If the sign is an irregular shape, say a can of food, a state map or a piece of machinery, the computer has this shape in its memory from the original artwork and the “cutter”, which forms a part of the large ink jet printer can cut this exact shape over and over again and again into the thousands so the huge decal becomes a kind of artwork.

Originally small stickers, for example instruction information to place on machinery, were silk screened onto sheets of vinyl and then cut to size on a guillotine. Approximately 20 years ago this all changed when a mechanised system driven by a computer with a program for layout, design, color,

sign writing, graphics together with deals and stickers. This machine is the Gerber Edge and today there are similar types of machines available with similar technology. The design is set up on the computer screen and for a job where large amounts of labels are required these can be stepped and repeated. The graphic area is up to 35 cms (13.75 inches) high and as the vinyl comes in rolls 38 cms wide (15 inches) with punched holes along both edges to give a sprocket driven drive  for the feed of the vinyl through the machine. The length of the job is almost unlimited so if you have a label 11.2 cms  (four and a half inches) high and 15cms (6 inches) long, this will allow three labels high to be produced and if your order is for 1,000 labels to be produced the length of the sheet when completed would be 166 feet or 50.59 metres. This printed material is now fed through a cutter plotter that will cut out 1,000 individual labels.

 The Gerber Edge uses rolls of colored foils instead of ink. If for instance you were printing a copy of a colored photograph you would use magenta, (red) cyan, (blue) yellow and black foils to give a perfect colored copy. If you were only after a white decal/sticker with red letters you would use white viny and red  (magenta)foil.

Rolls of Gerber Edge vinyl

Rolls of Gerber Edge vinyl

 I once saw a decal that was used as a joke and was a free giveaway in a convention pack. I measured 5 cms x 5 cms (2 inches x 2 inches) and said “Please do not throw you cigarette butts into the toilet as we find them soggy and difficult to light”.

Whenever you wish to remove decals and stickers always use a Blaster Wonder Wheel!