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Understanding Color Mode and Image Resolution

Already have a design ready to go? Great! You are one step closer to getting your sign printed and installed. But, before you get too excited, there may be a couple things you need to check to ensure that your sign prints at the highest quality. Making sure your color settings and image resolutions are set properly will guarantee that what you receive is exactly what you wanted. Just follow these quick instructions and you are on your way to great looking signage!

Color Mode

CMYK, which stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black), is the standard for color printing. In order to ensure proper printing, please convert all colors and images to CMYK. RGB (red, green, blue) is the standard for online colors and will print much differently than what appears on the screen. If you are submitting a file for to print, here are a few quick instructions on how to make sure your colors are set properly:

Adobe Illustrator - Click File in the menu and choose Document Color Mode from the drop-down list. Choose the CMYK Color option.
Adobe Photoshop - Click Image in the menu and choose Mode from the drop-down list. Choose the CMYK Color option and hit OK on the pop up warning that opens.
Adobe InDesign - Click on Edit in the menu and choose Color Settings from the drop-down list. The Working Space CMYK should be set to: U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2.

Image Settings

Images are a great way to add personalization and customization to your signage. Whether it is a picture of yourself for a real estate yard sign or of Grandma and Grandpa for an anniversary banner, images can be a simple solution to add impact to your signs. The last thing you want is for your image to turn out grainy and blurred. To make sure you sign turns out great, follow these instructions to set up your images in your designs correctly.

Image Quality - For the best results possible, make sure all images in your designs are at least 300 DPI. DPI stands for Dots Per Inch. The higher the DPI, the better quality the image is and the larger it can be scaled. Images used in smaller signs can be less than 300 DPI, but it is always a good practice to send us the best quality image possible.

Image Color - Many times, when you place an image in a design file, the default color mode is set to RGB. Like we discussed above, RGB printing may produce a less than desirable result. Depending on the program you are using, converting the image to CMYK is the best solution. Follow the guidelines above under Color Mode to convert the image to the correct setting.

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