File Preparation

Trust the professionals at Sign-Ups and Banners to ensure your images, and artwork are ready for high-quality prints.

Artwork File Preperation

Preparing Artwork, and Images

To ensure the highest quality output, save your images at 100 – 150 dpi (dots per inch) at the finished size. Pixel files are .tif and .jpg. The preferred format is .tif.

Files for vinyl output need to contain a Vector image of your sign and/or logo. This means your text and graphics should have no strokes (in case they need to be scaled). Most programs offer an option to save or export text as vectors, curves, paths or outlines. Vector files are .ai, .cdr, .pdf or .eps; Convert all fonts to curves or paths to avoid possible font substitution. This rule goes for all types of files.

Save photographic images at 100 percent of the actual size (when possible). If you are using Adobe Photoshop, we recommend the RGB color mode for raster files. In Adobe Illustrator, we recommend the CMYK color mode for vector files. (We do not recommend CMYK files for any files, but recommend allowing the rip software (Versaworks) to convert colors, unless the logo calls for a specific PMS color). If you are using Quark Xpress, please save the file as a .pdf (File«Export«layout as .pdf).


FAQs about Artwork

1. What is Vector art?

Vector art is the line art, or the wireframe of your art. Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves and polygons to represent images. Vector art can be reduced or enlarged without the loss of resolution. This is the only type of art that can be used with our vinyl plotter.

 2. What is a Raster Image? 

Raster images are representations of graphics through points of color, called pixels. These images are usually printed as 4 color process prints and cannot be cut out of vinyl without re-designing or tracing the image on vector-based software.

 3.  What programs let me save in vector formats? 

Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, Autocad and CorelDraw are some of the most commonly used vector-based software.  Adobe Photoshop can export paths and some other raster-based programs may also have that ability. Vector files extensions are usually EPS, PDF, or AI.

 4. When do I save a raster image, and when do I save as Vector?

Use vector files when the art has to be used for vinyl cutting. Vector is always the best choice when designing, for it is usually easy to change and will keep its resolution at whatever size is needed, since it is based on shapes and lines rather than points of color. Keep in mind that certain effects are often based on resolution, even when designing in vector, and may lose resolution when enlarged. Vector images are usually easier and quicker to modify. Raster images should be used whenever photographic material is used. It is possible to have a mixed file, designed in vector (text) with some elements in raster (photos). When saving the file, vector graphics can be saved as vector or raster art, but raster graphics can only be saved as raster. Vector is always preferable to raster for its higher flexibility when it comes to changing information or resizing the art.

 5.  How should I give you my artwork? 

Vector art is always preferred for its smaller size and higher flexibility. EPS, PDF and AI are the most common formats. For 4-color process prints, a high resolution raster file such as TIF, JPG or BMP will do (recommended resolution is 100 – 150dpi at final size).  All text should be converted to curves / outlines. This will eliminate any font compatibility issues. If you can’t convert the text to curves / outlines, you will need to send us the font files along with your job (True Type or Adobe Type fonts). Once text is converted to curves they are no longer editable, so make sure you keep an original back-up in case any information needs to be changed in the future.

 6.  Do you accept “Zip, Jazz, CDs, or Super Disks”? 

We accept CDs, DVDs and flash drives. We are sorry but at this time we do not accept Zip, Jazz, Floppy or Super Disks.

 7. What’s the largest file size I can email you?

We can accept up to 8 megs though our email. If you have a larger file, we suggest using to send your files.

 8. Why shouldn’t I use my web site images for signs?

Web images are often produced for speed, not quality. Web designers reduce picture resolution so websites will load quickly. Pictures found in websites are generally low-resolution raster files that will not produce acceptable graphics when enlarged for print. Unless the web graphics are large high-resolution files, they will not produce good results.

9. How should I save my artwork files?

Vector is the preferred format for text. Raster files work great if the art will be printed in 4-color process (75-150 dpi at final size) (ie, photographs). When designing in Vector, ensure that all text is converted to outlines and any pictures used in the artwork are “embedded” in the file and not just linked to it. Please call us at (713) 682-7979 if you have any questions, and one of our knowledgeable staff will help you with your artwork.

Distance and Sizing Charts

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