Digital Art Guidelines

To meet American Meteorological Society’s quality standards for publication, it is important to submit digital art that conforms to the appropriate resolution, size, color mode, and file format. Doing so will help to avoid delays in publication and maximize the quality of images, both online and in print. For guidelines on submitting images for the BAMS cover, contact the BAMS managing editor.

Resolution and Raster Images

Low-resolution images are one of the leading causes of art resubmission and schedule delays. Submitted raster (i.e., pixel based) images must meet the minimum resolution requirements. Raster images can be classified as monochrome (line art), halftone, or combination halftone. Acceptable file formats for raster images are TIFF, EPS, PDF, and JPEG.

  • Monochrome (1 bit) images: Common examples are graphs and charts made of solid black and white with no gray values. The preferred resolution for this type of image is between 1,000 and 1,200 dpi at publication size.

  • Combination halftones: Common examples are color or grayscale figures containing halftone and line-art elements. The preferred resolution for this type of image is between 600 and 900 dpi at publication size.

  • Halftones: Common examples are color or grayscale figures containing images only with no text or thin lines. The suggested minimum resolution for this type of image is 300 dpi at publication size.

Color Mode

All color image files must be submitted in their original RGB color. This will ensure that the brightest possible RGB colors will show online, as the RGB color space (light based) is capable of producing more saturated colors than the CMYK (ink based) color space. For this reason, there will be a color shift when images are converted to CMYK for print—please see this example:

To ensure the best possible conversion to CMYK for the printed journal, when you work with raster images, it is best to
use an application that supports ICC profiles, such as Adobe Photoshop. Whatever application you use, be sure to always embed the originating ICC profile when saving the file. This is usually the default behavior—for example, this screen shot is from the "Save As..." dialog box in Photoshop. The box to embed the ICC profile is checked by default; just be sure to leave the box checked. If you are using a different application, please check the documentation to be sure you are properly embedding the ICC profiles.  


Labeling and Font Usage

Please use the same font for all figures in your manuscript. Use standard fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, Times, Symbol, Mathematical Pi, and European Pi. Embed all fonts used in vector files. In Illustrator, check the box that reads Embed Fonts when saving the file. See next page for more detailed instructions on embedding fonts.

Vector Graphics

Vector images are typically generated using drawing or illustration programs (e.g., Adobe Illustrator) and are composed of mathematically defined geometric shapes—lines, objects, and fills. Vector graphics are resolution independent and can be sized up or down without quality loss.

  • Vector line art: Common examples are graphs and charts created in illustration programs. It is preferable to have these saved as EPS files, with all fonts embedded, and graph lines at least 0.25 points wide. If you are using Illustrator, check the box that reads Embed Fonts when saving the file.
  • Combination line/halftone: Quite often authors will insert raster images into a vector drawing program (e.g., Adobe Illustrator) to add text and labels. Assuming the inserted raster image(s) meets the required resolutions, these combination files should be saved as an EPS with all fonts converted to outlines and graph lines at least 0.25 points wide. Preferred when saved as an EPS file.  
Microsoft Office

PowerPoint slides, Excel graphs, or images embedded in Word are acceptable formats. When creating the original file in a Microsoft Office application, please follow these general rules to ensure that the initial file is properly prepared:

  1. Do not use patterned or textured fills in graphics. Instead, use solid fills or percentage screens that will be effectively converted to vector images during file conversion. Note: A 20% difference in percent screens is most effective for differentiation.

  2. Artwork placed within any Microsoft Office application should be of an acceptable minimum resolution for print production: 300 dpi for tones, 600 to 900 dpi for combinations, and 1,000 to 1,200 dpi for line art.

  3. When inserting pictures/images into files, be sure to select “insert” and not “insert link,” which will not properly embed the high-resolution image into the Microsoft Office file.

  4. Always embed fonts in your documents. See the guidelines below for embedding fonts in MS Office documents.

Embedding Fonts in MS Office:

  • From the file menu, select Save As...
  • From the Tools menu, select Save Options..., then check the Embed TrueType Fonts box, and select Embed all characters (best for editing by others). These screen shots are from MS Office 2003 for Windows. If you are using a different version, these boxes will look different, but the instructions above should suffice.


Authors who do not comply with these guidelines will be asked to resubmit their figures in a print-quality format, which may delay publication.