Sun 6 Jun 2010
Selling Vinyl Lettering: 3 Easy Steps to Overnight Business Success
By: Tay Silver | Creative Cuttables & Commercial Vector Designer
To understand why one home-based vinyl business does thousands of dollars in sales in each month while another goes under you must understand why people choose to buy vinyl from one shop and not another. The answer is simple: It’s all about appearances.
As creative as you may be, you need to assume anyone viewing your vinyl will not be able to envision the design in their home so you must show off your vinyl’s full potential. You’ll also need to add new designs regularly and post professional images of each new design on your site and do it quickly so you will have time to fill incoming orders! Let’s begin with our 3 steps to online vinyl selling success:
Step 1: Obtain high-quality “blank room” photos
It’s no secret in the vinyl industry that most example pictures are fake but you don’t need to make it obvious to your clients that the vinyl in the photo isn’t actually on the wall. (Step 2 will further help you remedy this.) For now you need crisp, clean photos of painted blank walls on which you can superimpose your vinyl designs for the purpose of making website example images. Stock photography is an excellent option and is offered on dozens of sites. I recommend using search terms such as “blank wall” or keywords like “minimalistic, simplistic, stark, plain, interior, design, simple, unbalanced, décor, modern, illustration.” (Illustrations are digitized rooms that look real) This should help turn up images that will be unique and unlike what others are using. Opt for front-on shots of simple furniture on large, blank walls. Purchase small sized stock photos in 72 ppi for web example images and 300 ppi high-resolution photos for any type of brochure or catalog printing. (If the cost is the same for both, select 300 ppi. Otherwise purchase a few at 300 ppi and the rest at web resolution 72 ppi to cut down on your costs.)
Step 2: Make vinyl example photos look real
Using Photoshop, open your stock photo image and your vinyl design. (Peppermint Creative vectors come with transparent-background PNG files for the very purpose of making fast & easy example images!) Place the vinyl design in a new layer over the stock photo and size the vinyl to visually fit the space. (Ctrl-T to transform in Photoshop.)
Now for the fun part! You’ll notice the vinyl design appears stamped-on and looks unnatural against the photo so we’re going to make the pixilation and blending of the vinyl layer look more like the overall pixilation of the stock photo:
1. In Photoshop, click on the vinyl layer go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Amount should be 2-5% at 300 ppi and 10-15% at 72 ppi, depending on the size of the vinyl in your image. (I often use 3% at 300 ppi or 12% at 72 ppi ) Distribution should be set to Uniform and select the check box next to Monochromatic. Click OK to apply.
2. Now go to Layer>Layer Style>Inner Glow. When the control box pops up, set your options to this:
Blend Mode: Screen
Size: 2 px
Lower the opacity and size as needed for your individual image. The effect will be a nearly imperceptible color blur & blend where a camera would naturally pixilate some of the wall color into the vinyl color. (You may be able to skip this step if you have placed dark vinyl on a rich colored wall. Otherwise swap the default yellow inner glow color for the color of the wall & continue.)
3. Re-size your finished example image for your website and apply your logo or a watermark before saving. This can be done by lowering the opacity to 50% on text typed in white to make it semi-transparent.
Now that you know how to create realistic vinyl photos that capture the eyes of potential customers, let’s discuss the last step to making it or breaking it in the vinyl world.
AFTER (WITH DIGITAL COLOR):
Step 3: Use premium-quality graphics for unique, clean-cutting designs that please customers
This last step is actually the most important because it is what determines the ultimate success of your business. Vinyl shops that use vectors created by professional graphic designers have a product that is more artistically appealing than their competitor’s typed-text designs and they enjoy more frequent and higher-dollar sales because of it. In addition, purchasing outside graphics and stock photos allows you to then spend your time creating stunning example photos which in turn generates feelings of desire to buy the vinyl in the customers who view your site. It truly is all about appearances! Whichever shop makes the investment in outstanding photography and superior vector graphics is the shop that enjoys higher sales volume and is more successful than all the others.
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