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Everything You Need to Know About Making a Vinyl Sign

Making vinyls sings is an excellent way to advertise your event or business, but it can be difficult knowing where to start with a new vinyl sign. You could seek out the help of a professional banner or sign maker, but the process is simple enough that you could complete it yourself with the right equipment.

To get started, you’ll need a personal computer. Just about all the examples of sign software can be found online in the cloud, so internet access is a must as well. Newer PC systems will have more than enough processing power to effectively run the software. Users should be aware that Mac systems are more limited when it comes to vinyl cutters and compatible software since PC systems are more commonly used in the banner and sign industry.

Next, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll need a vinyl cutter. This is the actual device that performs the production of the sign and the cutting of the material. There are vinyl cutters for a wide range of specific uses, including t-shirt transfers, high-speed production, window tinting, sandblasting, and contour cutting. These systems are capable of producing materials of such high quality that they can easily be repurposed and recycled.

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need the actual sign making software. It might be tempting to opt for a cheaper software option, but that should be avoided. The ability of your entire system will be limited by the ability of your software, and since the design tools are located in the software, your potential will be limited by the software as well. There are numerous options, so don’t neglect the best options if you want to produce the best content.

Don’t bother with temporary free trials or pirated software. The only legitimate way to get professional results is with professional software. When you first start in the vinyl graphics industry, whether as a hobby or as a career, you might have other pieces of software that you’d like to use. In some cases, the software you have will work. Whether the software will work is based on its compatibility with vector images. Vinyl cutters require vector images, like those created with professional-grade image software.

Images that use standard bits or pixels are called raster images, and most art packages will give raster images over vector images. Raster images are perfectly compatible with standard page printers, but you must convert them to vector images before they can be used with a vinyl cutter or the associated software. Many software packages can perform this task, but the results aren’t always perfect since the source wasn’t originally a vector. In this sense, it’s a lot like trying to convert a digital signal to analog. You will often have to manually tune the resulting vector image for optimal visualization.

2016 Kickercon News Blog