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Layout software

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by mjlayton, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. mjlayton

    mjlayton New Member

    Dec 10, 2013
    I'm a new user and different stripe of cat for this forum. I service and install signs made by folks like you. I found this site looking for help using SignGo. The purpose of my search is to find a software to assist in choosing the proper size letter for the wording requested by the customer and limited by the area available on the building or sign face. I have visited graphic design sites, but the all speak Greek to me. I have a customer now who wants several channel letter signs for his building and no means to provide good information to him or the manufacturer on sizes.

    Mike Layton
    Layton Service
  2. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

    Jan 2, 2010
    Mitten State
    I'd say you're in for a steep learning curve with layout and design and learning new software. Each of those is a pursuit unto itself. There are charts for determining lettering size at specific distances.

  3. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    "I service and install signs made by folks like you."
    seems to me, what you say in your post YOU ARE GOING TO SELL THEM the letters and do the install.
    if there was a SIGN PROFESSIONAL doing the design and layout...............you dont need to do what youre asking..........
    correct me if iam off base here.
  4. player

    player Major Contributor

    Apr 24, 2006
    Anybody can buy equipment and start making signs.
  5. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    Hi Mike,

    I've seen your work and it's obvious to me that you are an accomplished installer.
    I will not ever question your status a knowledgeable sign guy

    I have 3 suggestions...

    Option 1 - On your site, it says you use AutoCAD, clumsy as it is, you can use it.

    Second - Corel or Illustrator with CadTools where you can design to scale for
    presentation and permit submittals. HUGE LEARNING CURVE!

    Third - Hire a freelance electrical/architectural sign designer to do this work for you till
    you get the hang of the software...


    -- I do my code search to see what I'm allowed to do...
    -- I will take a pic of the building with some scale reference and survey measurements
    and superimpose the signage/lettering onto the pic to a certain scale. The software does not
    do this, you (or designer) have to fit the lettering in.
    -- I will use my Cadtools in Illustrator (Corel has scale tools built in) and size/call out the letters
    (similar to AUTOcad), that way the client, manufacturer and city/permitting knows the size of the letters.
    --One approved by the client, then I'll do my permit drawings and get my permit and send
    the file for fabrication. That same package will also tell you how the sign aligns to the building.

    see image below for a typical drawing I do....

    Attached Files:

  6. Jester1167

    Jester1167 Premium Subscriber

    If layouts aren't you strong suit, try and find a sign shop that could use your services and team up with them. They can do your layouts and you can help extend their services offered, win win.

    The shop I worked in Kansas City had a relationship with a guy just like you. We did layouts for his neon and channel letters and cut vinyl for him as well. We used his installation services when a bucket truck was required or we need installation help because we were too busy.

    If you really want to try this yourself, I would use Corel. Corel is a lot cheaper and, in my opinion, easier to learn and has a larger image area to work with (150' x 150'). I have always preferred to draw and design full size if possible because it is easier and you can avoid production scaling issues.

    If you do go down that route go to macromonster.com and get Shelby's AutoSize. It will save you a lot of time scaling your images. All you have to do is import your picture, draw a line on the image from the points where you took real world measurements, shift select the image, launch the macro, type in the dimension and it will scale and straighten your image. Now your ready to place your layout/design on the building for review and permitting. When you need to put dimension lines on your drawing you can use Corel's built in dimension tools or GDG Easy Dim & Sample from macromonster.com.

    Good Luck
  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    Welcome from PA..............................
  8. Stanton

    Stanton Member

    Dec 7, 2013
    Exactly what Rick said.

    Get CorelDRAW, practice, practice, ask questions and practice some more.
    Just like everyone else has done.

    You know what you want to do. That is some portion of the battle.
    It will be frustrating and difficult at times, but, you can do it.
  9. Stanton

    Stanton Member

    Dec 7, 2013
    And, apparently, we need to welcome you from our location
    for absolutely no reason whatsoever ...

    Welcome from Imperial Beach, CA,
    the most southwesterly city in the continental US.
  10. Stanton

    Stanton Member

    Dec 7, 2013

    Been here several days now.
    Already know that Gino needs to be monkeyed with.


    He can take it, right?
  11. Stanton

    Stanton Member

    Dec 7, 2013
    For some reason, I am not too worried.
  12. mjlayton

    mjlayton New Member

    Dec 10, 2013
    Thanks for everyones input.

    I've installed signs for national builders since 1998. I would do a site survey, send the building information to the manufacturer. In six weeks I'd get a bunch of sign parts with templates to install.

    I've started to get requests for turn key installations and have fabricators who will produce the products. With this new direction I have to create channel letter & sign face layouts on my own. The software will be a tool to sell the job and provide the fabricator the info they need to produce it.

    I am a master electrician and use the AutoCad for drawings.

    Mike Layton:smile:
  13. Baz

    Baz Very Active Member

    So ... You want to have a sign shop!

    You will need to purchase and learn signmaking software. Since you already know Autocad i don't think you will feel as lost as someone who is new to the industry. You should enquire about which software would be best to learn to run whatever equipment you need in order to produce the type of signs you wish to do.

    I don't think a designing program like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw would be good for you. Maybee something more like Flexi Sign or Gerber Omega would best fit your needs.

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