Questions and Answers
I NEED A SIGN FOR A...
The are many different signs for different occasions, and with all these choices it is difficult, sometimes, to determine which is the best for your business needs.
Unfortunately it is impossible to give a list of all of the products and services The Sign Shop can offer your business.
Our list is expanding all the time.
We believe the best way for us at The Sign Shop to determine which sign can fit an occasion is good old fashion face-to-face contact here at our shop.
Come on into our facility to communicate with our staff on a one-to-one basis to understand which sign is best for what occasion. We can also provide you with design and substrate samples for you to examine.
We also understand that face-to-face contact is, sometimes, not possible for a variety of reasons.
The Sign Shop is ready and willing to talk over the phone in occasions such as these.
For these incidents we have included a handy PDF display showing the most common types of signs we offer and their uses.
WHAT IS “SIGN-READY” ART?
“Sign ready” artwork, or artwork that is immediately ready to print and will not require preparation by our staff, requires these specifications:
- 100% Vectored Artwork
- Saved as an EPS, PDF, or AI
- Saved at Actual Print Size
- Allow for a ½ Inch Margin
- Convert ALL Fonts to Outlines or Curves
- Embed All Files – No Linked Images
- Title Your Artwork File the Same as Your PO Number
- “Simplify” Your Artwork:
- No Clipping Masks
- Converted or Expanded All Strokes to Shapes or Offset Paths
- Use Actual Pantone Colors in Your Artwork To Identify Colors
Some Artwork May Not Be Suitable for Our Printing Methods. We will advise.
You may require “sign ready” artwork if you are a company that has an in house graphic designer or if require your product in a quicker or more precise way.
WHAT TYPE OF ARTWORK CAN I USE?
Vector artwork is preferred when creating a sign. Our computer programs can manipulate vector art without fear of distortion or pixilation.
However, if the artwork contains many shades, gradients, etc. then a raster image may be more appropriate.
WHAT IS A VECTOR IMAGE?
A vector image is any image that can be re-sized without a loss in quality. Unlike a raster image, a vector image does not pixilate despite re-sizing the image, and is usually made using points, curves, and lines rather than millions of pixels.
Typically a vector image is saved as an:
- FS (Flexi Design)
- DWG (AutoCAD Drawing)
- PDF and PSD (Photoshop) files may also be vector images, but they may also contain raster images. If you are intending to send a purely vector image please make sure your PDF or PSD file does not contain a raster image.
WHAT IS A RASTER IMAGE?
A raster image is any image that is made from millions of pixels, and when made larger becomes “pixilated” or distorted.
Raster images may be used if they are of sufficient quality. This means if the physical (printed) size of the image is the same width and height you require it to be on your sign and is, at least, 150 DPI, or dots per inch.
The image may also be larger than either the physical size or DPI enabling us to shrink it, but neither the physical size or DPI can be smaller.
Typically a raster image is saved as a:
- JPG or JPEG
- BMP (Bitmap)
WHAT ARE YOUR PRODUCTION TIMES?
Production times are based on the the individual product and will be given when asked.
PLEASE NOTE: All production times DO NOT include weekends, holidays, or shipping transit times.
If you need a job fast. Just ask. Experience our can-do attitude!
WHAT IS A SUBSTRATE?
A substrate is any material that the print or vinyl will be applied.
Some substrates we use include:
- ACM or Aluminum Composite Material (Polymetal, MaxMetal)
- Wood (Properly Prepared)
HOW DO I CHOOSE COLORS AND WHAT IS PANTONE (PMS) OR CMYK?
PLEASE NOTE: The colors you see on any computer screen WILL NOT be the final printed colors. The color system used on computers is based on the RGB color system not the CMYK system used by the print industry. We cannot fully replicate printed colors on our monitors.
If you would like to specify a color or colors, you may provide us with either a Pantone (PMS) number, CMYK color percentages, or you may come to our office and choose from our color chart.
Pantone colors are a standard color matching system used by those in any industry requiring specific colors.
This is the most portable color matching system, and many print or paint shops should carry a swatch booklet.
The Pantone colors are usually found in a Pantone Swatch Booklet and will have a specific number such as:
- Pantone 032 C (Coated Red)
- PMS 072 U (Uncoated Blue)
Coated, or the letter ‘C’ means the color will be coated in gloss.
Uncoated, or the letter ‘U’ means the color does not have a gloss finish.
CMYK stands for Cyan (Light Blue), Magenta (A Shade of Purplish Red), Yellow, and Key (Black). This is the standard color matching system used by most printers including ours at The Sign Shop.
The ink cartridges we use contain these four colors.
If you must have the most exact color for your sign please use the CMYK percentage system, as this will allow our printer to know the precise amounts of ink to use to match your color.
A CMYK percentage looks like:
- C 0%, M 100%, Y 100%, K 0% (Red)
- C 78%, M 78%, Y 0%, K 56% (Midnight Blue)