Here at Poly Enterprises when your artwork is initially sent to our graphics team, there are some important things to take in to account before sending us your artwork. First and foremost your graphic elements should be placed in vector format. This allows us to manipulate the artwork in a way that in impossible with files in other formats such as JPEG. A Quick way to check this is, when you zoom in on your art does it become pixelated or does the art remain a smooth shape no matter the zoom. If the latter is the case for you, then you have the correct vector artwork.
Secondly, take into the account the colors that you want included in your custom molded vinyl product. It may be necessary for you to send us these colors requested in the form of a Pantone swatch call out, so that we can accurately replicate the look you’re requesting. For example, Pms 187 is a common red that we use in multiple products. In some rare occasions when your custom molded vinyl product need to match a preexisting product it may also be much easier for us to reach that by the client sending some form of a physical example to us.
After our graphics team has received all of this, our process of manipulating your art into something that can be tooled into a mold begins. The first step of this is ensuring that all elements in art are within our size restrictions. Due to some of the processes of our production, elements have to be certain sizes, generally the small are the largest problem. So in those cases we tend to grow them slightly, and most of the time this is hardly noticeable. As is the change is only by a few thousands of an inch. For example this is an element from a recent client in which some of the thickness is not applicable for our production. So our graphics team will take these elements, and if space allows it, scales the entire element up. If space doesn’t allow for this then our graphics team will go in and grow out certain places within each element. For this example I will just grow the letter “ E” .
Next we take in to account the tools we use for cutting the mold, and due to their shape some of the hard corners within an element may become more rounded, in the design process we show this on the art work, so that there is not any discrepancy between the electronic design and the physical product. The result looks something like this.
Sometimes when elements of two or more colors that touch each other, a separation or “wall “is need between the colors. This allows our production process to maintain clean transitions from color to color. While these walls vary in size depending on the size of the custom molded vinyl product, they only appear on the actual mold, the product itself will only have a slight separation between colors.
Notice the black areas in between the colored elements, this how our graphic department shows this in electronic form.
This is a finished product, not how on the actual sample how the black areas that appear in the fax approval show as separation between colors.
The last part of our graphic process is to take this information and compile it on to a fax approval, creating for your & our records a signed copy to file. This fax approval will have all the information need to understand the type of product we will be producing. Including size, color, depths, and even an electronic representation of your finished product. This fax approval will need to be signed and returned to us. Before the molding process can begin.
Once the fax approval comes back to us signed and dated, the art is then moved into machining process. During this process, a mold is cut, cleaned and inspected thoroughly before being sent to production. After inspection and before final production, we create our first few samples that are then sent to the customer for final approval.
— Written by Cruz Bennett