Let Us Prepare Your Artwork For You…
What Could Be Easier Than That?

If you want to save your time and your resources for other tasks, look to ICON to help you to conceptualize, design, and layout your next artwork project. From a simple logo to an entire publication or brochure, we can handle the whole project and save you and your staff hours. Contact your ICON representative for a personal consultation.

When You Really Want To Do It Yourself…
Some Helpful Hints.

If you'd prefer to prepare your own artwork for your next printing project, we can help. Here are some helpful hints, based upon our years of experience.

The format you choose (which software program you use to create the artwork and which file type you choose to save it in) depends upon what you want your artwork to print on.
Software: Adobe Illustrator

File Type: EPS (Encapsulated Post Script)

For Printing: Almost any promotional product, logos, and many simple, single page documents for commercial printing.

Advantages: Small file size compared to other programs. Converting type to outlines (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) eliminates the need to send fonts document. Illustrator makes it unnecessary to send image and photo files along with the document, as these are automatically embedded. Illustrator-created objects are vector artwork, so they can be enlarged to infinity without degrading. Note that objects placed in Illustrator (like photos) are not vector. Illustrator has a very easy way to save your document in PDF format, allowing you to send a second, PDF-formatted file along with your EPS as a means for comparison.

Dis-Advantages: Illustrator handles only one page at a time. You cannot create multi-page documents in this program. Some designers feel that Illustrator does not handle type as well as programs like Adobe InDesign and Quark Xpress.

Software: Adobe InDesign/Pagemaker or Quark Xpress

File Type: Native

For Printing: Single and multi-page documents, usually commercial printing

Advantages: Precise type features make these favorites of graphic Designers. Since both of these programs are page Layout software, they can't be beat for use in designing Books and other long documents.

Dis-Advantages: Text used in the document cannot be converted to outlines, as in Illustrator. Objects and photos placed in the document are not embedded. So in preparing the document for printing, all fonts and placed images must be "gathered" and sent to us. It is also advisable to send a hard copy of the document along, since these documents are inherently unstable and font issues can arise. If we have a hard copy from you to compare to your electronic document, we can often catch font issues for you before we go to print. None of the objects created in either of these programs is vector artwork, so they must be laid out to-size. No resizing of objects within the document is advisable.

Software: Adobe PhotoShop


For Printing: Photos.

Advantages: The best program on the market for manipulating and retouching photos.

Dis-Advantages: Many people who use PhotoShop for their photos make the mistake of using it to design documents and graphic elements. This is not what the program was made to do, and it can create problems with your printing job. If you can produce the same result using Illustrator, InDesign, or Quark, you should use these other programs. PhotoShop files types like TIFF and PSD are often huge. The same object created in Illustrator may be 150 KB, while it's TIFF or PSD equivalent may be 10 MB, making the file much less portable.

PhotoShop creates only bitmapped artwork, meaning that it's scalability is almost zero. If you draw something in PhotoShop, you must draw it to-size. However many dots that the program uses to create your object at 5" is the same number of dots that the program has available to represent your object at 10", meaning that any enlargement seriously degrades the image quality. PhotoShop is also incapable of applying PMS colors to your document. It uses only 4-color process (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black). If you submit a PhotoShop created document to us and want us to print in a specific PMS color, it is not possible.

Other file formats that can be created in PhotoShop, Such as JPEG and BMP files are usually not useful For printing. These file formats, for the most part, are Too small (data has been stripped from them in order To make their file size smaller) to be used for Commercial or promotional printing. You will note That most JPEGs and BMPs are 72dpi (dots per inch), Which is too low resolution. When preparing any Photo or object created in this program for printing, Make sure that you have specified at least 300 dpi.

Software: Microsoft Word, WordPerfect

File Type: Native

For Printing: Word and WordPerfect are not good programs for printing anything other than to your own desktop printer. We strongly recommend that you prepare artwork for professional printing.

Advantages: For printing, none.

