Teaching Intelligent (Decal) Design

A designer uses a stylus on a drawing tablet.

Before you can print a decal, you have to design it. Not only does the design have to be appealing, but it also has to be the right size and shape for the intended application. And it also has to be the right fit for the printing method you choose. In this post, we offer some tips for prepping your design for vinyl cut and printed decals.

If vinyl cut decals will work best for your design, follow these tips:

  1. Avoid excessive amounts of detail.
  2. Opt for thicker lines, as they allow for more adhesive on the back of the decal. Thin lines will equate to a thin piece of vinyl and, therefore, less adhesive.
  3. The excess vinyl (or remaining waste) in any decal is discarded. Capital letters like 'A,' 'R,' and 'B,' or lower-case letters like 'e' and 'a,' contain excess vinyl within the letters themselves and must be “picked” out—often manually. This process drives up the overall cost of production, as well as the price of the decals.
  4. Most digital cutters are capable of unique cut lines, as technology continues to improve. However, it helps to keep your design fairly simple.

The tips about cutting vinyl cut decals apply to printed decals, too, as do a few others:

  1. Choose big, bold colors and blocks. The dot pattern of a printer has limitations, and small details don't translate as well.
  2. Know the PMS or CMYK values of the colors you want to use in your decal. A decal designed in RGB will look slightly different when converted to CMYK or PMS.
  3. Avoid sharp corners if you plan to have the decal die cut. There will be a slightly round edge to the corners of a steel die.

Not only would we love to print your decals, but we'd love to help you walk through the design beforehand. Contact us today if you are unsure if your design is ready to print.

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