Artwork Prep Guide

Artwork Prep Guide

The assets in this blog post have been purchased from Creative Market. If you like this artwork, and want to incorporate it into your work, purchase the appropriate licensing from the artist:*

*We receive a commission on sales referred to Creative Market.

This Illustrator guide will show you how to prepare your artwork for wax seals. 

When ordering we require artwork to:

  • Submitted within a dieline
  • In a vector format in a .pdf, .ai, .eps, or .svg file
  • Text converted to outlines
  • A maximum of 4 black/grays

If you have raster designs from a software like photoshop this guide will also show you how to convert them into a finished vector.

1. Download & Open Dielines

Start by downloading the Artisaire Dieline Pack. Our Dieline Pack contains a .pdf file for each of our standard dielines we offer. Within each file you will have artwork optimization instructions, as well as a placement dieline.

NEW: We've updated our dieline pack to include a dashed bleed line. This bleed line allows us to engrave to the edge of the die. Placing your artwork to go off the dieline and within the bleed line will create a full-bleed design. If you have downloaded our old dielines, we recommend downloading this new pack!

2. Place Artwork

  • Place your artwork within the artboard, File > Place (Shift + Ctrl + P).

When placing it is important to click, and not drag. Using a single click will import the file with the original size. Dragging may downscale/upscale artwork causing quality issues.

For this step it is not required to place your artwork within the artboard, and depending on the size of your artwork this might not be possible.

3. Trace & Expand (For Raster artwork)

  • Open the Image Trace Panel, Window > Image Trace
  • With the preview box checked, select your artwork and change the Preset to Silhouettes
  • Fine tune your result using the Image Trace Panel. For more information, here is the Adobe Illustrator Artwork Tracing Guide.
  • Once you are happy with the results click expand in the Menu bar.

4. Scale & Position

  • Scale and Position your artwork within the cyan dieline provided.
  • For full-bleed (off the edge) artwork, position your artwork so the edge is outside the dieline and still within the dashed bleed line.

It is important to complete the above Trace & Expand step before scaling and placing your artwork if you are starting from a raster file, and this will create the most accurate and highest quality vector.

5. Thicken Lines

  • Create a 0.9pt x 0.9pt (0.0125" x 0.0125") ellipse, and set the stroke to 0pt.
  • Compare the ellipse to the lines, if the ellipse is larger, increase the stroke. Note: Not all lines need to meet this thickness, only the parts of the design you need full depth. Tapers & points will show nicely while not meeting this thickness. 

When creating artwork for wax seals line thickness makes all the difference. The biggest cause of a faint impression is thin lines rather than engraved depth. This is because the sealing wax needs a large enough channel to enter the engraving.

Here are some typical line thicknesses, and the estimated depths they reach.

 Line Thickness Estimated Depth
0.72pt ~40% - 50%
0.9pt ~85% - 95%
1.1pt ~95% - 100%

PRO TIP: To use finer lines, create a layer below your linework. For example, if you draw a rose using only outlines (no fills), we recommend using a line that is 0.9pt - 1.1pt. If you drew the same rose, and used a fill you could use a line that is 0.72pt to 0.9pt thick as you have a layer below your linework to improve the sealing wax flow. More on layers below.

6. Layer (Optional)

  • Open the Pathfinder Panel, Window > Pathfinder
  • Create a Rectangle larger than your artwork then Arrange > Send to Back.
  • Drag over the Rectangle and your artwork then Pathfinder > Merge.
  • Right click and select ungroup on the merged artwork, then click and delete any excess sections.
  • Open Swatch Panel, Window > Swatches
  • Select the desired sections and change the layer using the provided swatches.

It is important to use the provided swatches as our engraving software doesn't change depth based on lightness of paths. The varying grays are for our Production Artists to create layered artwork for our engraving software, so they must be visually distinguishable.

 Swatch Name Estimated Depth
Layer 1 25%
Layer 2 50%
Layer 3 75%
Layer 4 100%

Please note: Due to the nature of engraving these depths may fluctuate by 5% - 10% of the given estimation.

7. Outline Text

  • Select > All (Ctrl + A), Type > Create Outlines (Shift + Ctrl + O).

To open files with a certain font, we need the fonts installed on our computers. As it is not possible to install every font available, it is a requirement to convert all text to outlines before uploading your file.

You may be able to embed fonts into a file, we discourage this practice as this may void the licensing for certain fonts and is a less reliable way to deliver files.

8. Export

  • Navigate to File > Export > Export for Screens, then uncheck all artboards that do not contain artwork
  • Give your artboard a name that will keep you organized like [Client Name]-[Artwork Name]
  • Change the export format to PDF, then click Export Artboard
  • Success, your artwork is now ready to upload!

9. Place Your Order

Our Production Artists will optimize your artwork and prepare it for production. If any changes are required you will receive a proof with the proposed changes for your approval.

Thank you so much for reading our guide, we hope it helps you create gorgeous designs for wax seals. If you have any questions our team is always happy to help at!

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