Sending artwork to a designer

Want to lower your design fees, speed up your project, and make your designers happy? Then provide artwork that’s already in a ready-to-use format. This simple act can achieve all three of these good things in one swoop. Here’s how: 

Question 1: Is it ‘Line Art’ or ‘Photo’?

There are only 2 kinds of artwork: Photographic or Line Art (sometimes referred to as “raster” vs. “vector”, respectively). Photos are fairly self explanatory. They’re fixed sets of dots that make up an image, so when you scale a Photo it can lose definition and become blurry. Line Art has sharp lines and solid colors, such as you see in a logo or drawing. Line Art is encoded for computers using mathematical expressions, so good Line Art can scale up or down yet still remain very precise.

If it’s Photo, then send your designer the highest resolution file you can find. This is usually the original digital photograph itself, not something taken off of a website. Web images are low resolution (72 dots per inch); what you want is something 300 dpi, or even higher. It doesn’t matter much what exact file format you send (.psd, .tif, .bmp, .png are all fine; .jpg is a last resort because it is highly compressed).

If it’s Line Art, then send your designer a “vector format” type of file such as .eps, .pdf, or .ai format. These formats encode all the elements of the art so that they maintain perfect fidelity at any size. Avoid anything that has dots/rasters, such as .jpg, .bmp, .png — just about anything pulled off of a web page! Ask the original maker of the logo or illustration to provide you with the “native vector art file” and then pass that file to your designer.

Sending the right form of artwork not only saves everyone time, it also means your final communications piece has the best quality image available. No compromises!