Banner Making: From Envision to Completion
HOW VINYL LETTERED BANNERS ARE MADE:
What is a vinyl lettered banner?
Computer cut vinyl is simply "adhesive backed vinyl stickers" cut into a particular shape. Sometimes referred to as die-cut lettering, however we use a computer driven plotter, instead of templates or dies. Computer cut vinyl is known best for cutting to the shape of letters and numbers, such as a "Q" or a "3"; but can also cut to the shape of a simple vector-based object like an outlined airplane or the Nike logo. Adhesive vinyl material comes from the manufacturer much like paper stickers and mailing labels do. The vinyl is stuck to a waxy paper that can be peeled away from this wax-paper liner. In the case of mailing labels, one would discard the paper liner and the label would be applied to the envelope. Adhesive backed vinyl works with the same basic principles. The difference is that the vinyl is backed with a high strength adhesive, is waterproof, fade resistant and will last 5-7 years outdoors a big plus in banner making. The adhesive backed vinyl can be applied to various sign materials, one of which is vinyl banner material.
What type of artwork is required for cut vinyl lettering?
Computer drawing programs, that are designed to produce vector-based artwork files, are used to enable the computer to drive a vinyl plotter to cut adhesive vinyl. The most popular among vector art programs are Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw, as well as proprietary sign making software products. The artwork produced from these vector-based programs will sometimes be referred to as outlines, curves, elements, or object-oriented art. Files originating from such programs can be identified by extensions such as .ai, .eps (vectored), .cdr., .pdf (vectored). Overall, these types of files should not be confused with raster artwork produced by paint programs such as PhotoShop, and other photo editing programs. Vector based files can be provided to a sign-maker for use in cutting vinyl, thereby eliminating the expense of having the sign shop design your sign.
Vinyl banner making
Computer cutting of vinyl has been a beneficial advance in the sign-making business, as it has made sign production cheaper and faster. To produce the vinyl lettering required for a banner, your banner manufacturer primarily needs a computer, and a plotter designed for cutting sheets of adhesive vinyl. With this hardware it is also necessary to utilize computer software that can edit vector artwork, and output that artwork to the plotter.
The general process of producing vinyl lettering or graphics for a banner involves the sign shop cutting adhesive vinyl using a computer driven cutter. The unwanted vinyl is separated from the lettering/graphics and is discarded. The lettering/graphics are then transferred by hand and applied to the vinyl banner material. This banner making process is described as cutting, weeding, taping and applying which will be described, in more detail, in the next section.