Artwork Files – Signage Requirements
There are two ways to electronically record a design:
Bitmap (also referred to as a raster file)
If your art is a photograph, this is the only file type you can use. Bitmaps are a collection of coloured pixels which, when viewed, represent the original image. The important concept with bitmaps is resolution. A low resolution bitmap has a small file size, but there are relatively few pixels in the image. A low resolution bitmap is typically used on websites where file size is important, and also in printing of small items like business cards.
If you supply us a bitmap file from a website or a business card, it will look jagged, as it still has the same number of pixels when we enlarge it to signage size. These pixels are now really big.
A vector file uses lines, arcs, and shading rather than individual pixels to generate an image. Fonts are vector files, but these file types can be used for much more. If you have used fonts on a computer. you would be aware that they can be made bigger (scaled) without any loss of quality. Vector files are used for a lot of graphic art and have the advantage of relatively small file size and scalability. Vector files can’t be used for photographic images because most photos are too complex in shading and detail to look good when converted to lines, arcs, and shading.
It gets complicated because many graphic file formats use both vector and bitmap data. It is easier to list the bitmap only formats. The main ones are jpeg (.jpg), Photoshop (.psd), and bitmap (.bmp).
The popular page design programs, such as Illustrator (.ai), Corel Draw (.cdr), and Indesign (.idd), use both vector and bitmap file types. File formats, such as Acrobat (.PDF) and Encapsulated Postscript (.eps), also can contain both types.
We can help
Your local Signarama store will be able to advise you if the files you supply are not suitable for signage. We can also solve most of the problems for you.
What not to do
We can’t do much to recover a bitmap file that has been copied from a website to make it suitable for signage. Usually, there just isn’t enough information in the file.
What to do
Always let your graphic designer know if you want to use a design for signage, or contact your local Signarama to produce a design for you.