Your graphics are what potential clients will notice first about your exhibit, but last week we talked about how graphics often come last in the decision-making process for the display. Rushing any of the steps required in production increases the potential for error which, in turn, adds to the time it takes to deliver the final product. This is not only stressful for you, but can eat up your budget with unanticipated charges. So we asked a veteran of the graphics world, Lori Kledaras, to share her top 10 tips for avoiding the most common graphics pitfalls.
10. Establish a schedule with your printer so they meet your required delivery date without costly budget overruns. Ask your printer how much time they need to produce your graphics so you can have your artwork designed and submitted to them with ample time.
9. Limit the amount of text in your display graphics to key messages that visitors are able to read quickly and easily. Brief is always better.
8. Use Illustrator or Photoshop for generating artwork for large format printing. Publishing software such as Quark or InDesign is not recommended. InDesign and Quark graphics have to be converted to Post Script format in order to be prepped for large format output. This conversion often breaks images apart, which will show in the final print.
7. Use Photoshop for creating cool design effects like shadows, gradient tones, and glows to make your trade show graphics really pop. Photoshop offers many more options for effects and provides a higher quality output with a much smoother appearance than effects created in Illustrator.
6. Large format graphics are always printed larger than their finished size and then trimmed to fit your display. Ask your graphics printer for the amount of margin or bleed they require so it can be added to the perimeter of your graphics during the design phase.
5. Remember to include a generous margin around text areas. Text placed too close to edges is at risk of being cropped off during the trimming stage.
4. To output colors that best meet your graphic vision, provide PMS colors to the printer to match your specifications.
3. Provide your artwork as layered files, not flattened, so your printer has the ability to make minor corrections quickly.
2. While there are thousands of fonts in the world, every graphic computer does not have all of them. So provide your artwork files with outlined text or send along all of the fonts used in your graphic to ensure proper reproduction.
1. You need to ensure that your exhibit graphics match or complement one another across different media, such as photo paper, vinyl, fabrics, and acrylic. Always include test prints of your graphics for proofing purposes in your production schedule. Electronic proofs can be misleading because computers vary in their calibration and images lit by your monitor can appear brighter than the way they will actually print.