How do I prepare my digital file for output?
Signs In 1 Day offers a variety of options when producing your digital prints, posters, banners, or signs; including thermal imaging, wide format ink jet printing, and vinyl cutting. The method used to produce your product is determined by your product’s intended use, the durability required, types of materials needed, and the type of artwork supplied. When submitting digital artwork to Signs In 1 Day, please read the following instructions.
It is important to know the difference between a raster image and a vector image. A raster image, also known as a bitmap image, consists of pixels (small squares of color) that make up the image. Your artwork is a raster image if you can zoom in and see jagged edges. Raster images are usually photographs, artwork designed in image editing programs (such as Photoshop), and scanned images; and they are generally not scaleable. You must design at or very near final output size, and you must scan at sufficient resolution or poor quality will result.
Scanning raster images
A general rule for scanning is 100 – 150 dpi for every 100% your image will be enlarged. For example, if you have a 4″ tall image and you want to enlarge it to 16″ (4 times its original size), then the image must be scanned at 400 – 600 dpi. This will result in large file sizes, but the output quality will improve. Scanning at higher than 600 dpi will result in extremely large files with no visible improvement in quality. If you prefer, Signs In 1 Day can scan your image for you.
Saving raster images
When saving these files for transport, the following file formats are accepted at Signs In 1 Day: EPS, PSD, TIF, or BMP. JPEG will also work but, due to JPEG’s unique compression method, may result in loss of quality.
Vector images are lines and curves forming shapes that are filled with spot colors. These are size independent files, so they can be scaled to any size with no loss of quality. They are designed in programs such as CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, and Freehand.
Saving vector images
When saving these files for transport, the following file formats are accepted at Signs In 1 Day: EPS, AI, CDR, FH, or WMF.
Other graphics programs
QuarkXPress and Pagemaker are good page layout programs but are generally not designed for making graphics. Signs In 1 Day does not recommend using these programs for your sign output, because certain problems may result. Microsoft programs do not work well with sign industry equipment, but we have had limited success with Word and occasionally PowerPoint.
Submitting your artwork
Before sending any artwork, please convert all text (fonts) to outlines or curves. Set all strokes to proportional. Try not to link any images, but if you must, be sure to include that image on the disk. Sometimes images get distorted in translation so please include a color copy so we know what to expect. PMS colors need to be called to our attention immediately. In all cases, send us what you have and we can determine whether or not it will work with our equipment and with your output needs. Many times we are able to take inadequate art and improve its quality. There will be an extra one-time charge for this service, but you will have better quality artwork for future uses. Signs In 1 Day can accept artwork in all of the above-mentioned programs, on floppy disks, zip disks, CD, or via email in either Macintosh or Windows format.