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 File Preperation Guidelines:

Pre-Press File Preparation Guidelines

Requested File Specs:

Please embed ALL Photos and Fonts in your native layout file. Make sure to keep unmodified version of your file, in the event we need the original with text outlines and images flattened. Please, no Photoshop PDF's that include text.

Convert all Photoshop files to an equivalent layout file or Acrobat PDF.

Acceptable Layout programs include: InDesign, Quark, Freehand, Illustrator.  (Illustrations are ok)

Convert RGB to CMYK prior to export.

Exact PMS colors not guaranteed. Convert PMS Colors to their PMS to Process CMYK equivalent.
Use Color Bridge for 4 color work.  Special materials/sizes or substrates, may require additional order/production time.

ALL Black text must be c=0%  M=0%  Y=0%  K=100%.  (Created in Layout Program or AI)
Fax/send a color separated copy of image if possible. (most color sep errors can be caught here)

The text in reverses must be a min of 6 pt. for Sanserif, 8 pt. for Serif, and 12 pt. for specialty fonts.

Create gradients in Photoshop using % of color 1 to % of color 2.  Avoid % of color % white - place images in layout program at 1 to 1 ratio (final intended size) @ 300dpi.

Transparencies and Shadows. (Don't USE if at all possible!!)

Make sure to remove ALL Transparencies and shadows before sending us your files.
If Shadows or Transparencies are used, create that portion in Photoshop, then convert to a file with a "Transparent" or "Clear" background.. Such as A PSD or TIFF file.
Then place image file into illustrator.
Make sure the background that the now "Transparent file is a Single layer, not a masked or flattend layer.. Transparencies and Shadow problems will not show up until AFTER the file is printed, so please make these changes. We are able to catch certain file problems on the fly, but print files as-is. 

We are unable to see Transparencies and shadow problems before your job goes to print.
So please design your file as noted above to reduce the chance of transparency or Shadows
causing unexpected effects to your design.

Transparencies and Shadow errors don't often show up on desktop printers, but do when printed with a commercial printer that uses RIP software.

What Causes Banding?
Many things can cause banding. Banding can be caused by the program that it is exported from, such as Indesign or Corel. Also, too many gradient steps, for example going from a very light color to a dark color, in a small area will cause banding.

To prevent this, check your digital files before sending. If you use a gradient, make sure it has enough room for a smooth transition.

Preferred Programs
1. Adobe Illustrator 9 CS3
2. Adobe Photoshop

*** Convert all text to curves,paths, or outlines in Corel, Illustrator , Freehand and Quark


1. 3.5 floppy
2. Zip 100mb
3. Super Disk
4. CD
5. Jazz 1 or 2 gig


1. Hard Copy proof MUST be submitted or faxed with the electronic file.  Also, indications for SIZE must be clearly marked on hard copy.

2.  The page layout file must be in correct proportion to the final size.

3.  Submit screen and printer fonts used in file preparation (for Quark, Publisher, PageMaker & Corel Draw)
4.  Submit any transparencies or reflective art to be scanned.

5.  Scans provided by the client should be:
    A. Vehicle 100dpi @ actual output size
    B. Mural/ Large wall graphic 300dpi @ actual output size
    C. Interior wall close view POP graphic 720 @ actual output size


1.  Save logo/text as an EPS Illustrator version 10
2.  Convert ALL text - Logos to outlines
3.  Check your logos for overlapping segments
4.  Cut Ready files will be cut as submitted


1.  Document scale 1 inch = 1 foot
(ie. A 2'x6' banner size send file as 2 inches x 6 inches with a final dimension of 2.25" x 8.25")
( .125" bleed on each side) (DO NOT place any text or import any graphic elements closer than .125 from the edge)

2.  Resolutions required for Banners depends on  intended viewing distances:

    5 feet or less @ 1200dpi
    5-9 feet send @ 900dpi
    10-50 feet send @ 600dpi
    50+ feet send @ 300dpi

NOTE: Files may also be sent 1 to 1 ratio @ 300dpi for files less than 50mb

3.  Resolution:

    All images must be a min of 300dpi (dots per inch) or ppi (pixels per inch) at a 1 to 1 ratio

NOTE:  DO NOT artificially increase a lower resolution image to a high resolution by increasing the dpi.The quality of your image will NOT be improved.

4.  Outlines Fonts:

    All fonts must be converted to outlines when submitting files: .AI, PDF, ESP;
    this will help maintain a nice crisp font.

