Sending Digital Artwork For Large Format Print

Is your file ready to be printed as is, or do you need our Graphic Team to make it print-ready? Your answer will affect how you should save and send your files. To help our clients, our graphics team has created some important guidelines for sending artwork for large format printing. To achieve the best print quality, we will need certain information and elements from you.

Accepted File Types

– InDesign (.id)

– Illustrator (.ai)

– Photoshop (.psd)

– Encapsulated PostScript (.eps)

– Portable Document Format (.pdf)

– Tagged Image File Format (.tiff)

What is a Native (Layered) File and Why is it Important?

A native file represents the primary working file used to create the graphic, typically crafted in an Adobe Creative Suite program, containing editable layers. Layers encompass all the constituent elements of the graphic artwork. Utilizing a layered file offers the most effective means to adjust the graphic’s size and appearance to suit various output sizes. These files can be easily shared between different platforms and transferred from the client to the printer, ensuring the desired final output is achieved.

Working files are primarily in : InDesign (id) Illustrator (ai) Photoshop (psd)

How to configure your file for highest-quality print outcome

When to use Vector vs. Bitmap Images

Vector Files - When Should I Use

Vector files offer greater versatility as they are constructed using mathematical formulas rather than individual colored blocks. Vector file formats can be resized significantly without any loss in quality. Vector images can be enlarged or reduced substantially while retaining sharp, smooth edges. To achieve the best printing results, it is advisable to have all text and logo elements in a vector format.

Raster Files - When Should I Use

Raster images are crafted using a fixed array of small colored squares or pixels. The quantity of pixels in an image is referred to as its resolution. Raster files cannot be substantially resized without sacrificing their resolution. When stretched to occupy a space beyond their intended dimensions, the pixels become visibly grainy, leading to image distortion. This is the reason why modified photos may exhibit pixelation or appear low in resolution. Enlarging a raster image entails either adding more pixels or increasing the pixel size. In either case, you are dispersing the original data across a larger surface, which poses a risk of diminished clarity.

What is (Image Resolution)?

Image resolution is how clear and detailed a digital image looks. It’s measured in pixels per inch (PPI) or dots per inch (DPI) and tells you how many tiny dots or pixels are in each inch of the image. More dots or pixels mean a sharper and more detailed image. So, a higher resolution image looks better when printed or shown on a screen.

Resolution for Print

Image resolution has everything to do with print quality of your image. Resolution is defined by ppi (pixels per inch) and or dpi (dots per inch). A high resolution image is defined as 300 ppi/dpi or higher. When sending artwork at full size the ppi/dpi needs to be at 150 and at half size 300 ppi/dpi.

How to determine what size your raster image must be, for good quality printing:

Multiply the resolution required by the area to be printed.

Example: We require a minimum of 150 ppi and you want to print an image in an area that is 5 inches wide, by 10 inches high multiply 300 pixels x 5 inches (300 x 5 = 1500). Your image must be at least 1500 pixels wide by 3000 pixels high.

How to determine what dimension your existing image can be printed at:

Divide the pixel dimension of your image by the resolution required by your printer.

Example: If your image is 1920 pixels wide & printer requires 300 ppi (1920 ÷ 300) can be printed at 6.4 inches
file format:  jpg, jpeg, png, tif, tiff, bmp, psd and pdfs originating from raster files
graphic programs: Photoshop
graphics: photographs, illustrations with soft blends of color gradients

100% Black vs. Rich Black

For larger black areas, we strongly suggest using “Rich Composite Black,” which consists of C100, M100, Y100, and K100. When graphic designers use “Fill with Black” in Photoshop, it fills the chosen area with all ink colors, not just black. “100% Black” results in a dull grey, as only black ink is utilized, but “Rich Black” creates a deeper, true black by combining all ink colors. To do this, just use “Fill with Foreground Color” with the correct CMYK values assigned.

Rich Black

100% Black

Composite (Flattened) File

Remember to save both a merged (flattened) image and the individual layers of your document. It’s possible to flatten any file. Flattening merges all the layers into one, creating an uneditable version. The reason for flattening your artwork is to preserve it and decrease the file size of the approved design. After flattening and saving an image, you won’t be able to reopen and make edits. This file serves as a reference to ensure all components of the layered file are transferred accurately to us.

If Using InDesign, Send Packaged Files

For easy hand-off, gather all the files you’ve used. InDesign files depend on fonts and linked graphics that must be sent along with the native file in order to work properly. This is where the Packaging command is helpful. Luckily, InDesign makes this very easy to do by following the steps below to package your file.

  1. Open your INDD file in InDesign.
  2. Resolve any errors concerning missing links or fonts.
  3. Go to File: Package.
  4. Click the Package button at the bottom of the Summary window (preflight window).
  5. Click continue on the “Printing Instructions” window.
  6. Browse to where you’d like to create the package folder and enter the name of the folder.
  7. Make sure that the “Copy Fonts,” “Copy Linked Graphics,” “Update Graphic  Links in Package,” and “Include Fonts and Links from Hidden….” are all checked. Other boxes should be unchecked.
  8. Click the package button.
  9. Find the new folder that InDesign created and verify that it contains copies of all required files.
  10. Right-click the folder and choose “Compress” (Mac) or “Send to ZIP” This will create a zip file.
  11. Send compressed file via WeTransfer

Produce a Print-Ready Adobe PDF file

If you’re using a color-managed workflow, you can use the precision of color profiles to perform an on screen preview (a soft proof). You can examine how your document’s colors look when reproduced on a particular output device.

Note: Unless you are using a color management system (CMS) with accurately calibrated ICC profiles and are sure that you have properly calibrated your monitor, don’t rely on the on‑screen appearance of colors.

  1. Prepare the document for exporting to Adobe PDF.
  2. Export using preset: PDF/X-1a2001
  3. Compression: Color Images: 300 ppi, Grayscale Images: 300 ppi, Monochromatic Images: 1200 ppi.
  4. Marks and Bleed: Select to include bleed if you have built this into your document
  5. Output: Color Conversion: No Color Conversion, Profile Inclusion Policy: Include All Profiles
  6. File Name: (WxH_filename) 24X36_PRINTINC
  7. Proof and correct the PDF file.
  8. Send the press-ready PDF via email,
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