We normally use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. We can design for you, but normally we use your files and ideas directly. It is your choice.
To manage that choice the following may be helpful:
Photoshop deals with digital images. These come from cameras and scanners. Because they are a matrix of pixels, they are not totally scalable. That can become a problem.
Illustrator deals with vector images. These come from drawings. They are a series of lines, curves and patterns. They are totally scalable. That is a major advantage when you want a very large or small sign. Vector is better for the sign maker.
Graphic designers use files and these come in all types, and sizes. The types include:
*.AI – these are Adobe Illustrator files. They are vector files and we like them a lot. We can print in huge sizes, change them, color tune them and general give you the best result with these files
*.EPS - Encapsulated Postscript files. These were the best files available in the last century, but not so much now. While they are still very common, they do not carry with them a color map. This means there is a risk of a color shift. Still very common – send it over and we will work with it, but not preferred.
*.PDF - Portable Document Format files. This is a universal file format with fonts, images, layout and graphics. It should replace the *.EPS file format and we like them a lot
*.JPG - Joint Photographic Experts Group file. The jpg and jpeg extensions tell us users are using a PC or a Mac. Jpeg has a compression scheme that degrades image quality every time it is saved. We use these all the time, they are the common output from cameras and scanners. We want your largest, highest density jpeg with one “save” is we can get it
*.GIF - Graphics Interchange Format files. GIF files are low resolution files and we prefer other types – these can give resolution issues
*.TIF - Tagged Image File Format files. These are the common output from cameras and scanners and we like these a lot more than jpg. TIF files can be huge and hard to deal with. However these are the most reliable format for high quality images.
*.PNG - Portable Network Graphics files. Like Giff files they are low resolution and generally poor for large blowups. These are seen on web sites and screen dumps, a Tiff or a Jpg are better choices.