Information & Frequently Asked Questions
Vinyl Cutting and Vector Graphics
A specialised machine is used to create vinyl lettering or graphics. The machine has a cutting blade which follows the outline of the letter or graphic artwork. The artwork is “cut out” of a sheet of vinyl, therefore the artwork has to be in a format the cutting software can understand, this is generally referred to as Vector artwork.
Vector based artwork is ideal for cut vinyl production as the vinyl cutting machine uses a system of co-ordinates to define the cutting path Vector images also use a series of co-ordinates or points (very similar to a dot to dot drawing) to define lines, arcs and circles which ultimately create a shape or image, which the cutting machine can follow. The shapes which make up the image can be coloured but only with a solid colour, colours cannot be blended or graduated. One very useful feature of a vector graphic is that it can be enlarged as much as you like without any loss of quality, another benefit is that file sizes are usually small. Vinyl cutting software is generally used to create the artwork but there are certain industry standard file formats created in other programs that cutting software can use. Some of the most popular are: .ps (postscript) .eps (encapsulated postscript) .ai (adobe illustrator) .wmf (windows metafile) .dwg (autocad drawing) and others, all of these formats support vector images.
Vinyl for cut lettering and graphics is made from PVC film coated on the reverse with some form of adhesive. The quality of the vinyl and the type of adhesive vary depending on the intended use. There are budget vinyl’s intended for short term use, high quality vinyl’s with permanent adhesive designed for long term outdoor use, there are conformable vinyl’s for use on curved surfaces, for example cars and vans and special effect vinyl for decorative use,
Vinyl for digital printing is similar but there is a lot more choice as there are many more applications possibilities.
It is designed to be printed on using wide format inkjet printers using solvent based inks which adhere very well to the vinyl surface making the image colour fast and long lasting. Clear vinyl is available for backlit and see through applications in addition to paper with matt, gloss and satin finishes and canvas materials for poster production.
Banner vinyl is a heavier and stronger PVC material designed to withstand the elements. This can be printed on with wide format inkjet printers, cut vinyl lettering applied or both. Cut vinyl can be used with a printed banner if dates or similar need to be changed. The cut vinyl used for banners is a more elastic material to allow for the movement of the banner when installed. After printing a hem is made on all sides and brass eyelets placed at regular intervals around the banner to aid installation. Please Contact Us and we will advise you which materials and methods will best suit your needs
Although any flat and stable board material can be used for sign boards the most popular are as follows:-
Correx is a strong, lightweight and very cost effective sheet, constructed from fluted polypropylene. This material is perfect for temporary signs or short term use, such as For Sale, public event and direction signs.
Foamex is a very versatile and commonly used sign board material. Strong and durable, Foamex can be used for almost any display purpose and is durable enough for medium term outdoor use.
Dibond is a composite material made from aluminium with a polypropylene core. A much more rigid and durable sign board with a high quality gloss or matt finish. This board is used where a long lasting and higher quality material is required. Suitable for shop facias and where signs are attached to a solid backing or in smaller sizes attached to posts.
Powder Coated Aluminium is for when you really want the sign to last. For use in harsh conditions. When combined with high quality cut vinyl the sign will last for many years. Suitable for mounting on posts and where a top quality sign is needed for long term outdoor use.