Digital Art Lesson #3: Is My Art Good Quality?

  • Nov 1, 2021

Welcome back to Digital art 101, an ongoing series seeking to answer the most common questions. Last time, we discussed the difference between Vector and Raster and how to identify them. Today, we will go over how to check the art and determine if it is suitable for production.  We will be using the Adobe suite programs: Illustrator and Photoshop

Vector Art: How to prepare for production

To check if your vector artwork is suitable for production, it is always important to open it up in your vector program and view it under outline mode. You can navigate to the VIEW drop-down menu and choose OUTLINES, or select Command+Y (Mac) or Control+Y (PC) to activate it. 


If your artwork looks like this; white shapes and black outlines. It is good to go to print.


However, vector art can sometimes have two common issues which need to be remedied before going to production. These issues are missing or un-outlined fonts, and/or un-embedded links.


Vector Error: Fonts Missing

Font issues arise when the art still has EDITABLE TEXT, and the computer it is being opened up on doesn’t have that font in the system.


When they open the art it in Adobe Illustrator, they will receive a MISSING FONT ERROR dialog box, and the missing font will be highlighted in pink. Even if the replaced font looks close, the font can be subtly different in a way that is not immediately noticeable. To prevent this, the artist should convert all text to outlines. Select all text and on the menu select TYPE > CREATE OUTLINES (cmd+Shift+O (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+O (Windows)).


Sometimes, the font will not be replaced, but the text will show as black text in outline mode (Second example above). This means the text is not outlined, but the system was able to find the font. The issue here is the text can be edited. Be extra careful when reviewing and comparing the font to a PDF preview of the art.  Prior to sending the final art to the production line, you will need to convert the fonts to outlines.

When completed, your font will look like the third example (in outline mode - see the previous article) and will be safe to send for production. 


Vector Error: Un-Embedded Links

Missing links are becoming an increasingly common issue for vector artwork due to graphic design teams sharing projects and files with each other. By linking a file, the file object will update every time the source image updates in a linked folder.  However, when preparing for pre-production, these objects need to be EMBEDDED to ensure they will travel with the file. 


When opening a file with an un-embedded link you will receive an error message dialog box warning you of the missing object.  Clicking REPLACE will allow you to find the file if you have access to it while choosing IGNORE will allow you to open the file. 



NOTE: Missing links will not show in VIEW MODE. So If you are unsure of what is missing when you fully open the file, viewing in OUTLINE MODE will reveal a shape with an X through it. When this happens, please make sure to embed your art before sending it to production. 


Raster Art: How to prepare for production

When it comes to raster art it is very important to understand two things. 

First raster art is only good for full color, CMYK or Digitial Print Production. Most promotional products require vector art.

Second, make sure the files meet minimum print quality requirements. The minimum industry standard for quality reproduction is 300 DPI or Dots per inch at inset sizeYou will often see terms like DPI, PPI, and Resolution when discussing Raster images, but they all basically mean the same thing. The number of pixels or dots in a single square inch. 


For this section, we are going to pretend we are producing a full-color 4” sticker, which means we need art that is at least 4” and 300 DPI or resolution. This process is actually quite simple. 


Checking art print quality for 4" sticker:
   1. Open art in Photoshop
   2. Navigate in the menu to IMAGE > IMAGE SIZE
   3. Check to make sure the resolution is 300 or above. 
   4. Confirm width and height is appropriate for the inset size of your imprint area. This area often defaults to pixel sizes, just click the dropdown area and choose inches.


If you have high-quality artwork that has a large width and height but a low resolution of 72 dpi, what can you do? If the image is three times larger than the final size you need no worries. You can send that artwork in and we can move some pixels around!

Thank you for sticking around for lesson three of our Digital Art Series, stay tuned for our Blog on "Differences in Color"


Credit - Mary Huff (IDProductsource)

Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash



  • Category: Digital Art 101
  • Tags: Art 101, Vector vs Rastor, Identifying Art, is it raster?, is it vector, fonts to outlines, missing fonts, embedded images
Close Search