It’s not an easy task to create a window graphic with two different sides and two different images or designs. In fact, it’s a pretty advanced application.
If you’re ready to give it a try, Skip Grant of Grant Graphics has provided us with a few tips that you can follow to produce a great two-sided window graphic. You may not want to do thousands this way, but short runs are just fine.
- Start by laying out the first side. Include your contour cut. Add an outside rectangular box with a thin black outline and no fill. (This is to help register the two sides later on).
- COPY the entire graphic and box and PASTE it side by side. If different text is desired on one side, change the text, but make sure it remains within the same overall contour-cut shape.
- Select the graphic which will be viewed through the front of the window. MIRROR this graphic, including the rectangular border which surrounds it. Save this reversed image only as a new file with a name such as DecalREV.eps.
- Save the other — right-reading — graphic as a new file with a different name (i.e. DecalWHITE.eps).
- Send the reversed file to PRINT ONLY on clear vinyl. Take the print out of the print/cut device.
- Put in light-blocking white vinyl and PRINT ONLY the right-reading file with Quadralign crop marks. Do not cut. Remember to use the same step and repeat structure if you are doing multiples. The cut info for this job is in the cutting queue waiting for you to get it later. Take the print out of the print/cut device.
- On a worktable or lightbox, lay the white vinyl printed side down. Position the clear vinyl print side down on top of the white. Match up the rectangles and use transfer tape to hinge it in position. The printed side of your clear vinyl should be facing the backing of the white vinyl.
- Carefully peel back and trim the backing paper from the white vinyl only. Be sure to trim the backing outside of the finished contour-cut area, but leave enough white vinyl to allow you to hinge the graphic.
- Laminate the white to the clear.
- Put the piece back into the machine and have Quadralign automatically realign the optical registration points on the white vinyl print.
- SEND cut only for the white vinyl file. Remember to set your cut depth deep enough to cut through both layers.
- Weed the finished graphic. Voila!
- Apply to the inside of a window, with the clear side facing out.
In Saratoga Springs, NY, Skip Grant of Grant Graphics has refined label making to a science. He produces labels, custom contour-cut decals, graphic overlays, industrial markings, serial-numbered decals, sports logos and domed labels.
This article has been excerpted from Roland’s popular instructional booklet, Taking the Mystery Out of Print/Cut. The ultimate guide to print/cut technology, this valuable, information-packed resource has already helped thousands of Roland customers streamline their production environments and grow their businesses. Get yours here.
Metallic ink is a great way to add pizzazz to a project, but how can you get these prints to really “pop?”
Here are three tips that we think will help you achieve better results when printing metallic:
Media selection will have a huge impact on how your metallic colors will appear on the final product. If you’re looking for a reflective type of effect, you will need to use a higher quality glossy media to start with. Lamination is also recommended whenever printing with metallic, so make sure to use a glossy laminate that works well with the media that you select. Some of the best results we’ve seen were printed on SCM-GPP2, Roland’s glossy photo base paper. Also, our ESM-GCVP glossy calendar vinyl does a great job for decals, POP displays and general outdoor signage. If you print on a matte material, it will be very difficult to get a rich looking metallic.
There are basically two print modes for printing metallic in Roland VersaWorks® — layered and blended. When blended mode is selected (CMYKMt), you are telling the printer to blend the Mt and the CMYK into a single layer. This will result in more of a pearlescent look than a shiny or reflective finish. To get that true metallic look on your finished print, you would use the layered mode (Mt_CMYK). This is telling the printer to first print metallic and then the CMYK data as a separate layer. When setting up the job in VersaWorks, click on the quality tab and first choose the media type that will be used. Then use the “mode” dropdown menu to tell the printer how you want to lay down the metallic, blended or layered.
Convert Spot Color
The last tip, and probably the most basic and common mistake made when printing metallic or any other spot color, is to make sure the “convert spot color” setting is turned on in VersaWorks. Believe it or not, this is one of the most common fixes our tech support team assists with when it comes to metallic printing issues. Under the “file format” tab, make sure that the check box next to “Convert Spot Color” is checked. Don’t miss this step, or the image will not print with metallic or even the correct color.
