Monthly Archives: May 2012
Recently we received an order from a faculty member of Menlo-Antherton High School. Their school's Robotics Team, The Bears, just won Regionals and were headed on their way to State Championships. They wanted a big 10' x 4' banner printed but there was one problem, this was their art file... Given the time sensitivity of our client's needs and the simplicity of their design, the sophisticated group of handsome gentlemen that toil endlessly in the Design Department here at Banner4sale (O.K., my opinion might be a LITTLE biased :P), decided to step up to the plate and recreate Menlo-Antherton's robotics banner so they could get it just in time for their big event! We spent countless hours pouring our blood, sweat, and tears into fabricating the perfect recreation of our Client's art so that it's mother would mistake it for her own offspring if she saw it.... just kidding. It actually took us a couple of minutes in illustrator and BOOM, Da Bears had Da Banner! Get a look at these intelligent fresh faced youngsters!!! I sure wish I knew how to program the VCR at their age, let alone build a robot. It's for the best I guess, if I was smart enough to build my own robot, I'd probably use it to play dirty tricks on all my friends who borrowed my CD's and never gave them back. >:)
We all know that a high quality image can add a lot to a design in terms of style and depth. However, when designing a banner there are somethings to consider before using just any old image out of your point and shoot or getting a photo off google images. A banner is a much larger canvas then a normal photo would be printed on and most images on the web are optimized to load quickly, which means small image-size and low resolution. If you were to do a google search for images of puppies, chance are most images would not be a high enough resolution to work on a banner. For example the image I have selected is 500x309 pixels, this makes it about 1.75 x 1 inches, which would not work. If that images was at 300dpi, and we scaled it to our minimum 75 dpi it would be 6.5 x 4, which still would not work. Keep in mind that since most images are optimized for the web they will be at 72 dpi. Digital cameras have come a long way since they were first introduced. If you are using your camera on the highest allowable settings then the image might be a high enough resolution to be blown up on a banner. However, chances are your settings are set lower then the maximum so that you can store more photos on your memory card. A good alternative is to look at is buying stock images to use for your banner. Two good placed to start are www.istock.com and www.shutterstock.com. Both of these places allow your to purchase images at a reasonable price, they are easy to use and have tons of photos. If you are having a hard time finding a photo you could also take is to hire a professional photographer to take photos for you. This way you can get the exact pictures you want. Just some things to consider when you are looking for an image for your next banner.
Bitmap Vs. Vector for Banner Design
I know that sentence sounds like some sort of snappy new video game title or words from some kind goofy moon language, but these are actually two completely different image file types that can make or break your banner. In today's blog post you will learn the difference between the 2 formats, and hopefully gain enough information to assist you in the future when choosing which one to use for printing. Here's the same image at the same size, the one on the left is a Bitmap image, the one on the left is a Vector image. Both look the same, right? Plus you watch alot of TV! A magical world where any time anybody on any TV show needs a picture blown up, they just mash the keyboard until the computer scales the image perfectly (before creating a rotating 3D wireframe), right!? Wrong! TV is fake, computers can't do that, and Santa doesn't exist. Here's the same 2 logos blown up at 400%... ... The Vector logo on the right looks crisp and clean, whereas the Bitmap image on the left looks kind of sad and pathetic. How did this happen, why does one look clearer than the other, and what's the difference between the 2 formats? I'll tell you. Bitmap images (JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG) are comprised of a series of hundreds of thousands of tiny little colored dots (or pixels, as they're referred to in the nerd community). The quality of a Bitmap image hinges on how many dots fill a square inch, also known as DPI (Dots Per Inch). The higher the DPI, the more dots per square inch, the better the image quality. Bitmap images can generally only be scaled down and still maintain image clarity. The only time they can be enlarged is if the native file has a relatively high DPI, but it comes at a cost. Enlarging the image lowers the DPI during the scaling process, which severely limits the scaling abilities of Bitmap files. After a certain point, a Bitmap image will start to look like a crappy old video game because it will run out of pixels to compensate for the change in size. Vector images (AI, CDR, PDF) are comprised of a series of lines and algorithms that calculate the colors and shapes used in the image and how to scale it properly. This means that you can shrink and expand a vector file to any size you can think of and it will still look the same every time. Vector files allow a Designer or yourself to apply your art more easily to various projects because in addition to having no real size constraints, every little element be it a specific line or color, can be manipulated individually without affecting the image as a whole. Does this mean that one file type is better than the other? It really depends on what kind of project they will be used for. Vector images are ideal for Logos and Artwork that will be applied to various different mediums. A perfect example of this would be a Business that needs to use the same corporate logo for business cards, letter heads, envelopes, advertisements, emails, billboards, and signs. A Vector image would allow them to scale their logo to fit every single one of those uses and while still looking exactly the same every time. A Bitmap image is usually used for photographic quality images. That means if you take an embarrassing photo of your little brother and want to blow it up to a larger size to use for a banner to hang at a social gathering to publicly humiliate him for going into your room when you weren't home (it happens), it's going to have to be a Bitmap image. Just make sure that it's taken at a high DPI because it wont have the same effect if it ends up looking like a blocky flesh colored mess instead of a clear photo of him sucking his thumb in his sleep.
Adding depth to your banner designs will help them to appear more professional and will guarantee that they're a step above the rest. When we think of depth, the first thing that comes to mind is perspective in illustration, but you can also achieve this by paying attention to the way all of your elements fit together.
Adding texture to your banners is one way to make sure the background is more interesting and, at the same time, it helps your main elements to stand out against something other than a plain flat color. You can search for or create your own high resolution textures. When searching for textures, you should make sure that, if they're raster images, they're high enough resolution to fit the size banner that you're creating. Otherwise, the background will look pixelated. Seamless patterns are another way to guarantee your texture spans across the entire size of the banner. Seamless patterns are swatches created in a way that all sides meet up to create a repeating pattern that tiles itself throughout a shape in the same way a color fill would. Whichever you use, it's always best to keep textures subtle. Make sure it falls into a muted color and doesn't take away from the main elements of the banner.
A simple design can be made to look professional and clean when using gradients. In the same way that textures should be made subtle, a gradient is also best when used sparingly. Subtle gradients are modern, especially when used with a pleasing color palette. Let the colors blend together slowly and over a large span of space.
Depth of field
Try using images in the background in a way where they drop out of focus. You can blur the image and put it behind the main elements or pull back the transparency to make the object drop into the background. Another thing to remember is that different colors will cary different visual waits. This means that things like cool, dark colors tend to recede into the background of the design, while warm, bright colors tend to move to the forefront.
Here at banner4sale, we do our best to make your experience as quick and easy as possible. Today I am going to address two of the biggest things that hinder and slow this process, embedding images and outlining fonts. If you are placing an image into your file or linking to another file, please make sure to embed everything into the file you are going to upload. This ensures that your linked image or file comes attached to your artwork. Otherwise in most cases a empty box will just display where your image was supposed to be, or it will do its best to display your image, but this usually occurs with a loss of resolution. The other key thing to do is to outline all fonts when uploading a document with any text. If your text is not outlined and we do not have the fonts on our computers then your font will not be displayed correctly. Both of these things are quick and easy to do before you upload your files and help ensure that you have a wonderful experience with us.
Check out the new billboard installed this week. Don't forget to come out for the Stanley Donwood