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  • Designing for large format printing - help please!

    Hello all!

    I'm new to the forum (but have a feeling I'm about to become a very persistant regular!)

    I'm lucky enough to have got an amazing new full-time design job and I can cope with most of what needs to be done. However - one area I'm pretty inexperienced in is designing for large format printing.

    This week I was asked to design a 3.8 metre wide pop-up stand. I have the spec and have designed to the dimensions stated. However - not having designed at this size before, I was wondering if anyone has any advice of what I should be aware of? Am terrified it will print and there may be mistakes it's impossible to hide from at that size!

    Am wondering about things like RGB vs CYMK, resolutions, that fact that I'm designing in Photoshop not Illustrator (It's what I've always used and I know I need to start using illustrator but there was no time for this job)

    Thanks in advance.
    P

  • #2
    Several threads on this already. Check the Search funciton and type in Large Format

    "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott

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    • #3
      OK - thanks, I will do...

      P

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      • #4
        On the CMYK Vs RGB - talk with the printers - they can advise you on what colour mode to deliver.

        "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott

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        • #5
          Originally posted by eugenetyson View Post
          talk with the printers
          For that matter, talk to the printer about the whole thing. They might have advice on resolutions, bleeds, color settings, etc.

          For example, putting the words "large format" and "Photoshop" into the same sentence immediately brings up the issue of HUGE file size. Last week, I sent off a 2-gig Photoshop file to a specialty printer for use on a large trade show fabric background. The printer had some specific templates and file preparation instructions, so it was important that I talked to them before diving into it it saved lots of time, effort and money.

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          • #6
            Thanks for that guys. Problem was, I was asked to do all this in a couple of days, and at this point they hadn't even chosen the print shop! I had a spec to work with that said nothing about delivery method or resolution. And to top it all - I have only just started work as a designer with this company and was only just getting to grips with their design elements and ethos.

            I said yes to the job not thinking there would be so much to consider.

            They would ideally like me to send this to the printers tomorrow pm. My worry is that I have designed at too high a resolution (300dpi) in Photoshop and that I'll have to start again. Aaagghhh!

            Best I can do I guess is keep trawling the forums (am doing that now) for tips, call the printers first thing and hope a day is enough to re-jig the file for what they need.

            Talk about in at the deep end!

            Thanks for all the help so far. Not only great advice but it's calming me down to know I'm not alone here!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Casseopia View Post
              My worry is that I have designed at too high a resolution (300dpi) in Photoshop and that I'll have to start again. Aaagghhh!
              Often, large-format printing doesn't need to be razor sharp since it's often meant to be seen from a distance. That being the case, the resolution can often be below 300 ppi. The printer should be able to give you feedback on that, and if they say, for example, that 150 ppi is fine for what they do, sampling it down to that should work, and shouldn't set you back at all. And really, even if you do send them more data in the file than needed (300 ppi as opposed to something less), it shouldn't really matter.

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              • #8
                Thanks <b>. I have just learned from trawling the forums that a lower res is fine for a large format print (I have been working with a 1.73 Gb file for a couple of days - what an idiot! Luckily I have a Mac with good processing power.)

                I will definitely talk to the printer first thing.

                I have much to learn and need to get up to speed PDQ. Thank God for this forum!!!

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                • #9
                  For the record I actually searched the forums and put together a list of threads for you - but the internet connection went as I hit reply and I lost them all. Being Sunday I was too lazy to get them altogether again.

                  "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott

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                  • #10
                    LOL - I don't blame you. Thanks for the thought.

                    As it goes, am typing this in my pyjamas with my head nearly touching the keyboard and dreaming of my pillow.

                    I was so joyous when I got this high profile job, now I'm beginning to wonder what the hell I'm in for! A vertically steep learning curve with hopefully no mistakes, lots of late nights and getting to know you all on this forum it seems!

                    So brilliant that people are willing to share their hard-earned knowledge.

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                    • #11
                      As I say there's plenty of threads on it. Give them a read and if anything isn't clear then ask away

                      "May your hats fly as high as your dreams"Michael Scott

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                      • #12
                        Will do. Thanks again - really, really helpful....

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Casseopia View Post
                          Problem was, I was asked to do all this in a couple of days, and at this point they hadn't even chosen the print shop!
                          That's an unreasonably short turn-around time, but then again, this stuff happens all the time. This might or might not pertain to your situation, but I've found that when clients/employers say they need something sent to the printer by a certain date, what they're really meaning is that they need a finished, printed product by a certain date, so they're in a big hurry to get it to the printer so it will be back by when they need it.

                          Fortunately, like you, printers need work, like to make money and are used to going the extra mile to keep their clients happy. Printers might ask for a ten-business-day turnaround time, but in an emergency, all that's negotiable especially if they want to keep you as a customer. Specialty printers, like what you'll be working with, are used to people sending them things that they practically need to redo to get it to work. As often as not, they even include this extra effort in their turnaround estimates.

                          Find the right printer/fabricator first thing Monday morning. Explain the situation, when you'll need the job completed and make them getting the job done by that date part of the condition of them getting the job. As likely as not, you might get yourself an extra day or two to work on it. And like I said, if you can tell your client/employer that you've discussed it with the printer, and the printer has committed to getting the job turned around by a certain date, you're probably doing okay. You might owe your printer a favor after this, but that's okay you've established a good, give-and-take business relationship.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by <b> View Post
                            Last week, I sent off a 2-gig Photoshop file to a specialty printer for use on a large trade show fabric background.
                            .
                            2gig???!!! Hopefully that was a layered file.
                            I print large format photoshop stuff all the time. I'm doing a 50'x16' backdrop right now from a Photoshop file. The file size is under 500mb flat, RGB. Bear in mind that large murals and backdrops aren't meant to be viewed at arm's distance. When proofing, tape it to the wall and step back.

                            The trick with large format is to work with the printer to get the best possible result at the lowest possible resolution for the viewing distance you expect the piece to be seen. Otherwise you are going to be sitting there a lot while your machine chugs through a redraw.

                            The other trick is getting images with enough resolution to go to the size you want at the viewing distance you want without them falling apart in resolution. That part is getting tougher every day. If in doubt, print it out. Even a desktop printer can give you an idea if an image is going to be passable at scale.

                            Originally posted by <b>
                            Specialty printers, like what you'll be working with, are used to people sending them things that they practically need to redo to get it to work. As often as not, they even include this extra effort in their turnaround estimates.
                            They also include it in their cost.
                            We'd really rather not have to redo it. It is really appreciated when the designer makes an effort to get the file prep right. Quite honestly, most of what we fix has to do with Transparency and Spot colors that a simple read of the Adobe White papers on transparency would cure.

                            Don't forget your bleeds. Please.

                            Are you doing all your design in Photoshop?
                            Besides learning Illustrator, you should also learn InDesign. Some large format printers prefer one over the other. Some like Illy, some like InDesign. InD has more color control IMO.
                            Last edited by PrintDriver; 01-30-2011, 08:26 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Fantastic advice - thank you.

                              Yes, a very short turn around time - hampered by working on an unfamilar system, in a new company. But yes, I will squeeze every ounce of goodwill and advice from the printers and hopefully form a good relationship with them and if they pull through for me, my goodwill towards them will be huge and I'll use them for everything I can.

                              Thanks again. This is helping more than you could know.

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