Vinyl signs are one of the most popular marketing tools around today, and shops, businesses and offices love them! That’s because the versatility of vinyl signs, vinyl decals and vinyl banners can do a lot for their physical locations, vehicles and promotional products. Despite the popularity of these promotional tools, they aren’t always that easy to make. Having the right tools at your disposal can make or break the vinyl sign making process. These tools typically include a computer, a vinyl cutting machine, and a quality vinyl sign making software.
Whether you’re searching for a professional printing service to make vinyl decals, or considering creating them yourself, it’s handy to know how these products are made and why those tools are so important.
Vinyl signs can be produced on several varieties of commercial printers, including large format printers, vinyl cutting machines and multi-tasking print-and-cut all-in-one machines. To create a sign, you’ll need to create the desired design as a vector image, print it out and then put it through a cutting machine. There are several print-and-cut all-in-one devices on the market, especially in the commercial space, but most printers require printing a design through your regular printer and then putting it through the vinyl cutting machine to finish the project.
The key differentiator on creating designs on vinyl (or any substrate that requires cutting out a specialty design) is converting or designing it as a vector image. If you’ve worked in product design and printing frequently, you might be familiar with vector images versus raster images, but if you’re relatively new to vinyl sign making, we’ll catch you up.
Vector images are images that are composed of lines and curves connected by points (also called nodes). When a vinyl cutting machine produces custom lettering, decals and signs, the blade follows these lines and curves. In essence, the vector lines act as a roadmap for the printer to cut out the desired shapes.
Vector images can usually only be made on vinyl sign making software. Common graphic design software such as Photoshop and Paint are raster-based. That means instead of the image being converted to lines, curves and node points like in vector images, these graphic applications convert image pixels to dots.
Without having the lines and curves to follow, the vinyl cutting machine won’t know where to cut on a dot-based image. Although raster-based images can be sent through some vinyl sign making software to be converted before printing, it’s often much less of a headache to choose a good design software from the beginning to create your vinyl decals.
In order to get your designs right and printing flawlessly each time, it’s essential to pick a high-quality vinyl sign making software that’s compatible with your chosen devices. Here are some common features to be on the lookout for that help to make a fantastic vinyl sign:
Depending on the size and purpose of your project, basic software will do the job. However, the more capabilities your software has, the better you’ll be able to control the quality and look of the graphics you produce. Popular projects made with vinyl include:
Our Flexi software is one of the best all-in-one vinyl sign making software systems on the market. Our mission is to make vinyl cutting painless for everyone from commercial printing companies to hobbyists and small businesses and everyone in between!
In addition to the features mentioned above, Flexi can drive up to five printers simultaneously - perfect for a busy sign and graphics shop. We also offer an affordable subscription model that can be used month to month or paid annually for complete access to Flexi and FlexiDesign, or just FlexiDesign software only.
Learn more about our Flexi vinyl design making software.