Artwork FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
Are you supplying files to Ironjet? Do you have questions about copyright, colour accuracy, or file formats? Please read these artwork FAQ first.
What file formats are accepted?

If you’re supplying “print ready” artwork, prepare a vector PDF-X1a. We do not accept Word, Publisher, or AI files – at least not for straight-to-print.

If you’re supplying files that we will be using to create a design for you, we accept PDF, EPS, JPG, PNG, TIF, and TGA. If you’re supplying text/copy, we prefer RTF or TXT formats, but will accept DOC and DOCX (we have had issues with the DOCX format, and it shouldn’t be used for visualizing a layout).

Things to keep in mind:

  • Text must be converted to vector objects (outlines, curves, etc.).
  • Colour mode must be CMYK for accurate colour duplication.
  • Image resolution is dependent on viewing distance. Generally, for small format, 300 dpi is standard. For billboards, under 100 dpi is acceptable.
  • All effects, such as drop-shadows and transparencies, MUST be flattened. This can either be done manually, before exporting your PDF, or by using the flattener in Adobe Acrobat.
  • If you are using one of our tempates, be sure to delete all printer’s marks, dimensions, and comments before sending us your file. Your file WILL be printed as supplied.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Be sure that your artwork has the appropriate bleed, margin, and trim sizes for the given product. If you unsure about these terms, please research them before starting on your artwork, or give us a call for more specifics.

*If the supplied artwork does not meet industry print standards, it will be rejected and you will be asked to make changes to your artwork file. This may impact the production date. If you wish, we are usually able to handle pre-flight adjustments, but it will incur additional charges and may impact the production date. Your Ironjet representative will inform you before any such adjustments are made on our end.

How do I send artwork?
  • Artwork under 20 MB can be sent to your Sales Representative or Art department contact via email.
  • Artwork over 20 MB can be supplied by WeTransfer, Google Drive, or Dropbox. You may also supply us with a USB or CD.
What is vector imagery?

Vector artwork is created on a computer using CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator or any similar vector illustration software. Vector art is resolution-independent, meaning that it can be scaled up to any size without affecting the quality – it won’t get blurry or jagged. Some examples of NON-vector imagery:

  • Photographs
  • Photocopies/Faxes
  • GIFs, JPGs, PNGs
  • An image your grabbed from Google
  • Any physical piece of artwork (ie. business card, sticker, painting, etc.). These may be scanned, but the data will be recorded as a bitmap, not vector data.

It’s worth noting that, while the PDF format can hold vector contents, it can also hold bitmap contents. This means that simply submitting a PDF does not guarantee that your file is comprised of vector imagery.

Any file that doesn’t meet our requirements will need to be vectorized by one of our graphic designers – particularly for items such as screen printing, embroidery, contour cut decals/stickers, or promotional items. Costs associated with vectorizing a piece of art may vary depending on the complexity and clarity of the supplied image. If you’re unsure of file format or specs, feel free to contact us prior to sending artwork.

You can read more here.

Can I use images from Google?

Copyright is a complex issue but, in general, no, the images you find on Google (or other search engines) are not licensed to be reproduced for commercial use. There are exceptions to the rule, but the majority have copyrights owned by another party.

If you supply an image to Ironjet for use in one of your projects, we will assume that you’ve obtained the appropriate licensing to use said image. Ironjet will NOT be held responsible for any legal damages arising out of copyright dispute. You will be asked to sign a digital proof stating that you own the appropriate licenses, or are the sole copyright-owner of supplied images and other elements.

Can you use clip art in my logo?

Using clip-art or stock logos has become a way for a minority of business owners to save a few bucks, but sacrifice quality (and often ethics) to do so. The vast majority of clip-art is copyrighted, and many of the websites that offer clip-art specify that the illustration may NOT be used in a logo. Contrary to popular opinion, not everything on the internet is free – in fact, most of it is copyrighted!

There are exceptions, however*, and Ironjet will on occasion use clip-art that is licensed for commercial logo usage, if a customer is on a shoestring budget.

There are a few good reasons to avoid doing so, though:

  • Stock clip-art may be downloaded and used by anyone, including your competitors, because it’s non-exclusive. Imagine using a piece of clip-art to establish your business presence, and then having someone else come along and use the same illustration to promote their own business. Yes, they can legally use your “logo” to promote their own business! It’s confusing for your customers, and your competition will be riding on your hard-earned coat tails.
  • You cannot copyright or trademark your logo. This is important, once you’ve established your business. You’ll need to make a new logo if you belatedly wish to copyright or trademark and, in doing so, you lose all of the brand equity you had built
  • If it’s copyrighted, you may be asked to cease and desist by the legal copyright-holder. This has happened on countless occasions, often to minor league sports teams who are using trademarked logos and get found out. Other popular offenders include the businesses who use Looney Tunes or other well-known characters. The damages are often in the tens of thousands of dollars (even if it doesn’t go to court) because of the need to reproduce signs, apparel, etc.
  • Clip-art is often lower quality than a professionally designed logo. You know that feeling you get when you look at a poorly drawn illustration and know that something’s just a little “off”? Other people can see that too. A professional artist not only sees why it’s “off”, but has the ability to correct the error(s).
  • Your logo will not be unique. Your company’s logo is meant to be the essence of the company in it’s most simple, memorable, and unique form. Think of the power associated with simple marks like the Nike swoosh, Apple’s icon, and the golden arches. Your customers will associate your company with its logo, for better or worse and, therefore, the logo needs to be as unique an identifier as possible.

Have more questions?

Ironjet has been in the sign, print, and design industry for over fifteen years – let us put our experience, knowledge, and industry contacts to use for your business!

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