I need to create a banner that is 18 feet wide by 2.5 feet high.

What would be the best way to go about planning this as it is going to be made in Illustrator and every element will be a vector.

Would my best bet be to create the document in its native size and then scale it down in Illustrator to keep the ratio but reduce the file size?

I've come across this before working at large sizes but not quite this large.


3 Answers 3


I would contact the printer and ask them what size they would like the files delivered. A file that size still can result in issues if you are trying to deliver it at a 1:1 scale. I would ask the printer on their desired scale and at the rip to the digital printer they will modify it to a 1:1. Another thing to be aware of, you could run into computer issues when trying to work in a 1:1 scale at that size. Just setting up the file in CC-2014, at a 1:1 with nothing in it, saved out, results in a 1.4MB file.

I would also advise, if you are unaware, to convert all fonts to outline for various reasons. Some printers dont own the font and will expect you to provide them or charge you for getting them.

When you talk to the printer I would also find out what they want in color setup and if they need you to convert a Pantone to CMYK or if they even have the Pantone you are looking for if you are going with a Pantone color.

  • 1
    I do convert my text to outlines as I'm aware of the font situation, but thank you for the other suggestions
    – SaturnsEye
    Aug 27, 2014 at 13:48
  • 2
    Idealy you should not run into much of a size problem, thats the beauty of vector, if you are working in inches it should be just as small to save the same document in 1:10th scale as it is in 1:1 scale, but as much as i love AI, it sucks.
    – Daniel
    Aug 27, 2014 at 18:38

First and foremost, contact your printer. In my experience, lots of printers of large materials allow you to deliver a pdf in, say 1:10 or a similar scale, with some requirements to the dpi quality of your pdf.

Second, I'd advise you to design regardless of size in Illustrator, and then place, process and distill everything to a printable pdf in InDesign.

  • The banner is basically text based so I was looking at just creating a document to the same ratio as the original 18 x 2.5 foot banner and saving as PDF. Surely as it will just be vector type, the printer can use the file that's at a "smaller size" and if I let them know the size it needs to be printed at it will just scale up right?
    – SaturnsEye
    Aug 27, 2014 at 13:35
  • I... wouldn't be too sure. Don't forget that the physical print dimensions are emedded in a cpdf and that not all printer employees are that savvy.
    – Vincent
    Aug 27, 2014 at 13:43

To achieve the best print quality the image should be in CMYK and 300 DPI, this will require an image 64800px wide and 14400px high. You can however print a file that is 150 DPI (I wouldnt go any lower than that) with a banner that size as long as it scales proportionately. You also want to consider adding an 1/8th inch bleed and be sure to leave room away from the finished edges for Hems and Grommets if you require. Saving it as a PDF is also a good way to make sure what you see on your screen is what will get printed. Although some printers have different requirements depending on the equipment being used you should be able to use this as a general rule. You may end up with a very large file but most print companies will allow you to supply a disk or a dropbox link.

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