SignMasters is Gainesville's Source for Signs, Banners, Vehicle Wraps, Wall & Window Wraps, Engraved Signs and Much More! Call us at 335-7000 for Top Quality, Fast, Friendly Service and Low Everyday Prices. Check out the slideshow below!

How To Prepare Graphic Files for Signs & Banners

If you would like to provide us with graphics, logos, layouts and designs, we can incorporate them into signs, posters and banners. You can supply them as computer data files or as hardcopy images that we can scan and reproduce.

As a general rule, graphics for computer-cut vinyl signs and banners should be “line art,” i.e. solid colors without shading or color gradients. If your graphic contains shading, color gradients or photographs, we will need to use a full-color process to make your product.

Below is information about how to prepare and send the two basic types of graphic art data files: vector files (for vinyl and full-color signs and banners) and bitmap files (for full-color graphics with shading or color gradients).

Vector Files

Vector files contain vector outlines of the text and graphics that can be enlarged or reduced without image degradation. They are most useful for signs and banners that will be made using computer-cut vinyl lettering and graphics. They are also great for text and images used for full-color signs, posters and banners, and they can be combined with bitmapped images in most graphic arts programs.


Vector files are typically created in programs such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Freehand, etc. We can read and use most vector file formats such as Encapsulated Postscript (.eps), Adobe Illustrator (.ai), CorelDraw (.cdr), etc. Our preference is. eps files. The chart below contains a list of popular vector file formats that we can read and use.


 Example of a Vector Image 




Wireframe View


If you are planning to provide a vector file for your sign or banner, please prepare it as follows:


  • Create the image to actual size (in inches).
  • Provide us with composite images – not color separations.

  • All text should be converted to graphics (“curves” or “paths” or “outlines”). Be sure to properly kern all text before conversion

  • Set all objects with outlines or strokes to scale with image size.

  • If bitmaps are included in the file, please imbed them – do not attach them.

  • For best color accuracy, please use spot colors selected from the Pantone Spot Color Palette.


If we will be using the graphic file to make a banner or sign using computer-cut vinyl, any crossover lines seen in the wireframe view of the PostScript file will need to be removed. We can do this for you, if you prefer. Trapping is not necessary.


If the graphics are created on a MAC, please format the disks for the PC and export the file as an EPS for IBM. This can be easily done from any System 7 or above OS.


Vector-Based Files We Can Read

  • Adobe Illustrator - V. CS5 or Below
  • Corel Draw - V. 15 or Below
  • Freehand - Any .eps
  • Page maker - V. 6.5 or below
  • Publisher - 2003 or below
  • InDesign - use .Pdf export
  • QuarkXPress -use .Pdf export
  • Windows Metafile - Any
  • Autocad - V. 12 or below

Bitmap Files

Bitmapped files contain picture elements or “pixels” and are produced by scanners or by programs such as Photoshop, Photopaint, Fireworks, or from stock photography or from digital cameras. Typical bitmap file formats include .tif, .jpg, .gif, .bmp and .pix. We prefer flattened .tif files.

We can use bitmaps for full-color signs, posters and banners. In some cases, we can use them for computer-cut vinyl signs and banners, but we will have to convert them to vector files first.


Example of a Bitmap File



Bitmap Resolution

The quality and appearance of printed bitmapped images will depend on how the images were created. For best image quality, the resolution should be 120-150 dpi or more at the final size.

For example, if the original image is 6x9 inches and you want it enlarged and printed at 24x36 inches, the original image needs to have a resolution of 600 dpi or better to permit printing it at 150 dpi when enlarged to final size. If you do not have a high-resolution scan or photo available, we can make one for you. We can scan images up to 4800 dpi if the original photo or image is 8x13 inches in size or less.

Our large-format digital printer will print at either 360 or 720 dpi. However it is not necessary to set the resolution of the graphics above 150 dpi unless the image is extremely detailed or it will be viewed very closely.


To properly prepare your bitmap files:

  • Create the image to actual size (in inches).
  • Set the resolution to 120-150 dpi at the final size.

  • Provide us with composite images – not color separations.

  • All multilayer Tiffs or PSDs should be flattened. Be sure to properly kern all text before flattening.

  • If bitmaps are included in the file, please imbed them – do not attach them.

  • Tiff files should be compressed with LZW compression to reduce file size.

For best color accuracy, please use spot colors selected from the Pantone Spot Color Palette.


Bitmap Tips

If you are using a scanned image or a digital photo, we recommend leaving the image as RGB. To avoid color errors, try to avoid changing RGB to CYMK unless it is necessary. Check CYMK files to be sure that there are no color errors

Image files created or manipulated in Photoshop or similar programs can frequently be saved with LZW compression to reduce the file size without the loss of image quality.

If you are incorporating bitmap images into a graphic arts program file (such as Illustrator, PhotoShop, PageMaker, or QuarkXPress), please provide us with imbedded images not appended images. This will help prevent problems due to lost linkages.

How to Submit Data Files

By Email: If your data file is less than 10MB in size, you can email it to us at

Larger files can be sent via file upload sites like or These are free file-sending service sites provided that the file is less than a designated amount.

CD-ROM’s, DVD's, BLU-RAY's, USB Drives: We can read data files from CD-ROM, DVD and BLU-RAY disks as well USB thumb drives. If possible we also like to have a hardcopy image to check the data files against.

We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have about any of these issues. Just call us at 352-335-7000.