The Importance of the Template:
The template for the metal signs is set up to the largest possible size (36”x36”). Your artwork does not have to fill the entire template, but we do strongly recommend maximizing your design within the template either vertically or horizontally to ensure that your file will be made to the specs that are going to be marketed to your customers. We will take the largest file and scale it down proportionately to the size your customer purchases.
Your metal sign artwork will be cut out of a solid sheet of metal. This is important to know because you must upload an artwork file that has transparency in it. You will be working with positive and negative space. Any elements in your design that are transparent will not be attached to the final sign. That being said, you will also need to be aware of design elements that need to be manually attached to the main artwork. If you have floating elements that are not connected or anchored to the overall design, they will not be attached on the final product.
You must also be aware of the thickness of lines in your design as well as the amount of fine detail used. It is a good practice to keep your designs simple and bold so the final product is legible. If you have fine detail in your design upon uploading, those details will ultimately get smaller/finer as the size of your artwork goes down depending on what overall size of sign your customer purchases.
Also keep in mind the structure of the final product while designing. Metal is a rigid material to work with and has minimal flex points that will affect its structural integrity. Although the metal signs are designed to be mounted and hung on a wall, if you do not take the medium into account while creating your designs, you run the risk of your customer receiving a damaged product in shipping or having it crack/break during the installation process. We cannot offer a refund to the store owner for damaged merchandise if the structural integrity of the sign is questionable based on the design uploaded. It is best to error on the side of caution and make sure your artwork is designed with this in mind.
The metal signs do not come with mounting hardware. The signs also do not have mounting holes or brackets added into your designs. How your artwork is submitted is how your sign will be created. If you would like to have mounting holes in your design, you must add those yourself. Depending on your design, it may not be necessary to include mounting holes. Many examples we have seen while doing research on this type of product do not have mounting holes - the purchaser can simply use the cut-outs on the sign to add nails/hooks/etc. to stabilize the sign to the wall.
If you are going to add your own mounting holes into your design, be cautious of the size of hole you create. You will be designing for the largest size, but your artwork will be scaled down depending on the size of sign your customer orders. This means that the size of the hole you create will get smaller; the smaller the sign your customer orders. You should also take into account the location of the mounting holes. We recommend placing these mounting holes in places that will not affect the final product structurally as well as in locations that keep the sign balanced once hung up/mounted.
Working with Vector Formatted Files:
If you have the ability to, we highly suggest creating your files with vector formatted software. A vector uses shapes, rather than pixels, to assemble your artwork. This means that your design can be scaled up to infinity (theoretically) and will not lose detail. Unlike bitmap format where it is pixel based and loses detail the larger it gets.
Working with vector files also makes adding and subtracting anchors and attachment points much easier. If you have an element in your design that is not attached, you can simply draw/make a shape to bridge the gap in your design to ensure that your design is intact once created.
We request users upload a PNG file with transparency to better accommodate most design softwares, but suggest building your source files as vectors so they are easier to adjust and manipulate if a change needs to be made. We may even, in the future, allow for vector supported design files to be accepted in our app to ensure a higher quality graphic to send to our manufacture.
Design in One Color:
Much like laser etched products (tumblers & wood cutting boards), metal signs are created as a single pre-determined color. Our system will not recognize multiple colors or even opacity changes & other design effects. This is important to note because of the medium you are designing for - metal. We strongly recommend designing your artwork as one color, preferably black. This will help you better understand how the final design will look as well as keep you from using design tricks such as shadows/opacity changes/multiple colors. If you need to make enhancements to your artwork, you need to work with positive and negative space to achieve your desired outcome. Since the sign will be one solid color, utilizing negative space in your design becomes a powerful technique.
Continuity Test Screen:
When uploading your design into our system, we will run the file through our Continuity Tester. This screen will determine if your artwork has any design elements that are not attached to the majority of the design. This will be highlighted in RED. If you are okay with these red elements not being on the final product, you can proceed. If these floating elements are important to your final design, you must attach the elements in red to the rest of your design to ensure they will be on the end product and re-upload your artwork. If everything in the test screen is black, you have a successful design with all elements attached in one form or another.
*The Continuity Test Screen is used a stop-gap to alert you of any potential flaws in your design prior to finalizing your product. It is up to you to make the proper adjustments and/or proceed knowing that your design will be altered by removing the detached elements.