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Want the Best Promotional Products? Avoid 10 Common Artwork Mistakes!

You’ve decided on the perfect promotional item to give out at your upcoming event. Now comes the time to figure out your imprint. You know what you need to say and what you want your logo to look like, but will it all fit? Our sales team members here are artwork experts and will make sure your item and imprint look the best they possibly can.

What should you keep watch for? What should you avoid? It takes a few more minutes of your time, but you’ll be golden if you browse through these ten common artwork mistakes. Learn from others and your promo item will help customers give you their business again and again.

  • Avoid the “World on a Pen” scenario: Do you have a lot to say and not much room to say it on the promotional pens you’re interested in? Aim for a simple logo or a short message to get your point across and save the wordy messages for your brochures or other printed materials. Promo item text should be short, snappy, and to the point.

Short, simple and to the point. Perfect!

Short, simple and to the point. Perfect!

  • Understand color contrasts: Pens with brightly-colored barrels are great to give out if you want them seen in a purse or a briefcase. However, to get the best results you should avoid a light-colored imprint. If you have a light background color, then go with a darker imprint color so it won’t blend in (and vice versa). You’re paying good money for your logo or company name to be seen, so make sure no one has to squint to look at it!
  • Know what you can and can’t print: It’s strictly off-limits to use any sort of intellectual property (sports logos, some social network logos, and even some specific fonts) that requires an ownership right before printing. Not only can the owner of that copyrighted logo come after you, but they can also come after the printer – and nobody wants that! Be nice to your promotional products company and they’ll be nice to you.
  • Convert fonts to outlines in your design files: It’s okay if this point raises some questions. It did for me too until I got this helpful explanation: converting a font to an outline allows anyone to open the file and see the exact font you’ve used. Let’s say you want to send a design document (in a program like Adobe Illustrator) that contains a unique font. If the person on the receiving end doesn’t have the same version of the program, then your carefully chosen font reverts back to a universal one like Times New Roman. With a font outline conversion, however, this issue is avoided and that beautiful typography you worked so hard on will be seen without any problems. To learn how to do this process, take a look at this handy video.

"Why is my imprint in Comic Sans?!?!"

Avoid this: “Why is my imprint in Comic Sans?!?!”

  • Pay attention to digitally printed notepads: To get that seamless look and feel to your notepad’s imprint, an extra 1/8” of your design is required around the edges. Why? Because your design will wrap around the notepad when it bleeds over during printing. So make sure nothing important is in the outer 1/8” area, since it will not be seen once the item is imprinted.
  • Know the imprint area restrictions of your product: Every promotional product, whether it’s a pen or notepad, has an imprint area that cannot be altered. Make sure the imprint you want fits inside that area and will still look clean and easy-to-read. Now is not the time to think outside the box and go crazy; sometimes boxes are your friends.
  • KISS when it comes to your logo: Your ornate logo is beautiful when it’s on a business card or billboard, but go for a simple version of it when it comes to smaller customized items. Everyone will be able to read it better and remember it that much easier, instead of having to squint to figure out a complicated logo.

Keep your logo simple and you can kiss away people squinting to read it

Keep your logo simple and you can kiss away people squinting to read it

  • Save your artwork with the required file name and type: Vectored artwork uses mathematical algorithms to make your artwork smooth and not pixelated like standard image files. Make sure you’ve saved your vector art in an appropriate program, like Adobe Illustrator, and that the file name and extension are correct. Much like my #4 tip (converting fonts to outlines), this tip will make it easier for others to open and view your artwork files. If you want a better understanding of vectored artwork, check out this helpful video here.
  • Be clear with your color selections: For any given color there are thousands of shades that go along with it. Pay close attention to your item and the available colors before ordering, because there could be more than one option for blue! When possible chose a PMS color so that the next time you order promo items we’ll know that PMS 327C is your color.
  • QR codes aren’t for every product: Every day you see more and more QR codes on everything from magazine ads to billboards. While you can print them on some promotional products, they can’t go on everything. For example, the ink may not soak into a notepad easily enough for it to be scanned, and pens in general may be too difficult to scan at all. And remember, there’s no going back once something is imprinted. Give a QR code some serious thought before making a final decision.

QR code promotional items

Now these are some suitable items for your fancy schmancy QR code!

Ordering promotional products can be stressful (though we’ll do our best to make sure ordering is a breeze!), and finding out that your artwork has been rejected because it’s too large or not vectored will only add stress. Make sure you avoid mistakes along the way and you can reduce that stress rate for yourself and sleep easy at night!

Did any of these tips surprise you? Have you ever seen a particularly bad piece of artwork on a promo item? Shout off in the comments below!

Expand Your Brand!



Amy Swanson

Amy is one of Quality Logo Products’ content developers and social media coordinators. She is a self-professed newspaper nerd and thoroughly enjoys reading business and financial news and having impromptu discussions about it. Oh yeah, she’s “one of those” people! A true Midwestern girl by nature, she loves riding her bike, photography, and the Chicago Cubs. You can connect with Amy on

Comments

  1. Mike Wenger

    The first point you bring up is HUGE: Having a solid understanding of what can and can’t fit within the imprint area is fundamental in a successful print promotion. Balancing the “wants” and “needs” can be tricky, but then again, thats why you have QLPers in the first place.

  2. Wash

    Pro tips!

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  4. Ashley

    These are some great tips! Especially the info on the pens. So many times I see people try to cram so much info on the barrel of a pen you can barely ready any of it. Some basic company info and a means to get more by way of a website or phone number is usually best. Also keeping in mind color combinations when printing is huge. Making sure there is enough contrast between the item color and imprint color makes for the best looking finished product.

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