Sign & Digital Graphics

January '19

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44 • January 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S How to create a quality image—even when your source art isn't up to snuff Charity Jackson is co-owner of Visual Horizons Custom Signs based in Modesto, California. She has been in business since 1995, and has worked in the sign industry for over 25 years. You can visit her website at While we do get plenty of quality artwork, many times we'll receive artwork that's just not up to snuff. Often the customer simply copied and pasted an image from their website, or they'll slide a business card over to us and want that on their vehicle. Low resolution raster files that are optimized for quick loading onto a website won't work blown up on the side of a vehicle. Education At this point we have to educate the customer on what type of artwork will and will not work for their project. If it's "busi- ness card artwork" or a small photo they want us to scan in and blow up, we address the issues they can expect. We keep a magnifying glass at the front counter and we use it to show the customer the "noise" that is embedded in the photo or print. It's typically visible as tiny dots that when blown up to size to fit the side of a vehicle, those dots will be magnified. In the same way, if we receive a low-reso- lution art file there will be visible pixelization and noise that detracts from the quality of the image. The easiest way to educate the customer is to show them what the image would look like at full size. To do this, pull the image up in Photoshop and size the photo to what you roughly esti- mate it will be on the side of the vehicle. Then right-click on the image, using the magnifying tool, and click "Actual Pixels." This will show the customer the pixelization they could expect to see if we use the low-res art they supplied. Options We start out by reviewing options with the customer. Of course, the first avenue we explore is if the artwork can be acquired at a higher resolution. Often franchises or larger compa- nies will have access to an artwork portal and we'll go over file types and preferred sizing and the customer will follow up. If it's a photograph that the customer really wants to include, and they can't get higher resolution artwork, then we'll suggest using the image at a smaller size. Perhaps on the door or just on the rear of the vehicle so that I f we're not starting from scratch on logo design or typeset- ting, then gathering quality artwork from the customer is an important part of the process. Often the customer will have a photo or logo that they want to include, so we go through the process of getting a digital version. Stock photo sites are a great source for high-resolution images that may work better for your customer. B Y C H A R I T Y J A C K S O N Let's Talk Shop WRAPS DIGITAL GRAPHICS Fixing Bad (Customer-Supplied) Artwork

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