For more on printing with metallic, as well as other useful tips and tricks, please visit our Roland Academy Webinar Archive.
One of the things we at Roland love most about wide-format graphics is their ability to transform just about anything into something completely different. If this strikes a chord with you, then you must really love vehicle wraps. They’re just plain cool.
Wraps also represent one of the final frontiers of unregulated outdoor advertising. How long that will last, we don’t know. What we do know is that there are some tricks of the trade that you can follow to create the perfect wrap.
Dan Antonelli, vehicle wrap expert and President of New Jersey-based Graphic D-Signs, outlines a few in his article titled “Top 5 Rules for Effective Vehicle Wrap Design.” According to the article, the top 5 rules of wrap are:
Rule #1: Start with A Great Brand
Rule #2: Don’t Use Photos
Rule #3: Limit Your Advertising Copy
Rule #4: Design to Stand Out, Not Fit In
Rule #5: Simple and Obvious is Good
We’re in agreement with rules 1, 3, 4 and 5. It’s the second rule in Dan’s list that we would like to discuss a bit further.
#1 Start with a great brand? Absolutely. If it looks bad on letterhead, it will look bad, if not worse, on a vehicle wrap.
#3 Limit your advertising copy? Most people don’t even read their emails. Are they really going to read a paragraph on a car?
#4 Design to stand out, not fit in? That’s a no brainer. Advertising 101.
#5 Simple and obvious is good? There’s never an “always” when it comes to wrap, but as a general rule, people aren’t going to take a lot of time to decipher your vehicle’s graphics.
But what about “Rule #2: Don’t Use Photos?” Our opinion differs here. We agree that photos are used way too much in wide- format printing, but they can work for vehicle wraps when used effectively. The Coke Truck image is a good example. In this scenario, a graphic just wouldn’t be the same. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Using the image creatively is the key.
We admit there are many times that photos shouldn’t be used. If you’re marketing a service, it’s best to go with a graphic. Let’s face it; no one wants to see a photo of their plumber from any angle. It’s also tough to make out a photo on a service vehicle if it’s speeding by you in the opposite direction at 60 MPH. However, many wrapped vehicles are used for promotion. That means they’re often “selling” while parked. The “Duct Dudes” graphic in the wrap below isn’t going to stop people in their tracks, but the right photo can.
Rule #6: (Our own addition to the list) Don’t go cheap. We think that this is the most common mistake in wrap. A bad wrap is worse than a bad haircut. A customer will never, ever come back to a shop for anything if their wrap looks bad or fails. Working with top-of- the-line materials is cheap insurance. Often, vehicle wrap businesses fall into the trap of having one installer teach another installer their “art.” While this method can pass along some valuable knowledge and experience, it can also pass on bad habits just as easily.
Invest in good training, like the Born to Wrap classes we hold at Roland Academy, and before you know it you’ll be wrapping like a pro.
“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” — David Ogilvy
Dan Antonelli also serves as Creative Director for advertising agency Graphic D-Signs, which specializes in small business advertising, marketing, and brand development, including HVAC logo design and HVAC web design services.
Mark Roberts is the owner of The InterSign Group, a Houston-based company specializing in business branding, identification, marketing and way-finding. In addition to running a successful business, Mark writes “how to” sign-making and digital printing articles and is a regular contributor to Sign Builder Illustrated magazine. We have invited Mark to share his insights as a Roland guest blogger.
I have several great clients in the retail automobile industry. I offer service department signage that complements the corporate signage of all the major automobile manufacturers. Most service department signage is traditionally boring; however, this trend does not have to continue any longer. Every automobile manufacturer now has access to three-dimensional full-color logos, and as the professional sign makers that we are, we must jump on this bandwagon immediately.
Flat two-dimensional logos are passé in the buyer’s market. As our buying audience is getting younger and younger, they want cooler three-dimensional company logos. In fact, if you search the Internet, you may be able to download the exact three-dimensional logo that you are searching for.
