Quality artwork makes quality signs!
Whether it's your just logo or your completed design, the sign company you choose to produce your sign will have to take the smaller version of your art work and make it big enough for passerbys and onlookers to clearly see. Usually, customers think "making it bigger" is easy. It's not. "Making it bigger" may actually make it look blurry and pixelated – and that is not at all what you want!
We're going to save you some time by teaching to you to create "print-ready" files. Once you master it, the graphic designers at your sign company will love you! That matters to you, doesn't it? Of course it does!
So, let's get down to the art of it, shall we? There are 3 truths to consider when preparing "print-ready" art files:
- Vector is better than raster. You may be wondering, what's the difference? No worries. We've got an explanation for you! Vector images are made of points and lines and raster images are made with pixels. The major difference between the two is whether or not the image can be enlarged without losing quality. Vector images can be scaled to size – meaning no matter how large your sign, a vector image can be made infinitely bigger and it will still be crisp and clear. Raster images cannot be enlarged without losing quality – the larger you make it, the more blurry it will become. Not sure whether your image is vector or raster? A quick way to tell is by the file extension - .jpegs, .bmps, .gifs are common examples of rastered images. Vector images usually have extensions of the original applications they were created in, like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, i.e. .psd, .ai, .pdf, to name a few. Easy as pie!
- The higher the resolution the better. Sometimes customers don't know to ask for vector files when working with designers, so all they receive are the rastered images. That's actually okay, if the resolution of the image is really good. Resolution refers to the details of an image. The higher the resolution, the more image detail – simply put you can see the image a lot better. When it comes to resolution, 72dpi is great for online viewing, but 300dpi is the minimum for printed art. So, make sure you ask your designers, "what's the resolution on this logo?" and let them know you need it to be at least 300dpi. You'll save yourself a lot of time in the proofing process – plus, you'll appear to be smart and in-the-know! (You're welcome for that!)
- Lastly, size matters! As if you didn't already know it, size really does matter, especially when it comes to art work. The size of the image files can help with clarity! Let's say you have a high resolution image but the size of the file is really small. When our Art Department goes to scale it, the resolution will actually decrease. So, if you don't have vector images, make sure your files are big enough for the size sign you're having produced. If you have a 300dpi image and the file size is large enough, it could probably be scaled with minimum problems. Would that make your life easier? Of course it would.
So there you go, "print-ready" files in a nutshell. Vector images are preferred, but if you don't have them, make sure the size of your raster image is big and the resolution is as high as possible – that will score you major points with the art department at any sign company!