Thursday, July 24, 2014

artwork...where promo products projects go bad!

There are 2 places where promotional products projects go bad fast...artwork and time.

Here's a piece of artwork
Renoir's "Two Sisters (On the Terrace)"

This is not what we mean when we talk about "artwork" for your promotional product or corporate apparel.

"Artwork" is the term used throughout the promotional products industry and refers to your design or logo.
It refers to any image or text that you want to see imprinted on your promotional item.

When your company's logo was created by a graphic artist they most likely created a few versions of the same image. One type is a "bitmap" or "pixel art" version. You'll recognize the file extensions like "jpg," tiff," or "gif." These are low resolution files most commonly used to send images back and forth by e-mail.

The other version is called "vector art." This is a high resolution file used for accurate reproduction of the design. It is scale able, meaning it can be enlarged without becoming distorted.

Pixel art is made up of individual squares of color. Vector art is derived from mathematical formulas that define the edges of the design. I don't begin to understand the math involved. But what you need to know is that when you enlarge "pixel art" the edges become ragged. When you enlarge vector art the edges remain smooth.

The best way to understand this is to show you some illustrations. You'll get what I'm talking about right away.

It's real easy to see from this image how the edges remain smooth with the vector art and become ragged in the bitmap.

Here's another.

This shows you pretty clearly what happens when you enlarge the two styles.

Here's one more just to emphasize the differences.

This shows you very clearly how the edges become ragged with pixel art and remain smooth with vector art.

What does this mean for your promo product or corporate apparel project?

The first thing to know is that the industry standard is vector art. Anytime you want to put your logo on something the supplier is going to want vector art. (You can't take a piece of pixel art and save it as an 'eps' file. It remains pixel art. Your design needs to be created as vector art in a program such as Illustrator.)

So, if you are planning a promotional product project make sure you have your logo in the proper format. Make sure you find that out before you start. The worst thing is to working under a tight deadline and finding out that the supplier can't work with your artwork because it's low resolution pixel art. Everything is going to stop dead in its tracks until you can supply the right kind of art.

Check your artwork now, make sure you've got the right format and be prepared with different versions depending on the size of the item.

Good luck and I hope this was helpful.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

a few more things about logos

Putting a logo on something gets more complicated, and more expensive, when there are multiple colors.

Let me show you what I mean.

Here is the logo for Colonial Spirits. Colonial Spirits is a very nice wine, spirits and beer store in Acton Mass.

This is a 3 color logo. The text is maroon and is outlined in a dark blue. The Minute Man is dark blue and a gray blue.

Here's the first thing to notice; the maroon text outlined in dark blue.
It would be virtually impossible to screen print this. Why? You would first put down the maroon ink for the text. Then you would put down the dark blue outline. But look, there is no space between the two colors. They are right next to each other.
This is called "registration." You could not get the screen for the blue outline to consistently align with the text. Even the most accurate screen printing can't get closer than 1/32" registration with most needing 1/16"
If you did that to this logo you would lose the effect of outlining the text.

You would have the same problem trying to print the Minute Man. The colors are again too close.

So how do you capture this logo on a promotional item?

Colonial Spirits ordered wine glasses to have for their tastings. The glasses  weren't meant to be gifts, just used in-store for the tastings. So for that use they decided that it was not critical to reproduce the entire logo. Here's their solution:

They screen printed just their name, in their maroon color and left out the blue outline.

The other glass they ordered was a whiskey glass. This also was for in store tastings. In this case the glasses were going to be given to their customers. This glass needed to have the full color logo.

                                                                             Here's how it looked:

The whiskey glass has the full color logo. How was it done?
We used a decal. This way the logo can be printed directly on the decal material and then applied to the glass. There's no need to worry about registration since the decal is a digital print - much the same as printing on paper.

It's a bit more expensive but it allows all the details of the logo to be captured.

Takeaway: Anticipate how you may be using your logo on promotional products. Have several different versions of your logo. Decide, in advance, how you want your logo to appear if you can only use 1 color.
Decide, in advance, how you want your logo to appear if it is long and horizontal. If you have a tag line,
or a service or trade mark these will often be too small to be legible - can you use your logo without them?