For my logo generation, I begin with a vector format. This format allows for infinite enlargement without pixelization. Using Adobe Illustrator, creating vector files is relatively easy. For the Toyota logos, I began with a vector file and then added the color inside the lines. From there, I saved the file and opened it in the Adobe Photoshop program…at the full size of the print I will produce. Inside PhotoShop, there is an awesome tool called “Bevel and Emboss,” which adds a three-dimensional appearance to letters or logos. There are several options inside “Bevel and Emboss,” so take a few minutes to play around with the settings so you can find the perfect look for your letters and/or artwork.
For the Toyota logo, I used the “Bevel and Emboss” tool, along with a drop shadow. A few adjustments up and down was all it took for me to decide on the perfect file. Once selected, the file was named “Toyota pumped.” From there, I took the file and re-sized it. Then I assigned a cut contour line around the perimeter and also around the inside components. The cut contour line inside Roland VersaWorks is a pink line that will appear as “marching ants” when activated. When you see that everything is correct and ready for printing, and the ants are marching, click the mouse button to begin.
Would you like to sell a lot more custom-cut decals? If so, just add an extra dozen or so to your print queue and hand out these samples to potential buyers. Once they see the awesome color, as well as the precision contour cutting, they will be hooked! Selling these types of decals is very easy, and the repeat orders are even better.The Roland VersaCAMM printer processes the files and begins the printing. In merely a few minutes, the logos are printed and contour cut…with extreme precision.
Show your current clientele what you can do, and get ready to increase your work…and profitability.
Until next time….sell well and prospect even better!
Mark K. Roberts – theintersigngroup.com
Roland ECO-UV® inks are optimized for VersaUV® technology and are designed for flexibility and superior imaging. They offer enhanced scratch and alcohol resistance and adhere to a wide range of coated and un-coated materials.
In addition to CMYK, ECO-UV is offered in 2 specialty coats – white and clear. Clear ink can be used for highlights, special effects, realistic textures and enhanced durability and adds an unprecedented high gloss finish.
Applying ‘clear’ on a raster image can be tricky at times. However, having the right tools and the know-how can make this an easy task.
1. Using the right software and opening the raster image file
If you have the right tool- in this case, software – you’ve already accomplished half of this process. For this example, I’m using Adobe® Illustrator® CS6** and ‘RDG_GLOSS’. If you’ll be using an earlier version of AI,we recommend CS3 or later.
Select the raster file and open it with AI. Make sure the raster file is embedded, not linked. If the file is linked (indicated by diagonal lines), embed the file by selecting Window>Link to display the ‘Link’ window. Then click on the pull-down menu on the Links window and select ‘Embed Image’ to embed the raster file.
Note: To make any adjustments to the raster image, it is better to convert the image to grayscale and make changes in Adobe Photoshop®.
2. Converting the raster image file to grayscale and applying the spot color
Once the raster file is embedded, the next step is to remove the color and convert the file to a grayscale image. To do thisin AI, select the raster file and click Object>Rasterize. From the ‘Rasterize’ window, select ‘Grayscale’ for Color Model and ’300 ppi’ for resolution. Then, simply apply ‘RDG_GLOSS’ spot color to the grayscale raster image.
Note: More gloss will be applied to darker areas on the image.
3. Saving the file and adding the print job to Roland VersaWorks®
The last step is easy. Just save the file in a format that Roland VersaWorks supports (i.e. PDF or EPS) and add the file to Roland VersaWorks. Choose your settings in ‘Job Properties’ as shown in the image below to verify the print and you’re done.
Note: This method can also be used to apply ‘White’ ink.
For applications such as team numbers and vehicle graphics, using two or more layers of color is a great way to enhance your vinyl decal. In order to easily design and create this type of graphic, follow these easy steps.
- Create registration marks in the bottom corners of your design.
- Next use the select tool to choose both registration marks plus the layer of your design you want to cut first.
- Then open the cutting window and check the “selection” box before hitting OK. Only the layer selected will be cut at this time.
- Repeat the process with all other layers in the design using the registration marks to line each layer up for perfect registration of your finished piece.
Voila! You now have your multi-layered decal for your garment or sign.