What You Need To Know: FILE FORMATS EXPLAINED


To better prepare you for your next signage or promotional product purchase, we are putting together a blog series to provide some very useful knowledge on "what you need to know" and most importantly what you should know. Since we are after all Impact Signs and, well, signage is what we do, we know all of the intel that you as the consumer really need to be made aware of. This post is a great stepping stone in the right direction and covers file formats. You will be glad you know what I am about to tell you, so let's get started!

Vector files are an absolute must. I'll repeat; vector files are an absolute must! Inside tip from the professionals here... anytime that you have paid someone to create a logo for your business or personal use, you technically own that logo. More often than not, you will end up reusing that artwork again and again for a number of different things. Do you plan on getting signs made, vehicle lettering installed, business cards, shirts, hats, cups, or any other promotional products produced at a later date? Well, if you answered yes to any of those... guess what... you're going to need the artwork to duplicate it.

It's easiest to obtain this file at the start of the process and the completion of design work. Once you have approved the artwork it's best to ask for a copy of it then. In my thirteen years of working in the sign industry I have first hand witnessed many different opinions about the ownership of artwork and gaining ownership of it. Every sign business has different ideas when it comes to sharing the artwork they have created with the customer. Some places see it as a way to hold their customer hostage and guarantee that they will return any future business to them. We here at Impact Signs do not operate like that, though. We are very upfront and aim for an honest and open communicative relationship with all of our customers. That's why I'm telling you this! Sadly though, those other sign shops will charge you, sometimes multiple times, to use the same artwork over and over... they like to call it things like "set up fees" etc. The problem is, it's your artwork and you own it. So, save yourself some time, money, and aggravation and asked for the file upfront.


Now, here's where some sign shops get sneaky. If you take nothing else from this blog, remember this... always get your artwork sent to you as a "true" EPS format. Sometimes, those sneaky sign shops, if they agree to give you the digital file you've asked for, will send you another file format that they know will not allow for changes later but will appear at first glance as an EPS. You, the customer, receive it and think all is well, but wait.... Without getting too technical, let me explain. Just because it says it's an EPS file doesn't mean it really is. You can open any file and export it as another type of file. In case you didn't know, there are lots of different types of formats to choose from. The problem isn't really obvious until you open it and actually try to manipulate it. These sneaky sign shops do this so that they appease the unknowing customer while still obtaining the actual artwork that, most likely, will be needed to do any future projects. Ultimately guaranteeing future business for themselves. Grrrr! As a customer (and as a honest graphics professional) this cannot be more aggravating. Not only does it not provide what the customer has requested (and paid for) but it also creates a bad reputation for graphic designers in general. Be smart and beat them to the punch!



By this point, you now know that you need to get an EPS type file format. Why is that, though? Well, in short an EPS format allows for any kind of future manipulation of the artwork without loosing any of the quality and crisp sharpness. Have you ever seen an image that appeared pixelated or boxy and fuzzy? Well, most likely it was because the appropriate artwork wasn't available and something like a JPG was used. That high resolution we all so dearly want comes from EPS type files.


When these JPG formats (or similar) are made larger, the small picture is just stretched. This in turn creates a very pixelated image. The only way around this is to recreate the image. In all reality, this can take hours, days, and in some cases, even weeks to duplicate. Time is money and if the customer cannot supply their own artwork or be willing to pay for the graphic designer's time and knowledge, unfortunately the stretched JPG is the only other option. Sometimes, graphic design and artwork fees can end up costing more than the actual product itself and that's where sense of reasoning tends to take place. This would never be an issue had the customer simply gained possession of their EPS format logo in the first place.


On that note, when creating a new logo, do yourself a favor and keep things simple. Simple is always easiest to recreate and will save you lots of money in the long run. We will cover this issue in our next blog post, so make sure you're on the lookout for it. To provide you with the best knowledge possible we are creating a series called "What You Need To Know". These short articles will prepare you for ordering any kind of signage. Good thing for you is, this is the first post so you haven't missed anything yet. In the meantime, here are three other blogs that can help get you ready and more prepared. First, there is a blog about different types of vinyl, another about substrates, and lastly options for vehicle graphics.


The takeaway from this, just in case you've missed it is this: get your digital artwork in an EPS format. Plain and simple! If you need peace of mind that you won't be haggled or given the run around, rest assured that here at Impact Signs we will be nothing but upfront and honest with you through the whole process. We are more than happy to provide you with a true EPS copy of your artwork and won't charge you any extra for providing that service to you. We also do our best to fit each client with the best options available to them. Be it budget, time, or size, we can offer the best recommendations available out there. Give us a call today at 940-234-7746 and we'll start building that trusted professional relationship with you that you'll rely on for years to come. Of course, if you would prefer to drop by in person, we are conveniently located at 2303 Old Jacksboro Highway in Wichita Falls, Texas 76301. Before you go, please like, comment, and share. As always, take care and we'll talk to ya' soon!

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