Artwork Guidelines

Not all designs are ready to turn into a custom heat transfer from the jump. Below, you'll find some key points to keep in mind when placing an order using original artwork.

1. The Preflight Process

Understanding the ins and outs of the printing process is our full-time job, not yours. Accordingly, we have a fully-staffed Preflight Team, a group of knowledgeable folks who review your submitted artwork before we print it. Think of them as a safety net and know they'll reach out with an explanation if they're concerned your artwork may not print as intended. Flagged artwork will not print without your permission, so you don't have to worry about us printing something that will appear illegible.

If you have any questions about your artwork before uploading it to your order, feel free to check out our Knowledge Center or contact us!

guy at computer creating art in photoshop

2. Understanding Your Software

Using professional graphics software is the easiest way to ensure your artwork checks all the boxes it needs for a proper print. When creating artwork, you'll want to leverage your software in 3 particular ways.

I. Create Artwork At A High Quality

Low artwork resolution, which makes a design appear pixelated or like it has jagged edges, is one of the most common flags by our Preflight Team. You have 3 options to prevent artwork delays of this nature:

Vectorize Your Design

Using vector software, like Adobe Illustrator, removes all concerns about resolution. Creating artwork from scratch in this program is a great way to have your designs print crisply.

Free Illustrator Course

Set Resolution to 300dpi

Photoshop and other raster-based programs use pixels to create an image. To keep artwork looking crisp along its edges, you'll want as many pixels at your disposal as possible. We recommend using a resolution of 300dpi or higher.

Contact Art Services

Our Art Services Team can redraw most existing artwork at a higher quality. Contact the Art Services Team for a quote to visualize your artwork.

Alternatively, create your design using one of our pre-made, pre-approved templates.

II. Save As An Accepted File Type

We accept a number of file types at checkout, but prefer some to others. File types that can contain vector artwork, like SVG, EPS, AI or PDF files are preferred. PSD, PNG, BMP and JPG files can also be uploaded, but making sure these files are high resolution and contain transparent backgrounds will help us produce your order.

III. Convert Live Fonts

Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator allows you to convert your live fonts to outlines. To convert text to outlines, do the following:

Select the type object you are trying to convert. Choose Type > Create Outlines.

Full Adobe Illustrator Help Article

Adobe Photoshop

In Photoshop, you must rasterize the type layer. Before you rasterize a vector layer, always duplicate it by choosing:

Layer > Duplicate. Then, to rasterize the copy, choose Type > Rasterize Type Layer.

Full Adobe Photoshop Help Article

Corel Draw

In Corel, you must first convert your text to a curve object.

Using the Pick Tool, select the text. Go to Arrange > Convert to Curves. Alternatively, right click on the text when it's selected and choose Convert to Curves.

Full Corel Draw Help Article

vector vs raster images

3. Sizing

We print your artwork at the exact size of the file uploaded. For example, if you select a 9" x 12.75" sheet size and upload a graphic that's 6" x 8", we will print your graphic at 6" x 8". If your artwork is oversized, our Preflight Team will recommend opting for a larger sheet size than the one selected. Alternatively you may select custom resize during the upload process and input your preferred size and we'll resize your image for FREE.

You may download a starter template to help you size your artwork inside your graphics software. The template also serves as a cheat sheet to remind you of the steps that need to be taken before submitting your designs!

girl at desk doing graphic design

4. Checking Small Details

Fine details in your artwork may not print if they're too thin. Likewise, thin gaps between parts of your design may fill in during production. It's important that these tiny details and gaps are thick enough, as the loss of these details may affect your design's legibility.

Our Preflight Team will notify you if they expect a loss in legibility due to overly-fine details. They may offer to apply a colored outline of your choice to a design to thicken its thin areas. Art Services can also be contacted to edit artwork filled with thin gaps and details. Fill out the form for a quote.

spot color vs full color fine details

5. Copyright

If the design your are providing contains copyrighted or licensed images, we will need documentation from you to prove ownership or proof of commission by the licensed property owner to create this image. This documentation will remain on file under your account.

This must be done to protect the intellectual property of all parties involved.

man sitting on a lightbulb with a laptop

6. Color Modes

When printing full-color images, make sure to have the color mode set to CMYK to depict the most accurate color value for your design. Certain RGB colors you can see on your monitor or phone, bright, vibrant shades, in particular, simply cannot be replicated with standard CMYK inks. Trying to print an RGB image may result in a flag by our Preflight Team, as your artwork may lose some vibrance when we convert it to the necessary CMYK mode.

There are 2 different types of color modes used when designing your artwork:

  • RGB (Red | Green | Blue) are colors of light combined together to create images on a TV screen, computer monitor, etc.
  • CMYK (Cyan | Magenta | Yellow | Black) are colors of ink mixed together to create your full-color image. CMYK colors are always used in printing.

Visit our help article for assistance converting RBG to CMYK in your preferred software.

man choosing CYMK color