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The comprehensive guide to creating print-ready graphics: Design professional graphics for your trade show booth!

Welcome to the guide for creating print-ready graphics! If you need professional graphics for your trade show booth to showcase your company and visualize your products or services, you've come to the right place. In this guide, you'll learn which software to use for creating print-ready files, why office programs are unsuitable, and important steps to consider in your design process. From bleed and trim marks to vector files and pixel images, we'll cover the essential points to help you achieve optimal results. Keep reading to learn how to professionally prepare graphic data for print and achieve impressive outcomes!

When designing a trade show booth, graphics are typically used to display your company name, logo, and product representations. This may include graphic banners for long-distance recognition or illuminated backlit banners. Correct print data is essential for professionally printing these graphics.

Typically, specialized software like Adobe InDesign (for layouts), Adobe Illustrator (for vector files), or Adobe Photoshop (for pixel-based files) is used to create print-ready files.

Please note that office programs like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint are NOT suitable!

Bleed and trim marks

When placing elements that extend to the edge, it's important to add an appropriate bleed. This ensures that unwanted white borders, known as "blitzers," are avoided on the final printed product. The standard bleed is usually at least 3 mm but may vary depending on post-processing requirements.

To ensure that important information is not cut off during printing, maintain a safety margin of 3 to 10 mm from the inside edge of the final format.

Crop marks and guides

Crop marks are thin black lines on the print sheet that indicate the final format and facilitate clean trimming. When exporting the print file from your layout software, these marks can typically be automatically generated. The corresponding option can be configured in the export settings.

Vector files and pixel images

Vector files consist of simple shapes like lines, circles, polygons, and fonts. They provide scalable and high-quality representations compared to pixel images. A correctly created vector file, such as a company logo, can be resized to various final formats without quality loss.

Pixel images, on the other hand, have limited scalability and may not be suitable for large final formats. However, for printing, pixel images should be saved with a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) or ppi (pixels per inch). Photos and images should be initially created in the correct size and resolution to avoid quality loss through subsequent scaling.

Color spaces and modes

Layouts and graphic documents should be created in the CMYK color mode for printing. Use precise color specifications for spot colors like HKS, Pantone, etc., to avoid color distortion. The RGB mode is only suitable for screen displays, not for printing.

Fonts

For fonts used in graphics, a minimum size of 5-6pt is recommended, while text readability typically requires a size of 12pt. Adjust the font size accordingly, especially for larger print products. Use 100% black for black text instead of a composite color made up of CMYK to avoid color deviations.

When sending layout data (InDesign or Illustrator) for further processing, ensure that all fonts are embedded. If font sharing is not permitted due to licensing reasons, convert texts to outlines in advance.

Saving print files

For print files, it's best to choose formats like PDF, EPS, TIFF, or in specific cases, JPG. The PDF format is the standard for professional print data exchange. Ensure proper settings according to the PDF/X standard (PDF/X3 or PDF/X1a) and select compatibility 1.3 to avoid issues with layers and transparencies, and to streamline the workflow.

In collaboration between trade show agencies, builders, graphic studios, and clients, well-prepared and thoroughly checked graphic data is a factor that can save time, costs, and prevent frustrations and stress caused by printing errors. If you don't have a contact person in your company, we, as a trade show agency, can assist you with the creation, editing, and print-ready preparation of graphic data.

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Konrad-Adenauer-Platz 17a
40885 Ratingen, Germany

T +49 (0)2102 / 891 99 77
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