Design Services

Visual Marking System’s Product Innovation Team combines R&D, estimating, design, production and a new business coordinator to provide a full range of custom graphic design services. We are always happy to provide specific material and printing process advice for our customers anytime.

With over 50 years of experience, VMS understands the importance of unique turn-keGraphic Designery solutions for your business, and we pride ourselves on the extensive printing solutions and advanced capabilities we are able to offer. From custom fleet graphics to industrial nameplates and overlays, we are confident our experienced team can provide you with a custom solution that will exceed expectations.

Our team of sales, customer service, and graphic designers understands the potential of your project and what it has to offer. If you are supplying finished artwork or graphics please provide original files in the native format in which they were designed or in one of the following formats: (.AI, .EPS, .PDF, .CDR, .PSD, .PSB, .TIFF). High resolution images and artwork are needed for large-scale applications. If you have any questions about what art is acceptable please do not hesitate to ask your VMS sales representative for more information.

If you need help designing your product or vehicle wrap please schedule a time to talk to one of our graphic designers. We understand that each project is unique and must include necessary elements. When you talk with our team they will review:

• The goals of the project
• The desired action you need to achieve
• Who the target audience is
• What budget to work within
• The usability of copy, logos, pictures and illustrations are available
• Deadlines
• How you want your organization to be displayed

1. VECTOR ARTWORK

Description: Vector images are created by drawing shapes, lines and polygons with vector based software. Detail can be added, removed and changed at will. Since the images are created mathematically, the image can be scaled infinitely to any size without losing image quality.

Advantages: Vector art can be used for virtually any purpose. It is ideal for printed artwork, web graphics and digital display presentations of any kind. It can be scaled to any size without losing detail. Attributes such as colors and shapes can be manipulated without bounds.

Disadvantages: Vector images are mostly restricted to line art and clip-art style images. While detail is endless, photo realism is not likely to be achieved.

Software: Currently, the most popular software programs for creating and manipulating vector artwork are CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator. Other widely used vector based programs are Adobe InDesign and Quark Xpress. However, these programs are intended for desktop publishing which is essentially arranging graphics and text for publications. There are a few limited tools In InDesign and Quark for creating simple graphics but the programs themselves are not recommended for creating artwork intended for screen printing or printing a custom product of any kind. These programs are not very compatible with prepress software or other vector programs required for production. Desktop publishing programs are intended for standard sheet sizes that can be printed on a common network printer or color plotter. Illustrator and CorelDRAW are the best choice for creating vector graphics. Creative freedom is virtually unlimited and both can be used for prepress production.

File Extensions: The most widely accepted artwork files are: .cdr (CorelDRAW), .ai (Adobe Illustrator), .eps (Encapsulated Postscript), .PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format), .svg (scalable vector graphic) and .cgm (computer graphics metafile). VMS prefers that artwork be supplied in .cdr, .ai or .eps but can accept all of these formats.

2. RASTER ARTWORK
Description: Raster artwork is essentially a photo image. They are made from a grid of pixels (single block or dot of a uniform color), commonly referred to as a bitmap. This format is native to photographs and scanned images. It is most commonly used for web graphics, digital display presentations and full color photographic printing.

Advantages: Raster artwork can yield full photo-realism for all types of media. Raster formats can be imported into nearly every graphics program on the market, vector or raster based, with minimal difference in image appearance.

Disadvantages: Image resolution is crucial to final print quality. This is the number of dots (DPI) or pixels (PPI) per inch that determines the size and quality of the image. While web graphics and display graphics can use low-res images since they are being viewed on a monitor, printed images require a high resolution to achieve image quality.

Therefore, the size you can print an image depends on the resolution of the image. This brings the issue of file size into the equation as well. For large format digital printing, an image must be 100 DPI in resolution at full size to maintain image quality. If you are producing a 4′ x 8′ sign or a vehicle wrap for instance, your file size can be over 1GB. (This makes transferring the file cumbersome since it cannot be emailed and is also very taxing on computer processing speeds.) One final consideration with raster artwork is the ability to change and manipulate it. Since you cannot select a single element within a bitmap image and resize, reshape or recolor it, it is very time consuming to adjust and touch-up an image.

Software: There are many programs on the market for photo manipulation but the most dominant and powerful by far is Adobe Photoshop. Raster images can also be imported into most vector programs such as Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW to compliment vector elements/graphics, but photo editing in these programs are very limited.

File Extensions: There are many types of raster formats all with unique properties (ie: some permit transparencies while others can’t). The most popular are .JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), .PSD (Adobe Photoshop Document), .TIF (Tagged Image File), .BMP (Bitmap), .PNG (Portable Network Graphic) and camera native (RAW). VMS prefers .PSD or .TIF, but can accept all types.

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The above samples demonstrate vector artwork compared to raster artwork. Here, we see the same logo in different formats. You can see the benefits of a vector logo when it comes to retaining image quality when scaled to a larger size. On the raster version, you can see the rough pixel edges at 100% and the extreme loss of quality at 400%. With vector art, you can also manipulate elements such as color and internal objects (demonstrated bottom left). This function is a must when dealing with color separations such as Pantone colors. Raster imaging should be used for photographic elements utilizing many colors.

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