Category Archive: Large Format and Digital Printing

Setting Up Design Files for Large Format Printing

Tips to Avoid Blurry Images or Artwork

You need a poster, a banner, a schematic – and you’ve sent the design file to your large format printer, but you get an email back: “Your image must be 300 DPI or else it will be pixelated.” Sound familiar? If so, let’s break down what exactly your printer’s telling you –  and what you need to consider to get the absolute best quality from your large format prints.

Designing to Scale

First off, the printing process will be much smoother, and less at-risk for mistakes, if you set your file up at full size. That being said, every graphic design programs has a different size limit. InDesign’s maximum dimensions are 216 inches (18 feet); Illustrator’s are 227.5 inches (19 feet) and PowerPoint’s are 56 inches (4.5 feet). If the final output size is greater than the design program’s maximum dimensions, you’ll have to design your file at a percentage of the final print size – either 25%, 50% or 75%. The percentage you use depends on the final size. Your printer will scale the file proportionately larger to meet the final print size, so communicate your scale and print size with your printer to make sure you’re on the same page. Miscommunication and mistakes can cause quality to slip in the final print.

Images

When you’re scaling, you want to make sure your scale doesn’t tamper with your image quality. There are two types of images – raster and vector. This is where that warning about pixelation comes into play. Raster images are composed of pixels, those tiny squares that appear when zooming in too far – think old arcade games – P for Pac-Man. Pixelation refers to the blurriness of a raster image when it is viewed at too high a magnification – like a large format print. When scaled up, raster images can blur depending on the resolution, especially if you are designing at a percentage of the final print piece. JPG, GIF and TIFF are examples of raster file formats. 

Vector images, such as EPS and AI are what we recommend for large format printing. Using mathematical calculations that form lines and shapes from one point to another, vector images don’t pixelate because the equation recalculates to accommodate zoom. Vector images can be scaled limitlessly, which makes them perfect for a large format.

Resolution

Your printer warns about pixelation, but they also mention DPI. That’s resolution. Dots per Inch (DPI) are the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch. Pixels per Inch (PPI) is the same measurement but is used in reference to raster images. We recommended that all images be 300 DPI at the final size of the piece. While 150 DPI can work for some large format pieces, 300 DPI is the preferred image size. This doesn’t mean you cannot include images that are lower DPI. Just be sure to again let your printer know – that way, they can make recommendations to get you the best quality. Communication is the key.

Color

Your scale, image type, and resolution are compatible to large scale printing, but you want your quality color too. When setting up color, make sure your images and other artwork are CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow Key) for print. Also make sure the links across all platforms are the same IE same Pantone color from Illustrator to Indesign. Setting up CC libraries can help make sure the color is the same across the board.

Margins

You also need to take margins into account; often times margins should be larger for large format printing. The standard margin for smaller pieces are ¼ inch. However, when scaled up for large format, this looks too cramped. You’ll typically want to increase your margin to 1.5-2 inches; within that range you can use your best judgment based on the size of your project and the look that you’re going for. Also – note that the standard bleed of ⅛ inch is sufficient for large format printing and does not need to be increased.

Working at a scaled percentage

Finally, you need to revisit the scale of your project. If the project you’re printing is going to end up larger than your design program’s maximum dimensions, you’ll have to work on a scaled down file.

The maximum dimension in InDesign is 216 inches in either direction. For Illustrator, maximum dimensions are a little larger, 227.5 inches in either width or height. In addition, there is a maximum file output increase of 400%, meaning you can’t scale anything down smaller than 25% of the final size.

While working on your images in Photoshop, make them half the scale and double the resolution, so a 120 x 80 inch photo at 100 ppi becomes a 60 x 40 inch photo at 200 ppi. When you link the images into your banner in InDesign or Illustrator, you will need this half-size image because your document is half the final size. 

Preflight

One more thing! Before you save your final file for printing preparation, check your preflight channel to make sure all of your links and fonts are in order. If there is a red dot in the preflight panel, that means there is an error. Make sure there are no errors and the dot is green before saving and exporting your file. After that’s done and you’ve reviewed the rest of what we’ve covered, your file is ready to be sent to the printer for a quality final product – polished instead of pixelated.

