Advice for designers specifying graphics for their next project

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Keep these issues in mind.

  1. Early involvement by a graphics specialist saves money and headaches.
    “One of the biggest issues for our work,” says Rees, “is when we aren’t brought in early enough, then the solutions end up being applied instead of integral (not as attractive). Under these circumstances, cost obviously increases for a graphics project due to the need to tear things apart to add things like blocking, waterproofing, electrical, or the need to core drill a beautiful finished plaza area to add structural posts, etc. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.”
  2. Things to consider when sending out large print graphics:
    • Use a vector based software (Adobe Illustrator is preferred because of its ability to handle typography and the availability of CAD software extensions such as CAD Tools (by Hot Door), or Freehand, another option.)
    • Use high quality, high resolution images, especially photography or scanned raster files.
    • Allow a good amount of image for “bleed” (the extra image that extends beyond the frame) to accommodate any on-site problems.
    • Create the file to a common scale. This makes it easier to work with and save, and also makes the printer’s job easier.
    • If using vector art, the size of the print does not matter as the art can be infinitely scaled.
    • Convert type to outlines to alleviate any problems with font conversion.
  3. Clients most often use our design services to:
    • Create more identity.
    • Soften a harsh architecture.
    • Provide opportunities for expanded light/shade/shelter.
  4. Fabric solutions are obviously much less expensive than steel and glass structures (even with replacement materials over time).

Paula Rees is president of Maestri in Seattle, a multi-disciplinary design firm involved in urban planning, environmental graphics and the marketing of real estate properties.

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