File Submittal Guidelines for Large-Format Digital Printing

We accept many types of design files for use in full color sign, posters, banner and decal production. We accept files from both Macintosh and IBM-compatible computers, either on 3 -1/2" diskettes, CDs, DVDs, disks, or via e-mail or our FTP site.

The RIP that we use is extremely accurate and robust, allowing different rendering intents per the ICC color specifications when the original file has an embedded profile. We can adjust the saturation, color balance, contrast, brightness, etc., for the overall print, as well as substitute solid or tinted spot colors (but not gradients) for better spot color accuracy.

Page Layout Program Files

Please provide all fonts and placed images with your file. We can also print Adobe Illustrator files, saved as version 11.0/CS or earlier; Illustrator files must have all transparency flattened. Other program files, such as word processing files, can often be printed to EPS files (see below) to exactly reproduce your layout. See below for vital information regarding color space selection. File conversion charges apply to these formats. PDF output is preferred from these programs as both fonts and images are normally embedded in the files.

Vector/Mixed Vector/Bitmap Files

Our Adobe Postscript 3 Raster Image Processor (RIP) accepts EPS vector files from applications such as Illustrator and Freehand for large-format digital printing. Properly prepared PDF files also print with excellent results; this means using a consistent color space, including fonts, and not downsampling the image resolution.

For EPS files, text should be converted to outlines/curves (best) or all fonts must be supplied to us (PC or Mac, as appropriate) with the file. It is also often possible to print a file to disk in a Postscript format that will allow large-format printing from other applications, such as word processing applications (see next page).

Bitmap Files

For satisfactory printing of bitmap images (including embedded or linked images), image resolution must be 150 PPI (pixels per inch) to 200 PPI at the final printed output size . Lower resolution images may exhibit aliasing or pixelization, often called "jaggies". We accept the following bitmap file formats for large-format digital printing:

Color Space Issues

We pride ourselves in providing superior color rendering for your projects. For consistent color rendition, objects in a file where multiple objects are allowed (such as Adobe Illustrator or QuarkXpress) must all be saved in the same color space. CMYK color space is preferred for its consistency, but RGB works well IF it has an embedded ICC profile. As of this writing, Quark 4 files will only print in CMYK. Quark RGB files are converted to really bad CMYK during Quark's output to EPS for RIPing, so all linked and embedded files must be CMYK as well. Avoid embedding EPS files within EPS files; they often do not print! Lastly, do not save Photoshop files with any channels except RGB or CMYK - NO alpha channels, they will not print correctly!

Use a Rich Black Where Needed!

Solvent-ink printers, including our Rolland Versacamm, often do not make a good solid "K only" black color. For a good solid black color on Flexcon Busmark and standard banners printed at 360X720 dpi, please change your black color to a CMYK mix of 35/35/25/100. Use a proportionate color for all dark greys (over 60%), i.e. use 32/32/22/90 for 90% black. This is optional for printing on Controltac, smooth banner material, etc. at 720X720 dpi.

Printing and Saving to PDF

Our RIP will accept and print images that have been properly printed to file in your application using a Postscript printer driver (PDF, .PS or .EPS). The advantage of this process is that it exactly reproduces your layout, including your fonts, kerning etc. You should preflight the resulting output by running it through Adobe Distiller and opening the resulting PDF file. This will inform you about any missing elements, fonts, etc. to avoid delays.

Be sure that your document size is either the final print document size or exactly proportionate to the final size as we can not edit PDF files before printing.

Best approach is to send us the PDF file for printing (see information regarding scaling and resolution for bitmaps). You can print (save) to file at a size smaller than your final output. We can scale your file up to 600% of the saved size, but scaling above 400% is not recommended due to curves becoming rendered as a series of straight lines. A good Windows shareware PDF writer may be found at . It acts just like a printer on your system. For Macs, OSX includes a "save as PDF" option in the print dialogue.

The following applications typically do not provide acceptable printing, either as native files or saved as postscript files: Microsoft Publisher, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint (all versions). Professional graphics programs, such as Quark, Illustrator and Photoshop, will provide superior results.

File Naming

Please name your files with a name unique to your company. Instead of just naming your file Logo or Logo.eps , please consider naming your file with your company name so we can keep track of your graphics better. It's best to use alphanumeric (A-Z, 0-9) characters in the file name; spaces are o.k., more than eight characters are fine. Suffixes, such as .EPS, are mandatory for PC files and can help us sort things out on Mac files.

E-mailing Files, File Compression Small to medium-sized files (up to 6 Megabytes) may be sent to us via e-mail at (you'll need to type this in as this is just an image to avoid spam crawlers). PC Windows files may be compressed with WinZip or other Zip software. Macintosh files should be compressed with Stuffit. Please let us know (in your cover note) the compression format and actual file format you've used, and please fax us a copy of the layout and color specifications. Our FTP site is available for larger files as well. On our homepage click "Send a File" and follow the instructions

. Proofing Please provide us with a color printed copy (with accurate color) of the file that you give us for printing. If this is not possible, please specify spot colors (PMS callouts will help). We recommend that you order a color proof as well (they're very inexpensive) if color rendition is critical.