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Everything you wanted to know about JPEGs, DPIs and PDFs

Artwork tips for large format printing

We thought it might be useful to share a few hints and tips about preparing the artwork needed to produce your printed items.

CSDPrint works with a huge variety of companies – some are big with their own in-house design teams and some are smaller and outsource their artwork production.

Whatever size of company you are, getting your designs ready to be printed can seem daunting especially if it’s for something really big like construction site hoardings, retail window graphics or exhibition stands.  So, here are a few of our top tips which we hope will make the whole artwork thing simpler…

 

  • Regardless of the computer program being used to create your artwork, the key is to focus on the quality of the image. What might look good on your computer monitor might not look good once it’s printed
  • As a rule of thumb we suggest clients enlarge their artwork by 400% on screen to check how good it will look once it’s printed
  • Artwork created using vector images – usually logos or line art graphics – are great because they can be enlarged or reduced in size without affecting the print quality
  • However problems tend to arise when raster images such as Jpeg digital photographs are used. These images are made up of a finite number of dots or pixels and therefore the quality of the printed images varies depending on the size of the final product. This can be a particular problem if the image is line work such as a logo
  • We recommend that photographic images are high resolution, so that’s at least 150 dots per inch (dpi) but the larger to number of dots, the better
  • It’s best not to use graphics, logos, clipart or images from the internet (unless you know they are high resolution such as stock shots). Screen-grabs or images cut directly from web pages might look fine on screen but in reality are usually very poor when printed especially when the image is being used for a large item such as a banner or exhibition stand graphic
  • And be careful if you are planning to use programmes like Photoshop to manipulate a web graphic – you can’t improve the resolution of the original snipped image
  • High quality Portable Document Format (PDF) files are great for submitting artwork; if they are set up correctly they are very reliable. Artwork saved as print quality, press quality, high quality or 300 dpi resolution or more are the best bet and always remember to embed all graphics and fonts
  • There are of course many other file formats (JPEG, TIFF and EPS) and we will do our best to work with them but its best to ensure all fonts are changed to paths or outlines in these cases
  • Finally, be sure to check and double-check the artwork proof we send you prior to printing. The proof will show exactly how your final printed items will look.

If you have any queries at all please get in touch with our head production honcho Lucy but be warned she’s not a fan of PowerPoint artwork!