File Preparation

Every service provider and every output device has different specifications for getting the optimum output from your files. There are some general rules that you should always follow to be sure your files go through the printing process without delays. We can accept files created in both the Macintosh and Windows environments. Professional graphics applications such as Quark XPress, InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop are the most proven and error free professional programs available.
Using word processor and "office" type programs can cause delays and additional charges. PowerPoint, Word and Excel are not professional graphics programs.
• Always include the fonts you used in your project. Be sure you have included the fonts used in eps files. Often, a better solution to fonts in eps files is to convert the fonts to paths.
• Always include any placed graphics. This includes TIFF, EPS, DCS, PICTS and JPEGS.
• Web graphics usually do not print well. Graphics should be TIFF for bitmaps (pictures) and EPS for vector art. JPEG, GIF and PNG should be avoided.

PDF Files for Output

PDF can be either a blessing or a curse. For some applications, like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, creating a PDF for output is often the only viable option. But keep in mind that PDF is not a panacea. Bad files and improperly created files are still problems and sometimes greater problems if you only send a PDF. PDF is a wrapper that is put around you file. It makes editing more difficult, corrections are more difficult and some problems that can be fixed in an "application" file cannot be fixed in a PDF. When making a PDF, make sure to include all fonts in the PDF. If possible, do not subset your fonts. Also, turn off all image compression. If you ask us to make AA's or edits to your PDFs, keep in mind that major changes or corrections may not be possible.

File Preparation for Large Format Printing

We can print on materials up to 64 inches wide with an image area of 62 inches wide. Not all materials are available in 64 inch width. The best color gamut is achieved by using the RGB color space. Our preferred RGB color space is Adobe 1998 RGB. Converting files to cmyk will reduce or minimize the available gamut. A resolution of 200 dpi is more than sufficient for most printing projects. This includes projects that include type as small as 36 point. Great success can be achieved by creating your document completely within Photoshop and working at 200 dpi at actual size. For graphics that will be viewed at distances of 4 feet or greater, we have found that resolutions as low as 75 dpi are more than adequate.

A Few Words About Resolution

The actual resolution of a file in dots per inch is easy to increase but most often it does not gain you any increase in quality or detail. We have done extensive testing using Photoshop, various plug-ins and applications that will increase a files resolution. In the final print there is little if any positive difference. Often, the printed image is of lesser quality than the lower resolution file.

File Compression

One of the greatest causes of image degradation is the use of jpeg compression. Each time a file is saved with jpeg compression, portions of the files data are thrown away and need to be re-created when the file is opened or printed. The loss of data accounts for the extreme space savings of the jpeg file format. It also accounts for the printing artifacts that are often present when jpeg files are printed. Although LZW compression for tiff files does not degrade the image quality, please avoid using LZW compression. Some post-processing applications will not work on your file if there is an LZW compressed image present in your file.