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Is cut lettering dying?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by depps74, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. depps74

    depps74 Member

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    I have several museum clients. THe last two shows they ordered printed lettering on phototext (which is 90% cheaper and faster to install than cut lettering which means less profit for me.

    I've noticed a lot of NYC museums going this route for some shows. ANyone else who does lettering regularly noticing a switch to printed lettering paragraphs rather than cut lettering?
     
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  2. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Ya just gotta keep up with the times. We've been digital printing since 1995, so, it doesn't seem like anything new to me. From 23" printers to a roll ro rolls and flarbeds...... we just keep churning them out, but still do a fair amount of die-cut vinyl. Did lettering for 14 trucks yesterday........ all die-cut.

    Museums don't seem to have near the backing they used to, plus the younger generations aren't as interested in old stuff, so they need to save a buck wherever they can...... just like you and me.
     
  3. 2CT Media

    2CT Media Very Active Member

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    I don't think it's going away, I think it's just a search for a better solution... Maybe someone should make dyed Self Adhesive Fabric for a interior replacement to vinyl? No shrink and a nice textured matte finish.
     
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  4. Superior_Adam

    Superior_Adam Member

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    Its not going to completely die out but it is very limited these days. Most people now want a pantone color instead of a stock color vinyl. Yes many brands now have pantone colors but why stock all that vinyl when you can have a single roll and do a print/cut.
     
  5. ddarlak

    ddarlak Trump Hater

    I have been doing cut vinyl for a Museum since 1995, I can tell you they will never stop, as to cut vinyl for everything else, probably....
     
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  6. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    Some of it has to do with people being lazy. Not that cut vinyl is hard by any means but printed is much easier. How many people post on here about their new business with a printer but no plotter or laminator? Theres no shortage of them producing stuff.
    Theres a gray sprinter I see around here that has a 2x4ish printed rectangle decal with white letters on an attempted gray match background. Looks ridiculous.
     
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  7. Category5

    Category5 Member

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    I don’t think it’s dying so much as it’s evolving. Cut lettering will always have its place.
     
  8. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    That's what they said about horses with buggy behinds, but only the Amish do it anymore. When the first machine came on the scene in the early 80s no one ever realized it would turn into what it is today. Nothing stays around forever..... except the tuxedo. That sucker hasn't changed in 150 years.
     
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  9. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    They aren't the only ones. Some of us still do that as well.

    This is always what's amazed me. Cutter has been around a loooonnnnnggg time and yet, go to apparel trade show and it's really only taken off in the last 10 yrs or so. It's always morphing, have to in order to stay relevant or else just die away.

    Either change with the times or the times change you.
     

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  10. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    As long as there are monument companies, the need for plotter cutters will remain. Lasers are becoming the norm with black granite and composite materials, but until they can evolve enough to deeply incise a wide variety of natural stone products, sandblasting will continue remain the top contender.

    The relatively low - cost entry, reliability and predictability of sandblasting will always remain attractive for startups and bootstrappers...especially since there is a market glut of equipment (conventional plotters) left behind as sign makers migrate toward digital printing gold rush.

    Yes, there have been some jaw-dropping new industry breakthroughs in the past few decades, but lagging behind by three or four "technological generations" can still be very profitable.

    The digital "sizzle and pop" is stunning, but it doesn't have all of the "sensory-factors" like the older technologies. Thirty years from now, people will be running their fingers over truck doors and saying "Wow, that's genuine cut vinyl lettering....those dudes were truly craftsmen". Well...maybe not that extreme, but who would have ever predicted that vinyl records could make such a fierce comeback? Clicks, pops, white noise and always replacing needles...oh, the days.

    BTW...I have an acquaintance who swings a pretty mean hammer as an artisan blacksmith. I don't believe his business has suffered any setbacks by the digital revolution http://www.sandersoniron.com/old/



    JB
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
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  11. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    In the OTR community, they never fallen out of favor. In fact, those are still the best sources of getting more pristine OTR for conversion into WAV (not talking about new discs mind you, the stuff that was used when the shows were new).

    Personally, not much a fan of those for having in my personal collection, but to each their own.

    Bare in mind, that is a niche market. I have a friend that's a couple yrs younger then I that does that as well. Very, very good, but still very very niche.

    Delicate balance here. Not all new technologies pan out, so always going for the latest and greatest isn't always the best (I'm not one that always believes on being on the "bleeding edge" especially when talking about a production environment), but lagging too far behind can really hurt as well. Especially when talking about more mainstream cases, niche cases, not so much.
     
  12. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Cut vinyl can still be the best solution for a lot of applications. When printed/laminated graphics have the same life expectancy as cut vinyl it will change.
     
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  13. fresh

    fresh Very Active Member

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    who is going to suggest printing things like DOT numbers on trucks and buses? Nobody.

    And since its becoming a niche product, we're actually charging more these days for cut vinyl than for printed. I'll do cut vinyl all day every day.
     
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  14. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Yes, we're getting more and more for our die-cut vinyl, especially the RTA. It doesn't surpass our digital stuff, but it's getting up there.
     
  15. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    I use cut vinyl on boats, personal watercraft, trailers, windows, etc... Million plus dollar yachts too. For me it isn't going away any time soon.
     
  16. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    Lol. I was going through some of our old photos and looking at what our guys were doing with cut vinyl and it blew my mind. It's not that I couldn't do it, but it'd be too time consuming! And I know this is even basic to some people have done, especially compared to paint. At this time we were offering Scotchcal prints from some vendor, but nothing like this. I think this was done by one of our sign painters. I feel pride just doing two or three layer vinyl for vehicles and windows. Can't imagine something like this.
     

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  17. shoresigns

    shoresigns Very Active Member

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    Museums and art galleries will never stop using paragraphs of cut vinyl unless a better process comes along that allows them to put lettering on a wall without a "background".

    Being able to place lettering without a background is essential to exhibition design.
     
  18. Category5

    Category5 Member

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    I remember doing that sort of work with cut vinyl 20+ years ago. A lot of times, there was as much paint as there was vinyl involved to get the desired look. All stuff that is way easier to print these days.
     
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