graphic designers

Using Photos in Large Format Print Production

Posted by Andy Keeler on February 10, 2009
Knowledge Base, Trade Show Graphics / 2 Comments

Most trade show displays utilize large format printing in some form. Only the highest quality photographs can be blown up to the size that is required for the backdrop of a trade show display, and we recommend purchasing digital photos from a stock photography website such as www.iStockPhoto.com. When selecting your photo from a stock photography website, choose the largest size option available.

If you want to figure out if your image will work for your trade show display, you will need to know the size of the image (usually listed in pixels or inches) and the resolution of the image (usually listed in DPI or dots-per-inch). In order to avoid pixelation (which is the appearance of fuzziness or blurriness within your image), your image will need to be 100 DPI when it is blown up to actual size.

Image size and resolution are inversely proportional. As image size increases, image resolution decreases. If you magnify an image to twice its original size, the resolution of the image will be cut in half. Suppose your image is 1200 pixels wide and 1200 pixels high (100 pixels = 1 inch, so the image would be 12″ x 12″ when printed), and the resolution is 100 DPI. If you blow up the image to 2400 pixels x 2400 pixels, the resolution would be reduced to 50 DPI. If you shrink the image to 600 pixels x 600 pixels, the resolution would increase to 200 DPI.

With this in mind, the first step in figuring out if your photo will work is to determine what size it will need to be when printed. Suppose you need your photo to cover the entire back wall of your Exhibit One display (70.75″w x 82″h). It is highly unlikely that the image you need will be available in the correct size when you purhcase it, so you will need to blow up the image to the size you need before you can work with it. The largest images on stock photography websites will usually come at a resolution of 300 DPI, and the size of the image will vary. Using the relationship between image resolution and image size, you should be able to quickly determine if the photo will be large enough to remain crisp when it is blown up to the size you need.

You never need to worry about fuzzy images when you work with MODdisplays, because we have checks and balances in place to ensure that low resolution images do not make it to print. Our graphic designers check each file for images that may appear fuzzy when printed, and these problems will be pointed out in your e-proof. We never go to print without our client’s approval, and our e-proofs are very thorough and meticulous. Most resolution issues are fixed at this stage, and the chances of a client receiving a graphic with pixelation are extremely slim.

At MODdisplays, we place all of our emphasis on the final output. We understand what it takes to look great at a trade show, and we work hard to make sure our clients are pleased with the graphics we print.

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Vector vs. Raster Artwork

Posted by Andy Keeler on September 06, 2008
Trade Show Graphics / No Comments

When designing trade show graphics, it is often important to know the difference between vector and raster artwork. Not every image is suitable for use on your booth display, because many images will appear grainy and pixelated when they are scaled up to the correct size. Understanding the difference between vector and raster artwork will make a big difference in the images you choose for your graphics.

Vector Artwork

Vector artwork is usually produced using illustration software (such as Adobe Illustrator), and it is always comprised of mathematically-drawn lines and shapes. For this reason, scaling up (or magnifying) vector artwork almost never results in a loss in quality. The word “vector” implies magnitude and direction, and that is exactly what vector artwork captures. In order to increase the size of this type of graphic, you simply need to increase the magnitude and direction in proportion.

Raster Artwork

Raster images are usually produced using digital photography or photo-editing programs (such as Adobe Photoshop).  Raster images are comprised of tiny blocks of color called “pixels”, which are aligned in a grid in order to form images. Unlike vector images, raster images cannot be magnified without the risk of pixelation. Increasing the size of a raster image forces the design program to add pixels that were not captured in the original photograph or drawing, which results in fuzzy or blurry images.

Whenever possible, MODdisplays recommends using vector images in the design of your trade show displays. Vector images will always look crisp and sharp no matter how big you make them. Since all photographs are raster files, nearly all booth graphics will utilize at least a few raster images. If you plan to use a photograph in the design of your exhibit, we recommend viewing the file at 100% (the actual size you will want the image to appear on your graphic) on your monitor. If the file appears blurry when viewed at 100%, then the resolution is too low. Low resolution files result in poor print quality.

Stock photography websites such as iStockPhoto and GettyImages are a great resource for high-quality raster photographs. Files can be purchased in a variety of sizes, and usually the “large” size is good enough to provide a crisp, clean image when printed. When in doubt, you can always send your files to graphics@moddisplays.com and we will check them out for you. At MODdisplays, we never print low resolution or low quality files, because all of our graphics go through a rigorous screening and proofing process.

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The Importance of High-Impact Graphics

Posted by Andy Keeler on February 15, 2008
Exhibiting Strategy / No Comments

Trade show graphics are the most important part of any trade show booth. It doesn’t matter if you own the best exhibit in town if your graphics cannot effectively communicate your message to attendees and visitors. At MODdisplays, we put a strong emphasis on designing and producing the best trade show graphics on the market.

Whether you’re looking for brand new graphics to go with your display, or replacement graphics for an older display, our graphics department can help you produce well-designed and properly formatted trade show graphics. We work with large graphic houses across the country to produce pop up display graphics, fabric graphics, and outdoor graphics that are guaranteed to remain vibrant for as long as you own your trade show exhibit.

We staff graphic designers who are ready to help you format and design your graphic files. Our designers have a great deal of experience in the trade show marketing industry, and they have been trained to understand what works and what doesn’t work at trade shows. This experience will prove to be an invaluable asset when designing your trade show graphics. On average, we find that clients are much more pleased with their exhibiting experience when they use our in-house graphic services.

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