Customizing gear and apparel is a great way to promote a business. With all the custom printing services out there, it can be overwhelming to collect the information you need to produce exactly what you want. The first step to creating a custom product is understanding your artwork. With the proper preparation, you will get a crisp, clear and accurate print that matches your exact vision for custom gear.

If you’re not the techy type or do not have the proper software to prepare your logo for print, don’t worry; Macho Martial Arts’ Custom Services department can offer assistance to create or prepare your artwork for a small fee. Otherwise, use this guide to prepare your artwork for printing. 

Vector vs. Raster

You’ll notice that certain printing processes require your image to be in vector format, while others can be raster (also known as bitmap). So what does this mean?

Vector uses mathematical formulas to define shapes. Each point is connected by lines that are filled with solid or gradient color. The image size/resolution can be adjusted infinitely due to the mathematical formulas connecting each point.

Raster images are made up of a grid (or pixels) and each square of this grid is a specific color. Together the squares complete a whole image. The quality of a raster image is based on size and resolution. Size should be set to the exact size you wish your image to be printed on the gear or apparel. Resolution is based on the measurement DPI (Dots per Inch); the more dots (or pixels) per inch, the higher the quality. We recommend using a minimum of 300 DPI for custom printing. 

So which should you use: vector or raster? We recommend using vector when printing solid, graphic designs or when using the following printing services: screen printing, co-branding sparring gear, embroidery and flocking. We recommend using raster when you’re printing photographic images with lots of detail and color or when using the following printing services: direct to garment and custom gloss vinyl banners. 

Set Up Check List 

  1. Make sure your artwork is in one of the following formats: 
    – Corel Draw CDR 
    – Illustrator AI 
    – PDF 
    – EPS 
    – Photoshop PSD 
    – TIF or JPG files at full size and high resolution (min 300 DPI) 
    ** Please note that some services, such as silk screen, require vector formatted art to create color separations. 
  2. If there is type, convert the letters to outlines or provide the font files you use in the artwork. This ensures you get the exact font and design you want.
  3. If you’d like to include a PDF reference file in addition to the above, this will speed up the process and help our team create the exact product you envision.
Understanding artwork can be tricky. Macho’s sales and graphics team are ready to help whenever you need it. Feel free to call 800.327.6812 if you need help with any of the preparations and we’ll gladly assist you in the process. To ensure you are happy with the final product, your sales representative will send you a file reference for approval. Once Macho has your artwork on file, reorders are extremely fast and simply!