Artwork Info

In short, the better the artwork, the better the result. There are many aspects to correctly preparing artwork for print and for embroidery, but fear not, we're here to help.  If you're working with a professional artist, share this page for guidelines on how to properly prepare artwork to avoid extra charges.

What do I need to get a good printed product?

PICTURES: Images should be 300 dpi at the size it will be printed. As an example, a 12" x 12" image would be 3600 pixels x 3600 pixels at 300 dpi. LINE ART & TYPE: 'Vector' artwork that doesn't include an image, like line art created from vectors and text or text alone (not set in an image file) should be a PDF, AI, SVG or EPS file. Any fonts should either be turned into 'outlines' (see your software documentation on how to do this) or should be included in a separated file. We can accept and use TTF or OTF font files. Be sure you have properly licensed the fonts you use.

What do I need to send for embroidered product?

We don't accept files for sewing that we haven't prepared. You would provide a clear and sharp image to be digitised for sewing, that is, conversion of the source artwork into a special format to be read by the embroidery equipment. Certain decisions about the appearance of your art may be taken to make sewing successful, like increasing or changing the style of type. You will always see a virtual proof of the sewing file before approval and an optional sewing sample can be ordered as is recommended on larger runs.

I'm using Canva and Procreate for my artwork - what settings do I need for that software?

Your best bet for good results is to consult your software documentation since each software has its own controls. Whatever settings provide 300 dpi at print size, embedded or outlined fonts (if present) is what you will need. We encourage you to get as much information about how to operate your software from tutorials and other resources as you can to help get the best result.

What software does Altacolor use for graphics?

Altacolor uses a varied set of generally commerically available and specialty software to deliver accurate print files. Beside Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and certain other high-end prepress software, we use specially-constructed software workflows to move files through the production process, ensuring proper colour and separation quality.

I'm using a production artist. What information do they need to know?

The basic information is shown at the top of this post, but more information that will be pertinent to a graphics professional follows - if you are a graphics professional, read the following carefully and understand it to avoid additional costs to your client:

GENERAL: CMYK art ONLY. Proofs to your clients should be in CMYK to correctly represent the final work. Some RGB colours are outside of the gamut of CMYK and some colours can not be reproduced using CMYK inks. Colour profile should be GRACoL 2006 v2. For spot work, use only defined CMYK spots OR Pantone Coated spots. If colour-matching is critical, a CALIBRATED proof must be supplied. If you choose to ignore industry standards and provide RGB final files, we will map out-of-gamut colours to the CMYK model and then advise your client.

STROKES: No line or type width shall be less than 2 pt. positive or less than 3 pt. negative.

TYPE: Positive type shall be not less than 8 pt for sans serif type or 10 pt. for serif type with the body of the type not to be thinner than 0.5 pt.

TRAPPING: If you're trapping for screen print, we want 0.01" trap, light into dark, K overprinting. Rich black should overprint K, pull back CMY. For reference, except for digital print, we print light to dark. If prepping for screen print, add white screens (with "WHITE" spot) x 2, pulling back 0.01" for first white, 0.015" for second white.

VECTOR ART: Outline all strokes and combine with stroked shapes. Avoid complex clipping paths or paths with more than 65,535 nodes. Outline all fonts - this will lock the font art and avoid reflow, since font version can differ. If you refuse to outline fonts, provide screenshots to demonstrate font flow so that we can compare. If we need to correct files to match the provided reference screenshot, additional charges will apply. Therefore, provide outlined font files. Avoid RGB black as it will look brown and bad - our standard for rich black is C 60 M 50 Y 40 K 100.

LAYOUTS: Outline fonts and strokes as directed above. PLACE images and link and collect the links in a common folder. The profile assigned to the layout shall be GRACoL 2006 v2 and any placed images should have the same placed image profiles. Artboards should be set to the bounds of the contained artwork. Delete all unused colours and layers. DO NOT PASSWORD-PROTECT the file. We accept AI, INDD, ArtPro or PackZ PDF, hi-res PDF for layout files. Do not leave any unused or irrelevant art in the file even if off the artboard.

IMAGES: Do not set type, unless it is artistic, effected type in an image as all rendered vectors will exhibit stair-stepping as compared to pure vector files, degrading the design. The same colour rules as described above apply. Delete unused layers. Rasterise decorated type. Trim the image to the boundaries of the art. The image should be 300 dpi, CMYK at the size the graphic will reproduce. If you insist on setting type within the graphic that is not artistic type, that is, a major part of logo art, the image resolution should be not less than 1200 dpi at reproduction size.

NOT TO BE HARSH, BUT: If you're calling yourself a 'graphics professional' and you don't understand the above, return your fee to your client. You're not ready for prime time quite yet. We have a staff skilled in prepress and the above is what is required and is industry-standard. Keep working on it, though. Learning is eternal - you'll get there, if you're curious enough. If you have questions not answered here. we welcome them at

IF ALL OF THIS IS JUST TOO MUCH FOR YOU, email your artwork to and we'll advise. We're here to help.

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