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Printing Posters, Banners and Technical Drawings

Jim Engelkens
09/21/2021
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What posters did you have on your bedroom walls growing up?

Was it Michael Jordan, Reservoir Dogs or maybe *NSYNC? I imagine those images are burned into your brain forever. Great posters are like that- they are bold, exciting and get a reaction. But if you are a professional printmaker, how do you inspire that same visceral response to your work?

Here’s our tips to help you create something attractive and impactful in any banner, poster or even technical drawing.

THE ESSENTIALS

Great posters have large, easy to read text, which means choosing the right font is the most important first step. The easiest fonts to read include Helvetica, Georgia, and PT Sans. You may have different choices, but always check to see that your chosen font can be read at any distance.

Of course, the best event banner copy speaks your audience’s language, has one main goal and concludes with a simple call to action. Also, spend time on your central image. It seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many generic stock photos are used in banner designs. Plus, psychology experts tell us that humans retain 65% more information from an ad when it’s paired with a specific and related image (as opposed to our 10% retention rate for messages without images or images that are too general).

KNOW YOUR COLORS

If you're producing your own designs with the intention of taking these to a poster printing shop, then make sure you're working in the CMYK color space rather than RGB. In Photoshop, you can easily switch to this mode via 'Image > Mode > CMYK color.' This mode will give you a more accurate representation of how your colors will print.

If you’ve been working in RGB and have converted your work to CMYK, just before you send the file for printing you may notice the greens and blues in your image have become lifeless and dull. You can use Photoshop’s Gamut warning tool ('File > View > Gamut warning') to highlight the colors that will have trouble converting from RGB to CMYK.

Remember that all the computer-specific colors you pick in Photoshop for your poster then must be printed with a real-world ink. Those that can't be replicated will become 'out of gamut,' which means they are printed with what is possible with the available inks.

VECTOR CHECKER

When it comes to printing, especially large-format printing, vectors are your friend. Try to design as much as possible in a vector-based program such as Adobe Illustrator. Not only will it reduce your file size, but it will ensure that you get the crispest print result.

Also, remember that print files are BIG. One of the most common delays in poster printing jobs is work being sent back by the printer because the resolution is too low. Files destined for print should be set to 300 DPI (dots per inch). Simply put, the more dots that make up the image, the higher the resolution. More printed dots in an inch means a higher-quality reproduction.

If your resolution is too low, you're going to end up with a blurred and pixelated poster. In Photoshop you set the dots per inch when you create a new document ('File > New'). 300 dots per inch (DPI) is the standard resolution you want for a good quality print document.

USE THE RIGHT STUFF

Paper choice and weight can be discussed with your printer, but 170gsm Silk or Gloss Art FSC or 150gsm are good choices. GSM stands for grams per square meter and determines how heavy the paper stock is.

Supply your print files in the PDF format (print resolution at 300 DPI) or tiffs with no compression at the same DPI. It is possible to send JPGs if they’re high-resolution. If you just want to print a poster of your children from a photo on your smartphone you can do this by sending a JPG but be warned: the edges of the photo will be cut off and the color will shift.

Whether you’re looking to build your brand identity, upgrade your customer experience or achieve countless other business goals with high-impact posters, our experts can guide toward the best outcome possible. By creating, printing and installing custom-made large-format graphics, the print experts at the Gordon Flesch Company can help you accomplish your unique business objectives. Contact us today

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