. For all other custom and complicated artwork changes or new designs, please contact us for details as these jobs must be custom quoted.

Popular programs for the non-professional:

Please remember that some programs such as Word, Works, PowerPoint, or Publisher are not considered true graphic programs. WordPerfect is not either. Do not let this deter you from sending us these files. We will work with anything you have.

General Notes:

Please note when creating artwork, tints of colors (20% black to represent gray) will not reproduce on some types of products.

Please save all files with the appropriate three digit extension (.eps, .tif), and if using a vector-based application (Corel, Illustrator, Freehand), and, if possible, a PC-format preview (.tif).

Preferred File Formats: .AI, .EPS, .CDR .TIF, .JPG, .PDF

We continue to accept camera-ready PMT’s.

Important Things To Know:

PromoteSource cannot be responsible for the loss of artwork. PromoteSource cannot be responsible for files that may become corrupted.

Artwork charges incurred to clean, revise or modify artwork will be charged accordingly. It is understood that you or your designer will provide artwork in compliance with the client logo and reproduction specifications.

It is understood that you or your designer have obtained proper authorization to use provided artwork. You are responsible for showing us applicable licensing on projects requiring this consideration. You must show us that you are authorized to use the logo and/or artwork. We reserve the right to turn away projects that we feel do not meet these requirements. We will not take on projects that we do not have proper authorization to use the logo and/or artwork.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact PromoteSource to answer questions or to any provide additional information.

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