“You have templates? I didn’t know that!”
Why, yes we do! We have a template available for every product we have on the website.
Read further for more information on how to use our templates and how to set up your artwork!
“Where can I find your template for…”
Each product has its graphic template located towards the bottom of the product page beneath the description. Locate the “Template” button and the document will open in a new browser tab. From there, you should be able to hover towards the top where an underlined down arrow ⇩ will appear for you to click to download the file onto your computer.
“How do I open the template file?”
Begin by having your design program up and running (Photoshop or Illustrator recommended). Find the menu and look for File > Open and locate your template file. Another way to open the file is by dragging it straight into the program. A dialogue box might appear (depending on the file format and program you are using) where it will provide information such as width, height, color mode, resolution, etc. These settings are default and can be manipulated as needed but usually kept as is. It is important to make sure the settings match the dimensions provided on the template itself (document/print size) to ensure you are creating your artwork at the correct specs. Note: Some PDF’s settings will default to 300 DPI and RGB mode; simply change the settings to 125 for the resolution and CMYK for the mode. The “Crop To:” field should be set to “Trim Box” as well.
Example: Opening PDF file in Photoshop
“How do I read your template?”
Most of our templates are created at full scale, CMYK color mode, and all are user friendly! Each will note the document or print size which is what your artwork should be set at and some will also show if it is half scale (mainly our larger prints). Most of them have a yellow section which is our recommended safe area where important logos and information should be kept to ensure it does not sit too close to the edges or trimmed off during the finishing process. Depending on the item, it may have additional information such as stitching, clamp bar area, drape area, etc. Any artwork sitting outside of the safe area(s) will still print, however may not fully be included in the finished print.
“What program should I use to set up my artwork?”
There are many programs out there that have the ability to create artwork. We highly recommend using Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. Other programs are acceptable as long as it has the capability to save the file in one of our acceptable formats (see next).
“In what format should I save my print-ready file?”
PDF is highly preferred but other acceptable file formats include TIFF, JPG, AI or EPS (Illustrator), and PSD or PSB (Photoshop). Color mode should be in CMYK.
“My file size is huge and I can’t upload it to your site. Is there a way I can decrease it?”
As long as the artwork file is at the template specs, resolution should always be set at 125 DPI (unless otherwise noted on the template). If artwork is layered, any hidden layers or unnecessary elements should be removed. Having too many clipping masks and special effects on a layered file will also cause the file to be large. Files should be flattened / rasterized to keep artwork in place and prevent elements from “dropping out.”
“What is the best way to set up my artwork using the template?”
It is recommended to open the template and design right on top of it. Keeping the template as a separate layer and guide for you to lay your artwork above it makes it that much simpler. The artwork should be laid out on a separate layer to easily hide the template once the design is completed. It is best to keep the template as is; the template should not be manipulated or adjusted in any way. Important note: No template elements or anything that is not a part of your design should be left on if it shouldn’t be printed. Template lines and crop marks WILL print if left on your artwork.
“I received my proof and a template overlay with it. Is that going to print?”
A low-res proof will be sent to you for each file you submit along with another proof with template overlay. The proof with template overlay is for reference to show placement of your graphics on our template and will not print. Your proof(s) should look print-ready. If ALL proofs you receive show template information, chances are you have provided a file with template elements left on and will need to revise and re-upload your artwork.
“Is there a program that is better than the other to create my artwork?”
Just like cameras, no brand is better than the other; it all depends on what you are trying to create and how you want to create it.
- Use when creating or working with logos
- Preferred program for vector artwork
- Use when manipulating photos
- Use when compiling multiple images into one design
- Mainly raster art
“What is the difference between Raster and Vector artwork?”
Here is a simple infographic to help differentiate between the two types of artwork.
“How do I prevent having low-res, pixelated artwork?”
- To ensure high quality images, search for images with the highest DPI (300) and file sizes (inches). They will give the best quality output and will allow an increase or decrease in size with the least amount of pixelation.
- Don’t forget to view your artwork at actual size. In doing so, it will give you peace of mind that your image looks great at actual size. When using Photoshop, on the top menu look for View > 100% to view at full scale. This is only accurate if your file is setup at the correct specs.
- If there is pixelation in your image at actual size, how do you know it’s okay to use?
Step away from your computer two to five feet and look at it (average distance people will be viewing prints from at a tradeshow or other event). Does the image look acceptable? If yes, then it’s fine to use. If not to your liking, then it would be best to revise the artwork.
- Resources and Guides:
- SignForest artwork specifications – https://signforest.com/graphic-specification/
- Upload and proofing process – https://signforest.com/upload-files-approve-proof/
- High-res Photos and vector library – https://www.istockphoto.com/
- How to create to outlines (Illustrator) – https://youtu.be/zryY_AjHC-U
- How to embed images (Illustrator) – https://youtu.be/wLbViTLx6o4