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Wide/grand format software know-how

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Working with vector and raster files at the proper resolution is always the goal for any print service provider. “Whether it’s a fabric or vinyl banner, there is always that customer that pulls out a business card from a wallet and offers it as artwork,” says David Hawkes of Roland DGA Corp. “Offering design as a billable service is a necessary part of wide-format work. It’s ironic that the design software end of the workflow is often the most manual part of the business. Too many businesses make the mistake of undercharging or giving away this service. It’s important to remember that the best customers that return for additional work have no problem paying for help with their design if it results in a higher quality and more effective wide-format print.

When it comes to wide/grand format software, Graphics One has been a long-time provider of Wasatch SoftRIP, an industrial powerhouse that is currently one of the most popular for fabric applications.

“Of course we have a saying with regards to the original image—‘garbage in, garbage out.’ As long as the image is at a usable data size then SoftRIP does its magic,” Barefoot says.

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 launched this year, and is a mainstay in the graphic design area of wide/grand format. Featuring a completely revamped typography engine, inspiring new color styles and harmonies, and powerful shaping tools, the latest version offers graphics professionals the most creative and powerful tools to date. “With a focus on opening up new creative possibilities for the design community, this major upgrade delivers improved workflow and performance making it even easier for both aspiring and experienced designers to connect with assets, work with leading edge tools and technology, and output their design projects with confidence,” says John Falsetto, CorelDRAW senior product manager. “CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, being a vector illustration program, is perfect for this. Since vector files by their nature are completely scalable, CorelDRAW allows users to take small vector artwork and scale it to fit any wide/grand format printer, or beyond.”

Falsetto believes the future focus will continue to be on color accuracy, since it is such an important aspect, and such a challenge. “Also, seamless compatibility with key file formats, and smooth compatibility with RIP software and large/grand format output devices will be important,” Falsetto says.

When purchasing software systems for wide/grand format printing, Falsetto says fabricators should look for compatibility with file formats, RIP software, and consistent performance when processing files.

Maura Keller is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer and editor and has been writing about the Fabric Graphics industry for more than 10 years.

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