Rules for Print-Worth Design Files from!

Posted in Sign and Banner Tips, Style Guides and Design Tips

Translating your design onto a finished product may seem a little daunting, but it’s actually pretty simple, regardless of the program you use.

There are a few universal guidelines to keep in mind, and they are listed here in the order they should be addressed when setting up your file:

  • Screen View: Set the canvas/page size to the real sign size in inches – If using the above 3′ x 6′ banner as a reference, we’d want the canvas/page size to be 36″ x 72″ (not 3″ x 6″). This ensures that your file be proportional to the sign you’re interested in and also helps set up for the next step.
  • Resolution: Ideally, this should be set at 150 dpi (dots per inch) with your image created at the print size (step 1). This helps to ensure that your design will look great when printed. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than spending lots of time and effort making a 150 dpi file and being told that it won’t print well because it was created as a 3 inch by 6 inch file instead of 3 feet by 6 feet.
  • Color Mode: Your signs and banners are meant to get noticed, so set the color mode to CMYK, which is used for full color digital printing. This allows lot of colors with all the intended hues and shading you can design (RGB will works too, in a pinch).

After following the above steps to start your file with, you’re all set to start designing and this is where it should get fun because anything you can design, we can print.

Also, keep in mind these tips for a professional looking printed design:

• Do not use small or low resolution images. They will not print clearly. This includes images copied off the internet.

• Keep text, images, and logos at least 1 inch away from the edge.

• Our recommended viewing mode for ready-to-print files is ‘Print Size’ or ‘Actual Size’. If images or text appear pixilated or blurry on your screen, they will print blurry and pixilated too.

• Set up your file at the full size of your desired sign/banner/magnet/decal.

• Download file-size templates for use as a start in your own design software. Download them here.

• Larger sizes are acceptable. We can always shrink your design, but it is much harder to enlarge it and ensure it will print clearly.

Once everything is set, view it at 100% (actual/print size) to see how it will look when printed. Then you should be all set to have your sign or banner printed and shipped for you, knowing that it will look great when it arrives.

See all of our design tips in our Effective Sign Design Tips guide and go over our File Setup Instructions to ensure proper file uploads. Our Customer Service Solutioneers are here to help you with any part of your online design process- feel free to give them a call at 800-494-5850 or send them an email at

Be the first to comment.

Leave a Reply