February 24, 2015

Share Your Trade Show Experience!

Please comment below if you'd like to share where in the world you go for trade shows, what sort of trade show you have attended, if you were an exhibitor or an attendee, and what your experience was like. It's interesting to hear of other experiences, and it could help others—especially first-timers! 
Those that share will get a 20% OFF Coupon on their next order!! Just email Danielle at: danielle@sdsign.com after you post and I'll reply with a special promo code! 

Thank You :)

* Valid for orders between $50 to $1,000. (Maximum discount $200.) The offer can not be used with any other discount deal. Limited to one offer per customer.

The Dish on Pizza

I love pizza. I love how each pizza shop has their own flavor. It’s like you have to go to that pizza shop because you’re craving that taste. Most of all, I love tossing pizza dough. I learned on the job. My late teens to early twenties were spent making and delivering pizza. I was first hired as a driver, and the first time I ever knocked on a stranger’s door was, well, strange, but I got used to it real quick after I got my first tip. At 18 years old, making tips was freakin’ awesome.

Work was the best: I’d take phone orders, “decorate” and cut pizzas, and plan out my driving route, ready to make that pocket skrill. Most pizza driver’s get into the business for tips, but also for the music. You can’t go a full eight-hour shift without personally-selected music ready to play in your car. Plus, there’s free pizza to eat; mostly it’s hours-old-mistake pizza, but sometimes it’s fresh-of-your-choosing pizza. Where we lose it and quit? It’s when we grow tired of hearing the cacophony of phones ringing during rush hours, folding hundreds of pizzas boxes nightly, cleaning the entire store five nights a week, and trying to get orders straight with a group of hungry drunk people over the corded telephone, while behind you at the conveyor oven, pizzas are piling up and you’re the only one in the store.

So what, pray tell, does pizza have to do with trade shows? Only the coolest food games around—World Pizza Games®! It’s like the Olympic games mixed with flair bartending, but for pizza makers—flipping and spinning pizza dough in awesome ways! Part of the International Pizza Expo (which is scheduled for March 23-26 this year in Las Vegas), this trade-only competition appears to have begun in 2005. The competition and expo isn’t open to the public, but I found this cool two-and-a-half minute video of last year’s “Freestyle Acrobatic Dough Tossing” winner’s performance. If you’ve got the time, it’s fun to watch. This guys gets cray cray at approximately 1 minute 19 seconds into the video, spinning dough like pliable frisbees around his entire body. Then, he breaks out three smaller dough “discs” and juggles!  Acrobatics and pizza...Who knew? Check out the video by clicking here.

February 11, 2015

When to Use Photoshop vs. Illustrator For Laying Out Your Design

There are quite a few wordy articles out there about when to use Photoshop vs. Illustrator. To help you layout your designs for the purposes of our products, here it is in a nutshell:

  • Use for our heat press products: Stock Casita Canopy Tents and Stock Table Throws, 1 or 2 Color Logos.
  • Use when creating or updating logos.
  • Preferred for vector art.

So you love Illustrator more than Photoshop? Well, that’s okay. You can still use it to lay out your design for our other products. You just got to do a couple of things before you submit your artwork:
    1. Don’t forget to create outlines on your fonts, basically converting text to shapes. This is important to your design because we may not have the same font and when we receive the file, your font will default to a different, generic font.
    2. Don’t forget to embed all images.
Don’t know how to create outlines? Click here to watch a 3 minute video tutorial on how to convert text to shapes.

  • Use for all other products that are not heat press.
  • Use when manipulating photos.
  • Use when compiling multiple images into one design.
  • Mainly raster art (aka pixels).
  • After you’re done creating or updating your logo in Illustrator, bring it back into Photoshop. Having a vector logo will save you headaches when designing for large format displays since there isn’t any pixelation in vector art.

Tips on Image Quality

  1. To ensure high quality images, search for images with the highest DPI and file sizes. They will give the best quality output and will allow an increase or decrease in size with the least amount of pixelation.
  2. Don’t forget to view your artwork at actual size. In doing so, it will give you peace of mind that your image looks great at actual size.
  3. If there is pixelation in your image at actual size, how do you know it’s okay to use? Step away from your computer two to four feet and look at it. Does the image look any better? If yes, then it’s fine to use. If not, then fix it. (Why two to four feet away? Because at a trade show or other event, people will see your displays about that far away.)
  4. Want to know a good place to get vector images and images that have large file sizes with higher DPI? Here at San Diego Sign Company, we like to use iStock Photos.