5.  Black :

    C= 0%
    Y= 0%
    K= 100%

6. Rich Black:

    Rich BLACK

7. Color

    CMYK max = 300%

    Ie:  C=75%   C=100%
          M=75%   M=90%
          Y=75%    Y=10%
          K=75%    K=100%

8. Line Thickness:

    Min. line thickness @ .25pt

    Recessed min @ .50pt



Work starts once we have received your approved proof by both parties.  We work with our clients to accommodate their sensitive deadlines.  We also offer rush services for a small fee.

Changing your order or asking for additional options may add to the production timeline.

We accept files 7 days a week on-line, but our staff will receive your files during our regular work week (Monday-Friday) ( 9am to 5pm CST) We are closed on most holidays and weekends. 
One of our specialists will notify you if they see a problem with your file via fax or e-mail.

On occasions we run short of materials, if this occurs you will be notified immediately to see if the additional time needed to order materials fits your timeline.

We reserve the right to make substitutions for like or better materials, without notification. If we determine that an upgrade material is to be used, it is at NO additional costs to our customer.


Payment Policies for on-line purchases is in advance.

If using our on-line store, each product has a posted price and your order will be totaled at checkout.
Custom Estimates/jobs are also billed in advance.  Please complete the on-line Estimate Request Form.
Our Estimates are good for 30 days.

Pricing depends on a variety of factors: job size, materials, finishing, rush services, shipping and custom requests.


We accept most popular credit cards, pay pal, P-CARDS, government credit cards and debit cards and personal checks (if submitting a personal check your order will be processed after the check has cleared).  We also upon approval accept school and government Purchase Order Numbers.


Unfortunately because our signs and banners are custom, we cannot accept returns. If your order is damaged during shipping, the customer must contact the company  who shipped the product.
If you receive a damaged package, DO NOT open it until you have contacted the shipping company and find out what their policy is concerning damage.


We highly recommend you request a Hard Copy Proof for color sensitive jobs, as colors can and will change  depending on different variables.

CMYK Color Mode:

All files must be submitted in CMYK color mode.  Files submitted in other color standards saved as RGB,
Will be converted automatically to CMYK - Conversions from one color mode to another may cause color shifts.


Images that must be printed to the edge must have a ¼ (for signs) or ½ (for Banners) beyond the edge of the final size, to allow for cutting tolerances.


Text or Artwork you wish to be saved after cutting must be 1/8  to 1/4  within the safety zone


The best color for window lettering is WHITE, because windows have shadows behind and reflections in the front, WHITE shows up better than any other color.

For two colors we recommend using WHITE as one of your color choices (ie white on red or gold on white).


Need Help? Don't want to purchase specialty software programs? Let AZ Sign Shop's talented & qualified Design Team create the perfect design for all of your sign and banner needs.

We offer set prices for most of our design services, that lets you take control of the costs.


Not sure if your files are submitted correctly?  Need them corrected? Don't have CUT or PRINT ready files?
AZ Sign Shop can convert most customer supplied files to the correct format from most applications.


We are currently creating FIXED fee rates for all of our Design Services.  If you do not see a price for what you are looking for please send us your file and submit an estimate request form and we will give you a firm Design price.

Most jobs are charged at $65 per hour.


Cut Ready/Simple Logo/Text/ up to 5 lines layout FREE
Window Lettering Design $69.95


Basic Design @ 29.95
. Text Only
. One Color
. White Background

Intermediate Design@$39.95
White Background

Supreme Design @$59.95
Full Color
Digitally Printed


Below are some additional tips and guidelines that will help you design a better file for production

If at all possible, avoid using fonts smaller than 8pt. If you have to use those sizes print at a higher resolution of 400 or 500 dpi.

When using thin typefaces, use a layout program such as Illustrator, Indesign, or a similar program. Bitmap images are difficult to control, and can cause irregularities.
Watch out for trapping, which occurs when a color area or letter form is expanded slightly to overlap the color next to it. With small text, this can look messy and muddy.
When using hairlines (lines below 3/10 of a point) require special attention to the colors around them.
When using Microsoft programs to design your files, always create a PDF file to send to us.


Creating your files in a non post-script  program will result in you being charged additional fees as we will have to re-build your files so that they are compatible with our systems. (Word, Excel, Publisher and Power Point are an example of non post script programs, save your files from these as a PDF)

When using Microsoft programs you must save your documents as a PDF or JPG using Acrobat Writer or other free PDF creation programs available on the internet.

