Why do I need good artwork?

The art you use can make the difference between a successful or disastrous result.  This article will help you sort through the various artwork issues that can affect the outcome of your branded merchandise, and how MARCO Ideas Unlimited helps their clients with this.

Imagine receiving your long-awaited coffee mugs, just in time for your event, only to find the imprint is fuzzy!  You may have uploaded a perfectly good .jpg file that looks beautiful online:


However, if you wanted to print this design onto mugs, the artwork must be pristine at any size.  It will need sharp lines and clear definition:


As the recipient will subconsciously equate the quality of the branded item with the quality of your company’s products or services,  you will want to ensure the highest imprint quality possible!

What is good artwork?

Vector-based artwork is the best type of artwork for three-dimensional reproduction purposes since it is resizable and will not pixelate.  Created with mathematical formulas, vector artwork can easily be enlarged or reduced without loss of integrity.  Vector art has the suffix of .ai, .eps, or sometimes .pdf.

Vector artwork is useful to keep on file for any printing need.  Companies typically have a “Graphics Standards Document”, “Brand Guidelines”, or a “Style Guide” for all details surrounding their brand logo(s).  Care must be taken to ensure the stability of the artwork files, as the brand identity will be stronger with consistent application. It is important to keep original artwork files safe from unauthorized revisions.

One notable exception for .jpg files is that it is the most common way to save a photograph. Considered a “raster” file, some full-color imprinting processes need these types of images.  The resolution must be high, and the artwork must be submitted at the size of the final imprint.  It is possible to make embroidery digitizing from some .jpg files.  Related file types include .psd, .tif, and .png.  (If you’re unsure if your .jpg is worthy, ask us!)

Artwork Color Considerations

Artwork color is just as important as the swag it is going on. A digital photograph (.jpg) will be in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) and will need to be converted to CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black – full color) to ensure compatibility with a printing press.  Pantone colors correlate a number to every color, allowing consistency between different printers and decorators. Embroidery thread colors can be difficult to compare to Pantone colors, and must often be carefully matched by hand. A specialist can help with this match!

At MARCO Ideas Unlimited we consider how your logo artwork will interact with the product.  We think about the color, shape, and texture of the product itself affects the look of your logo.  We help to define the “feeling” you want your recipient to have when they receive your gift.

Swag Decoration Techniques

Below is an overview of various types of product decoration (imprinting), and what types of surfaces they may be used on:

Decoration Technique                    Types of Products Used On

Embroidery*                                     Textiles

Applique*                                          Textiles

Heat Transfers                                 Textiles

Dye Sublimation                              Textiles

Debossing/Embossing*                 Textiles

Screen Printing                                Textiles, Hard Surfaces

Glitter/Bling Appliques                 Textiles, Hard Surfaces

Laser Engraving*                            Hard Surfaces, Textiles

Etching (Acid, Sand)                      Hard Surfaces

Foil Stamping                                  Hard Surfaces

Pad Printing                                     Hard Surfaces

Lucite Embedment                         Inside Acrylic

Textiles include Apparel, Bags, and Blankets

Hard Surfaces include Glass, Marble, Metals, Plastics, Wood

* More eco-friendly imprinting methods


The best graphic artists understand how the final design will affect logo usability. For instance, if a halftone or shadowing effect is incorporated into your design, this could mean extra difficulty when attempting to replicate the design on some surfaces.

With so many different imprinting methods and artwork considerations, an experienced promotional consultant can help you save hours of time.  MARCO Ideas Unlimited helps to ensure your logo is represented in the best possible manner.