Let's look at Vinyl Banners as an example. Say you need a 4' foot by 8' foot banner. The print method for banners is called Wide Format Printing and vector graphics would be the best graphic design method for this type of print process.
(see FAQ section for vector graphics explanation)
To design a banner, the typical program used to do so would be Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. Photoshop can be used, but Photoshop is better used for photos, or web graphics, while Illustrator and Draw are used for vector graphics.
When creating your "Print Ready" files, you would need to make sure that the final print size is scaled to 4' x 8' and saved as a vector pdf, vector eps, or also can be saved as a jpg at 150 dpi. Again, the final saved file must be scaled to the size of the actual banner. It's like creating a document on word, then word will tell your desktop printer that it's an 8 1/2 by 11" piece of paper. Illustrator would tell the wide format printer that your print size is 4' x 8'.
Another example of "Print Ready" files would be business cards. We would provide the print guidelines which would tell you, or your designer, where the margins and cut lines are. You would need to design the business card to the exact size of a business card, adding bleed margins and cut margins so that the card is printed and cut correctly.
We do offer a design tool which will allow you to design your cards online and once you've done so, they will be sent to us in proper "print ready" format.
We can also provide graphic design and set up services at an hourly rate to assist with getting your files "Print Ready".