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Wide-format Graphics: The benefits of signmaking software

Cutting paths can be created well before the graphics reach the finishing department.

The opposite of nesting is tiling, whereby an oversized job—such as a billboard—must be printed and cut as a series of pieces, which are then assembled for installation.

With software designed for the sign industry, irregular tiles can be defined for special applications like wall murals, exhibition booths and large in-store displays. And by storing the tiling schemes for these applications in a computer, as graphic design templates, the preparation time for future jobs is dramatically shortened. An assembly report can be compiled to facilitate mounting.

Cutting paths
Industry-specific layout functionality in signmaking software allows the user to create and clean up the cutting paths for wide-format graphic files before they reach the finishing department. What would take hours of tedious, cumbersome, manual layout work in standard desktop graphic design software can now be done much faster with the right tools.

Automatic bleed generation
When the cutting contour is set exactly on the edge of a graphic, there is the risk of a false registration between the printer and the cutter leaving an unseemly white line. With automatic bleed generation, however, this problem is avoided, saving time. Signmaking software can even clone image pixels when there is no data available outside the cut contour itself.

Print-and-cut files
Given all of the aforementioned examples, it is obviously important in the layout stage to define not only a PDF file for printing, but also the relevant information for cutting. Indeed, signmaking software addresses this challenge by generating both print and cut files for the production department.

Automation in this respect helps ensure printed images precisely match their cutting contours. With other methods, it is all too easy for slight distortions to lead to unacceptable output. By accurately registering the actual dimensions and positions of graphics for both printing and finishing at the same time, software can ensure a perfect result.

With files from Esko, which develops workflow software and finishing hardware for the sign industry. For more information, visit

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