The Trouble With Art

Nov 8th 2016

Your first stop for trouble shooting common art file issues.

Sometimes it seems like graphic artists and the programs they use - like Adobe Photoshop - are mysterious creatures that “poof” – like magic – turn ideas and brainstorms into gorgeous logos and designs.

If you are working with EcoEnclose to create custom printed, branded packaging for your products, but you aren’t a graphic designer and don’t fully understand what a vector file is or the difference between PDF and JPEG, then you’re at the right place!

The first step in placing a custom printed order (for mailers, shopping bags, or corrugated boxes) with us is to create, upload and proof your art file.

This article walks you through this process – in plain English – and provides some troubleshooting tips for common hiccups that we have seen our customers work through.

If you found yourself reading this post, but are actually still trying to figure out what shipping packaging you need and whether or not you even want it custom printed – then click here to learn more about our printed products and services (and meet us back at this post once you’re ready!).

How do I need to set up my art file before it is ready to upload with my order?

Your art file should be:

  • 1.5 MB or less in size
  • One color
  • In vector format, with the file extension ending in .ai, .eps, or .pdf. If your art is an image rather than in vector format, you can try to convert your art with (more on this below!).
  • High resolution, with a minimum of 300 ppi (pixels per inch)
  • All font is larger than 12pt to prevent the ink from filling in
  • All font or graphics have no spaces less than 1/16”, again to prevent ink from filling in
  • All text or font has been outlined
  • The art file has a transparent background

Once your art file is properly formatted, you can upload it, position it on your chosen product, and instantly view a digital proof on the product template. For boxes, please allow a minimum of 3/4" margins on all sides from your art to the edge of the box panels.

Some common troubleshooting tips

Help! My art file is too large.

If your art file is oversized, you're going to get an unfortunate error when attempting your upload. Most vector files created in Illustrator are less than 2MB.

Why is yours so large? The most common mistake we see is pasting of a raster image (.tif, .gif, .jpeg, or .png) into your vector art file. A classic example is the addition of a social media icon. Use only vector art (.ai, .eps) whenever possible.

When vector art is unavailable, try the work-around demonstrated in this screencast. You'll see in the screencast that we were able to reduce a file from 4.55 MB to 1 MB with just a few clicks in my Illustrator CS6.

If you cannot scale it down, do not stress! Please email it to . We can review the artwork for you and help you get your order placed.

Shoot, I don’t have a vector program to create the art.

Adobe Illustrator is one example of a program that creates vector art. You can receive a month’s free trial, and there are flexible payment options after the trail expires. If that is overwhelming for you, then you may think about hiring the help of a graphic designer.

If you have an art file that is complete, but is not a vector file, you can utilize, or we may be able to offer design services starting at $39.00. Please contact us at for more information on this.

What is this nonsense about outlining fonts?

If you would like a specific font on your art, you will have to outline it to preserve the font, or style of font, as we do not have all fonts in our design software. This is very simple to do:

  • In Illustrator-Windows: Unlock all layers in the Layers panel, then Ctrl + A then Shift + Ctrl + O
  • In Illustrator-Mac: Unlock all layers in the Layers panel, then Cmnd + A then Shift + Cmnd + O

Other challenges? If so, please email your art file to us at We will be happy to let you know if there are any issues with the art and offer suggestions.

And some other FAQs…

Can I utilize an edge to edge or multi-color print?

We do have print margins and one color limit on all of our printed products via the site. However, we can offer edge to edge and/or multi-color printing in some instances:

Corrugated Boxes – We may be able to print an edge to edge design on the entire box for you, but only one color. In this instance, we will need to provide you with a dieline (or blueprint) of your specific box for you to add your art to. Please email with your box style and dimensions for dieline requests. We do request that you have ordered a sample box before requesting dielines, to make sure the box will work for you. You may do so here.

Mailers or Shopping Bags - We have a 25,000+ piece minimum. Specific quantities depend on product and size. For more information, please contact us at

Can I print a reverse-out design?

In many cases, we can print a high ink coverage design such as reverse-outs. (Reverse-out means the background is printed rather than the text/design.) Please send your request with your art file attached to . We would be happy to review it for you and offer our recommendation for the best printing outcome.

Why can’t I use an image file?

We use an offset printing method and soy or water based inks. That means that we have to create a physical printing plate to transfer your art file to the product. It is essential in creating the plates to be able to zoom in and out of the art file, and to view smooth lines. Image files are pixelated, whereas vector files are not. You can find a good example of this here.

Can I include a barcode in my art file?

We can print bar codes, but it needs to be a certain size, and vector format. We cannot guarantee that flexo printed UPC codes will scan. However, in most instances they have worked fine for our customers assuming they are a certain size. We recommend:

  • UPC codes should be sized at 150% and should have a bearer bar around them.
  • Symbols less than 80% (1.1875″ x .813″) may not scannable by retailers.
  • The dimensions at 150% in inches are: Numbers: 2.20" L x 1.53" H | Bars: 1.85 L x 1.35" H | With Bearer Bar: 2.66 L x 1.94" H