The Entire Process
Although we've tried to make the order system as easy as possible the fact that there is a customizable aspect to our products will require a little bit of legwork to get your products ready for you.
- First you add the products you want to purchase into your Shopping Cart by choosing a quantity and clicking on the Buy button. When you are finished shopping, click on the Shopping Cart button at the top right part of your screen (within the blue area). From the Shopping Cart page you click on the Checkout button. This will take you to the registration page.
- If you already have an account with us you can simply log in with your email address as your username and whatever password you established at signup. If you've forgotten your password please visit the Password Request page and we will send your password to the email account you registered with. If you are new you will have to register either as a consumer (paying by credit card) or corporate customer (paying by check or invoice). After either registering or signing in you will be taken to the Checkout page.
- On the Checkout page select your shipping method and delivery date. If you are paying via credit card, you will be taken to a page that advises you that you are about to be taken off our site and your card processed. Please click on the continue button to do so. Once your card is processed (or not, if you are a corporate customer) you will be returned to our site where we capture the engraving information. At this point you can either enter your engraving information online (including uploading your logo) or just send us an email with your engraving information included as an attachment.
There are two types of users in the system. The difference is in how you will pay. A "consumer" is how we refer to someone who is paying with a credit card. A "corporate account" is someone who will be invoiced. A corporate account requires filling out an application. Once the application is approved your order is processed. For new corporate accounts we often require a 50% down payment on first-time orders.
The Engraving Process
Once your order is processed we capture your engraving information. At this point you can either enter your engraving information online (including uploading your logo) or just send us an email with your engraving information included as an attachment.
We require an electronic file of the logo at whatever size it is to be reproduced with a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. So if it is to be engraved at 3 inches wide, it should be 3 inches wide at 300 dpi (dots per inch). We prefer either an EPS or jpg file (saved at 100% resolution) although we can work with most any file format you have. Common programs for working with graphics include Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Fireworks, Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw. A good alternative to the problem of image resolution is to supply us with a "vector" file format. Vector images are actually line-based drawings and are resolution independent (see About Graphics for more about graphic formats and resolution). If you have any doubts about your graphic, send it to us and we will let you know if it will work or not.
Tips on Wording
Generally award wording will follow a basic pattern for single or multiple awards: there will be the award name, the person receiving it, a citation of some sort, and likely a date and/or place. For some clear examples of this visit our Sample Wording page, where you can copy and paste samples then edit the wording to suit your needs. If you have a lot of awards where only one or two parts of the engraving changes from one award to the next, simply send us a file with the wording that remains the same on all awards accompanied by a list of the text that changes. We will sort it out for you. Also, never hesitate to ask if you have any doubts or questions. It's what we're here for.
How Many Words?
While it is our policy to not charge for engraving, there are some size considerations that come into play. Specifically, the size of the engravable area will determine how much wording can be comfortably fitted. If you are unsure, submit the wording you would like and our designers will let you know if there is a problem.
The use of graphics in the engraving industry is similar to what you will see in the printing industry in general. Basically, the better the graphic used, the better the reproduction on the end product. Small, low-resolution images in a picture format (jpg, gif, bmp, etc.) don't work well. The problem has to do with the fact that these are what are referred to as "raster" images. They are made up of dots and are restricted to whatever size they were created in. For instance, raster images that are created for the web only need to be a size and resolution that will allow them to be seen clearly on a computer monitor, so generally they will be 72 dpi (dots per inch). The problem is when you want to reproduce these same images on a substrate (which is a general term for any kind of material such as paper or metal or wood) at a size that is larger than the current image size. For example, you may have a logo that is 2 inches square that looks nice on a web page. It looks nice because the monitor is built to project dots at 72 dpi onto your screen. Take that same image and print it out on your desktop printer – look closely and you will see that it is a little blurry. And if you want it to be four inches square you would have to stretch it to twice the size. When you start to stretch a raster image the size of the dots that make up the image are stretched. The end result is a grainy looking image. When printing on substrates with a raster image it is good to have a raster image that is at the reproduction size and a minimum of 300 dpi. Most paint programs like Photoshop and Paintbrush are used to create raster images. The best types of images to use are what are called "vector" images. This is a technology that uses lines instead of dots to create an image. Vector images are resolution independent and can be resized to any size without losing resolution. Programs such as Corel Draw or Illustrator are typically used to create vector images.