The easy bit is done. You’ve selected the right roller banner product for your needs and decide to submit your own artwork for the design; after all it’s simple just to throw together a few images, text and logo, isn’t it? Why not make use of the design used last year for the poster ad campaign and save a bit of money?
Unfortunately, as with many things in life, it’s not that straight forward. Roller Banners are a specialist advertising item and are produced in large print format, so a design put together on Photoshop for a smaller ad is unlikely to reproduce well as a roll up banner. Please read on to find out why this is and take note of what constitutes ‘print ready artwork’ when it comes to creating a smart looking, high quality roll up banner design.
The Technical Bit
To be helpful, Roller Banners UK itemise exactly what you need to provide in the Artwork section of the product page. As the artwork you supply is expected to be ‘print-ready’ there will be no proof sent back to you to check. Print-ready means the artwork is ready to go straight to the printing press without any alterations. In other words, it is the final version set up to the correct size and specification for print. The Print Team need artwork set up to the following specification:
- High resolution PDF files at 300dpi. For wide banners you can reduce the dpi to 150. The higher the dpi number, the better the print quality.
- Images need to be 300dpi at the finished print size if the print quality is to be acceptable.
- Fonts should be embedded. You can embed fonts in distiller options, or they can be converted to curves whilst saving the PDF.
- The Colour palette should be supplied as CMYK not RGB as the latter PDFs can cause incorrect colours being printed or faults with images.
- For roll up banners there is no bleed, although the area of graphic panel at the bottom which remains in the base, about 100mm, should be treated as bleed. A 30mm area of ‘white space’ should also be kept above the logo at the top of the graphic panel.
- All spot colours need to be converted to CMYK before creating the PDF file or they will be automatically converted by the software before printing and may cause incorrect colour reproduction.
Roller Banner artwork can be set up half or quarter the size of your completed banner design provided the full-size dpi remains at 300.
For those less technically minded!
If the above explanation made perfect sense to you, well done, we’ll leave you to get on with submitting your print ready artwork! For the rest of us, read on for an explanation of technical terms and translation into laymen’s terms.
Some Jargon explained
As mentioned formerly to enable the printing team to create your roller banner design to the best quality possible your artwork needs to be ready to go straight to print, or to be ‘print-ready.’ To ensure you achieve this standard the print specification of each product is outlined in the Artwork section. This is referring to the blueprint which the print team will follow to achieve the best results. Each print job will have its own characteristics such as size, quantity, number of pages, paper type and suitable ink. With these key features in place the details can be set up in print software to achieve the desired results.
A Portable Document Format or PDF file is one that has “captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print or forward to someone else.” (Techtarget) Developed by Adobe in the 1990’s these are not to be confused with PSD files, which is the default format for saving data in Photoshop and are not suitable for sending to print.
For a decent print result the PDF files need to be high resolution which ensures the files aren’t too big to email, the quality stays the same and the layout remains unchanged to the recipient. An advantage to high resolution PDFs is their relatively small file size. The greater the area that is vector art (artwork created using points, lines and shapes), the smaller the file and the higher the quality will be. A ‘complete’ PDF contains all information necessary to print the file exactly as it is, such as fonts, imported graphics and page layouts which are embedded (or included) within the PDF.
To convert fonts to curves or outlines is the way in which fonts or texts are embedded into the file before printing. To do this in Adobe Illustrator, select all the text elements on the artboard of your document, go to Type menu and select Create Outlines. Or for windows CTRL-SHIFT-O and for Macs CMD-SHIFT-O. You are then ready to send your file to print. For more details on how to set up your design in Adobe Illustrator and creating a print ready PDF file read our blog ‘How do I create my own Roller Banner?’
When it comes to the colour of your design this can also pose a problem in the transfer from file to print. Computer screens and other digital displays create colour in RGB – Red, Green, Blue, the three primary colours. In printing, however, the format is in CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. So, if artwork is submitted in RGB this will convert to CMYK during the process with sometimes unexpected results. So, it’s always best to convert artwork to CMYK before printing. Many desktop publishing programmes offer this feature including Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.
See our blog ‘How to set up a roller banner in Photoshop’ for more tips on creating your own print ready artwork.
When using Photoshop to design your roller banner graphic remember the file you output needs to be in a PDF format and to achieve the best results its important to flatten layers before converting your PSD. What happens is you reduce all Photoshop layers of text, imaging etc to one background layer to keep down the file size, thereby freeing up valuable processing resources and removing errors whilst printing.
To flatten layers in Photoshop, click on ‘Layer’ and then ‘flatten image’.
To create a PDF in Photoshop:
- Create a new document
- Enter the size of the banner/artwork in millimetres not pixels
- Select resolution at 300dpi (if too large reduce to no lower than 150dpi)
- Select colour mode as CMYK – 8 bit
- Click ok and start designing. Don’t forget to leave 100mm at the bottom and 30mm at the top of the design and always use high resolution images.
To save a design as a PDF file:
- Click on ‘File’
- Save as ‘…
- Select Photoshop PDF as format
- Click ‘Save’
- Save Adobe PDF Dialogue box’ appears
- Select ‘High Quality Print’
- Select ‘Save PDF’Upload PDF file for printing.
Dpi or dots per square inch is a measure of spatial printing and refers to the number of individual dots placed in a line within the span of an inch. The closer together the dots the clearer the image of text when reproduced as print.
Bleed is the area to be trimmed off after printing which ensures no unprinted edges are shown in the finished design. Although Roller Banners do not need to have bleed, space needs to be allowed for the unseen area of the graphic which remains in the casing and at the top where the header bar is attached.
Logos used in regular advertising or on business cards are often unsuitable for the large print format of roller banners and so need to be rescaled before printing using vector graphics. You can ask a professional to do this for you if time is short, but it is possible to do this yourself whilst creating your design. (See our blog Logo Power- Where to Place the Logo on my Roller Banner Design).
One last thought
Remember - Best quality artwork produces best quality printing!
If you would like any further advice on how to prepare your artwork for printing call us on (02380) 700111 or chat online.