Design & Art Specs

Design and Artwork Specifications

Once you know what product you want, it is time to start thinking about design, layout and artwork requirements for that product and its imprint or decorating method. Ideally the artwork will have no halftones, be clean vector files, and fonts converted to outlines or paths.

Depending on the decorating method, customer supplied art may need to be built as simple black and white files (e.g. one color imprint on a pen or letter opener). Some art may need to have all colors called out as PMS® colors from the solid coated swatch palette (e.g. three color logo on a shirt or notebook cover). Other products may require that the color be built or converted to CMYK (e.g. magnets or mouse pads with fun colors and halftones).

In addition, every product has a specific maximum imprint area. Some art may need to be built a bit smaller than the product and some may need to be built with 1/8” bleeds over the edge of the product.

THE POINT; it is best to discuss design, layout and art specifications with us before your graphic designer spends time building the files. We can provide your designer with imprint sizes and in some cases provide templates.

Quick-Tips to Art Preparation for most products with a one or two color imprint:

  • Vector art is preferred: Adobe Illustrator (.ai) – our preferred application, saved in its native .ai format.
  • Raster art is not recommended. Art created in Photoshop and other applications have extensions such as .psd, .tif, .bmp or .jpg format.
  • Fonts should be converted to outlines or paths.


There are two types of art files on the computer:

Vector is the recommended file format. It is also known as line art. Vector art is made up of lines and curves defined by mathematical objects called vectors. All art must be created as (or rebuilt as) vector for most of our imprinted product. Vector art is resolution independent. Therefore, it can be scaled to any size without loss of quality.

Raster art is not recommended for printing on most products. Raster art is known as bitmap art, and is created using a program like Adobe Photoshop or scanned art which has not been converted to vector. A raster image consists of a grid, or bitmap, of small squares known as pixels. Raster images are resolution dependent (set at a fixed resolution). If you send raster art we may be able to use it as a template to convert the art into vector format. If you are thinking about using an image from a web site, this is not recommended. We cannot use highly compressed web images (such as .gif or .jpg). Their resolution is far too low to use for your imprint. Art supplied as Raster may incur additional art charges.


  • .AI or .EPS  Adobe® Illustrator® – we prefer files saved CS3 or lower
  • .PDF – a PDF file should accompany all Illustrator files

Artwork created in another program and merely saved as one of these file extensions does not guarantee acceptable artwork (e.g. a JPEG saved in Illustrator® as an “AI” file does not make it a vector file).

The file formats below will NOT always be acceptable depending on the product being ordered and the quality of the submitted file. Art supplied as Raster may incur additional art charges.

  • .JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group
  • .GIF – Graphic Interchange Format
  • .PDF – Portable Document Format
  • .PSD – Photoshop Document
  • .TIFF – Tagged Image Format File

Microsoft Paint, PowerPoint, Word and Publisher are not acceptable file formats for imprinting on product.


If the decorating method calls for spot color, your art should call out the color using the PMS colors from the solid coated swatch palette. Custom made colors should not be submitted. When four color process printing is the decorating method, files should be built as CMYK. Your CMYK (and grayscale) files should be 600 dpi (minimum 350). Bitmap should be 1200 dpi (minimum 600 dpi).


We recommend that all text be converted to curves/outlines by the originating program. This eliminates font problems associated with the variety of fonts with the same name. If this is not possible, include both screen and printer fonts with your files. We can only accept PC compatible fonts.


Need expert advice or innovative concepts for your promotion?
Call us for a free consultation. We have access to an extensive case-study library of award-winning promotional ideas. Tell us about your event, marketing goals and budget, and we’ll brainstorm cost-effective ideas and strategies for you. We know what’s out there, what works, what the trends are—and we love to help.

Logo Design & Creative Services

Stymied by logo logistics? ZippyDogs offers a range of graphic design services for your embroidery or imprinting needs. If you are starting completely from scratch and developing an entirely new brand identity; we can recommend graphic designers whose specialty is developing corporate identities. Just let us know what you need, we can help.

Call ZippyDogs for information about graphic design services.


If you choose to have your logo embroidered and have not already had your logo digitized, we will need your art or logo sent to us electronically. For this decorating method, we can accept .JPEG. Once we have your art or logo we will digitize your logo.

Digitizing is the process of converting your hard copy logo or design to a “digitized” computer software embroidery file. Once your design is in this form a computerized embroidery machine can sew it out.

The actual process of digitizing your design is similar to C.A.D. (X – Y) programming. Each stitch, or grouping of stitches, is manually programmed by hand with the aid of the digitizing software.