The Ultimate Custom Poster Printing Guide
Everything You Need to Know from Designing to Printing Posters
No matter how good your creative concepts are, it is the printing that gives justice to your designs. That is why it is important to set the correct resolution, colors, and format of your custom posters. This Ultimate Poster Printing Guide will help you put together the ultimate movie, concert, or any events poster you need.
FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 MOVIE POSTER BACKGROUND VECTORS
Check our Movie Poster Background Vectors that you can use in making your own posters. These posters have different feel to it with minimal style you can enjoy adding more elements to make it more customized. Download these vectors through Tweets or Facebook Shares. Hope you like them!
CAMERA RESOLUTION FOR POSTER PRINTING
Digital pictures are made up of tiny colored dots called pixels. The more dots in the picture, the higher the resolution; therefore, the larger pictures you can print. The maximum resolution of a digital camera is usually measured in millions of pixels called megapixels (MP).
Camera pictures are going to be bitmapped images, made of lots of individual pixels. To ensure your picture looks good when you print it full sized on a poster, it pays to do a little calculation.
Set your camera for the highest possible resolution. If you lower the resolution of a picture you can’t get high resolution prints of your photo.
Printers are still largely measuring print resolution in dots per inch (dpi); a dot is essentially a pixel. An old, low end fax machine might be 200 dots per inch; a laser printer might be 1,200 dots per inch. 300 dots per inch is usually considered an acceptable resolution for printing.
The 300 dpi rule is important for material that will be examined closely, but the further away people are while looking at your work, the less necessary it is to have high resolution images. The rule of thumb that I've seen in commercial printing is 100 dpi for every ten feet away you intend to view the picture.
CMYK COLOR MODE
CMYK and RGB
CMYK or Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (black) are colors used in printing. These inks reflect the light on the substrate they are applied on. RGB (red, green, blue), on the other hand, are used in electronic devices as these absorb the light to display colors. CMYK inks are combined to create a gamut of colors. This said, you have to convert the color mode in your desktop or laptop from RGB to CMYK to get more precise color match of your poster layout to the printed copy.
Printing services accept design files that have been converted to CMYK. Check the color conversion table below from RGB to CMYK:
Here is an example of the RGB image converted to CMYK. Notice how they differ in color:
Image in RGB format
CMYK image after conversion
Go to RGB2CMYK to convert your RGB images/photos to CMYK.
Here are steps on how to set up CMYK color mode in different designing programs:
1. In starting a new project, select CMYK for the color mode. If you’re working with an existing file, select the following menu options: Image—Mode— CMYK.
2. Check how your files are going to look by turning on the “CMYK preview” mode.
3. Do not make change color modes repeatedly because every time you switch, you lose image quality and multiple shifts will reflect on the clarity of your final design.
1. Select File—Document color mode—CMYK color.
2. Stick to CMYK and Grayscale color models.
3. When working with Pantone colors, make sure that you convert them into CMYK mode or leave them as spot colors to be able to print spot color inks.
1. Use the following menu options: Edit—Edit Colors—Show Colors in Use—Highlight Color and click Edit. Work around the “Edit Colors” dialog box.
2. Change model to CMYK and deselect Spot color. Use only CMYK model and Pantone coated model ink definitions.
3. Control carefully the colors to be separated into CMYK and which should remain as spot colors. It’s quite challenging to convert colors in Quark.
Be mindful that not all RGB colors can be converted to CMYK. This is because there are RGB colors that are out of the CMYK array. When this happens, the closest CMYK shade to that specific RGB color is used. (Make sure you give the CMYK converted file to your trusted printing company as these services normally don’t cover color conversion.)
Bulk or Large Format Posters
Advanced digital printers have enabled high quality printing of posters on different paper sizes. There used to be limited paper options produced on these machines, but now you can customize poster sizes from 8" x 8" to 120” x 59”. There are two types of digital poster printing — bulk and large format. Check the advisable process for your poster specs by checking our comparison table below:
FILE FORMAT GUIDE
There are two types of images based on file types
Bitmap images are made up of colored dots or pixels in a grid. Pixels are tiny dots of individual color that make up what you see on your screen. All these tiny dots of color create the images you see. It is also known as raster images. The resolution of raster images are dependent and resizing affects the image quality. An example of bitmap image is a scanned photo. Example of bitmap formats are .bmp, .jpeg and .psd.
Vector Images are composed of lines and shapes with different attributes such as color, fill and outline. These objects are defined by mathematical equations rather than pixels, so they always render at the highest quality. Its resolution is independent and scaling or resizing the images will not affect its quality or resolution. It has smaller file size but we don’t advise this file format for posters that serve as photo-realistic reproduction.
These are the common file types used in poster printing.
RECOMMENDED CAMERA MEGAPIXELS FOR DIFFERENT POSTER SIZES
If you are planning to make a poster out of a photo, remember that the megapixels (1 megapixel = 1 million pixels) in your camera determine image clarity — more pixels, higher resolution. Meaning, there is also maximum print sizes you can achieve for given number of megapixels. This chart shows the Maximum print Sizes for Common Camera Megapixels
CHOOSING PAPER TYPE FOR POSTERS
Paper type is important for posters because it defines the overall appearance of your prints. Posters are commonly glossy to make the design colors vibrant; the luster makes prints attractive even from afar. However, matte is a good choice if you want to use unconventional finish for posters.
Paper Types for Posters:
Has the widest color range for vibrant colors Too much glare - not advisable for locations with bright lighting conditions Shows fingerprints (but can easily be wiped off without ruining the print)
Most popular type for posters Glossy paper with reduced gloss compared to UV or high gloss paper Fewer fingerprints smudges
Has the least sheen among the three types Elegant finish No evident fingerprint smudges
We offer posters in standard and custom sizes on different kinds of paper stock. If you have questions or clarifications about custom poster printing or our other services, call us at 1-888-888-4211 or launch our live chat for assistance!
Puppies: West Midlands Police via wikimedia commons cc
Dot/inch - Pixel/inch Conversion Table: endmemo
RGB to CMYK Conversion Table: rapidtables
Poster Size Mega Pixel Table: photos.walmart
For more information on custom poster printing, feel free to call our friendly customer support at 1-888-888-4211 or click the Live Chat Assistance button at the top of the page.
You can watch this video to Learn the Simple Ways to Print Posters at UPrinting!