Artwork Requirements/ File Preparation Guide
When sending us your artwork, we have a few requirements that will help to ensure that your finished sign is flawless and professional. We are able to accept several formats for your sign artwork, but for absolute best results, we need the original vector source file that was used to create the design. Your source file was likely created in a graphics program like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat PDF or CorelDraw. These programs generate files with specific file extensions.
Please create your file at 100% final size whenever possible.
• Adobe Illustrator source files end in .ai or EPS (convert text to outline) with crops and 1/8th" bleeds. You can also save as press quality pdf with crops and 1/8th" bleeds. Make sure to link your images and embed fonts.
• Adobe Photoshop source files end in .psd. You can save as tiff or jpeg to upload to us.
• Adobe Indesign - save a press quality pdf with crops and 1/8th" bleeds. Make sure to link your images and embed fonts.
• CorelDraw source files end in .cdr or export file as eps (convert text to curves).
• MS Publisher, MS Word or MS Powerpoint files must be saved as press quality or high quality PDF files at final size.
In some instances, files ending in .pdf or .eps may also contain vector information, so please send these to us as well if they are available.
If you do not have a source file containing vector information, files ending in .jpg, .png, .pdf or .eps may be usable if certain requirements are met. They must have a minimum resolution of 150 dpi, and the file needs to be the same size as the intended output. In other words, if you are planning on creating a 2’ x 3' banner, then the .jpg (or .png, etc.) file needs to have a canvas size of 2’ x 3’ as well.
How to create a high-resolution PDF
From Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign files to print-ready PDF
If youre creating a professionally designed document, your graphic designer might work in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign. All three design programs follow the same PDF creator route.
Open your file.
Select PDF as the format.
Set Adobe PDF Preset to Press Quality.
Set Compatibility to Acrobat 6 (PDF1.5).
If youre working with InDesign or Illustrator, set Bleeds to 0.125 inch on all sides, in the Marks and Bleeds section.
In the Output section, set Colour Conversion to Convert to Destination (Preserve Numbers).
Set Destination to US Sheetfed Coated v2.
Set Profile Inclusion Policy to Don't Include Profiles.
Click Save PDF.
From Microsoft Word, Power Point or Publisher documents to PDF
In the Print dialogue box, click the drop-down box listing your installed printers.
Select your PDF creation software on the list (for example, if youre using Adobe Acrobat, select Adobe PDF). Click OK. The PDF file will open automatically once the file has saved.
Have questions about how artwork guidelines work? Here we have some advice that will help you to prepare “A complete file” in a step-by-step list, that promises to answer each question you could have.
We always check twice
Before going to print your design, we will send you an email with a file. We call it "approval" where you can check each detail of your design as spelling, diagramming or the colors. Please keep in mind that we are humans, and we can make one or two mistakes, that is why we appreciate if you double check with us the approval.
About Image Resolution
Image Resolution is the detail an image holds, what that means is higher resolution, much better images. For being more specific about it, here is what we seek:
Images or pictures with 150 to 300 dpi at final size.
Rasterized text or logos with 1200 dpi.
Screen values with 133 dpi and 150 dpi.
If you are still not sure enough about how the design will look after we print it, you should request a printed proof, and please remember that there will be a charge for these printed tests.
How Bleeds Works?
The Bleed is the area to be trimmed off. What it means is that there is no white space or border showing around your artwork. The following specifications will show you how the bleed works in your design:
Trimming Zone: Here you can find where your product will be cut, in other words, it's the real size of your product after we cut it.
Technical Stuff: You must add 1/4” or 0.25” Inches to the complete design.
Safety Zone: All that is within the black lines will appear in your final product. It means that all images, logos or texts are not cut.
Technical Stuff: Keep the text at least 1/2” or 0.50 inches away from the paper edge, it makes that the print process more perfect!
Is It the same color?
We always look to print your design the same as you see in the approval but, please keep in mind that exist some factors that can break with this idea:
Monitor Calibration & Screen Resolution: It's different how an image looks on your computer than in paper and ink. The most important: Work in CMYK color space.
Choosing the right artwork
When uploading your own artwork, follow these guidelines for a perfect sign, every time!
Quick list of dos and don'ts
• Upload professionally created artwork.
• Do not use pictures taken with a cell phone. Use pictures taken with 10+ megapixel digital camera.
• Images downloaded from a web search or social sites must be high quality. Purchase images from a stock house.
• Scan images at 300 dpi or higher.
Note: If you must use a low resolution image, we recommend making it small so that it will be the least pixelated as possible.
Find out if your image is high resolution
Use photo editing software to open the image and find out the resolution. Here are some rules of thumb:
• 300 ppi – high resolution suitable for quality printing at moderate sizes.
• 72 ppi – low resolution suitable for viewing on a computer monitor only.
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