Designing for “The Longest Hallway in the World”

Written by Roland DGA

As senior graphic designer for Roland DGA, Priya Garcia is responsible for designing a wide range of materials, from product brochures and advertisements to print files, samples and wide-format trade show graphics, for each of the company’s product lines. With more than 20 years of graphic design experience, she has in-depth knowledge of design and production processes for both print and electronic mediums. She is also an experienced presenter and former graphic design instructor at the college level. Priya will be contributing to the Tips & Tricks blog based on her design work at Roland.

In the past year, the Roland DGA corporate office underwent a major renovation and build-out that wrapped up last month. The construction left us with one VERY long hallway; 170 linear feet to be exact.

My challenge (accepted!) was to create a design for the space.

"The Longest Hallway in the World"

“The Longest Hallway in the World”

I had to keep a few things in mind while planning for the project. The hallway presented a number of obstacles with no windows, a drop ceiling with fluorescent lights, and lots and lots of solid blank walls.  Also, I was given freedom to have some fun with the space because of the location of the hall, so I wanted to treat it a bit differently than the other areas I had designed for.

My solution was a space that would tell a story and also help Roland employees connect with the larger company as a whole. After brainstorming with some of my co-workers, I decided to design a gallery space that would feature abstract photography of everything Roland.

I recruited a small team of talented Roland employees to take photos all around our building, capturing everything from product parts to office supplies. I then used these images to design 49 unique floor-to-ceiling panels, that would all be printed, of course, on Roland devices.

To add variety, I planned to print the panels on two different Roland printers and arrange them in an alternating pattern. Half of the graphics would be printed on Roland WallFlair Removable Fabric™ with the SOLJET® PRO 4 XR-640 and applied directly to the wall. The other half would be produced on ½” Ultraboard with the VersaUV® LEJ-640, and then mounted to the wall with 2”standoffs.

Along the opposite wall, I placed 19 30” x 30” framed canvas prints that would also be produced on a Roland inkjet. Using full-size graphics on both sides would have made the hallway feel even more long and narrow, so we balanced the large images on one wall with smaller framed art on the other. As finishing touches to the design, I added some benches throughout the hall.

The best way for me to share my work on projects like this is to do a Photoshop® mockup of the final design. This helps me share my vision everyone involved. It also helps me refine my design because I might see something along the way that I want to add or tweak. Changes are much less expensive and time consuming when caught here rather than in the production process!

My Photoshop Mockup

My Photoshop mockup

Mockup of the another angle

Mock-up of another angle

Once the design was approved, we were ready for setup and production. To determine the sizes that we needed and what the graphics would look like in position, I created a layout in Adobe® Illustrator®. This allowed me to work out the kinks and prepare my print files. I then sent our big-scale, high quality photographs to print, which took two full days on the XR and four days on the LEJ.

Illustrator Layouts

Illustrator Layouts

Once production was completed, a team of two worked for three days to apply and mount the graphics. As you can see by these finished photos, the end-result came out almost exactly like my mock-ups, and my work on “The Longest Hallway in the World” was complete – a beautiful and functional space, full of color and Roland culture.

Finished Hallway 1

Finished Hall 2

Finished Hallway 3

Finished Hallway 4

Getting Set-up for Stickers

Written by Roland DGA

Casino Night StickerWhen it comes to producing stickers, proper set-up can help streamline your workflow and save you valuable production time. Here are two cut settings in Adobe Illustrator and Roland VersaWorks that will help you increase efficiency and reduce waste when printing stickers and decals.

In Adobe Illustrator
The PerfCutContour Swatch

If your customers are looking for individual stickers, creating a “PerfCut” (a perforated cut line through the liner) will reduce time spent weeding and trimming finished prints. Creating a new custom swatch in Adobe Illustrator called “PerfCutContour” is a great shortcut and you’ll be able to use this feature time and time again.

Follow these easy steps to create your new swatch:

  1. With Illustrator open, select the drop down menu from the swatches library and select “New Swatch.”New Swatch
  2. In the “New Swatch” dialogue box, change the Swatch Name to “PerfCutContour” making sure to capitalize the “P,C, and C,” and delete any spaces (the name should appear as it does above).
  3. In the same dialogue box, using the “Color Type” drop- down menu, select “Spot Color” and define a color value for the PerfCutContour swatch using the CMYK value sliders. Then click OK to save. The PerfCutContour swatch should now be available in the Swatch Library.                                                           PerfCutContour

A quick tip for improving cut quality: Place a Contour Cut line directly on top of the artwork that will be PerfCut. Doing so will tell the printer to perform a contour cut first, before proceeding with the PerfCut. This will ensure that the PerfCut is completed on the backing material only, leaving your printed piece free from the little tags left behind when a PerfCut is performed.

In Roland VersaWorks
The Custom Cut Function

The Custom Cut function can help improve workflow and cut accuracy on longer print and cut jobs by allowing the user to divide the job into smaller segments, resulting in greater print/cut registration accuracy. Before getting started, make all of your desired settings for the job: number of copies, size, quality, etc. Once all of the settings are dialed in, follow the steps below to set up the job with Custom Cut.

  1. Under the “Layout” tab in VersaWorks, click “Get Media Width” and record the result. You can right click and copy the width. You will need this information for the next step.                           Get Media Width
  2. Open the “Size” dropdown menu and select “Custom Cut.” Notice that the width has changed back to the default width. You can right click into the “Width” area again and select “paste” to enter the correct width of the material copied during the previous step.                                                                                  Select Size
  3. The next step is where we will break the job into manageable-sized rows. To do this, change the height in the “Media Setting” field to be slightly higher than the height listed in the “Scaling Field.” In this example, we’re working with an image height of 5.99 inches, so I’m going to enter the “Media Setting” height as 6.10 inches. The job preview to the right will change to reflect each row as a different page. VersaWorks will process each row as its own print/cut job which, in turn, will increase print and cut registration accuracy over the entire run. Change the Height

These tips were covered in this week’s Roland Academy webinar: “Making Stickers with your Roland.” To see upcoming webinars and access our archive for Roland owners, please click here

Two-sided Window Graphics with Two Different Stories

Written by Roland DGA

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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.Two-Sided Decal
  4. Save the other — right-reading — graphic as a new file with a different name (i.e. DecalWHITE.eps).
  5. Send the reversed file to PRINT ONLY on clear vinyl. Take the print out of the print/cut device.Reversed file printing
  6. 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.
  7. 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.3FINAL
  8. 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.        Peel backing     Trim backing
  9. Laminate the white to the clear. Laminate white to clear
  10. Put the piece back into the machine and have Quadralign automatically realign the optical registration points on the  white vinyl print.Back into machine for Quadralign
  11. SEND cut only for the white vinyl file. Remember to set your cut depth deep enough to cut through both layers.
  12. Weed the finished graphic.  Voila!Weed the graphic
  13. Apply to the inside of a window, with the clear side facing out. Apply to inside of window

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.

Tips for Printing Metallic

Written by Roland DGA

Sign_Metallic Butterfly_wide_medRes

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

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.

Metallic Print ModesPrint Modes

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. Convert Spot Color 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.

Our Take on The Rules of Wrap

Written by Roland DGA

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.

Zamboni_lowResWraps 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.

coca-cola-zeroBut 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.

Creating a Set of “Trick Chromed” Toyota Decals

Written by Roland DGA

AutoNation Toyota LogoMark 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.

Adhering the chromed Toyota logo to the side of a golf cartRemoving transfer mask from the chromed decalFor 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 –

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