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Some Concepts and Tips to Make the Graphics Printing Process Easier

by Nomadic Display 8. January 2010 00:29

Here are some concepts which can help you understand our graphics procedures better, and make the whole process better, and easier!


DPI, or dots per inch, is a term you may already be familiar with. Basically it refers to the number of pixels in every linear inch of your artwork. For example, a 300 dpi print will be 300 pixels of color wide by 300 pixels tall, or 90,000 pixels, in every square inch. For a 8x10 inch print, that's 7,200,000 pixels! 300 dpi is used for photo-quality prints viewed close-up.

The images we make are usually printed at 100 dpi, as your display is intended to be viewed from at least a few feet away, but still display excellent color and crisp edges. It is best to provide your graphics files at 100-150 dpi. A 300 dpi image file at 90" x 90" would be several gigabytes!


Your digital files should be provided as an .ai (Adobe® Illustrator®) or an .eps (encapsulated post script) file if the artwork is in vector format, and .psd (PhotoShop® Document) or .psb (large format PhotoShop® document) when submitted. InDesign® files (.indd) and Quark Xpress® (.qxp) files are also accepted.


When we print your graphics, we overprint the edges. Simply put, if the desired final size of your graphic is 20 inches wide by 20 inches tall, we'll print it at 22 by 22. This extra edge ensures that when the graphic is cut to the specified size, the color runs all the way to the edge. The graphic technician cannot simply make the graphic larger, because that will often cut off items you wanted on the edge of the print, or the spacing that your graphic artist intended.

We can add bleed on our end, but doing it in a way that holds together the integrity of your image is unreliable, especially for photos, so if you provide a file with bleed already incorporated, you'll save loads of time, and ensure a quality product!

We prefer 1" of bleed on all sides for graphics printed on paper, or "inkjet" graphics, and 2" of bleed on all sides for graphics printed on fabric, as fabric needs room for seams.


Color Matching

Color matching is more of an art than an exact science. No two printers have the exact same color profiles, so the colors need to be adjusted, then a test print is performed to see how close the color matches.

To speed up this process, the best way is to provide a Pantone® color to match to. Pantone® matching system provides a standard set of colors our technicians have already matched to. Just find which Pantone® color your logo color best matches to, and let us know the index number. If you cannot, providing a sample of printed artwork with your color on it works too.

It is important to provide a layered file when you want any color matching done. Keeping the color you want matched on its own layer allows us to adjust the color without affecting the rest of the image.

Simply let your graphic designer know that we need the images layered, at 100 dpi, with 1" Bleed, and a Pantone® Matching color, and you'll be good to go!