Doing a layout for a client and they said they need a cut vector pdf for their printer. They are going to have my layout printed into a sign.
I don't know what a cut vector pdf is and I am very new to using illustrator. I just started using it two days ago for this specific project. I found the save to pdf option but I don't know what cut vector is, do I need to do something to cut it up or something?
I have creative cloud cs6 and am using illustrator cs6 for this project. I got no clue here what they are looking for. I can save it out to pdf is that what they mean?
This is for an actual profesional printer they will be taking this to and they will make the sign from the file I give them.
Any help here will be much appreciated as you can tell I have no idea about the file format for printing printing.. I mostly do projects for the web and don't come across print print projects much.
If there are any tutorials out there you know of about this video would be great but text based will work too, please share.
Vectorized Cut PDF
No response back from one of the printers here locally I emailed. I called another one and was put off, they didn't answer the question.
Noone seems to be able to tell me about this. I googled and youtubed but was not able to find instruction or a lot of information about creating files for plotters.
I did find something about using a really really old version of Illustrator with some sort of software for plotters but it was so old I do not know if it is relevant especially since I am using CS6.
I was looking for settings and possible design elements I need to include or stay away from but have not been able to find this and the client doesn't know either.
I guess this is a mystery that will be solved when I get to the hand off of the layout and hear back if there were printing issues or not. I find it extremely strange that professional shops can't tell me about this and just put me off. Makes me never want to do business with them actually.
I guess this is another one of those things I have to figure out on my own.
It's not really possible to advise you accurately without knowing more about the project specifics.
Generally speaking "cut vector pdf" is someone's sloppy way of saying they need vector-based paths for a plotter/cutter to follow in cutting sign vinyl. I don't know why they want it specifically in PDF format.
Sign cutting devices vary. There are simple cutters which cut all the elements of the artwork out of vinyl (individual letters, for example). If designing for that kind of machine, all your artwork needs to consist of only vector paths.
There are other devices which are hybrid cutter/printers. They can print raster portions of artwork, and then follow a vector path to cut out the overall shape. If designing for that kind of machine, the arwork may be partially or entirely raster images, and only the paths intended to serve as the cutting path needs to be vector-based paths.
Sign cutters/plotters generally are driven by HPGL plotter language, not by PostScript. So the operator opens your Illustrator artwork in a cutter driver program which can re-interpret the Bezier curves contained in PostScript artwork into HPGL commands which are understood by the cutting device.
There are considerations that have to be borne in mind when designing vector-based artwork for sign cutters. Generally, you don't want any crossing or overlapping paths. Its merely "looking right" on screen doesn't ensure that it is suitable for cutting.
So while it's not rocket science, you do have to be familiar with the process itself so that you can build the artwork appropriately. In that regard, it's much like designing for print.
Thank you very much Jet, your explanation sounds like it is spot on.
Their existing sign is printed on vinyl but there is nothing cut out, they have several past signs that are printed on plastic/plexiglass for signs that are litup and one that is printed on wood which I assume this same person did the printing for those as well. I do NOT know what kind of machine is used to make the sign and the way my client makes it sound this is someone that is either semi or completely retired and does this as a hobby and really doesn't understand a whole lot about computers. So far noone really understands what this person needs and my proactive stance with trying to get a handle on this by contacting actual printers probably made me look like an idiot from the printers stand point now that you have explained.
There is not a wole lot of colorful design it is mainly 3 colors. One aspect is a logo which is the company name and a vector image which varies from version to version of their logo, mostly solid lines with total color fills.
The new version which I have been working on in a larger total project doesn't have any aspects to my eyes that would cause problems with whatever machine is being used though I have never designed anything for large signs before. I also haven't really used Illustrator before either so it is all new but the client likes what they see so that is the most important thing.
If you have seen caldwell banker signs minus the image of sales person or something like the panda express logo, pizza hut, holiday inn signs those are similar type of thing to the signs my client has had in the past. The current one is printed on a light weight vinyl. I do NOT know what this new version will be printed on though it could be glass, wood, vinyl etc...
Not to put too fine a point on it, but:
…I don't know what a cut vector pdf is…
…I am very new to using illustrator…
…I got no clue here what they are looking for…
…I do NOT know what kind of machine is used to make the sign…
…it sound this is someone that is either semi or completely retired and does this as a hobby and really doesn't understand…
…noone really understands what this person needs…
…I do NOT know what this new version will be printed on…
…I also haven't really used Illustrator before…
…What's wrong with this picture?
Before Monday of this week I never really used illustrator before. I primarily used fireworks, paint.net and more recently photoshop after spending a lot of time on youtube, adobe.tv and some paid learning websites.
The client is taking the artwork and giving it to a local guy who has a setup where he makes signs of various types. My understanding is this person is elderly and does not understand computers very well.
I have NEVER heard of a vector cut pdf before and so far everyone I have talked to also does not know what a "vector cut" insert file format here is or at least they couldn't explain it to me.
My main business is webdesign both on front end and also backend programming and user interfaces on the internet. I have very little experience with print such as physical magazine layouts, large signs like for restaurants and brick and motor businesses. I have created signs for vehicales and had them printed at local printers but I never had to use a PDF file format and they never used the term vector cut to me at all. This project with this particular client is the first I ever came across the term. Like I said, I do not do phyiscal print very much and have little to no experience when it comes to professional level printing. The closest I come to is using a large laser printer I have access to on occasion.
I think you need to take a step back a little. Not everyone has the same experience or skills. Designing for the web is different than for print and I have NEVER used a plotter in my life and have no undersrtanding of capabilities they have especially when it comes to file formats and any restrictions with various effects.
