Top 10 Tips on Preparing and Supplying Good Quality Artwork for Promotional Merchandise

on Mon 13 December 2010


Top 10 Tips by Anthony Hecker, Operations Director of HALO.

HALO Marketing is a group of companies with sales offices located in key European markets: UK, Germany, Slovakia and Russia, plus sourcing and quality control offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai. 

The company offers merchandise solutions for product launches, sales incentives, staff rewards, customer loyalty schemes and free–premiums. The services offered range from concept and product development, through to 'just–in–time' drop shipments direct to warehouse, handling house or promotional location. 

Anthony Hecker has been Operations Director of HALO for 11 years and has a total of 39 years experience in promotional marketing. 

1. Logos. If you have your logo in Vector EPS format, then always use it. Vector EPS files are scalable, unlike JPEGs and other image types, which diminish in quality the larger they are used.

2. Pantones. Find out your Pantone colours. Most Vector EPS logos will have been designed using Pantone Matching System (PMS) colours, which ensure colour consistency. When you send your logo, let the supplier know the exact names/numbers of all the pantone colours in your logo.

3. ZIP. Try and use ZIP to send files (commonly ‘winzip’, but other compression software such as ‘Stuffit’ can ZIP a file too). ZIPPING your logo or image before you send it over email or FTP not only reduces the file size a little (or a lot) it also protects your file from corruption, this is especially useful for EPS files. Other compression formats can be used, but bear in mind ZIP is the most common, and is pretty much universally used.

4. Quality. If you're sending a photographic image as artwork (for example a TIFF or a JPEG), use the best quality version available. It’s best to ask for some guidelines from the supplier, as requirements are different for each print method.

5. FTP. Try and use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) instead of email for transferring files. There are many ways to use FTP.  One of the easiest is to visit and try it out, (other FTP websites are available). There are many benefits to using FTP over email, but the main one is that it keeps everyone’s emails small and the archiving easier to manage.

6. Stay on brand. Send brand guidelines if you have them. Lots of companies have a PDF file or a web page detailing brand guidelines. Send this reference to your supplier so that they can help you stay ‘on brand’. It may be that what you're about to do will be questioned by someone who HAS read the guidelines!

7. Line thicknesses. On some small jobs, like pens and pin badges, there may be a minimum thickness of line that can be printed, if your logo has some particularly thin lines in it and is being reduced down in size, always check with your supplier whether they will print correctly, it may be that you can ask the supplier to thicken them up a little.

8. Overprints. Some artwork, (particularly spot colour logos) is made up of areas of colour that may need to overprint in order to achieve the correct appearance (such as an area of black, overprinting a colour behind, to achieve a shadow effect). It’s important that this overprinting is mentioned to your supplier upfront, as some print methods may not be able to reproduce this effect.

9. White. Always check with your supplier on how to supply artwork if you're printing onto a coloured item. Often, when printing onto coloured items such as T-shirts, a white layer is printed first, this ensures that any subsequent colour isn't tainted by the material colour.  Even a white logo will benefit from being printed twice, once as a base colour, then secondly as the top colour. 

10. Ask. If you are in doubt, always ask your promotional merchandise supplier, ‘will this be suitable?’ 

Anthony Hecker

Operations Director

HALO Marketing Ltd  

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