Sep 22

Artwork Do’s and Don’ts

Good artwork is the foundation of a great product. But what exactly does that mean? Well, let’s first take a look at what that doesn’t mean.   Artwork for screenprinting is not:

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  • a hand drawn picture colored with pencils, crayons, or paint. It might look great but it can’t be used to make the screens.

  • any file with the extension of .jpg,  .gif,  .tff . The problem with files like these is they are built as pixels. Straight lines are not solid lines but are jagged when enlarged.

  • a picture or logo from a website. They are simply pictures and when downloaded will be in the .jpg,  .gif, .tif format. See above for explanation.

  • a business card or letterhead.  These can be recreated by scanning them into the computer but, someone somewhere has already created the art and has it in digital form.  Why reinvent the wheel?

  • a garment or vehicle with a graphic printed on it. We would have to take a picture and then convert it to usable artwork.

The above list represents ideas. It’s a great place to start. Then we know what the customer is thinking. Now we have to convert those ideas into usable artwork within the constraints of screenprinting.

Artwork must be in the vector format. What does that mean? According to Wikipedia Vector graphics is the use of polygons to represent images in computer graphics. Vector graphics are based on vectors, which lead through locations called control points or nodes. Each of these points has a definite position on the x and y axes of the work plane and determines the direction of the path; 151521-simpsons_bfurther, each path may be assigned various attributes, including such values as stroke color, shape, curve, thickness, and fill.  I just thought I’d give the official definition in case you ever get to be a contestant on Jeopardy.

 

Basically, there are two graphics programs commonly used in the industry today, CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator, that create artwork in vector format. Vector artwork has several advantages:

Difference between a bitmap and vector piece of artwork

Difference between a bitmap and vector piece of artwork

  •  can be resized without losing picture quality

  •  can easily be edited

  •  can add visual elements to enhance a design

  •  allows for easier color separation

A popular program that many people use to make artwork is Photoshop. Photoshop is a raster graphic editor program. When is saves a file it uses the .PSB or .PSD extension.  A raster program includes digital photos (think .jpeg, .gif, .tff extensions). Again, here we are dealing with pixelation which prevents smooth lines when enlarged. Also, with the way artwork is built in Photoshop, separating colors is much more difficult as files are constructed layers for the different elements. Any artwork created in Photoshop will have to be converted to a vector file before is can be used for screenprinting.

Next time I’ll be discussing what happens when artwork is completed, the purpose of color separations, and how screens are prepped and exposed. See you in the screen room!

 

 

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