Last week we discussed photo editing for large format banners and how a well processed, level adjusted and color-corrected photo can draw much more attention and leave a lasting impression over raw, unedited and unfinished photos. If you aren’t using photos as much as you’re relying on type and graphics to convey your message, however, the ways you edit your photo files will differ. You may want to create a finished product that is sharp, sleek and modern. If, on the other hand, you want a somewhat more nostalgic feel, you can convincingly replicate the old screen-printed look of vintage posters even on a digitally printed retractable banner stand.
- First, in Photoshop, take advantage of the opaqueness of layers. If you’re adding an element on top of another, such as text over a photo or graphic, set the opacity at 90% rather than 100%. It’ll mimic the way color would show through in screen-printing.
- You can also use the Gaussian Blur filter to subtly soften text and graphics, in the way printed materials would bleed slightly rather than remain razor-sharp like on a digital print. The amount of blur to use will vary depending on size and detail, but generally less than 2% is plenty.
If you’re trying to get attention on a busy trade show floor with a portable banner stand or simply want to make an attractive sign or poster for your office–showroom or retail environment–you want to display the best possible pictures. That means proper lighting, an attractive subject and a decent camera, sure, but much of what makes a photograph memorable or appealing happens after the photo is actually taken.
The old masters used to spend their time in darkrooms, meticulously modifying contrast levels and brightnesses to make the greatest possible end result. Today we have things a lot easier. The darkroom has been replaced by Adobe Photoshop, and the chemicals and trays have been replaced by easily editable menu commands. Here’s a couple of easy tips to produce great prints for your large format banners.
- Levels (Command-L): Avoid the Brightness & Contrast menu item and instead adjust those values in Levels. It will make a much smoother, richer and more complex final product, and you can fine tune the levels to bring out the deepest shadows and brightest highlights without muddling the photo or washing anything out.
- Color Balance (Command-B): Color correct every photo you use with Color Balance. Up the reds and yellows for a warmer, even nostalgic look. Or increase the blues and greens for a cooler, more reserved photo. It depends on what mood you’re trying to evoke and who you’re trying to reach.
Minimalism in art and design refers to the principal of reducing a subject down to only its necessary elements. It’s a practice that has existed since at least the mid-20th century, but gained popularity and a considerable following in the ’60s and ’70s. It’s even more popular today, as minimalist compositions (sometimes in name only) have become a standard part of graphic design online.
You can trace the origins of Minimalism back to the traditional art of Japan, which often emphasized white space and as few lines as possible to convey a scene. Even more instrumental in the advent of Minimalism is the De Stijl movement from the Netherlands in the early 20th century. These artists advocated abstract shapes and lines over realistic forms and emphasized geometric forms rather than fluid or changing shapes. De Stijl artists were also fond of using only pure primary colors and black and white. Like Minimalism, De Stijl sought to express ideas using only the most basic elements.
Minimalism expanded this concept somewhat, but kept the basic idea of “Less is more,” as Minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe has said. Designer Dieter Rams famously modified Mies’ motto slightly: “Good design is as little design as possible.”
Today, the tenants of Minimalism live on in contemporary design. In designing large format banners, simple elements with lots of clean white space continue to attract the eye. It’s a helpful philosophy to keep in mind when creating your own retractable banners.
Looking for out of the ordinary places to promote your business? Have you exhausted the usual channels of newspaper spots, park benches and billboards? Need something more than the retractable banner stands at the office? Why not try somewhere guaranteed to get noticed, located in high traffic areas where people naturally congregate? Bus shelters are located on streets that see heavy foot traffic so you know people will be walking right by your ad day and night, and because they’re at eye level, rather than higher or lower like billboards and benches, respectfully, you can be assured your ads will not get overlooked. Plus, because people are going to be waiting at the bus shelter anyway, you have a built-in audience.
With bus shelter advertising, you can get your message out across the city. We print full color, high quality posters for the highest visibility, and with the bus shelter backlighting, that high visibility is the same day and night. Use our large format banners to bring attention to your products and services in one of the most visible and effective ways in high traffic, highly seen areas. Let us help you create an effective advertising campaign with bus shelters.
For the office there are backlit signs; for the store there are posters and floor graphics; for the showroom there are large format banners, and for the tradeshow floor there are retractable banner stands. But how do you get your message out to the rest of the world? How do you get the word out to find potential clients and customers to come into those stores, offices and showrooms in the first place?
If your company has a truck or van, or even if you have a personal car, you could turn your daily deliveries and commutes into prime advertising. Promote your business to everyone you pass with decals and vehicle wraps. You already own the space, so use it to your benefit. No one will miss your message when you turn your vehicle into a mobile, highly visible billboard.
Vehicle wraps and custom decals are made with high quality, weather-resistant vinyl, so your graphics won’t fade, peel or wash away. Plus, they can be die cut to any size or shape you want. Use as much or as little of your available space as needed. You can be confident your message will be seen, and it won’t disappear from the local paper at the end of the week. Vehicle wraps and decals are graphics that will never go away!
