File Format and Set-up Guide

Helpful preparation tips for submitting art files

We can print directly from your files or we can create the artwork for you. If submitting art files, the information below, should help answer your questions about artwork, submission, file formats and the like. We accept vector and raster files for full color and spot color magnetic sign printing.

Accepted File Formats:

Usually the process of production determines the type of artwork setup.

1). Spot color magnetic signs
(solid spot colors - primarily text/no graphic images - vector based - .AI, .EPS, .PDF)

2). Full color magnetic signs
(digital prints using ink - photos, images & text - raster based - .TIF, .JPG, .GIF, .PNG, .PSD)

What determines the method of sign production?
-- Overall size of the sign
-- Number of colors used
-- Quantity of signs needed
-- Quality of artwork
-- Available art files

General Layout Tips: 

Letter visibility chart
Viewing distance Minimum required
letter height (inches)
100 ft 4"
250 ft 10"
360 ft (city block) 16"
500 ft 22"
750 ft 33"
1000 ft. 43"
1320 ft. (1/4 mile) 57"

For printed images try to design your file at approximately 100 - 150 dpi at full size,
or 300 dpi at half size. This will ensure the maximum output quality.

Spot color generated signs:

For magnetic signs that will be printed utilizing the spot color method of for production you will need to provide a vector-based file. These files, are usually created in drawing or illustration programs, such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw or InDesign. The common file extensions for these drawing programs are .ai, .eps, .cdr., .pdf, .indd. Please make sure to convert all the fonts to curves or outlines to avoid any font issues that may arise. If a specific PMS color is needed for spot color signs, please refer to our process color printing, for more exact color matching.

Saving vector files: Our preferred file format is Adobe Illustrator. When saving files in vector format (outline format), dpi is only limited to the output device. File size is constant regardless of the size of the image. Because vector based programs use mathematical algorithmic calculations to determine size and shape, file size is usually small and these files can usually be e-mailed quickly.

If you need help on preparing a vector file, please call our art department at (866) 267-4467.


Computer generated full color digital printing:

When we are using the computer generated digital printing method of production, 4-color printing, with gradation fading, multiple colors, specific color matching, photo printing, etc., artwork can be designed as vector based or raster (bitmap art).

Raster artwork is usually created in programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Windows Paint, MacPaint and many other "paint" or "photo editing" programs. Usually the file extensions for these programs are .tif, .bmp, .gif, jpeg, .pdf, etc.

If you need help on preparing a raster file, please call art department for assistance, at (866) 267-4467.

Saving bitmap files: Bitmap files are created when an image is scanned, taken from a digital camera or created in a bitmap editing program such as Adobe PhotoShop, Mac Paint, Windows Paint, etc. These files are primarily used for digital printing and are resolution dependent. The resolution of the artwork effects the crispness of detail and fineness of grain in an image. For satisfactory results of computer generated digital printing, the resolution should be set between 100 to 150 dpi at full size. Lower resolution can cause pixelization. Higher resolution has little effect on overall quality and greatly increases file size. The dpi size decision is determined by overall output size and viewing distance of proposed sign. Resolutions lower than 72 dpi may exhibit pixelization, often called "jaggies". Bitmap files can be very large in size and are usually sent by e-mail only when saved as a compressed .jpeg format.

Color Info: If submitting a raster file with specific color requirements, please make sure to utilize a PMS color, to get the closest color match possible. Please convert all RGB files to CMYK, and adjust accordingly, to suit your color needs before submission. All RGB files will be converted to CMYK, which may cause significant color shifts.

If you need help on preparing a raster file, please call our art department at (866) 267-4467.

Non-supported Programs

If you are creating your artwork in any of these programs, please be aware that they do not translate well for digital or spot color output, and we may need to recreate your artwork which may incur art fees.

Adobe PageMaker - (PC and MAC) At this time we are unable to accept PageMaker files. Files created in PageMaker generally do not output in a format that we can use. It is best to use an illustration or graphics creation program such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Microsoft PowerPoint - In some instances we have had a problem with converting PowerPoint files. If you are sending a PowerPoint file please try and save it as a .PDF.

Microsoft Word - Since signs can not be produced using this program, it is not the most reliable format. We need to cut the text and paste into drawing programs. When we do this font problems can occur. And any placed images will usually be very small and low resolution also and do not size up well for sign printing.

Quark Express - Mac format not supported. Files need to be exported as .eps. Before sending artwork make sure illustrator can open file.

Have more questions or need further information on magnetic signs?

Give us a call! Toll-Free: 866-267-4467