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3 Ways to Reduce Art Costs

Sometimes we have to charge for the creation or revision of your source material to get the clean art we need in order to create the most eye-catching printed and embroidered garments. Though art preparation services are part of what we offer as a complete decoration and design service, the truth is that though we love creating art and making your own art look its best, there are a few labor-intensive tasks that we would love to do less often, and the omission of which, with a little effort on your part, may lead to reduced fees and a quicker turn-around for your job.

Vector image versus a Raster Image

This is what we see when we zoom in- It's a lot harder to redraw that Raster file!

1. Get the best source material you can! Though the best art is in a vector format (think Adobe Illustrator, or Corel Draw) we want the best, highest resolution graphics you can get. If you’ve had paper printing or a sign created for you, your paper printing company may already a vector file prepared! Don’t despair if you haven’t had anything digital produced, or if your art is only on paper. Simply bring us the best, clearest, largest (within reason) version you can find. What many customers don’t know is that images from company websites are almost always far too low in resolution for us to use, and even if we must use them, that the lower the quality of the image we have to work with, the longer and more expensive the drawing process will be.

2. Know your fonts! Even if you don’t have the most wonderful source material in the world, make sure that if you want a specific style of type that you know at least the name of your font. You would scarcely believe the number of hours our art department spends in a week tracking down beloved fonts for our customers. Even if you have gotten us your vector art, often the fonts aren’t embedded in the document. If you’ve created the document yourself, or you are asking your print artist to send us a vector file, having them convert the text to outlines/curves will save us tons of time and effort, helping your bottom line. If you don’t know your vector from your raster and have typed something up in Microsoft Word, don’t worry, just make sure you tell us any font names you can.

Check your Design on your Garment Color

The logo looks great on paper, but which shirt do you want?

3. Design for your garment! If you’re designing from scratch, make sure you take into account the color and size of the garment on which we are going to print or embroider your image.  Check that your design looks good on the garment color you’ve chosen, or that you know what sort of color changes/alterations you want to make if you can’t make them yourself. Likewise, you should avoid making the details of your design too small to reproduce cleanly on your smallest garment. We can adapt the art if we need to, but changes take time, and time is money. Seeing your art on the right background and in the correct size ahead of time can save you a lot of headaches. As I discussed in our last post, 3 Tips for Headwear Design Domination, garments like caps and likewise promotional products like pens and mugs have some real size constraints that could make your art ineffective at getting out your message unless you design for the area available.

So there you have it- 3 top tips to save yourself time and money, and to give our art department more time to do the important work of making your design look its best. As much as we’d love to have great source art come in with every job, there’s no need to feel bad if you have the old ‘sketch on a cocktail napkin’ or even just a good idea when you walk in our doors. The secret fourth tip is this: have us design the art for you entirely! Rather than pay for round after round of beating a piece of art that you aren’t happy with into shape, you can have our veteran art staff create you something brand new, or to update your original concept. It might not be as inexpensive as coming in our door with a nearly finished vector file, but in the end you’ll have clean, professional art that you can be sure is ready for your garment and for anything else you can imagine embellishing, and the value of that is far more than our very reasonable pricing might lead you to believe.

It might seem counter-intuitive that a company might offer to help you save money on their own services, but that’s a big part of what we do for our customers; we educate. One of the best reasons to choose Black Duck centers on our experience and willingness to try new things, and nothing says more about our knowledge than how free we are to share it with you. Ultimately, even if you know nothing about your art and you’d just like to hand off your job to a professional, we’ve got the staff that can make things as easy as picking out garments, sharing your goal, and picking up the finished product.

2 comments to 3 Ways to Reduce Art Costs

  • Niamh

    Just a neat program I found if you have a smartphone. It’s called “WhatTheFont” and will help identify fonts just by taking a picture of them 🙂 I use it all the time in my design work.

  • is a constantly used tool in our art department’s arsenal and I’m glad to see it in app form. Thanks for the fantastic tip, Niamh!