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How to get the Best Quality Graphic for your Sign

Making a good sign is a lot of work – trust us! Not only do placement, font selection and size, sign shape, height, lighting and other factors need to be considered when printing and hanging the perfect sign, but the graphic design process can be difficult if you go into it without knowing much about graphics selection. Luckily, MRC Signs are experts you can trust in this and every department, and we’ll make sure your graphics turn out clear, well-placed and perfect for your company.

We figured you might be interested in the process we undertake to create your sign graphic, so we’ve written up a basic guide to designing and printing the perfect image!

Get the original image file right. If the image you want to blow up and put on your sign is poor-quality to begin with, it’ll be an uphill climb making it look better when it’s larger; short of somehow recreating the entire image, it’s pretty much impossible to take a poor-quality image and improve it while also scaling it upwards in size.

Use Vector, not Raster, Images. Wait, wait – what’s vector? What’s raster?? If you haven’t heard these terms before, don’t worry; they’re specific to the graphic design industry, but once you understand what they mean, you’ll have taken a step in the right direction when choosing an image for your sign. To start, images that are “vector-based” (which take the forms of some .pdfs, .ai, .svg and .eps) are always the better choice to be “blown up” for signage purposes because they are calculated mathematically. They maintain their integrity when made larger because they adhere to a mathematic formula that maintains their dimensions. Raster graphics, however, which are .jpg, .bmp, .gif, .png, .tif, etc. on your computer, will simply “stretch” when sized larger; the pixels get larger, rather than multiplying, which gives the eventual impression of blocks of color and evident blurriness. Raster images cannot be converted to vectors.

Obtain high-quality photos if you need one for signage. Unfortunately, photos can’t be vectorized because they are, in a sense, too complicated; vectors can’t be images with a lot of gradients of color. A high-resolution raster image (which category includes photos) can be stretched larger than a lower-quality one, however, so a good-quality photo can be made into a fairly large image. A cell-phone image probably won’t do the trick, whereas a photo from a digital SLR camera could suffice for your project.

Trust the Pros. Every type of sign or visual advertisement – from car wrap graphics and digital graphics to printed banners or billboards – requires special design tactics to optimize your graphics, whether they’re photographs or vectored logos. While every business owner should know the basics of how to enhance their visual presence, the professionals in our Graphics department will take care of the details to make sure your sign or graphic comes out exactly as you imagined it.