6 Tips for Preparing your Trade Show Graphics

Clients ask us all the time about file formats, image sizes, and resolution for their booth graphics. If you are working with a graphic designer or an agency - in most cases they will know how to set-up the files for production.  However, with some basic graphic knowledge under your belt - you should be better equiped to navigate this crazy world of artwork and printing.  Not only will you be able to ask your designer the right questions, provide clearer direction on artwork, but you will have a better experience choosingand producing artwork for your trade show exhibit. 

Below you will find six tips to keep in mind when sending your exhibit house artwork for your booth.

(1) Stick to the Timelines

  • Keep graphics deadlines in mind

  • Digital prints are usually required 3 weeks prior to the ship date (not the show date) and 5 weeks prior for fabric graphics

  • If in doubt, confirm timing with your Account Manager

(2) Use the correct file formats and software for your artwork

To help prepare your file for printing we have some guidelines that should be followed in order to obtain the best results.

Prepare you artwork in a supported based files using:  

Adobe Illustrator - up to CS5

Adobe Photoshop - up to CS5

(3) Check your Artwork Elements

The Basics

Bitmap or Raster
is when the images are resolution dependent.  They cannot scale larger than their established resolution without losing quality, so please...
•   Avoid JPEG compression-even with maximum quality it still has data loss
•  Make sure that your image has enough resolution to maintain the quality at final size output

illustration rely on mathematical equations to represent graphics.  The graphics may be changed without loss of quality and are therefore the preferred when it comes to graphics or logos. Please remember to...  

  • Remove any stray point or elements not needed
  • Avoid transparency in Illustrator files due to separation issues
  • Set Illustrator files colour mode to CMYK and not RGB
  • Convert all text used in Illustrator files to outlines / curves

Quality Control and Resolution
When an image is resized, the pixels stretch and fewer dots are able to fit  within an inch. The larger the dots become, the easier the dots can be seen. This is called pixelation.
*We recommend submitting artwork 150 DPI (dots per inch) or higher

 (4) Provide Pantone Colours when available


The Pantone Matching System was created so colours can be  matched consistently across multiple platforms. Due to different printers, ink and media, not all colours can be precisely duplicated.

CMYK is used in printed graphics, the CMYK model refers  to the four inks used in the printing process; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black)

The colours displayed on your TV or computer monitor are composed of red, green and blue. RBG values are appropriate for digital graphics, like website banners.

We will do our best to come as close as possible to the colours you request. 
We recommend ordering a print proof to approve any colour matches.  If your project requires a Pantone colour match, please reference a Pantone Solid Coated chart. Colour matching and print proofs will involve additional costs and will add extra time to production, so please plan accordingly.

(5) Set Up your Artwork for Production

  • If not submitting images at the full size (100 %), please ensure the ratio is indicated on the proof or the artboard
  • Build the file with the final trim size of the project in mind. Layouts should be in inches or millimetres and proportional to the final output size
  • Always provide a bleed, check with your Account Manager - these may be different for different print methods and substrates
  • Double check all sizes, elements and spot colours in preparation of your project

(6) Send the Right Files

  • Be sure to include any linked or embedded images with job submission
  • Include up-to- date PDF proofs or JPEGs of the absolute final file and indicate any special areas of concern
  • Include all fonts used
  • Include the job within one folder - avoid nesting folders or elements
  • Send all necessary documents, files, proofs and instructions together
  • Only send files necessary for project

This may seem like a lot to remember but your graphic designer or graphic agency should know & be familiar with this.  And don't worry - we will check all the artwork and files when we receive them.  Before we print your graphics - we will send you a pre-press proof and you and your Account Manager can double check all the artwork.