Why Your Imprint Artwork File Is So Important

Imprint and Artwork files

When it comes to many forms of marketing, one of the most important factors is artwork. This can be a combination of graphics, photos, drawings, text and colours which combine to form an advertisement for your business or organisation.

What makes your artwork successful when it comes to promotional marketing is no different to the factors associated with any other element of the marketing mix. It is all about impact, your marketing objectives and the call to action you want to achieve, combined with the medium of promotional gifts.

Think about this phrase ‘a picture paints a thousand words’. In our world the ‘picture’ is a combination of your artwork file and the promotional gift that you chose to have the artwork file applied to. We also refer to the artwork file as an imprint file. Artwork file is a term that graphic designers may use, and imprint file the term used by our printing team.

Artwork File Considerations

One of the biggest considerations is the size available for printing on your chosen products. This is generally sized in millimetres (mm) and shown as a width x depth (wxd). This printing space can be a block or wraparound. When the product is circular, the dimensions may be shown with a diameter dimension.

The size of the print area very much determines how much information you can print and its size. Print the text in too small a font and the writing may be illegible to some of the product users. Not all of your target audience will have ‘young eyes’.

Typical items to include in an artwork print area include: logo, website address, contact telephone number, call to action and company slogan.

Some of our clients have their own graphic designers and can provide us with a complete artwork file. Where this is not possible we have our own design studio and graphic design team. Just let us know the information you want to have and we can generate the artwork file for you. If you need a logo design we can also provide this as a marketing design service.

Imprint File Considerations

Artwork is a great starting point but to get this onto your items we need to turn this into an imprint file. In the print world this means providing us with an ‘Vectorised’ file. This is one that mathematically scales and can be enlarged or reduced proportionally. Thing of a vector-file as one where every pixel has a reference (like an cell in an Excel spreadsheet). The text in a vector-file also has to be converted to ‘outlines’ rather than shown as filled-in spaces.

Sometimes clients send us files they have generated in Photoshop. These types of files are ‘Rasterised’ and even though you can scale them on a computer screen, they do not scale automatically and are unsuitable for printing from.

For more information on file types we can use see our Guide To Promotional Marketing Artwork

Product Considerations

Print are or imprint area defines the space available into which to apply your artwork or imprint file. One other point to emphasise when it comes to products is the background colour.

In order to make your ‘advert’ stand out you need to have a contrast between the artwork file and the background onto which it is printed. The background in this case is the promotional product. Some products are only available in a single colour but others we supply may be available in a range of colours. Try to choose a colour that provides a contract to your artwork in order for your advert to stand out. The best combination would be a combination of your logo colours and corporate identity.

Virtual Visuals

Remember that phrase ‘a picture tells…’ well one way we can show you how your advert will look is to provide you with a visual or what we call a virtual visual. This is a common tool in the world of marketing and advertising. What we do we apply your logo and text to a product, showing you how this will look in the print space and position(s) available. We don’t charge for our virtual visual service and it is there to help ensure you choose the right products.

Artwork Approval Process

Another factor to consider in the supply process is the artwork approval process. When we receive your artwork file we will check to make sure it is a ‘vectorised’ file and/or convert this into this format. We will also check the font size to make sure there is no chance of infill and advise accordingly.

We will then send you an approval form showing how your artwork will appear. This is not a virtual visual but one for your to check all your text against. This is vital. Get one spelling wrong or print an incorrect contact number and you’ve some or all of the impact you wanted to generate.

This approval process is no different to any other marketing sign-off whether for an advertisement or printed literature. It is the last chance to make any adjustments or corrections. It is also important to note that any lead times quoted for product delivery are given from ‘artwork sign-off’. If you’ve ordered 24hour express delivery items don’t’ procrastinate. We quote from sign-off as when there are teams involved getting agreement from all parties to proceed can take some time and this is something beyond our control.

Marketing Campaigns

There are many uses for promotional gifts. You may have an event such as a seminar or exhibition and simply need some giveaways or you may want to have a range of products for use as part of your general advertising. The important thing to remember is that your promotional marketing is an important element and part of your longer term marketing mix plans. Any investment in marketing is iterative with a cumulative effect.

Your choice of promotional product and artwork are not mutually exclusive. There are many factors to consider to create the right response and maximum effect from this advertising medium. What I’ve tried to do is give a few ideas and points to consider. If you need help selecting the right product for your campaign or want some general marketing advice, just call me or one of my team and we will be only to happy to help. At Redbows we solve promotional marketing problems for our clients every day.