Creating artwork for large format print can be a little different than setting up a brochure or a business card. Here are some tips for artists and designers!
We always print with 4 colors of ink (plus spot color, in some instances), so regardless of what program art is being created in, make sure the file is set to a CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black) profile. Specific Pantone colors should be used when necessary. We have very calculated CMYK blends to match Pantones in the most accurate way – because, your color is important to your brand and your brand is important to us.
Our prints are huge and awesome, so the images need to be as well. We print at 72 dpi (dots per inch) and although most magazines and other small format prints are printed at 300 dpi, they are viewed at a very close range. You’ll often see our prints from several feet away instead of inches, and the human eye cannot detect the difference between 72 and 300 dpi at further range. Our world-class machines, art team and technicians ensure the utmost vibrancy and quality of your large format print. To achieve the highest quality print, the images should be 72 dpi at 100% or 720 dpi at 10%. Images that aren’t properly set up will print blurry and the only person that might be happy with that is an ophthalmologist that’s trying to sell you a new prescription.
And while we always prefer high resolution images to thumbnail photos you might pull off your Facebook page, they don’t need to be any more than a gigabyte (1GB) in file size. Any larger than that and you’re just putting extra pressure on your computer’s processor, and it will probably take a longer time for you to upload files to us!
We go big, but the art files are set up at a fraction of the size that they will print. And just because we print big, it doesn’t mean that the art files need to crash your computer. By setting up your art file at 10% scale with 720 dpi images, it ensures you can send it to us easily and we can print it quickly and precisely. Example: to set up a 20’ x 40’ banner, art should be set up at 24.0” x 48.0” (or 10%). Do this, and we guarantee 100% satisfaction.
Why do we set banners up at 10% scale, you ask? The largest document size that you can set up in Adobe Illustrator is only 227″ in either direction. And we often print banners that are much, much larger than that. Our large format presses are the biggest in the world and typically print on a roll of material that’s 16′ wide and are sewn together for even larger banners… Therefore, we can set up a file at 24.0″ x 48.0″ and actually print it at full size (240″ x 480″).
Vector graphics are a general source of happiness in our art department. This is especially true when it comes to logos. Vector graphics are a series of mathematical curves that will print as crisply on a business card as they will on that 20’ x 40’ banner you’re about to order. A vector graphic is the lines, shapes and colors that make up an image as a mathematical formula and even an art major can appreciate that.
Not everyone uses Helvetica or even Helvetica Neue and that’s cool. We have a catalog of literally thousands of fonts, but we might not have the one you used and it might cost hundreds of dollars to download it. This is why it’s critical that you package your fonts with your art files (OTF and TTF files). It’s also helpful if you outline all fonts on your final art (Shift + Command + O!).
We use the most up-to-date version of Adobe’s Creative Suite. Programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign that are the gold standard in the art and design world. It’s a quality thing. While we prefer to receive files designed within the Adobe Creative Suite family as it gets files to press much faster for us (and for you), we can certainly handle files from just about any design program. Not everyone is an artist though; so if your idea is in pen on a napkin in your front pocket, don’t worry because we have a solution for that too…
About that napkin… We have a team of very creative, talented and experienced designers that can turn that napkin into the big idea that kept you awake half the night. We will work with you from concept to installation to ensure your up-most satisfaction with your custom design. For $75/hr, you’ll get custom creative solutions from designers that have created artwork for the biggest companies on the biggest stages across the world.
As always, we’re excited to speak with you about your next project. Please contact us today if we can help in any way!