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Help with ordering your marketing materials

File Formats

File we can use to design or print your project


At Online Signs we can create a great design, but to make it perfect we need a few things from you.


First of all don't worry, send us what you have.


How big is big enough?

If you are sending vector files (see below) The size doesn't matter, however if you are sending pictures, jpg files or images from a digital camera, then size matters.


The best way to think about it is in "dots per inch" (DPI or pixels per inch), for decent sign production you should try for 100 dpi at full size, print production requires slightly higher (150-300 dpi at full size). Confused? Don't worry, just send what you have and we will let you know.


Images and logos taken off websites

Most images from web pages just don't work.

Computer screens are around 72 dpi. So an image on a screen that is an inch or two across won't have enough detail for a sign, banner or brochure.


If you don't have the original files don't worry, we can either redraw logos or source replacement images for your project.

Logo Files

If you have a logo or picture associated with your promotion we need a clean copy. in most cases an image taken off an ordinary web page will be far too small. Signage and print needs high quality images to give sharp vivid results.


You may have these files left around from a previous promotion, a .pdf file proof or the production files from a flyer. Whatever you have just send it to us through our Upload page and we will let you know if these can be used for your design.

you may have the files you need hidden away somewhere

You may have the files you need hidden away from the last project you did.



What Kind of Files?


About file types

some information about graphic files:


Colors - RGB & CMYK


Most Files on the internet and from your digital camera use RGB to display the colors (Red Green and Blue light), however print production uses inks (usually CMYK, or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, although some of our high quality Sign production uses more colors for more vivid output). Inks appear different from a computer screen. The most common effect is that some colors are less bright.


If you are trying to match a particular color, or company logo we need to either have something (a letterhead or business card for example) or a common reference like a pantone color. When we produce both sign and print we endeavor to make all colors that are the same match, however because they use different processes and go on different material, some shifting can occur.


File Size, Pixels VS vectors


Depending on what you want to end up with, the size or "resolution" of the files is important, but only if you are using pixels.


and Pixels are..?


With any picture taken with a digital camera or scanned with a scanner you are creating Pixels. These are tiny squares of colour, usually Red, green and Blue light, the higher the "resolution" usually expressed in dots or pixels per inch, the more detail the picture can hold. The screen you are looking at is 72dpi (dots per inch). take a picture off here and put it on a 10 ft banner, each pixel would be the size of your thumb. This is okay if the banner is fourty feet away, but a problem if your viewer is just outside your store window. if you are putting it on a flyer or a sign, it needs to be at the very least two times bigger than you see it on your screen (or 120-300 dpi).


File formats for Pixels or Bitmaps would be .jpg (the most common), .gif, .tif .bmp
Programs like Adobe Photoshop work almost exclusivley with pixels.


so Vectors would be...


Vectors are outlines. if you had a photo of an apple and you traced it's outline, the outline would be a vector. Many logos are originally vector drawings in programs like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw. The fonts on this page are vectors. Vectors are usually a lot smaller than pixels, they don't need all of that filler with the thousands of little blocks of color. Vectors can be enlarged to any size and still look the same.

File formats of Vectors would be .eps, also a lot of clip art is vector format. you can tell by enlarging and looking for the little blocks of colour.


Programs like Adobe Illustrator are mainly Vector, but the lines are bluring. Illustrator, CorelDraw and many others can bulk up by including Pixels in their files.


Star bitmap star vectortwo files, one a bitmap or pixels, one a vector or .eps.

Enlarge both and in the bitmap you see the individual pixels and the other you see crisp outlines.

Pixelated Vector

Vectors are great for logos and flat colour, but only pixels do good pictures.


If you only have pixels, don't have the original files for your logo or just have a sketch on a paper napkin, we may need to redraw the logo. Our designers have a lot of experience doing this. we will be happy to give you an estimate on any work needed in advance.

In the end the best advice is to call or email. We will work with whatever you send us, if we can't use it, or we need to do extra work to make you look good, we will call you.



Print files from .pdf filesPDF

The best possible file to send is a print ready high resolution .pdf. This Adobe acrobat file format is supported by much of the latest graphic design software. When producing for print/signage, you should aim for the following specifications:



High Resolution PDF

All raster data at least 60-100dpi for signage, 300dpi for print.

All fonts embedded or converted to curves

Files should have 1/8" bleed if necessary.


If the files are produced smaller than the final output (in the case of signage) the scale should be clearly indicated. Also please let us know if there are any spot or special colors we need to match.


Adobe design program files

all programs up to Adobe CS4


We can take Adobe files up to verson CS4 in both Mac and PC formats. This includes Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign files.


Please remember to either convert the fonts to curves or include the fonts with the file.


Coreldraw 12

All Corel up to 12Corel up to version 12, if you are using 13, please save as 12 or convert to .eps or Adobe Ai format




Microsoft Office



Office Files


Often you can create your own design using your Microsoft Office program like Word or Publisher In many cases we can create your print or sign from these files, however extra formatting and design work may be needed. In these cases we will contact you for approval before adding to the cost.


Other Files and Formats

We can take most other file formats produced on either Mac or PC, but please make sure that either the text is converted to curves or all fonts are attached as a compressed file. If there is a problem with the file we will contact you before we proceed.

CorelDraw!, Microsoft Publisher, Word, Excel, Power Point, Pagemaker files may be subject to reformatting charges. Most programs allow data to be exported as PDF, EPS TIF or JPG. This option is recommended to avoid extra charges.


Remember, when you convert your original file to one we cannot edit, we have to print what we have.

We will always advise when we see problems and send hard copy proof when required (please note there is a charge for hard copy proof).


Proof files sent to you


Before we print we will always send a proof to you by email. This file will usually be a lower resolution Adobe .pdf file that should show you exactly how your project will appear when printed. This is only a representation. While all the images and words are correct the colours may differ slightly from the final output. There are many reasons for this; primarily because all screens are slightly different, have slight colour casts and appearance. In addition a computer screen is backlit, images and colours are brighter than ink printed onto paper or vinyl.


If exact colors are an issue, please let us know at the beginning of the project and we will make arrangements to match colors or supply hard copy proofs.



While we make every attempt to ensure the accuracy of a proof, the responsibility to check the content is accurate is the customers responsibility.