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How Do I Explain Files To Customers

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by joeutut, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. joeutut

    joeutut Member

    Mar 4, 2009
    I keep getting 2" square low res images and they want banners from them. What would be dpi requirements you would request or how would you define vector files to someone? I need to come up with minimum requirements of some kind.
    Thanks in advance
  2. CheapVehicleWrap

    CheapVehicleWrap Very Active Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Define vector files to someone who doesn't know and can't produce them? Why not sell them on creating the artwork necessary to complete their project?
  3. Si Allen

    Si Allen Very Active Member

    Jul 17, 2004
    My explanation is asking them if they can build me a house out of a dozen bricks.
    When they say "No" ... I say that I can' make them a picture with millions of colored dots out of a couple hundred ... and that I will have to build their picture from scratch.

    If they still can't grasp the concept ... I send them to my least favorite competitor!

  4. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    Find a low res file on the internet or create your own (72 ppi) and blow it it like the sample shown. Then like wrapswrapswraps said, offer to recreate it if they don't have better graphics.

    Attached Files:

  5. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Golden BC
    Is this a problem because the graphics artist was only paid for a business card and letterhead so produced the logo to meet this standard along with a small pricetag. I would have questions if this is the case as a 4' by 8' sign build would demand more $ from the designer. Then if this is the case his licence for use from the designer would not allow for increased size. I find this to be the case with alot of these low res file jobs. Often when you pose questions around this scenario they ask you to redesign something simular. Some designers are real coyotes with this stuff. Better to build design in 12' by 24', then anything works.
  6. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

    Oct 19, 2009
    We have printed samples to show people.
  7. chatterbox

    chatterbox Member

    Oct 19, 2009
    You have to HAVE PICTURES and SAMPLES in the shop and on your website to EDUCATE each and every customer.

    You need to have a SHORT, written explanation (on paper to give to them, also) so that you do not go nuts. If you have a script it will speed the process. Each customer NEEDS to be educated about the process of signage.

    If you go buy a new TV, or microwave, or this-that-and-the-other, you generally ask QUESTIONS. Because you don't know. You don't know everything.

    As simple as SIGNAGE may appear to you, people DO NOT know about signage.

    When they ask you, "I want a sign." Don't get frustrated. Simple explain to them, in very simple terms, Interior or Exterior? Illuminated or Non-Illuminated? Then, WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET? What are you trying to achieve? What is it for? Can I see your design or logo (because this is very important)? You need to see if the art is makeable.

    WRITE IT DOWN. Train yourself so you don't go mad. Cuz, customers will drive you mad, unknowingly.

    Mike B.
    Los Angeles, CA
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2010
  8. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

    Jun 24, 2003
    The 4 P's is the answer again..

    Pivot, Profile, Praise, Prompt.

    This is where a marketing expert earns his money. You can do every thing right and get calls. But if you cannot grasp all 4 of those 4 P's then you are wasting your time.

    Every one has an opinion on how to handle these calls. However, every one has a different method which is fine. Likewise ,when reading these answers offered I can see many have 2 of the 4P's some have three of them. But very few have all four. As we all have a 4P answer then we will see our closing of a sale increase with a higher average sale.

    There is nothing complicated. Nothing about being smooth and polished. In fact the less polished you are the more natural you sound.

    When they call for a sign,, you Pivot. You have to send the return volley back to them.

    IE: How much is a sign.
    Thank you for calling. Can I get your name? Thank you Mr. Smith I am Jon the master sign maker. I will be happy to take care of your needs.

    This disarms the client.

    Next you have to Profile him.

    For what is this sign/banner/wrap, to be used for?

    I need it to let my customers know I am here.
    (now comes the good part)
    What do you feel is wrong with your sign you are using now?
    Are you missing sales because they can't find you?
    Are you missing a sale because they may not perceive you as an expert?
    Does your sign make you look like an old un-kept place?

    Once you find out his real pain then you are ready to pounce. Do not pounce until you get your profile. All you have to do is watch your cat when at play. It will get into a hunting profile then pounce. It never pounces then gets its profile. The closer has to do the same thing. Get into the hunting profile and then shake the booty and pounce.
  9. TheSnowman

    TheSnowman Major Contributor

    Aug 28, 2007
    The Professor said it one time that said it how I like to explain it now:

    I have two ways I expain based on what they've given me.

    1. an EPS with a bitnmapped image:
    I generally explain that bitmapped images are made of very small squares and when you enlarge the image you just get larger squares. Vector images are made out of math equations that scale correctly to any size.

    2. a JPG in a PDF:
    This is my favorite. I explain to the customer that the PDF they have given me is like a soccer taco... "the image inside your pdf started out as a soccerball. You have wrapped it in a taco shell (saving as a PDF). Just because your soccerball is wrapped in a taco shell doesnt make it a taco. At no point does saving your soccerball as a PDF make it into usable beef... I still need you to send me a taco..."

    and thus the soccer taco was born... at my last shop a "soccer taco" was a recognized term for any unusable pdf logo :)

  10. Mader Design

    Mader Design Member

    Nov 20, 2009
    kraig, if I was a customer and you tried to explain it to me like that I STILL wouldn't have a clue what your talking about. You didn't tell the customer anything lol other then there jpg is a taco.

