Printing Posters

Here are some tips and tricks to prepare and print posters with the Reprographie service (a.k.a. repro).

EPFL Logos

Do not use a bitmap logo (JPG, PNG, etc.) but use the official vector logo instead, available here. Use the version in CMYK colors “for Illustrator”.

Using Inkscape

Inkscape is a vector graphics editor, similar in features to Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. It's open-source, free, etc., but of course not as advanced as the commercial alternatives. It should be sufficient for our poster needs, though.

When preparing a poster with Inkscape, always use the right page size (A0 or A1, depending on your needs). This will save you some trouble. You can change the page size in File→Document Properties (SHIFT+CTRL+D).

Exporting to PDF

Repro requires you to prepare a PDF file. Exporting in Inkscape is done with “Save as”, and then choosing the format. Do not export directly to PDF. It will produce a PDF that looks nice on your screen but will not always be accepted by the plotter they have at repro (it may, but don't take any chances). Worse, they cannot tell you if it will go through before they print it and the plotter complains half way. The problem seems to be that exporting to PDF does not raster the images and the plotter does not like that.

First, convert all text elements to paths. What seems to work well is to select everything and then run Path→Object to path (CTRL+A then SHIFT+CTRL+C). The exporters for PS and PDF also have an option to export text to path, but these do not work consistently. For instance, the text color may change (there are a few bug reports about these issues). Make sure that the colors have not changed (it also happens there, but less often, it seems). If something changed, fix the Fill properties of the newly created objects directly.

When everything looks nice and you have gotten rid of all text elements, save as PS. Use the following options:

  • Convert texts to paths (because Inkscape is tempted to refer to fonts in the file, even though you don't use them after converting to paths)
  • Rasterize filter effects (don't use blurring in your poster though, it doesn't always work)
  • Export area is page
  • Untick Export area is drawing, because it seems to override the page setting
  • Rasterize at 1600 DPI. If your images have a lower resolution, it won't affect them, but repro has an amazing plotter so you may as well use it.

Finally, you can convert your PS file using ps2pdf as follows (assuming that the paper size is A0):

ps2pdf -sPAPERSIZE=a0 myposter.pdf

You can upload your poster on the repro sever by accessing smb:repro/public/plans/ using Nautilus in Gnome, for instance, or just anything that supports Samba shared drives. You can then order the poster using a “bon de commande”, but it seems that walking there and telling them where your file is works as well, and does not even upset them.