When submitting a InDesign or Quark file, zip the entire file hierarchy as it links in the source document.  When using digital painting programs like Corel Painter or Corel Draw save your files as a PDF or .TIFF

Preferred file types that will save your money:

File Types:

Encapsulated postscript (.EPS)
Illustrator  (.AI)
Photo shop (.PSD)
Quark Xpress (.QXD)
InDesign (.INDD)
Freehand (.FH#)

The below formats may incur additional re-design fees

Word (.DOC)
Publisher (.PUB)
PowerPoint (.PPT)
Excel (.XLS)

If submitting a file created in a Microsoft program, turn it into a PDF.


If you need help with sending us your files , in our preferred format, call our toll free number
1-888-711-2717 and one of our Graphic Design experts will assist you.


Why purchase a magnetic vehicle sign?

One, it's an economical and convenient way to advertise.
We recommend ordering magnetic signs for temporary use, if you intend it for long term use we recommend purchasing RTA vinyl lettering or decals.

If cared for and maintained, magnetic signs last from 3 to 9 months depending on whether it is vinyl or digital and the environmental conditions of your area.

Before ordering a magnetic product verify that the surface you will be applying it to is magnetic receptive, ie: many cars now have plastic parts to them, that are not magnetic.

An easy test is to put a refrigerator magnet over the area you plan on applying your magnet.
If your vehicle has been in an accident and a bonding material used to repair it, magnets will NOT adhere to the area the bonding material was applyed to.
If your vehicle has been recently painted within the past three months, it may interfere with adhesion.


When your magnet is not in use, store it in a clean dry place; the preferred method of storage is to store it on a flat , level surface like a filing cabinet or appliance.
DO NOT put your magnet on the back seat, truck bed or in the trunk, because even the slightest bump may hurt your magnet and cause it to loose its adhering quality and/or cause digital magnets to delaminate or crack. Avoid placing objects on top of your magnets. Do not stack with magnetic sides facing each other.


Before applying your magnet sign to a receptive surface, be sure all surface paints, clear coats and waxes are cured or hardened.
Clean the metallic surface and the magnet with mild detergent and rinse well, also clean with rubbing alcohol, wipe with a soft cloth or allow to air dry.
(approximate curing time: new paint approx. 90 days; clear coat approx. 60 days; wax 2 days)


Affix to a smooth, flat or gently curve metallic surface; make sure that the entire magnet is flat against the metal surface (no air pockets or bubbles).
If you place the magnet in the wrong position, completely remove and reaffix.  Do not drag the magnet across your surface or it may stretch or scratch the surface.

Avoid use on horizontal metal surfaces frequently exposed to direct sunlight or temperatures exceeding 150 degrees F( the outside temperature plus the vehicles temperature can easily get to this temperature in hot climates).

Long term use that is frequently exposed to sunlight may result in uneven fading of paint surface, hence why for long term use we recommend RTA Vinyl or Decals.


To guard from moisture and dirt building between the magnet and the metal surface, remove the magnet at regular intervals. Clean both the magnet and surface well.

Magnetic signs may not adhere to surfaces that are too cold or too hot.  Freeway travel may cause your magnet to fly off. We recommend removing the magnet when driving at high speeds.


We offer you the convenience of on-line shopping.
Our easy 1, 2, 3 ordering allows you to order from your desk any time of the day or night  24/7. No more running all over town or calling to find what you need; all you have to do is go to our webpage and browse our products, choose your product and place your order. If you do not see exactly what you need, just complete our easy Custom Estimate request form and we will give you a custom quote.

. Large selection of Stock and Custom products to choose from
. Our Quick Quote gives you instant pricing, for your size, qty and material choice
. Flat Rate or FREE Shipping on selected products


Our state of the art web to production authentic workflow along with our partnership with Best In Class Suppliers allows AZ Sign Shop to be the most efficient Sign Shop in the USA and Abroad.  We pride ourselves in our policy to pass on our material costs savings to our customers.


AZ Sign Shops' in house sign fabrication facility is stuffed with the most talented design and production team.  Our state of the art equipment coupled with a color calibrated production management flow system
allows us to deliver consistent quality each and every time you order.


AZ Sign Shop AZ Sign Shop AZ Sign Shop
 Why use AZ Sign Shop?
With AZSignShop.com, no more running from shop to shop getting estimates. Our site allows you to conveniently browse, get estimates, and purchase from the comfort of your chair 24/7. Not able to find what you need? Have questions? Contact one of our design specialists Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST or send us an e-mail. We will respond during our hours of operation.

Dedicated staff, superior quality and fast
turnaround are just a few reasons to use

We use state-of-the-art equipment and high
quality, name brand materials to produce your
superior quality signs.

AZ Sign Shop Guarantee

If you are not completely satisfied with your sign,
let us know and we will make it right.
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AZ Sign Shop.com
2700 S. Woodlands Village Blvd. Suite 300-191.
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001