Large Trailer Wrap Design Questions


Active Member
Hi Folks,
I am designing a race traierl wrap for a 57' trailer. I have designed shorter trailers and installed a bunch of 53' trailers but have never designed on such a large scale. Does any one have any tips on how to set the file up? What scale shuld I use? What file type? Do I need to do it in sections? I am finding that Photoshop does not handle this size very well. I am currently designing at about 15" x 86" at 600 dpi. This will give me a final size of 10' x 57' at 72 dpi for printing. Even at that smaller size my .tif file is 1.5 GB in size. Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks Folks
Mike B
Big River Sign Co.


Active Member
When we do them it's pretty much the same. But the ones we do are moving trlrs really tall. I believe our panel up to the drop deck came out to 127" +. The files do get big so the 1.5g is normal but blowing it up is another thing. Sometimes I try and simplify and work the file in sections. Maybe try that. Rasterize the whole thing @ full scale and see if you loose any quality if not your good to go.


Well, we do them in vertical panels with a 1/2 - 1" overlap. Designing at 600 dpi scaled down is no different than working at 100% @ 72 dpi. The file size should be identical so what's the point. As far the artwork being 1.5 gig yes that is normal for raster images. Can you design it in Illy or Corel? That would certainly help.


Active Member
If you can work with Smart Objects pasted from illustrator, then you can design at a proportionate size at a lower resolution, and when you ready to save out for print you can scale it to the size needed, and the artwork will be clean (If they are vector smart objects). Once you have it at actual size, flatten it, then split it into whatever panel size you need.

Thats what I've always done... and it works for me. It takes a while to enlarge it, but oh well... I dont think there a way around that


Major Contributor
This is why you design in vector.....

AMEN!!!! I couldn't imagine designing a wrap in photoshop. People seem to do it all the time, but gotta love when I can edit anything I want in a flash, have unlimited text options, and my final print file size is under 4mb. Vector ftw :corndog::corndog::corndog::corndog::corndog::corndog:

4R Graphics

Active Member
I use vector and photoshop just depends on what i am doing. Mainly if customer demands photos I do it in photshop and bring in vector logos and what not as smart object.

I always design at full scale in phtoshop. Illy well it depends on how big the job is I scale it until it fits on the artboard.


Premium Subscriber
You're not limited to just one program. You can do some portions in one, some in another and then combine them in still yet another.

We try to do anything large in vector. Sometimes the guy that comes in and wants a picture of his dog on his magnetic, we'll just do it Photoshop just to make it faster and easier.

Designing in Photoshop is a frickin' nightmare, but getting someone else's file in raster is just about the dumbest thing... especially when it's a large job.


Very Active Member
We do work with the on occasion in Photoshop as well. Of course vector is preferred but with some designs that is simply not possible. Does help having 64 bit Photoshop with dual quad core xeons, 32GB of ram, and a 256GB solid state drive though. Flys through even 6gb files with ease. Not bragging, just stating that given enough horsepower and the right components that working with massive files in Photoshop is really not tedious or probamatic.


Very Active Member
The proper way is the way that works for you to get the result you want.

Stupidest debate ever. Use all the tools. I personally start with Illy but if I need to get into raster stuff I have no problem flipping into Photoshop, doing those elements, and then combing them all in InDesign for export. Raster data placed into Illustrator gets nasty as Illustrator is 32bit and only has proper color management if you are in a PDF workflow (i.e. if you ever save out to EPS...bye bye ICC data).

As to the OP, 1.5GB on a tif isn't all that much. You shouldn't have any problem throwing around a file at those size/resolutions. Make sure you're using the 64bit version of PS and that GPU acceleration is turned on. Use .PSB while you're working and export to a zip compressed .TIF or PDF/X.