File Preparation

File Prep

Call or come by our showroom to let Signs By Tomorrow be your professional graphics partner.  We can help you take your objective and create exciting and effective signs and graphics. We can even accept your existing artwork files to ensure accuracy.

How to prepare your artwork

Generally we can work with almost any file. However, there are some basic guidelines that will make your artwork more compatible with our sign making technologies.

Guidelines for Basic Signs:

You should save your file as an Adobe Illustrator .AI or .EPS file. This is the most compatible type of artwork.

All text should be converted to curves/outlines. This will eliminate any font compatibility issues. If you can't convert the text to curves/outlines, you will need to include the fonts as PC True Type or Adobe Type 1 fonts.

Guidelines for Full Color printed signs:

Any bitmap/raster artwork should be saved at full scale (the size at which it will be printed) at 100-150 DPI. Please contact us to determine what resolution is needed for your artwork.

Basic Terminology

Vector Art

Vector artwork, like an Adobe Illustrator file, is made up of line segments with starting and ending points. When these line segments are put together into a closed form, you get a shape, like a square. This is the preferred type of artwork for most basic signs.
File types supported: AI, EPS, PDF, DXF, DWF  

Bitmap/Raster Art

Bitmaps, or raster images, are made up of tiny dots. If you put a magnifying glass up to your computer screen or a printed page, you would see that these little dots are crowded next to each other to form the image. A bitmap does not contain line segments. The generic term bitmap can sometimes cause confusion because it is a type of artwork, but it can also be the file extension BMP. Bitmap artwork is typically used in more complex signs and usually must be printed. Any bitmap images that will be used in a sign should be 100-150 DPI at full size (the size at which it will be printed).
File types supported: BMP, TIF, JPG, PSD

DPI (dots per inch) or Resolution

DPI, or resolution, refers to the amount of data, expressed in dots per inch, at which a given bitmap image is stored.
If you have a bitmap that is 1 inch by 1 inch at 75 DPI, there would be 5625 (75x75) little tiny dots in it. If you have the same sized bitmap, 1x1, at 300 DPI, you have 4 times the amount (90,000 or 300x300) of dots in the bitmap. This means that the dots are smaller. Higher DPI equals better output, however, there is a major pitfall to this; too much DPI equals huge files and slower processing. Contact you local Signs By Tomorrow store to determine what resolution is needed for your artwork.

Mac vs. PC Format

We use PCs to design and output signs, but generally we are able to accept Mac formatted floppy disks, Zip disks, and CDs.

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