Saving a White Logo

Hi all, I’m hoping someone may be able to help…

I need to send a file over to the printer for him to cut vinyl for my shop window. The sign is simply ‘SALE’, however, I want it in white lettering. I have designed it in Illustrator - changing the colour to white and converting the text to outline but when I save to pdf it just looks like a blank page.

Is this the right thing to do when saving an all-white design or should I convert the background to transparent (if so, any tips on doing that would be also hugely appreciated).

Thanks for reading and for any advice given.


Just send it in black and tell him to cut it in white.
He isn’t printing it.

is it going inside or outside on the window?
If going inside to be read from outside, you will have to tell him to cut it flopped for 2nd surface mounting.

Are you installing it?
Do it wet…
just sayin’

I’m just chiming in to agree with PrintDriver in case you’re still unsure. The vinyl is already white. All the vendor needs are the outlines of the letters, so just make them 100% black — it will work out fine.

Thanks very much for all your advice - really appreciated. One last question - am I generally best sending in a pdf or eps?


That’s a question best asked of the vendor who might have a preferred format.

Either format will likely work and can be easily opened and worked with by the vendor. In the absence of asking them what they prefer, I’d likely just send the Illustrator file. Unless they specifically requested it, I’d avoid .esp — it’s an outdated format but is still widely used. If you send a PDF, check the box in Illustrator that says, “Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities.” For that matter, you could send all three and let them choose.

Unless there’s a reason not to, however, just do the obvious, keep it simple and ask the vendor.


a native .ai file is the best.
.eps is outdated.
Where it’s just a vector file, no transparency stuff, either an .eps or pdf will work.
But generally speaking, the .ai is best.

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@Mark12345 - Watch the video… all you need is a black outline or whatever color you want… The printer is simply going to use the vector line file to send to a plotter, which will then cut your “white vinyl”. That’s it…

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It is a common fallacy that you should outline the text you want cut in vinyl.
Spec-ing white vinyl is no different than spec-ing a white ink or varnish layer in print. It should be a solid shape.

The first thing I need to determine when I see an outlined text is to determine if the designer intended me to cut the outline rather than the solid letter. If you apply anything over a 1pt stroke on that text, you will get a phone call asking your intent. (unless you sent a hardcopy of what you wanted.)

The very next thing I’m going to do is solid fill it again. Because I want a solid shape.
My sign software considers stroked shapes as an inside and outside cut (called a “thick line path.”) It’ll give me the option to “weld” it, which increases the outline of your lettering by your stroke width, or to cut as is. But with a 1pt stroke, that is basically a double cut that will often go through a paper backer and ruin my day momentarily. Vinyl plotters can be very stupid sometimes. I try not to make them more stupid by being a stupid operator.

Save yourself the step. Just leave it a solid fill. If you are concerned the sign guy will cut it in the fill color you used, just put a big note in the file “CUT IN GLOSS WHITE VINYL.” Be sure to outline the text in that note too, just so I don’t get a missing font error (when I get that error, I do check for notes, but not everyone will. You might get an intern doing your setup. :wink: )

If you can’t communicate with your sign guy…not sure you should be in the communication business. Just sayin’…

@PrintDriver What’s the fallacy… there’s more than one way to skin a cat. It works either way.

I know exactly what you’re talking about… must be using Flexi. Got it. The “outline” is the solid letter… the plotter will cut on the “outer edge” of the shape as a whole. It boils down to personal preference, software used, etc… They guys that print and cut my vinyl prefer it the way I showed. Again, not everyone uses the same systems. So to each his own and do it the way that works for you… Just showing a “General Concept” in the screen capture.

Not Flexi.
It’s Signlab and that software recognizes the thickness of the stroke.
You’re right, to each his own. I get paid to make those phone calls. [shrug]

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If something like the following were to be cut from vinyl, wouldn’t solid fills make it considerably easier for the operator to distinguish between the positive and negative shapes?

I’m not arguing, I’m just wondering.

If I got something like the file on the right, my first instinct would be to Unite it where the shapes aren’t obvious holes.

When we cut stuff on the plotter we want to see exactly what we are supposed to be weeding out. The one on the left would be the correct format for something like that.

Agreed… I have a wholesale printer, most of the the files I send them are print & cut and what I get back from them isn’t weeded or pre-masked… I usually do that stuff myself. I simply send them the files and they know what to do with it. Yes, with something like that, the production house would definitely need a visual of what the final should look like.

Which is why I don’t understand the disconnect on outlining stuff as opposed to fills. For us anyway, cut files should be in the color you want us to cut, with white treated just like you’d treat a varnish or white layer. A solid color (but no trapping)

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