Please read this entire page before sending artwork. The info on this page will help keep your order from being delayed because of problems with improper artwork.

Artwork Submission

Formats that Contagious Graphics can accept for artwork.

1. The original artwork, image or photograph, as long as it is no larger than 8.5 x 11 (so we can scan it). DO NOT fold your artwork to fit it in a small envelope. PLEASE include a sturdy piece of cardboard with your original in a correctly sized envelope to prevent bending. Be sure to use the correct amount of postage or your image will not reach us.

2. Digital vector artwork saved from Adobe Illustrator CS3 (or earlier) or Macromedia Freehand MX (or earlier). Convert all text to paths/outlines to eliminate the need for the fonts to be present when we open your file. Paths also make logos more stable and less likely for spacing to change between letters or words. PLEASE INCLUDE ALL FONTS AND IMAGES IF YOU USE THEM. DO NOT EMBED IMPORTED IMAGES. LINK ALL IMPORTED IMAGES TO THE FILE.

3. Digital artwork saved as a TIFF, PSD, or JPEG file from Adobe Photoshop CS3 (or earlier) or another similar pixel based graphics program. These images MUST be created at 300 DPI resolution at the final size you want your image to print. (i.e. if you're printing 3" x 6" stickers, the artwork should be created at that size at 300 DPI aka 900 x 1800 pixels). If you save a file as a JPEG, DO NOT compress it below a 9/high quality. The more you compress a JPEG the worse it will look when printed. Avoid JPEG's if you can. DO NOT TAKE ARTWORK FROM THE WEB. It is usually saved at 72 DPI, which will print HORRIBLY (and may also be illegal if the image does not belong to you)! Do not resize/blow up an image from 72 DPI to 300 DPI as it will still print badly (a low resolution pixel image will look even more pixelated when blown up). If you are sending Black & White art with gradients, make sure to change it to Grayscale Mode before saving. If the artwork is solid Black & White change it to Bitmap mode. Doing these things will reduce your file size enabling you to email the file to us easily.

4. We can accept digital artwork via our FTP upload site (10 MB maximum) and e-mail (3 MB maximum). Files that are compressed as ZIP (.zip) or StuffIt (.sit) files are fine. You can also physically mail us your file on a variety of digital media, such as a floppy disk (if the file will fit), a ZIP disk or CD-R. Let us know that you are sending artwork to us so we will know to expect it.



Apparel Art Submission

And now a word about drop shadows, gradients, photographs and what halftone dots are...

There is always a difference between the appearance of a digital artwork file on the computer monitor and what can be produced when it is actually printed. Below is a example of a single color sticker with a drop shadow/blur around the type. In Photoshop the gradient is produced by varying tones of black and grey pixels. This gives appearance of a smooth gradient when viewed on your computer monitor. When the same image is screenprinted, you are trying to recreate that gradient using only one color of ink. In printing, this is called a halftone screen. A halftone screen is comprised of tiny halftone dots of ink used to recreate gradients or the various tones in a photograph. It is a similar process to what you see with pictures in a newspaper. The examples below show an enlarged section of both a screenprinted sticker with a gradient "glow" and a photographic image using only one ink color (black in this case). Close up you can see the dots, but at a distance of about 2 to 3 ft. your eye blends the dots into a smooth gradient.

Spaceman gradient
The design the way it looks in Photoshop

spaceman printed gradient
A blown up section of the sticker after it is screenprinted.

A photograph the way it looks in Photoshop
A blown up section of the photo after it is printed with halftone dots.

Be aware if you will be using gradients in your design, that this is how they will look when printed. If you do not like the way gradients look when printed, the alternative is to just use solid areas of color (which means using additional ink colors).


If you have any questions about the above information or some other question about artwork, please give us a call (704.529.5600) or e-mail us and we will be glad to help you out.

Poster Art Submission

The simpler the better - Since people are viewing it from moving cars or glancing at it while moving from section to section at a record store, in a club, etc.

Make it eye catching
- Use bold logos, cool artwork, or a photograph. When using photos or shaded images (read about gradients/halftones) the halftone dots will be large just remember the viewing distance is normally 4-6 feet not 6 inches from the viewer's face.


Sticker Art Submission

Sticker templates - For your convenience, we have provided Standard Sticker Templates you can download. The file options available are EPS, TIFF and PSD. You can use these templates to help create your artwork and make sure you have everything set up correctly from the beginning.

Send it to us - We can accept almost any electronic file where the art is 300 pixels per inch (DPI is the same thing) at the actual final print size. We can also accept original artwork, photos, clean sharp laser printed images (NO inkjet printouts, please!) sent via traditional U.S. Mail. DO NOT fold your artwork to fit it in a small envelope. PLEASE include a sturdy piece of cardboard with your original in a correctly sized envelope to prevent bending. Be sure to use the correct amount of postage or your image will not reach us.

Keep it simple - A simple, high-contrast design works best. Most stickers we make are smaller sizes than the traditional "bumper sticker." Therefore, designs should be clear, easy to read and use bold lettering. Look at our sticker samples for some ideas.

Watch your borders/inset - For a Standard Sticker, you need to keep a solid 1/8 inch (0.125") border around your artwork of either White, Black, Red or Yellow. If not, we will need to add one around the artwork for you and this could delay your order. We do not do custom multi-color bleeds (this is when an element of your design (such as text) goes to the edge of the sticker) on Standard Sticker orders of 500 or less. We can do custom multi-color bleeds on Custom Stickers orders of 500 or more.

1/8th inch border sample

Use solid colors - Try to avoid shading, gradations, and blends. Designs or photographs with fine shading may drop out and will be created using halftone dots. Use solid fills and outlines for best results.

Create a smart design - Use reversed/inverted images and printed backgrounds to your advantage. Black text printed on a white background can seem pretty plain, try reversing/inverting your image. You will end up with what appears to be white text (the vinyl showing through) on a black background (the actual printed ink). This design will have higher contrast and is more "eye catching".

4 ink colors doesn't mean "Process color" - We can print 4 spot ink colors (or more) or 4 Color Process (aka 4C Process, CMYK, Full Color), but they are NOT the same thing. 4 Color Process is how full color magazine images are printed. Semi-opaque Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black ink are printed so that they combine optically to create the appearance of a full color image. Please be aware that 4 Color Process WILL NOT look as good on a sticker as it does in a magazine (screenprinters use larger halftone dot screens than offset magazine printers). 4C Process stickers and 4 spot ink color stickers are available as a custom sticker order and are priced the same.