Design Print Sign

1 Cambrian Lane
Rugeley
Staffordshire
WS15 2XH
Mobile: 07970 830209
Fax: 0870 288 2108
(Fax calls charged at national rate)

Banners & Signwriting - Vinyl Products - Large Format Printing

Artwork

If after reading the any of the file setup information below, you are unsure of the production method we will use, please feel free to contact our artwork department.

At DPS we can print directly from your file or we can create the artwork for you.

At DPS there are basically two quite different methods of sign production:

  1. Computer cut vinyl lettering and graphics (computer cut vinyl - solid spot colors)
  2. Digital printing process (digital prints using solvent ink)

Usually the process of production determines the type of artwork setup.

What determines the method of sign production?
Budget, overall size of the sign, number of colors used , quantity of signs needed, quality of artwork, duration of use, type of material and other factors. In some instances, at a savings to you, we will use a combination of computer cut vinyl and digital printing.

General Layout Tips:
Letter visibility chart - Viewing distance Vs Minimum required letter height (inches)
100 ft 4"
250 ft 10"
360 ft (city block) 16"
500 ft 22"
750 ft 33"
1000 ft. 43"
1320 ft. (1/4 mile) 57"

For printed images try to design images approximately 70-150 dpi at full size, this will ensure the maximum output quality.

Computer cut vinyl lettering and graphics
Many of our signs utilize the computer cut vinyl lettering method of production (vehicle lettering, window lettering, estate signs, non-photo banners, do-it-yourself lettering, trade show signs and most non-photographic signs) using vector based file formats. When using computer cut vinyl method of production, all artwork must be vector based (object oriented art). These files, are usually created in drawing or illustration programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, Corel Draw, and all sign making programs. Common file extensions for these drawing programs are .ai, vector .eps, .cdr., .dxf, and wmf. When preparing artwork in vector format, see saving vector files for proper formatting.

Computer generated digital printing
When we are using the computer generated digital printing method of production (4-color printing, gradation fading, multiple colors, specific color matching, photo printing, small decals, complicated logos, detailed clip art) artwork can be designed as vector based (see above) or bitmap (raster art). Bitmap artwork is usually created in programs such as Adobe Photoshop, PhotoPaint, Corel Paint, Windows Paint, MacPaint and many other "paint" or "photo editing" programs. Usually the file extensions for these programs are tif, bmp, gif, jpg, eps, pcx, etc.

Saving vector files
Our preferred file format is Adobe Illustrator. When saving files in vector format (outline format), dpi is only limited to the output device. File size is constant regardless of the size of the image. Because vector based programs use mathematical algorithmic calculations to determine size and shape, file size is usually small and these files can usually be e-mailed quickly.

Saving bitmap file
Bitmap files are created when an image is scanned, taken from a digital camera or created in a bitmap editing program such as Adobe PhotoShop, Corel Photo Paint, Mac Paint, Windows Paint, and many other paint and photo programs. These files are primarily used for digital printing and are resolution dependent. The resolution of the artwork effects the crispness of detail and fineness of grain in an image. For satisfactory results of computer generated digital printing, the resolution should be set between 50 and 150 dpi at full size. Lower resolution can cause pixelization. Higher resolution has little effect on overall quality and greatly increases file size. The dpi size decision is determined by overall output size and viewing distance of proposed sign. Resolutions lower than 50dpi may exhibit pixelization, often called "jaggies". Bitmap files can be very large in size and are usually not sent by e-mail. It is not uncommon for a 2' x 3' full color image to have a file size of greater than 50 megabytes.

Colour Info:
When assigning a spot colour. Use a pantone colour. We will attempt to make the closest colour match.

MAC USERS
Important! - Convert all text to curves, we can not read mac fonts.

If you are creating the file on a MAC, the file needs to be saved as an Adobe Illustrator or EPS format (preferably version 5.0). All text must be "converted to curves" or "outlines". We cannot read Mac fonts. If you are creating artwork for computer cut vinyl lettering or graphics, the most compatible format is Adobe Illustrator saved as Illustrator EPS for 1-bit IBM version 5.0. Files created in publishing programs like Quark or PageMaker generally will not output. It is best to use an illustration or drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator, Freehand, or Corel Draw for Mac. If you need help on preparing any of these file formats, please call our art department for assistance (01133550713).

Additional Requirements:
When sending a file to us, it is necessary to provide a printout of the design. This helps us know what the finished product should look like and you must include all EPS and TIFF files used in creating document. Also, always keep a copy of the file. We are not responsible for original files being lost or damaged.

Font Info
Convert all text to "curves" or "outlines" (converted text creates a graphic that can no longer be text edited).

Popular Programs (PC/MAC)
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe PageMaker
- Adobe Photoshop
- Corel Draw
- Corel Photo Paint
- Microsoft Power Point
- Microsoft Word
- Quark Express

If you are creating your artwork in any of these programs, please follow the procedures to ensure successful output of our sign and./or graphics.

Adobe Illustrator- (PC and MAC)
This seems to be the best all around program for signs graphics. All text must be converted to outlines. We cannot read Mac fonts. For Computer cut vinyl lettering and graphics, all vector files must be single layer only - that is, no overlapping layers. When viewing in preview mode, no lines can crisscross. All objects of a given color must be welded together. Gradations cannot be imported for vinyl cutting as vinyl is cut as a solid shape (spot color). Gradations require a digital print process. Gradations many times can cause problems when importing into our programs, to avoid these problems please save as .ai and we will convert to bitmap format in our sign making programs. When saving files as vector format, MAC users, save as illustrator EPS as 1-bit IBM format. PC users, save as Illustrator ver. 5.0.
(We are currently running Illustrator CS vers. 10.0)

Adobe PageMaker - PC and MAC)
At this time we are unable to accept PageMaker files. Files created in PageMaker generally do not output files in a format that we can use. It is best to use an illustration or graphics creation program such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw.

Adobe PhotoShop - (PC and MAC)
Save as PhotoShop or as .tif.
(We are currently running PhotoShop CS vers. 7.0)

Corel Draw - (PC)
All text must be converted to curves (outlines) or we may be unable to read your fonts. For Computer cut vinyl lettering and graphics, all vector files must be single layer only - that is, no overlapping layers. When viewing in wire frame mode, no lines can crisscross. All objects of a given color must be welded together. Gradations cannot be imported for vinyl cutting as vinyl is cut as a solid shape (spot color). Gradations require a digital print process. Gradations many times can cause problems when importing into programs, to avoid these problems please export as .ai and we will convert to bitmap in our sign making programs. When saving files as vector format, save files as CDR or export as Illustrator 5.0. Please make sure that all text is converted to curves (located on menu bar under arrange in Corel program).
(We are currently running Corel ver. x3)

Corel Photo Paint - (PC)
Save image as .tif or High resolution jpeg.
(We are currently running Corel ver. x3)

Microsoft PowerPoint - (PC)
Save as Power point format. Note: Quality of placed picture (if any) is dependent on the resolution of the original file (if file is a bitmap). In some instances we have had a problem with converting PowerPoint files.
(We are currently running Office XP)

Microsoft Word - (PC)
Save file as a Word/95.doc. Since signs can not be produced using this program, it is not the most reliable format. We need to cut the text and paste into drawing programs. When we do this font problems can occur.
(We are currently running Office XP)

Quark Express - (PC)
Mac format not supported. Files need to be exported as .eps. Before sending artwork make sure illustrator can open the file.

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