Dis-Advantages: Too many to list, but the root of all word processing problems when they are used as source documents for commercial printing is fonts. We cannot use the exact fonts (and neither can any other printer) as you do when you created your document. So, even though you used Times New Roman to layout your document and we open it and apply our Times New Roman to it, there is still a very good chance that there will be enough difference between our two versions of the font to cause reflow and character substitution issues. If you must compose your document in Word, etc., then consider flowing your Word document into another program, like Quark or InDesign. Then fix any of your reflow problems in that program, save the document, and gather the fonts and send to us.

Another option for you is to convert your Word document into a PDF file. This will create a stable document that cannot reflow or substitute characters. Contact your representative for an explanation of how this is done.

Software: Microsoft PowerPoint

File Type: Native

For Printing: None

Advantages: None

Dis-Advantages: For printing, it can't be said that PowerPoint has any advantages or disadvantages, since this program is not designed to create documents for any other purpose than to be displayed on a monitor or projector. True, you can print PowerPoint presentations on your desktop printer, but notice that the quality is not very good even then. No document, image, or type created in this program is acceptable for high-quality commercial or promotional printing.

Software: Microsoft Publisher

File Type: Native

For Printing: Very limited use for commercial and promotional printing

Advantages: It's cheap compared to professional design and layout programs.

Dis-Advantages: Much the same as Microsoft Word. We recommend that you consider upgrading to a different program if you want professional results. We can accept this program in some cases, but recommend that you talk with us before submitting artwork in this format.

Getting Your Artwork To Us

Use one of these methods:

If your artwork file is less than 4 MB in size, you may email it to us at
Please reference the name of your job or your purchase order number.

Upload to our FTP Site

If your artwork is more than 4 MB in size, you can upload it to our FTP site.
IMPORTANT: You must email us at to let us know that you have uploaded files to our site!

There are several ways to access ICON's FTP site:

Option 1: If you already have FTP software on your computer: Open your FTP software and use the following to set up a site profile and connect:

Host Name:
User ID: customer
Password: 4bu23y
Passive Mode: No
Host Type: Automatic Detect
Startup Transfer Mode: Auto Detect
Host Type: Automatic Detect

Option 2: If you do not currently have FTP software on your computer: You can download a free evaluation copy. If you have any questions about this process, you may call your ICON representative for help.

Windows Users: Download a free evaluation copy of Core FPT at:
Mac Users: Download an evaluation copy of Fetch FTP at:

Follow the instructions from the software manufacturer's website to set up your software, and after it is successfully installed, use the following to set up a site profile and connect to our FTP site:

Host Name:
User ID: customer
Password: 4bu23y
Passive Mode: No
Host Type: Automatic Detect
Startup Transfer Mode: Auto Detect
Host Type: Automatic Detect

Option 3: Using's Browser Based FTP Java Applet - To use a browser based FTP Java applet, go to and follow the instructions on the screen. This Java applet is a cross-platform program that will allow you to access our ftp site through your browser.

Complete documentation on the use of the applet can be reviewed at:

Option 4: Using Your Internet Browser - To use your Internet browser, you can click on or copy and paste the following link into your browser's address field:

The above format is:
ftp:// user id here : password here @ (no spaces in the link)

Using this method, you will be able to copy and paste or drag and drop files between the FTP site and your computer. If you are using Internet Explorer, open Internet Explorer, click on Tools (at the top of the browser window), then Internet Options and then select the Advanced tab. Look for an option (if available) that enables browsing of ftp sites (ENABLE FOLDER VIEW FOR FTP SITES) and make sure this option is checked. Most brands and versions have this option set by default. Please review your browser's help file under FTP for additional information.

To download the latest copy of Internet Explorer or Netscape, use one of the following links:

Internet Explorer:

Send us your CD

If you prefer to burn your art files onto a CD, you can mail or ship to us at:

Attn: Order Entry
ICON Promotional Printing
191 Old Potomac Church Road
Stafford , VA 22554

Please reference your job name or purchase order number.