Tecna UK: Artwork Guideline #1

Setting Up Your Artwork: A Checklist

By Mike Anscomb

Mike Anscomb is an experienced member of Tecna UK’s marketing team with years of print industry knowledge behind him.

Having spent a few years in the print industry, it’s fair to say I have had my fair share of experience working with artwork. Because of this, I am often the elected point of contact for answering any queries that people may have regarding artwork. Among the questions I am most commonly asked are those relating to setting up artwork correctly.

In response to these questions, and to ease the process of creating artwork, here’s a simple checklist covering what I believe you need to think about before designing your display artwork.

1. Choose the Right Programme to Create Your Artwork

The programme that I recommend for creating your artwork is Adobe Illustrator, as this is the preferred programme by most large-format printers.

The reason Adobe Illustrator is popular amongst large-format printers is that it is a great platform for creating vector-based artwork. Artwork that uses vectors is preferred to photographic artwork because vectors do not suffer from pixellation when blown up like photos do.

2. Make Sure You Know the Scale

Think about the scale at which you are going to be designing your artwork before you start; then adjust the height and width of your artwork accordingly.

You may be creating your artwork at 25% the size of your full-sized panel, for instance, in which case you’d need to divide your full-sized measurements by four.

e.g. A full-sized panel of 1000mm x 4000mm, would be set at 250mm x 1000mm in Illustrator (see above).

3. Check the Image Quality at Full-Size

If using photographic images, check the file at the correct size of print (the actual size that the image will be once printed) to check for pixellation. For example, if you have set your artwork at a scale of 25% the original, you would need to blow up your artwork by four to see the image quality at true size i.e. change 100% in the corner to 400%.

If you see pixellation once you’ve blown it up to full size, you’ll see pixellation once the panel has been printed.

4. Get the Bleed Right

Make sure that you enter the correct bleed when creating your artwork presets. The size of bleed differs depending on the graphic substrate that you are going to be using:

Rigid and Semi-Rigid            bleed = 3mm             (on all sides)
Tension Fabric                       bleed = 10mm           (on all sides

Getting the bleed wrong or forgetting to account for bleed at all, could cause problems with your graphics when running across multiple panels, such as failing to line up properly.

5. Use the right colour reference

Most printers will use the CYMK colour process. If spot colours are required, make sure that the colours you are using have the correct pantone reference (e.g. Pantone 116 Yellow), as this will allow the printers to use the correct colour breakdown when printing, and will avoid any deviations from the colour you want.

6. Set Your Artwork to the Correct DPI

When you set up new artwork in Illustrator, take a look at the DPI (dots per inch) of your artwork. In Illustrator, the DPI is often shown as PPI (pixels per inch) instead, but these equate to the same thing.

The recommended DPI (dots per inch) for large-format print is 150DPI.

If you’ve found that you often run into trouble when setting up your artwork, hopefully keeping this checklist in mind will help you to resolve any recurring issues that you have been having. And, even if it’s just a start, remembering these six points will definitely push you in the right direction. Any other questions about artwork, don’t hesitate to get in contact with either me or a one of our experienced Design Consultants.

Stay tuned for the next artwork guideline, coming up soon!


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