How to Design for Golf Discs

Beginner Tips, Tools and Notes

By Eric BennettMay 28th, 2023

Are you designing the artwork for an upcoming disc golf event stamp?  For best results, there are a number of technical details you should consider:

Vector graphics are rendered by a computer using math, whereas raster images are made up of individual pixels.  As such, vector graphics can be smoothly scaled across a variety of use cases, while raster images will look pixelated when scaled up.  Since your design may need to be converted or imported during the printing process, a vector graphic is the best option since it will look sharp at any size or resolution.

If you enjoy learning new software or are already familiar with software capable of exporting scalable vector graphic files (.svg files), you should lean on these tools.  Personally, I use Inkscape because it is free and open-source.

If you'd rather avoid vector graphics editing entirely, you could always convert a raster image or high-contrast photo to a vector graphic using a free, online converter.  For this, you should be sure that your image is first saved as a .png file, rather than a .jpg file, to maintain transparent areas and avoid compression artifacts.  

While a hand-drawn approach may be appealing for the technology-challenged, the precise control enabled by vector graphics editing software makes it possible to create more refined, professional designs, so, if you're looking to skill-up as a graphic designer, learning how to use one is a must.  Many resources exist for learning popular options like Inkscape, including both text and video tutorials.

2. Use an appropriate image size

When setting up a new design document in a vector graphics editor, be sure to set the dimensions accurately.  This will allow for fine control of font sizes and design elements, which, if you're designing for a golf disc, will be important in mitigating the limitations of the hot-stamping process.

If you're hand-drawing your design, you may want to work larger than the intended size so that imperfections will be scaled-down and minimized.  Text sizes and line widths will be more difficult to adjust after they are drawn, so extra care should be taken during the drawing process to be sure your design is a good fit for hot stamping.

3. Understand the limitations of hot stamping

Most golf discs are hot stamped with specialized foil.  To arrive at a clean, professional final product, the following limitations of this process should be understood:

If you're drawing by hand, dialing in the right line weights is more of a guessing game.  Take a look at our gallery to get an idea about appropriate line weights for different use cases.

Several disc manufacturers have released more detailed specifications, so be sure to check the relevant link(s):

4. Consider hiring a professional

If any of the above sounds too time-consuming or outside your interests, consider hiring a professional to design your artwork.  If you have the budget, a great design could help attract more participants and take your event to the next level.