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So you've decided that at your next trade show or networking event you want something that's unique and is going to stand out. You know roughly what you want and while most printers can help you design a roller banner you've decided that you want to give it a go yourself in designing your own roller banner - in that case, congratulations you're taking the first steps in design and ensuring you have complete control of the whole process.
Choosing the right software
So there's lots of ways to produce print right? Microsoft Word or Openoffice might seem like an excellent bit of software that will do the job. Lots of nice clipart and fonts are available in these packages, and what you print on your own printer looks just fine. However, these packages are really aimed at simple print jobs and won't give you the necessary tools to make a truely great design and what you can produce in these isn't aimed for large scale print (hence it's an Office package rather than a design package).
Thankfully, there's an excellent tool for design and it is what everyone in the industry uses and that is Adobe Illustrator. This is literally the Rolls Royce or Ferrari of design packages. If you run a business that will be using multiple designs then this is the package for you. The only drawback is that it's a little bit expensive if you only want to design on a budget. In this case, there are a few free alternatives.
Free alternatives to Adobe Illustrator (if you're on a budget)
Rather than throw a load of unnecessary free packages at you which don't really do the job but do help make up the numbers (such as a top 5 etc) we like to go straight for the ones that will actually help you avoid Illustrator if you need to.
Is a great vector editing package. When designing print on a large scale, a good vector editor is exactly what you need. It has full CMYK colour capability (a must in the print world) and can save in PDF format (again another must).
Continuing in the budget (i.e. free) theme DrawPlus starter edition is another great vector editing package. It's not quite as good as Inkscape but again for a free package that's capable, works in print friendly CMYK and has some of the newer features that Adobe has such as 3D it's well featured for something that won't cost you a penny!
Sorting the Layout
After you've chosen the right software to use for designing your own roller banner it's time to consider the layout. While the layout is entirely up to you at this point, there are a few general guidelines that you will find helpful.
The first step is to divide your area up into sections. Generally the top section of a roller banner normally will show your company logo (or the client's), along with the name. This is also where you would want to consider putting the tagline or slogan. The top section of the banner is going to be nearest eye level so it's where you need to get the message across.
The middle section is where you put the bulk of your message. This can be a simple photo that compliments the slogan, or a photo with some text further expanding the message. The important thing to reduce your message down to the core. While the printed are may seem large, if someone is walking by they will only have a moment to scan the roller banner to decide whether to stop and read further.
The bottom section is generally the best area to include contact information such as phone number and email address.
The great thing when using a vector package is that objects that you draw within the package will scale gracefully which means that the design you see on your screen will be the same design that comes out on the roller banner when it's printed. If you are using imagery it needs to be very high quality in order to print on a large scale - 300dpi is the general minimum.
The colour space you use on your design needs to be CMYK. Illustrator, Inkscape and DrawPlus all support CMYK. This means that when it's time to print your roller banner the colours will come out as intended. If you create your design in RGB then the final printed example will come out looking ever so slightly different colour-wise with RGB being the culprit.
We hope that's been an informative blog and we'll see you soon! Any questions don't hesitate to contact us as always.