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.

Raster images

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

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.

How should I design my sign?

Below are some samples of a basic design, a standard design, a high impact design and a maximum impact design. Signs in 1 day can help you design your signs, just let us know what kind of design you are looking for.

What size type should I use on my sign?

The following chart is to be used as a general guide. Actually readability will depend on color, contrast, and choice of type style.

What type styles do I have to choose from?

The following type styles are just a few of what we have to offer. If you are in need of a specific type style let us know and we should be able to accommodate you.

What colors do I have to choose from?

The following colors are basic vinyl colors. We are also able to match PMS colors for your digital printing and painting needs. Please note that not all colors are available for all applications.

What color combinations produce the best results?

Perhaps the most important aspect in improving readability is color contrast. Choosing the right color of type on the right color background is critical in making sure your sign is easily seen and read.

The following color chart offers some samples of both good and bad contrast. Starting from the upper left of the chart and proceeding down to the lower right, they are labeled 1 – 14; 1 being rated the most visible, and 14 being rated the least visible.

How do I install vinyl lettering?

SURFACE PREPARATION

All surfaces must be considered dirty and must be cleaned prior to the application of vinyl lettering. Recommended cleaning procedures for specific surfaces are listed below.

Plastic and glass?

Saturate a clean cloth with a 2 to 1 mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol and wipe the surface. Cleaners such as Windex™ may also be used. Wipe the surface dry with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth.

Interior painted surfaces

Paint must be dried one week prior to application of vinyl lettering. Clean the area where the vinyl is to be applied with a household cleaner such as 409. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

 

TEMPERATURE REQUIREMENTS

Air and application surface temperatures should be above 55°F for best results.

 

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Dry Application

Step 1

Use 1″ to 2″ strips of masking tape to position the vinyl in proper registry. Apply masking tape to top of lettering only.

Step 2

Once the vinyl is in proper registry, apply a horizontal piece of masking tape all the way across the top of the vinyl, creating a hinge.

Step 3

Remove the wax liner entirely and allow vinyl to drape. Using firm initial squeegee pressure, being at the top center and work your way down and outward to each edge of the mask.

Step 4

Remove the transfer mask at 180° (pull back on itself).

 
Step 5

Re-squeegee the entire vinyl lettering to ensure that it is properly adhering to the surface.

 

Wet Application

Step 1

Use 1″ to 2″ strips of masking tape to position the vinyl in proper registry. Apply masking tape to top of lettering only.

Step 2

Once the vinyl is in proper registry, apply a horizontal piece of masking tape all the way across the top of the vinyl, creating a hinge.

Step 3

Take a spray bottle and fill it with water and a couple drops of Joy™ dishwashing detergent, or fill it with a ratio of 1 part Windex™ to 10 parts water. Remove the wax liner entirely. Spray the back of the vinyl lettering and transfer mask with the solution. Using firm initial squeegee pressure, being at the top center and work your way down and outward to each edge of the mask. Make sure all the water has been squeegeed out.

Allow the surface to dry before removing the premask. Drying time will vary. On glass, drying time can take up to several hours. To test if surface is dry enough, slowly peel back a corner at 180°. If the vinyl lettering peels up off the surface, squeegee it back down and allow for more drying time. When the surface is sufficiently dry, proceed to steps 4 and 5.

Step 4
Remove the transfer mask at 180° (pull back on itself).

Step 5
 
Re-squeegee the entire vinyl lettering to ensure that it is properly adhering to the surface.

 

Lift and Transfer Method

 

Step 1
 
Place the vinyl with the wax liner on a clean, flat surface with the wax liner side down (vinyl side up). Squeegee the premask with firm, overlapping strokes.

 

Step 2
 
A small bend at a corner or edge will cause the wax liner to separate from the premask and vinyl. Pull the wax liner away in a continuous motion at a 180° angle.

 

Step 3
 
Position the vinyl lettering on the surface to which it is to adhere. Using firm initial squeegee pressure, being at the top center and work your way down and outward to each edge of the mask.

 

Step 4
 
Remove the transfer mask at 180° (pull back on itself).

 

Step 5
 

Resqueegee the entire vinyl lettering to ensure that it is properly adhering to the surface.

How do I care for my sign?

BANNERS

Installing Banners

Banners must be installed tightly! Wind is a banners worst enemy, so avoid any flapping. Ideally, banners should be hung against a flat surface. If that is not possible, securely fasten the banner using good quality rope and as many of the metal grommets as possible, you may want to cut wind flaps into the banner to allow air circulation. If you prefer, one of our trained staff can cut wind flaps into your banner at no additional charge. If you are going to cut wind flaps into your own banner, cut semicircles with a 6″ diameter about every three feet. We usually try to avoid cutting into letters, but sometimes this cannot be avoided.

General Banner Care

When cleaning a vinyl banner, we recommend Windex™. For harder to clean areas or really tough stains, try using rubbing alcohol or Glue Off™, and apply them with paper towels or a soft cloth.
Generally, unlaminated digital banners cannot be cleaned. If you’re unsure whether or not your digital banner is laminated, call or email us. We’ll let you know if it’s laminated and what cleaning procedure we recommend.

Banner Storage

Vinyl Banners — Loosely roll vinyl banners with the letters on the OUTSIDE. NEVER fold your banner. If it has been folded and there are creases in the banner, try using a blow dryer to remove the creases.
Digital Banners — Roll digital banners with the image on the INSIDE. Just as with vinyl banners, digital banners should be loosely rolled and NEVER folded.

 

MAGNETIC SIGNS

Installing Magnetic Signs

Prior to installation, wax the area of the vehicle on which the magnetic will be applied, and wax the back of the magnetic. This should be repeated every week. Magnetics must be applied to a clean, flat, steel surface. Avoid applying your magnetics over any corrugations, creases, moldings or other objects. The entire magnetic sign should be adhering to steel. Let no part of your magnetic signs hang loose or free.

General Magnetic Care

Clean magnetic signs with a mild detergent, and never let moisture accumulate on the back of the magnetic. If there is moisture on the back of the magnetic, wipe it off with a clean paper towel or cloth. ALWAYS REMOVE YOUR MAGNETIC SIGNS BEFORE GOING THROUGH A CAR WASH.

Magnetic Storage

When not in use, keep the magnetics on a clean, flat surface. Never roll your magnetics or allow them to sit on a curved or bumpy surface. We recommend keeping non-used magnetics on a steel surface, such as a refrigerator or filing cabinet.