15 Tips for Managing Event/Meeting Collateral Production

15 Tips for Managing Event/Meeting Collateral Production

Managing multiple materials for a meeting can be chaotic. We have years of experience helping clients manage all different types of meetings. So, instead of having to figure it all out for yourself, we’ve put together a few tips we’ve learned over the years.  The kinds of things that may seem obvious – but we know get overlooked – resulting in late projects, expensive re-work, and overall grumpiness. 

Delivery timing is so important:

  1. Start with a real deadline.  Tell everyone involved what it is!
  2. Find out how long it will take to ship the materials to the meeting. If you aren’t familiar with FedEx’s timeframes, click here to download our tip sheet 
  3. Determine when you would like the materials to arrive on-site.
  4. Remember to build in the shipping time to create a REAL drop-dead ship date. 

What to do:

  1. Prepare a shared guide that includes the types of materials needed for your meeting. Here is an example of one
  2. Partnering up with a shop to do the design, layout, and printing of your pieces can reduce the amount of time you spend managing the project (hint: that’s what we do :)) 
  3. Need a bio? Only have a CV? Check to see if your graphics provider can write you a short bio.
  4. Having a proofreader or QC person really helps ensure all the materials are laid out correctly. 

Nitty gritty:

  1. If you’re going to be downloading participant names from a registration site, be sure they are all correct before going to layout. It is easier to change the excel or CSV file rather than each individual piece where the name appears.
  2. After approval of the invite, have your designer put together templates of each type of material before layout — it’s better to make any design tweaks before all of the pieces are laid out. Some of those materials can include, Invite, Signage, Letterhead, Eblast, Name Badge, Tent Card, PPT Template, etc. 
  3. If an attendee’s name is changed or removed be sure to globally change/remove it on all pieces (i.e., Name Badge, Tent Card, Attendee List, Bio, etc.)

Other tidbits:

  1. Ask for an MS-Word version of the letterhead, name badge, and tent card in case you need to use them on-site for any last minute needs. 
  2. Make sure the name badges are printed and fulfilled in ABC order.
  3. Consider using black text on your name badges and tent cards in case you need to print on site and you only have a black and white printer available.
  4. A bleed design will usually be more expensive to produce than a non-bleed design – so, make sure you need it and take the cost into account. 

Click here to download the tip sheet

Keys to Success: Large Format Printing Tips

Hey — CMW back again; today we want to share with you another tip sheet! Now, you’ll probably notice that a recurring theme throughout our advice is effective communication. There’s one primary reason for this, which is that during our years of experience, we have found that great communication is integral to quality control — and quality is our top priority at CMW. One place where communication could not be more important? Printing.

High-quality printing is expensive — especially for large formats like scientific posters and banners. Sure, on the old office printer, you can change out a couple of ink cartridges and load new paper, but for a job this big, you need to get it right the first time. This means a creative team with a firm, thoroughly reviewed vision, and a print vendor who is on the exact same fabric or laminated page. Faulty communication and unclear requirements lead to time-consuming and costly do-overs. What if you need a banner for a weekend conference, you get it on Friday — the colors are muted and the finish is wrong. What now? These stressful problems can be solved, if you know the right questions and considerations.

The quality of your printed materials reflect the quality of your company — that’s why it means so much to us. ​If you oversee the development of scientific posters, banners or other large format printing pieces, use this Large Format Printing Tip Sheet to maximize communication with ​your creative and print vendors.

Keys to Success: CMW’s Guide to Scientific Poster Media Options


Chicago, IL – 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting – General views during Gastrointestinal (Colorectal) Cancer Poster Session at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. (Credit: © ASCO/Zach Boyden-Holmes 2016)

Hey! It’s CMW again. We want to tell you about one of the many services we offer for our clients — and pass on this list to help you take full advantage of that service in whatever way best suits your project What are we talking about? Scientific posters.

We know how important a high-quality scientific poster is: the accuracy of specific data, effective communication of important information, a balance between stylish and educational. But what a lot of people don’t even think about is one of the most basic components of the poster: what’s it made of? There are a lot of questions coupled with that: Where will your poster be featured? What kinds of conditions and transportation will it need to withstand? What are the most important visual elements of your poster that need to pop? You’ve got answers, we’ve got options. From glare, to durability, to coloring, picking the right printing for your poster is what makes it a poster — not just a piece of wallpaper.

We know needs differ from project to project, and you need to be able to tailor that.

When printing your scientific poster there are a number of material options; download this Media List, and it will explain the high-quality media offered by Creative MediaWorks.

