The pull up banner industry must churn out millions of personalised banners every year and while many are designed by the company that printed them (by the in-house designer) there are many that are designed by the customer. The artwork that print banner companies like Auraprint receive is often substandard in many areas, so I thought It might be fun to do a couple of tutorials today to give you an idea of how best to design a personalised banner. I’m going to assume that you’ve got either Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, and that we’re designing a 6ft x 3ft banner.
The first problem with Photoshop is usually too much resolution, resulting in massive files that are a pain to handle. Open a new document, set it to 72in x 36in, CMYK colour space and a DPI of only 72. It doesn’t need to be 300dpi like people think – although this is good for flyers or cheap brochure printing. This is ample for banner print, and will keep file sizes manageable. Next set up some guides around your artwork, about 40mm from the edges. This is how far the eyelets encroach, so you’ll want to keep any small text within these guides.
Ok, now you can get creative and do your stuff. Remember that banners are all about a message – it can pay to keep the design simple. Make your text as big as you can – there’s no mileage in having anything smaller than it needs to be – it’s not like leaflets printing. Once complete, export a JPEG from Photoshop – this is the file that you will send to the printer.
Very similar to Photoshop really, except as it’s a vector artwork package there’s no inherent DPI to the document. When you’ve finished the design, export a PDF from Illustrator. This is the file that you will send to the printer. This also goes for rollup displays.
Even designers get it wrong, and print companies see the same mistakes over and over again. Number one is the size. This must be correct. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve received artwork for a 6ft x 3ft banner that’s been sized to 6ft x 2ft. Use a calculator to get the correct size in inches for your document and check it to make sure it’s correct. If you can handle online web design packages, you should be able to work out the size.
If any of this makes you feel unsure, you’re probably better getting the print company to design it for you. They will probably do a better job, and it will at least ensure technical suitability. Companies like Mega Print offer free design on banners anyway, so you’ve got nothing to lose!