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Submission Guidelines / Sign Making & Vinyl Cutting

The following section outlines some of the factors to consider when preparing your files for plotter cutting adhesive backed vinyl films — for applications such as adhesive back vinyl signs, logos, letters and decals. Artwork for vinyl cutting must be provided in vector format only. Please ensure that any fonts or strokes used have been outlined.

File Format

We accept vector artwork (made of straight or curved paths/outlines) in the following file formats:

  • PDF, AI, and EPS file created with Adobe Creative Suite Software.
  • CDR file created with CorelDRAW Software.

Files that contain text should be converted to Vector Images/Outlines or have all the fonts embed or included with your submission.

File Preparation

The best file format to supply artwork for cut vinyl output is created in Adobe Illustrator. When preparing files in any other vector based application for MAC or PC, you must “Save As” or “Export” the file as an ”.ai” file.

There are some issues to be aware of when designing cut vinyl artwork:

  • DO SEND Adobe Illustrator AI, EPS, or CorelDraw CDR files. Convert all Text and Graphics to Vector (“outlines” or “paths“) and contain all information in one file.
  • DO NOT use raster images (Bitmap Files). Bitmap files such as BMP, GIF, JPG, TIF, or PSD cannot be directly cut out of vinyl. The graphics in these bitmap files have to be traced and converted into vector art which can diminish the quality and/or precision of the artwork.
  • DO NOT stroke the vector path with a color.
  • DO NOT fill paths or shapes with a gradient blend, pattern fill, or screen (tint) of a color.
  • DO NOT overlap vector paths. Our vinyl cutting system uses the actual vector line as the cut path. If type or graphics overlap, the blade of the cutter will follow the path and produce undesirable results as shown here:
Vector Paths Overlaps / Incorrect File Sample
Vector Paths No Overlaps / Correct File Sample
Correct Image / Image Final File Sample

Vinyl Colors

We use Oracal, Avery, and 3M brand high-performance vinyl films available in a variety of standard colors. Other special colors are available and can be ordered for more unique cut vinyl designs, such as etch-mark frost films, translucent films transparent films, metallic films, mirror films, and other finishes.

Color Matching

If special colors such as corporate identity colors must be matched, please specify these colors as Pantone Coated (PMS). If we cannot find an exact substitute for these colors we will print the vinyl film in-house trying to match the color as accurately as possible. Please note that ink-jet printing cannot reproduce exact PMS, Spot Colors on vinyl. The nearest color values will be substituted. Always request a Print Proof for approval if color is crucial, otherwise we can’t accept responsibility for inaccuracy of colors.

Vector vs Raster

While there are many graphic file types, there are only two graphic file formats — VECTOR and RASTER. The following information will demonstrate the differences between vector and raster.

Vector Format — graphics are the creation of digital images through a sequence of mathematical formulas that place lines and geometric shapes in a given two-dimensional space. This results in a very crisp smooth graphic image that can be scaled to any size without loosing graphic quality. There is no limit for sizing vector images, making vector image resolution independent. This format is great for creating complex graphics and logos.

Raster Format — graphics are the creation of individual pixels or dots (collection of tiny squares/color bits) arranged in a rectangular grid. Each individual pixel is coded in a specific color hue or shade and collectively they compose an entire image. Because raster images are pixel-based, they cannot be scaled without loosing image quality. The images will get blurry and jagged or rough on the edges.

Vector Format Image Preview by Nova Display Systems

Vector Format

Raster Format Image Preview by Nova Display Systems

Raster Format

Nova Display Systems / Submit Artwork, Layouts & Specs

Submit Artwork Files — following page outlines the process for submitting ready artwork for printing, sign-making or other production needs.

Artwork Submission Form

Project Images & Design Concepts

Browse our database for recent project photos, design ideas, display concepts and visualizations. These are great and valuable resources to help you with the selection of suitable display systems for your own project and discover previous examples of projects to help you in developing your own unique display concept.



We have selected images from prior projects and display installations. As you can see, there are literally thousands of different ways to create exciting display designs.



We have collaborated with our clients and designers to show you the different stages of various project developments from planning, designing, installation, and to completion.

Nova Display Systems / Design Concepts


We have put together various design concepts and unique inspirational ideas for you to use as examples when creating your own display project or furniture design.