Apologies if this is a bit of a newbie question.

I have been asked by my client to design a tent, the type you use at trade shows etc. They want to have lots of photographs on the tent. The photographs are extremely high quality but the tent printer is asking for everything to be vectorized. I believe the only way I can do that is to 'image trace' these photographs in illustrator. This looks pretty good when not zoomed in but my client does not like the way it looks when it is 'actual size'. Is there any way I can give the client what they want without compromising the look of the photographs? I feel like I'm missing something really obvious, but I've been working on this problem for days and I'm not getting anywhere. Any help in the right direction would be much appreciated! Thank you.

  • Check this older case, it can have something useful of how to keep wall size photos sharp graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/120466/…
    – user82991
    May 22, 2019 at 23:21
  • I think it sounds strange that they request a vectorized image, unless they need to cut vinyl or get a sharp print for text/logo. There are many printers that can deliver tents with digital print in full colour from usual "pixel" images. Perhaps you could contact another printer? Just google "event tent with print" May 28, 2019 at 11:09

1 Answer 1


Photo resolution for final output in a given format and material context from a given vendor is largely driven by the vendor's equipment, software and technical capacity - I'm certain they want vector art as much as they can get it for simplicity, reliability and smaller file sizes... also the demands on their output will be far less intensive if any photos are "vectorised" to be larger areas of flat colour - it's just harder for the client to pick on the quality of their high res images and potential printing issues with fine colour and shading gradients if all those have been removed in the tracing process!

That said, most competent trade-show materials vendors should be used to dealing with high res images, and ANY competent print professional will be able to give you a simple specification for the type and parameters of the print files they will accept from you - this should have data on both preferred overall format ( .pdf, .eps, .ai, .indd, .svg ) and resolution of any included raster images.

It sounds like there's either mismatched expectations / understanding of the scope / type of the print & production job or miscommunications around the same - I'd ask some really blunt questions first of the vendor, then your client.

"For clarity of communications with my client I find I must ask: are you really telling me you cannot accept high res raster images in the printfiles and require the client to vectorise or image-trace all raster images to be flat colour areas and simple gradients? If so, given that I have a client who explicitly wants high res photographs in their tradeshow tent, should I be directing him to find another vendor who can handle high res raster images in their production pipeline, or can you in fact handle that in your production pipeline?"

And so on.

I used to do some tradeshow booth design work, and even back then, more than a decade ago, it was common to use relatively high resolution, high definition images, and unless they're cutting vinyl for you, they should be able to handle that.

Hope this helps.

  • 1
    Thank you for that awesome answer! My client is going for the cheap option on the print company so I will talk to both of them and see if I can figure it out. Thanks again! May 22, 2019 at 18:25
  • @FlorrieWood - if you feel this answer is in fact correct for your question, then please "accept" it, so that the question shows as answered versus unanswered. This is both for accuracy in search results for other future askers, and to help keep our SE metrics reality-based - thanks! May 23, 2019 at 14:55

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