    A better explanation or comparison would be describing a 4x6" photo and attempting to blow it up to 24x36, since "bitmap" files are made up of individual dots of color, stretching the 1dot over hundreds of dots will create a blurry appearance.

    Vector art is made up of anchors (points) and lines to connect the points. When the art is stretched the anchors remain the same and lines and curves just adjust for the large space between the points, thus allowing them to be scaled infinitely.
  11. G-Artist

    G-Artist Active Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    It's easy.

    Tell your customer open any raster/bitmap image s/he has (give the extension names) and then press the "+" button. Keep pressing. Eventually they will only see rectangles of ugly color. Tell them that is what they will get on their sign when the image is blown up.

    To explain vector, tell them to type a character in Word at 6 points. Now again at 60 points. Now again at 120. It looks the same. Vector is just a math program that projects a screen image to scale and that's what you need for the graphic.

    But I set you an EPS they say. You retort, an EPS is merely a suitcase to transport stuff. Anything could be in there. Then tell the the names of the most common vector programs and see if they or their "designer" has access to same.

    If they don't, it is time to sell them on your skills.
  12. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

    May 5, 2005
    You've lost me too. What on earth does this mean? If I was a customer, I'd call another sign shop if I got this load of **** ......and then tell all my friends you're some kind of a nut bar.
  13. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

    Mar 25, 2006
    Mars Florida
    Simple, a bitmap is what ends up on earth once it leaves the planet Vector. Because it takes on average, four light years to travel through space. In the course of that time, space radiation distorts and degrades the original image and it can't easily be restored once it enters our atmosphere.

    By the time it does reenter our atmosphere, everything is melted together into small fragmented shards called pixels which shrink from the images original size. Anytime you try to enlarge these pixel based images, the quality has degraded to such a point, that they become useless and are very difficult to rebuild. In order to have higher quality scalable art, you should pay an additional premium and have your art sent in a radiation proof beryllium capsule which can withstand the hazards of space travel. This is the only sure way to ensure good clean art.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
  14. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Some of my design customers don't know what vectors are, believe it or not. Some only work in photoshop

    Very few in the general public know what a vector is and how it differs from a raster. No matter the description, unless they have actually used vectors it does not make sense.

    The best solution is to ask if they have an ai, eps, pdf or cdr file. If they do, it is a good chance that these are vector, but not always. Any of these formats may contain raster art inside them. If they cannot provide one of these, then you will have to draw it yourself or use my services.

    Going back and forth explaining this is often a waste of your time. Time is money. Many times they won't have the vectors. Some designers do not provide vectors to their clients because they have no way of opening them. They just give them hi or lo res jpegs and bitmaps that they can use with their Office software

    I have done design work for people over the years and always provide both vectors and raster images. I have been contacted many times at a later date from these clients asking for the vectors again. Even though I gave them the vector to begin with, they don't keep them or realize what they have because they cannot open vectors. All they care about is the jpeg so they can place it into Word to create their inhouse marketing material or place on a website
  15. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Short answer is this... Ask customer for ai, eps, pdf or cdr and rarely fh (freehand) files. That composes about 95% of the vectors. If they don't have these then you need to redraw. If you open the file and it is still get a raster, then your customer does not understand vectors and you'll spend too much time getting what you need. I can redraw a graphic in less time than most people take to hunt down a vector

    Many people must understand this, because I probably do 5 or 6 jobs each day that are 3-4 minute traces
  16. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

    Feb 11, 2007
    -off topic-
    I sent you a guy last week Eric that wanted me to trace an anorexic foghorn leghorn... did he call you?
  17. The Vector Doctor

    The Vector Doctor Very Active Member

    Aug 15, 2005
  18. SoCalN8V

    SoCalN8V Active Member

    At the front counter, we have a visual example we've created called "Why you can't make a banner from a business card".

    It consists of 3 pages:

    1st page shows the business card image at actual size - everything looks nice and clear.

    2nd page shows a section of the image enlarged to 18"x24" size - image is blurry and pixels are somewhat visible.

    3rd page shows a section of the image enlarged to a 3'x6' banner size - image is very blurry and pixels are very visible.

    We have used this so many times - sure it doesn't explain what a vector file is, but it shows why we need high resolution rasters.

    For vector, we have a handout which they can take to their designers which specifies exactly the type of files we need and we mention the file types like the Vector Doctor does. If all they have are raster files, then we specify the resolution we need - usually 300ppi at half size for a decent looking banner.

    This doesn't solve all problems and we still get 28k jpgs, but it does save us time explaining things.
  19. Graphics2u

    Graphics2u Very Active Member

    Jan 31, 2007
    What I hate more than explaining the difference, is explaining the difference and telling them we need to have a EPS, AI, CDR or PDF file and they say ok I'll get that. Then they send you the same 100dpi image saved as a PDF. :doh:
  20. Graphics2u

    Graphics2u Very Active Member

    Jan 31, 2007
    Where do you get your radiation proof beryllium capsules? And what have you been paying for them? :rolleyes:

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