Following Terry White's videos on Youtube and adobe.tv I got upto speed quickly with using illustrator. It is not a hard program I just never used it really before Monday and have created some very nice graphics with it over this week. I will probably begin using it in my webdesigns as well and maybe rely less on fireworks for everything but photography editing.
I wanted it to be clear that I am new to illustrator, I do not understand and am unfamiliar with terms from the print world and without going into too much detail on my client or the exact project I am doing for them the bottom line is they need the graphics I am creating for them, they need it in a file format and the format they need it in which was told to them by the person who is physically making the sign is a "Vectorised Cut PDF". I have never heard of that term before and I was told by my client I am not the first. That is all I can tell you.
I have been designing for the web both programming and graphical since the mid 1990's. I have a huge amount of experience when it comes to designing websites both dynamic and static. I can code sophisticated database applications and create beautiful graphical websites. I also am an experienced marketer and have made quote a lot of money for my clients, So, I am not a stupid person. I am ignorant of certain things which can be rectified easily by learning from other smarter people in the areas that I need educated on. That is why I came here to the Adobe Forums to ask a question about this new term to me, Vector Cut PDF when it comes to illustrator.
I know about CMYK, RGB and after talking with a designer friend about this topic we are discussing he used the Term "CUT" in association with these two color schemes so I assume part of the properties need to be set when saving to PDF for this guy that will be doing the printing is to make sure the file is CMYK and other settings for the file are set to output in the highest quality as possible.
I have never understood Illustrator before, I am used to a different work flow and it was too difficult compared to the applciations I normally use. Now that I have been forced to use the program and be paid to do so, I find it not that bad and have memorized keyboard commands that are the same or similar in the other Adobe suite software.
I do learn rather quickly, going from ZERO knowledge of as close to it as you can come when it comes to this program to a moderate level user in under a week is pretty good.
Thank you for your Time Jet. I do appreciate your posting the explanation of what vector cut means and yes there are a lot of people that are doing extroadinary level works in the real world with little knowledge about correct terminologies, less than stellar computer experience and they still manage to make a living for themselves and their families. I really do thank you for helping me understand more and with others I have been talking with I am getting more educated on professional printing than I ever really will use, probably never but good to know.
Might I suggest that you ask the elderly gentleman who runs the sign shop for a sample PDF file so you can look at it and get a better idea of what's needed? If you can look at a file that he has run succesfully you may learn a good deal. Probably it is very simple.
You might also ask him what the CNC machine he is using needs when it cuts from a pdf file. He might not know computers but he probably knows his cutter very well. Likely you'll get a set of instructions about limitations of how thin any given area can be, how much of an offset the cutter needs from the actual art to account for kerf, if certain colors need to be applied to the cut lines that mean something to the controlling machine (ie, cut, perf, depth of cut, etc)
I actually thought of that but I do not have any personal contact with the gentleman. It's one of those situations where it's a hand off to the client and then they take the artwork and do whatever with it. If I actually knew the name of this person and could look them up or get the info from my client then I could do that. Though this is not my only client and I have quite a lot of other projects I am working on as well. It's not really a priority I guess is what I am saying.
What is interesting to me is that there is no tutorials or details I could find, not even tips about designing for actual physical print devices. All of the signs I have seen from this client are actually printed on the material, no part of the vector graphics are cut into the material or out of the material. Though that does not mean my work won't be but once I pass it to the client there really isn't much I can do.
I was hoping to get tips or insights on settings for illustrator, what to watch out for and make sure you don't do this in your design or the machine will explode etc... Got some great advice above though which is appreciated. The problem here in this specific situation is I have no idea what type of machine is used, I don't have access to the individual that actually makes the signs and I guess it is someone that has a machine in his garage or something. The only real detail I have is they need a Vectorized Cut PDF and my client doesn't know what that is and I didn't understand either.
It's not something I am going to dwell on though and next time I come across a project like this I will do my best to get more details. In this case, the client doesn't have the details, did not provide me with much information about the process because they don't know anything about how the signs are created or what machinery is used.
Sometimes you only have what the client provides you and in this case it isn't much to go on. If it wasn't for Scott W and Jet I wouldn't of known what I do about the process.
The vinyl in their current sign is a thin tarp like material that they have scewed into the sign board for their current location and their current logo is printed on it, like one would from a laser or deskjet printer but I am sure that's not what was used. I assume the same thing will be done for the new sign but they hinted also getting a light box sign to hang in the window. It's interesting anyway and is a something different than I normally do.
I may post back once this is completed to detail what happened and maybe post a photo of the completed sign.
Thanks for everyones responses it is much appreciated.
Since I do printed vinyl decals I'd like to guide you as well. since your artwork is created from Illustrator, saving as a PDF should save as a vectored file, remember to create outlines to all type, this way there are no font issues with the sign guy. If you artwork is larger than Illustrator's boundaries, scale down but remember to inform the sign guy as well. hope this helps.
The text is mostly solid fill lines between 50 pt and 400 pt which I can't see causing a problem but I am not familiar with the kind of printing this is going to be used for. There is one part of the text that is basically a solid color fill inside of another object, I did put a stroke around that text mostly for cosmetic but glad that it may also help the machine print clearly.
I searched for quite a while trying to get info on this type of printing and machines used but either I was searching for the wrong terms or people were using something other than illustrator to design their logo's and graphics.
Thank you for your reply.
No need to stroke the text as long as it's above the object it should print that way. Saving as an eps (vector not jpg) can be used or dxf but that's a last resort. Ask the sign guy which formats he can accept then save them to his liking.
I don't have access to the sign guy, my client told me when he asked him what he needed for file was a vectorized cut pdf. That's pretty much were I am and why I initially posted here.
Thank you for your feedback I will give the client a pdf and eps file like you suggested.