What does it mean when you are asked to specify artwork scale?


So I am preparing a couple of small adverts and the specifications for the artwork ask that :

"Please specify which scale ie. 10% 25% 50%, and as individual artworks ie. Panel A, Panel B etc..."

So my question is what does this mean?

I must admit I lack print experience and have never come across this requirement before, however despite quite a bit of goggling I wasnt able to find out what this means.

does it mean that if I have a document that is 500x500mm, 300dpi, CMYK (Which is what they asked for) its 100% resolution?

Apologies if this is a noob question but I just cant find any other sources on the web.

3/17/2015 9:28:00 AM

Accepted Answer

For our printing partners, we almost exclusively submit PDFs for printing. Unfortunately, PDFs have dimension limits. It was around 5 meters (I Googled, it's 200 inches). So we scale down.

We usually do it for those hoarding artworks -- hoardings are "panels" that you use to board up when you're constructing a new store inside a mall (or any building construction...)

Banana Republic building facade hoarding
Hoarding example 1

Just some hoarding...
Hoarding example 2

... another hoarding example...
Hoarding example 3. This one would have 6 separate panels or two long ones (if you just fold the sides, no cutting).

We always work on InDesign, then export to PDF. For hoarding artworks, we default to doing it at 10% the actual size (example, for 500cm x 100cm we scale it down to 50x10cm).

The panels they mentioned probably refer to the panels for some sort of hoarding panels, or large stickers...

EXAMPLES (actual contact sheets):


  • When you submit your artwork, be sure to make a contact sheet like the linked examples above :') Label the artworks properly.
  • If you scale down, you may or may NOT need to compensate for the dpi that would also be "scaled down" (i.e., a 10% 300ppi image would be 30ppi only when scaled to 100% for print.) It depends on where it's gonna be installed, or your printer's ppi capacity... etc. Talk to your printer. Have coffee or tea with them :')

Best wishes! :')

3/17/2015 11:06:00 AM

As far as I can tell this is really the case. Very large prints sometimes are set up in 10% of the final size. Probably because some software cannot create artwork that big or to reduce file size.

It is ok to ask for clarification though. Print websites often have guides for that too.