File Setup Guidelines - In Depth

The following information is an expanded outline of the Hadrus Vinyl Graphis File Setup Guidelines. Should you have questions, please contact our customer service department.

Artwork Scale

One of the ways we are able to keep our prices low is we have found the right balance between artwork size and the finished product. When we print from scaled artwork (i.e. 1/4 scale, ) we are able to use the advanced technology from our processing equipment to speed up the pre-press process. There is no loss of visual quality and the processing time is significantly faster. Another benefit is the file size is much smaller making the artwork faster and easier to transmit over the Internet.

Remember, these are banners, not business cards–the printing process for digital vinyl printing is very different compared to conventional printing on paper. With our experience spanning nearly three decades in the printing and graphics industries we have a firm grasp on what works.

There are a couple exceptions to the artwork scale:

Under 4 SqFt
Art size: FULL size @ 300 dpi
Example: an 24" x 18" vehicle magnet;
Artwork file should be 24" x 18" @ 300 dpi.

Greater than 4 SqFt
Art size: 1/4 scale @ 400 dpi
Example: a 8' x 4' banner;
Artwork file needs to be 24" x 12" @ 400 dpi.

Greater than 60 SqFt
Art size: 1/4 scale @ 300 dpi
Example: a 15' x 5' banner;
Artwork file should be 45" x 15" @ 300 dpi.

Have questions about scaling your artwork? Try this...

First compare “apples to apples”. This is done best by converting all measurements to inches (a 6-foot wide by 3-foot tall banner would be 72-inches x 36-inches). Next divide the inches by the scale you are using. In this example the banner art will be set for 1/4 scale and so we divide the banner size by the scale size (72 divided by 4 = 18 and 36 divided by 4 = 9). We end up with artwork for a 6' x 3' banner being 18-inches wide by 9-inches tall.

Print Resolution PDF / High-Quality JPEG

Our preferred file format is a print quality PDF in the CMYK color space . PDF files that have been optimized for ‘Press’ with 400dpi images work well in the digital printing environment. Be sure to change the settings or preferences so that PDF version 1.3 or Acrobat 4.0 is used.

Our second preferred file format is a high-quality JPEG in the CMYK color space at 400dpi. Why a JPEG? The JPEG format is universally compatible, there aren’t any font issues or transparency conflicts. When set up properly (following our scale requirements–see above), the file size is very reasonable and the prints look great.

Very Important: After creating your PDF or JPEG, be sure you open up the file and review it closely (zoom in to 300%-400% and scroll all around) making certain it looks the way you want.

Other File Formats: We can also print from AI, EPS, TIFF, BMP, PNG, PSD and INDD, however these files are outside of our preferred format and are subject to a production setup fee. Please speak to a representative should you have questions regarding setting up your files for graphics printing.

Art Board Set to Correct Size

Regardless of what program you are using (Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Corel Draw, etc), it’s very important that you set your art board to be the same size as your artwork. This is part of building a good foundation for your “print-ready” artwork and helps us keep our banner price low. If you don’t know how to change the size of the art board, search the help files from your program or search the Internet (sample keyword search: change art board size CorelDraw).

What is the correct size? First, make sure you set your art board size to correspond with the artwork scale (see above). Second, the correct size is without any bleed, or other extra space. We want you to give us the art for the the viewable (or “live”) area only. Please don’t include color bars, registration targets, crop marks or any other extraneous elements. Lastly, don’t put a fine line bordering on your board unless it is design intended and meant to print.

CMYK Color Mode

At Hadrus Vinyl Graphics, our equipment adhere to the digital color process printing standards. Our Rips will automatically convert spot colors, RGB color and PMS colors to 4-color (CMYK) digital colors. If you send us an RGB file, there is a chance that an undesirable color shift may occur. To avoid unexpected results, you must submit your creative work in the CMYK color mode.


These are in RGB

These are the SAME colors but in CMYK

Blue vs. Purple

Blue is close to purple in the CMYK spectrum. Use a lower amount of magenta whenever using high amounts of cyan in order to avoid PURPLE . We recommend making sure there is at least a 30% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values.


Blue as seen on Screen

After Printing (C-100 M-100 Y-0 K-0)

Again, making sure there is at least a 30% difference in your Cyan and Magenta values (i.e., C-100 M-70 Y-0 K-0) will help your finished product look more "blue" and less "Purple".

TIP: A good CMYK mix for an “all American blue” is: C-100 M-50 Y-0 K-10

Black vs. Rich Black

If you have an area of solid black within your document, using 100% Black will not result in a dark, saturated black. To obtain these results, use a “rich” 4-color black represented by the following CMYK values: C: 60%, M: 40%, Y: 40%, K: 100%.


100% Black

Rich Black

No PMS Colors

As stated above, our Rips will automatically convert spot colors, RGB color and PMS colors to 4-color (CMYK) digital colors. If you send us a file that calls out PMS Spot colors, there is a good chance an unfavorable color shift may occur. To avoid unexpected results, you must submit your creative work in the CMYK color mode.

TIP: Our best “slap your face” red color is: C-0 M-100 Y-100 K-0

Color Matching

If you're looking to get close to a specific color, please refer to our list of "Top Colors" with associated CMYK values. If the color you are seeking (or something similar to it) is not found on the "Top Color" chart, you can try converting Pantone Solid Colors to CMYK values -- an option found in most design applications (like Adobe Illustrator). This library will help you get close to your target color. If your print requires specific color matching, you must specify that at the time of order. There is an additional fee and additional time required for any color proofing and/or adjustments.

Convert Fonts to Curves

This feature is available in all design/layout programs and will take the font and change it from written text to vector line art. Some programs refer to this action as “Font to Curves”, others might call it “Outline Font”. Both accomplish the same thing. If you don’t know how to convert fonts to curves, search the help files from your program or search the Internet (sample keyword search: convert font to curves Adobe Illustrator).

Note: If you are supplying JPEG art files, the JPEG naturally satisfies this requirement.

Flatten Artwork

Simply put, we want you to combine all the layers of your design into one layer. This does three things: 1) makes the file size smaller 2) removes any hidden layers 3) mimimizes conflicts with your file.

Note: If you are supplying JPEG art files, the JPEG naturally satisfies this requirement.

Transparencies, glows, shadows and gradients

In a vector layout, never use shadows, glows, or any other transparency feature (image or otherwise) on top of a color. However, if your design requires these features, you must rasterize your artwork before submitting it to us.

Note: If you are supplying JPEG art files, the JPEG naturally satisfies this requirement.

Great job on the banner. I just got it and LOVE it!! The quality is impressive. My customer will be very pleased.
Shanon M., Texas
Quality Guarantee