Artwork and Images

Image resolution
Image resolution describes the detail that an image holds. The term image resolution often applies to digital and printed images. The higher the resolution, the higher the image quality (greater details and sharpness).


Image resolution measures how close lines, horizontal or vertical, can be to each other and still be visibly resolved. Resolutions in the digital realm, and in the embroidery and screen printing industry, are usually measured in PPI (pixels per inch), DPI (dots per inch) or LPI (lines per inch).


PPI (pixels per inch) is the resolution measurement in pixels of viewing and screening devices such as computer monitors, digital cameras or image scanners. PPI is the number of pixels displayed in an image. PPI is the display resolution not the image resolution. PPI can also describe the resolution, in pixels, of an image to be printed within a specified space. For instance, a 100x100-pixel image that is printed in a 1-inch square could be said to have 100 DPI. Used in this way, the measurement is only meaningful when printing an image.


DPI (dots per inch) is a measure of the resolution of a printer. It refers to the physical dot density of an image when it is reproduced as a real physical entity, for example printed onto paper, or displayed on a monitor. A digitally stored image has no inherent physical dimensions. Some digital file formats record a DPI value, or more commonly a PPI (pixels per inch) value, which is to be used when printing the image. DP I properly refers to the dots of ink or toner used by a laser printer, an image setter or other printing device to print your text and graphics. In general, the more dots, the better and sharper the image. DPI is printer resolution. (Adobe Photoshop uses PPI and Corel Photo-Paint uses DPI for image resolution so it's no wonder everyone is confused.)

PPI and DPI graphics


A 10 × 10-pixel image on a computer display usually requires many more than 10 × 10 printer dots to accurately reproduce, due to limitations of available ink colors in the printer.


LPI (lines per inch) is a measurement of printing resolution in systems that use a halftone screen. Specifically, it is a measure of how close together the lines in a halftone grid are. Higher LPI indicates greater detail and sharpness. It refers to the way printers reproduce images, simulating continuous tone images by printing lines of halftone spots. The number of lines per inch is the LPI, sometimes also called line frequency. You can think of LPI as the halftone resolution or the printing resolution.


SPI (samples per inch) is a measurement of image resolution. To reproduce an image the scanner takes a sampling of portions of the image measuring the value at a specific place in a scanned image. The more samples it takes per inch, the closer the scan is to the original image because there is more information available about how the image should look.

In practice, SPI and PPI are often used interchangeably. DPI is frequently used in place of one or both terms. However, even if you call it DPI, remember that each dot or "unit of measure" behaves differently depending on whether it is a monitor (or on-screen image), or a printer (or printed image) or a scanner (or scanned image).


We hope the above information will give you a better understanding of the different ways the image resolution is measured. Generally, the higher the quality of the image that you supply us; the better we can reproduce your artwork.


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Image File Size
Image file size is expressed as the number of bytes, kilobytes or megabytes. Image file size depends on two things: the number of pixels making up the image and the color depth of the pixels. The greater the number of pixels, the greater the image resolution and the larger the image file size. Also, each pixel of an image increases in size when its color depth increases, an 8-bit pixel (1 byte) stores 256 colors, a 24-bit pixel (3 bytes) stores 16 million colors (the truecolor). Therefore, truecolor images will have a much larger file size compared to 256-color images. Image compression is a means to reduce large image file sizes.


When uploading or emailing an image to us, keep the file size below 5MB. Most of the time a file size of well below 5MB will be more than sufficient for embroidery and screen printing works. Depending on your ISP (internet service provider) and the internet service level that you have subscribed to, you might receive a “time out” error if you try to send a file or a group of files larger than the maximum allowable by your ISP.


Image Compression
Image compression uses algorithms to decrease the size of a file. High resolution cameras produce large image files. Faced with large file sizes, image file formats were developed to store such large images. An overview of the major graphic file formats follows below. There are two types of image file compression algorithms: lossless and lossy.


Lossless compression algorithms reduce file size without losing image quality, though they are not compressed into as small a file as a lossy compression file. Use lossless algorithms when image quality is valued above file size.


Lossy compression algorithms discard information that is invisible to human eye. Most lossy compression algorithms allow for variable compression levels and as these levels are increased, file size is reduced. Use lossy algorithms when file size is valued above image quality.

Letter A image Letter A image
dpi = 100 dpi = 300

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Major graphic file formats
Including proprietary types, there are hundreds of image file types. The PNG, JPEG, and GIF formats are most often used to display images on the Internet. These graphic formats are listed and briefly described below, separated into the two main families of graphics: raster and vector.


Raster graphic files are pixel based. As an image is enlarged, the available pixels are spread over a larger area, the pixel density decreases resulting in a “grainier” image. (i.e. Adobe Photoshop PSD, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG and BMP). Raster graphic files store images as bitmaps (a.k.a. pixmaps). The most popular and useful raster file formats are listed:


Photoshop (.psd) This is Photoshop's native file format. If you have created a graphic with a multitude of layers (especially type layers), and you want to save these layers for any changes that you intend to make in the future, then it's generally best to save the graphic in Photoshop format.


JPEG/JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a compression method. JPEG compression is (in most cases) lossy compression. Nearly every digital camera can save images in the JPEG format, which supports 8 bits per color (red, green, blue) for a 24-bit total, producing relatively small files. When not too great, the compression does not noticeably detract from the image's quality, but JPEG files suffer generational degradation when repeatedly edited and saved. The JPEG format also is used as the image compression algorithm in many Adobe PDF files.


GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is limited to an 8-bit palette, or 256 colors. This makes the GIF format suitable for storing graphics with relatively few colors such as simple diagrams, shapes, logos and cartoon style images. The GIF format supports animation and is still widely used to provide image animation effects. It also uses a lossless compression that is more effective when large areas have a single color, and ineffective for detailed images or dithered images.


TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) format is a flexible format that normally saves 8 bits or 16 bits per color (red, green, blue) for 24-bit and 48-bit totals, respectively, usually using either the TIFF or TIF filename extension. TIFFs can be lossy and lossless; some offer relatively good lossless compression for bi-level (black&white) images. Some digital cameras can save in TIFF format, using the LZW compression algorithm for lossless storage. TIFF image format is not widely supported by web browsers. TIFF remains widely accepted as a photograph file standard in the printing business. TIFF can handle device-specific color spaces, such as the CMYK defined by a particular set of printing press inks. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software packages commonly generate some form of TIFF image for scanned text pages.


PNG (Portable Network Graphics) file format was created as the free, open-source successor to the GIF. The PNG file format supports truecolor (16 million colors) while the GIF supports only 256 colors. The PNG file excels when the image has large, uniformly colored areas. The lossless PNG format is best suited for editing pictures, and the lossy formats, like JPG, are best for the final distribution of photographic images, because in this case JPG files are usually smaller than PNG files. All contemporary web browsers now support all common uses of the PNG format, including full 8-bit translucency.


PNG provides a patent-free replacement for GIF and can also replace many common uses of TIFF. Indexed-color, grayscale, and truecolor images are supported, plus an optional alpha channel.
PNG is designed to work well in online viewing applications, such as the World Wide Web, so it is fully streamable with a progressive display option. PNG is robust, providing both full file integrity checking and simple detection of common transmission errors. Also, PNG can store gamma and chromaticity data for improved color matching on heterogeneous platforms.


BMP (Windows bitmap) file format handles graphics files within the Microsoft Windows OS. Typically, BMP files are uncompressed, hence they are large; the advantage is their simplicity and wide acceptance in Windows programs.


Vector graphic files are control point based. The shape of the image is calculated mathematically using control points. The graphic image can be scaled up or down without any loss of image quality. (i.e. .CDR in CorelDraw and .AI in Adobe Illustrator).


As opposed to the raster image formats above, vector image formats contain a geometric description which can be rendered smoothly at any desired display size. Vector base graphic files are much smaller in size compared to rasterized image files.


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Artwork Preparation
Vector Based Artwork:
If you your artwork/drawings was created by a graphic designer, the graphic file format will most likely be vector based. Vector based graphics are resolution independent – they can be scaled up or down without any loss of image quality. Ask your designer to convert your design to all curves prior to sending us the file. Converting every part of your design to curves will avoid fonts mismatch or any unintended font substitution.


Raster (pixel) Based Artwork:
If your artwork was:

  • created by using Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photo-Paint or any image editing/retouching programs, or
  • scanned by a scanner, or
  • an image taken by a digital camera, or
  • captured on a computer monitor by any screen capturing programs

your artwork will be a raster (pixel based) file. Please send us your best quality image in any of these formats - .psd, .jpg, .gif, .tif, .png, .bmp and .pdf. The quality of the final product will depend on the quality of the image you send us. The better your original the better your final product will be. We can help you with your artwork if your graphic image is less than perfect.


Without Camera Ready Artwork:
If you do not have a finished/camera ready graphic image, we can help you with your artwork and logo design. Give us your idea or a rough sketch of what you would want; we will help you with the artwork and the subsequent setup required for your embroidery and/or screen printing project.


Help & Assistance
If you have any questions about your artwork or your design file format, please call us at (866) 312-4302 or email us at Our graphic professionals will help you with all your artwork needs.


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Embroidery and Screen Printing
Custom Embroidery

The embroidery process uses the supplied graphic image as a backdrop for “on screen” digitizing. Digitizing is the manual conversion of the artwork into an embroidery machine format where a computerized embroidery machine will then stitch out the digitized design. The quality of the final product will depend on the quality of the original artwork, the quality of the machinery and material used in the embroidery process, but most importantly, the beauty of the eventual embroidered item will primarily depend on the digitizer’s skillful interpretation and digitization of the artwork. We at Things Are Beautiful specialize in such artwork digitization and in making your embroidered logo as beautiful as they can be. (chick here for cost information and a free quote)

Screen Printing

The screen printing process uses the supplied artwork for the exact reproduction of the graphic image, no human interpretation is required. However, if your available artwork is a little less than perfect, do not worry, we can help you to clean up and improve your artwork and make things perfect for you.


The embroidery process will produce a great quality logo that will last for a long time even after repeated laundering. The screen printing process allows for the printing of a large size image and is more cost efficient for large run projects. (chick here for cost information and a free quote)


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One-Stop Shop
We do not just do embroidery and screen printing; we carry a complete line of apparel (jackets, polos, fleece, T-shirts, sweatshirts, sporting outfits, uniforms and more) and can supply you a great selection of bags and headwear; we also carry blankets, robes, towels, aprons and a great variety of other promotional products. We are not just a broker of products, we create artwork in-house, we own and operate our own machinery and equipment. From concept to the final product, we will help you with the artwork, digitize your logo, supply you with what you will need for your project. Things Are Beautiful is the One-Stop shop for all your needs. (Please call us at (866) 312-4302 or email us at for more information on blank apparel, bags, headwear, promotional items and other product information)


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