How to Create an Effective Wayfinding Strategy

Directional Signage

A good wayfinding strategy sets the pace of your entire event. You didn’t think directional signage was that important, did you? A thoughtfully designed wayfinding strategy attracts attention and generates excitement, helping attendees make a critical mind shift from an exhausting day of travel or congress networking to being 100% focused on your program or event. Click here to read more »

Setting Up Design Files for Large Format Printing

Large Format PrinterHas your large format printer ever told you your images needed to be 300 DPI or they would be pixelated? Here’s what that means and a few other key items to consider when submitting design files to your large format printer.

Designing to Scale

To reduce errors and simplify the printing process, it is best to set your file up at full size. But all graphic design programs have size limits. InDesign’s maximum dimensions are 216 inches (18 feet); Illustrator’s are 227.5 inches (19 feet) and PowerPoint’s are 56 inches (4.5 feet). If your final output size is larger than the maximum dimensions of your design program, you will need to design your file at a percentage of the final print size -either 25%, 50% or 75%. The percentage you use depends on the final size. Your printer will scale the file proportionately larger to meet the final print size. Communicate your scale and print size with your printer to avoid any oversight. Here’s how to make sure that scale does not affect the clarity of your images.

Images

There are two types of images – raster and vector. Raster images are made up of pixels. These are tiny squares that you can see if you zoom in close enough. Pixelation is the term used to describe the blurriness of a raster image when it is viewed at too high a magnification. Some raster file formats include: JPG, GIF and TIFF. Raster images are not ideal for large format print pieces, especially if you are designing at a percentage of the final print piece. Because of the pixels, raster images can blur – depending on the resolution – when scaled up.

Vector images, such as EPS and AI are the preferred image for large format printing. Vector images use mathematical calculations that form lines and shapes from one point to another. Vector images don’t pixelate because the equation recalculates to accommodate zoom. So vector images are unlimited in their scalability.

Resolution

Another criterion your large format printer may specify is your image resolution. Dots per Inch (DPI) are the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch. Pixels per Inch (PPI) is the same measurement but is used in reference to raster images. It is recommended that all images be 300 DPI at the final size of the piece. While 150 DPI can work for some large format pieces, 300 DPI is the recommended image size. This doesn’t mean you can not include images that are lower DPI. Just be sure to let your printer know so they can make recommendations to optimize print quality.

Check back in a few weeks for important information about bleed, trim size and color builds for large format printing.

Creative MediaWorks offers custom web development, graphic design and print solutions to the Life Science industry and their agencies with a focus on quality, deadline and accuracy.  We achieve our quality standards through defined workflow processes, direct access to on-staff project talent and proofreading and quality assurance expertise, backed by an uncompromising commitment to the most responsive customer service in the business. For more information, visit our website www.CreativeMediaWorks.com.

Digital or Offset Printing? When it Comes to Short Run Printing, Is That the Question?

Our clients are forever asking us which is better – digital printing or offset? The answer often depends on what printer you ask.  That’s because most printers have a vested interest in the response. A valued print and production partner will tell you that you’re asking the wrong question. The question is not “which is better”, but “what is your objective”. Click here to read more »

5 Ways to Incorporate Social Media Into Your Event Signage

Social-Media-Icons

The latest digital platforms add a whole new dimension to event signage. Where we used to be limited to banners, handouts, and name badges we now have web resources and social media platforms to drive attendance and promote our events. Here are just some of the ways you can take advantage of the latest technology to increase the impact of your next program and extend its reach.

  Click here to read more »

Make Your Next Meeting a Green Meeting

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. As experts in the digital printing business, we’ve been living the three R’s for years. Recent client requests have shown us that we’re all stepping up our game to meet the challenges of producing more by using less. There’s no difference when it comes to meeting signage. With the latest trends in inks, printers, materials and digital technology, there are plenty of ways to reduce your carbon footprint without breaking the bank. Here are some of our suggestions. Click here to read more »

Putting Your Meeting Signage to Work

Putting Your Meeting Signage to WorkIf you ask us, signage and directionals are an integral component of your speaker program. After a long day on the conference floor, your attendees are rushed, tired and-more often than not- a little lost. Your out-of-the-box thinking can mean the difference between a rushed, late, and frustrated attendee and one that is impressed, refreshed and ready to contribute. Here’s how you can use signage and directionals to set the stage for your next program.

Click here to read more »

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