One of the questions that often come up to us is: how to prepare your large format files for printing? Posters, banners, advertising flags, PVC panels, … Large format printing has become more popular in recent years. Preparing your files by yourself for the printer allows you to avoid DTP costs. However, you must format them properly. Here are our tips for getting your files printed without round trips and at no extra cost.
How to Prepare Your Large Format Files?
The result of printing, in terms of quality and cost, largely depends on how well your files are prepared in advance. You may already know the graphic rules to follow to create your visual, but do you know the printer’s requirements? There are a few pitfalls to avoid in order not to waste time and money on DTP. These tips also apply to those who are already used to preparing small format documents for printing.
1. Choose the Right Colour Mode
It is very important to choose the right colour profile in order to obtain a suitable result for printing. No surprise, you have to work in CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black) and not in RGB (Red-Green-Blue) which is reserved for screen display. The colour palette in CMYK is smaller than in RGB, so the rendering may appear less vivid when printing in CMYK if you compare with an RGB image on your computer.
Also be sure to avoid Pantone colours which will not be transcribed correctly! Regarding the type of file, we recommend the PDF, JPG or TIFF format.
2. Think About the Template and the Format
Each printer works in his own way and has its own specificities and printing methods. Especially when it comes to large format printing. For example, the location of the eyelets, the shape of a banner or the routing of the seams may vary from one printer to another. Then, you should first consult your printer and ask them for the templates they use. Do not use the formats of another, you risk having your files come back to you for modification. This will waste your precious time! Instead, follow the advice of printing professionals.
Also remember to send all the necessary elements with your file. For example, do not forget to convey the typographies used in the document. So, the printer doesn’t have to ask you if they ever need to make some subtle edits before printing.
3. Prepare A File with The Correct Resolution
There are two parameters you need to consider when choosing the resolution:
– The format after printing
– The distance at which the visual will be seen
The smaller the format is, the greater the resolution should be. Whereas for very large formats (for example a 4 × 3 m) a resolution between 80 and 150 DPI is enough.
On the large format, the weight of a file quickly becomes important. To avoid transfer problems and facilitate file creation, we recommend that you work at 1/4 of the format in 300 DPI. Once again, contact your printer to find out about their technical constraints before starting.
4. Plan for a Technical Margin
Bleed is not useful on this type of file. However, as with offset or digital printing on small or medium format, it is necessary to incorporate a technical margin. This must be 5 mm per side. This tolerance zone is used to prevent the appearance of a white outline when cutting the support.
5. Think About the Layout
Keep in mind that the viewing distance of a large format print is much greater than a regular print. The people who will see your large format prints will be placed at a significant distance from the print. So, remember to use large characters and in contrasting colours compared to the background so that your texts are readable from a distance.
Don’t overload your visual to be impactful. Be clear and efficient, sometimes a logo or an image accompanied by a sentence are enough.