Today, you can print whatever you want on just about any material you can imagine, from posters and billboards to retractable banners, vehicle wraps and decals, but the use of printing techniques and materials came gradually. The earliest form of printing is known as woodblock printing and dates back to at least the 3rd century C.E. Using this technique, a woodblock is carved to form a relief and then dipped in ink and pressed on paper or cloth to leave a print.
Woodblock printing was the standard method of reproducing images and text until the advent of movable type, beginning in China in the 11th century and eventually popularized by Johannes Gutenberg with his Gutenberg Bible in 1455. Moveable type uses the same basic concept as woodblock printing, casting letterforms in metal to be arranged to form a page, inking the typeset and then pressing it onto paper.
It wasn’t until the late 18th century that lithography allowed an image to be transferred from a stone or metal plate onto a printing surface. Allowing reproductions of images and text to be produced cheaply and efficiently, lithography quickly became the most common form of printing technology. When combined with offset printing in the late 19th century and screen printing a few years later, printing was brought into the modern age, allowing for printed publications, clothing and even our own large format banners.
Since at least the 20th century, artists of all kinds have been using the golden ratio in their work. Although many believe the golden ratio has been employed by artists for millennia, from modern and contemporary art back through Medieval paintings and manuscripts to Greek architecture and even the Great Pyramids.
In essence, the golden ratio is merely a ratio that looks pleasing to the human eye whether it’s used on a painting canvas, in page design or in architecture. The number itself is found when the ratio of the sum of two quantities is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. It would look like a+b over a is equal to a over b. The number itself, to the tenth decimal space, is 1.6180339887.
The golden ratio is used often in design, especially in congruence with the golden spiral, which breaks the smaller quantities down further using the golden ratio. These shapes attract the eye and allow it to follow a natural path on the page or screen. You can employ the golden ratio and golden scale in your own designs; it doesn’t have to be an exact science, but dividing your art on large format banners and portable banner stands in this way make for a more appealing visual message, attracting more viewers overall.
Original televisions built with cathode ray tubes produced their own light, but as televisions switched over to liquid crystal displays, they needed to find another source of illumination to produce a visible image. The solution was backlighting, illuminating the LCD screen from the side or back of the display panel rather than the front.
Backlights are used in many applications, including on small displays found on music players, book readers and portable gaming systems to increase readability in low-light conditions. Wristwatches also use backlighting, as do computer displays.
Backlighting is typically produced with light emitting diodes (or LEDs) but can also be made using an electroluminescent panel, or cathode fluorescent lamps. However it is created, backlighting makes displays more legible and draws attention to itself in either light or dark environments. But LCD screens are not the only things that can be backlit. You can also backlight your signs for showrooms, offices or retail use.
Much more conspicuous than portable banner stands and able to cover enough space for large format banners, backlit signs are a great way to add ambiance to your store or office, or set you apart from the competition at a trade show. Plus, they are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Find out more about backlit signs at our website.
Thanks to the advent of both the Internet and cheap, available word processing and graphic programs, typography has found itself in the strange position of being both rediscovered by a new generation, while also simultaneously being ignored by most as an art form altogether. While type in posters and advertisements used to be handled by experienced graphic designers, today anyone can design their own marketing materials and typography has been largely lost in the shuffle.
For the Web, where fonts are often displayed very small, it takes a backseat to simple legibility and ease of use. But on large format banners, your font becomes very important. Here’s some simple tips to make your font, and your graphics, look the best they can.
- Choose Typefaces Carefully: You may not be able to tell the difference between Arial and Helvetica with a glance, but many people can, especially when displayed on a large retractable banner stand. (Helvetica, by the way, is the way to go.) Also make sure you’re using print typefaces and not web typefaces like Calibri or Verdana.
- Use Bold Type for Titles: Draw attention to your graphics with bold text. Helvetica Bold or Black work great for large type, as does Trade Gothic and Futura Heavy.
- Space Type Evenly: One of the most frequently ignored elements of typography is the tracking, or space in between each letter in a word. Try to make these spaces even, and watch out for gaps created by awkward letter combinations.
What do shower curtains, shoe heels, and golf balls have to do with high-quality, durable outdoor posters? Each is, or was once, made with vinyl. One of the most versatile and the second most used plastic in the world, it was discovered on accident at least twice, first in France in the 1830s and later in the 1870s in Germany. However, it was not until the 1920s that it was truly used and by an American inventor named Waldo Semon who created some 5,000 other synthetics, but none capable of preserving the Beatles with superior capture of the original sound waves. Originally known as PVC, polyvinyl chloride, it was used in tubing and wiring, including wiring in many US Navy ships in World War II.
Nowadays, though, what are the advantages of ordering large format banners made of vinyl? Well, the first answer is flexibility. Vinyl is lightweight and travels easily, but is still durable enough to put up with most anything the weather might throw at it, making them great for the outdoors. The other big advantage to vinyl is that it captures color exceptionally well. If you want your beautiful, distinctive, vivid design to really stand out, vinyl is the ideal substance to print it on, and we can work with you to establish your custom specifications for all your banners or banner stands. The last, is, obviously, how very cost effective the material can be, nowhere more so than right here at Mega Format.