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Signlab v's Flexisign

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Post Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:30 pm

Signlab v's Flexisign

Hi Hayley Here
I have small sign business in Isle of Wight wanting to upgrade software currently using Signlab 5 using a 610 plotter but do design banners & other bits for digital printing which I get done elsewhere, can't afford a printer yet!!!
Heard lots of good thing about Flexisign, not sure what software to upgrade too, money bit tight at the moment any other cheaper good programmes out there anyone have any recommendation?

Thanks, look for your comments
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Post Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:38 pm

Please don't take this the wrong way but if money is tight it's probably not a good idea to be spending thousands of pounds on new software.
There are a lot of people on the forum that use Coral and it gets some very good reviews by board members so maybe that is something you could be looking at and it's a lot cheaper than flexi.
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Post Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:47 pm

I'll agree with Martin on this. It's ok spending big money on software but Coral meets 99% of my needs at a fraction of the cost. I do run legit signmaking software but only use them when I need to if coral can't do something they can. I've been in this game now many years and accumilated a great deal of software. To be honest if I knew years ago what I know now I wouldn't have bought half the software I've got as most aren't generally needed for the work I do.
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Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:12 am

I'm with the boys on this.

My views on Flexi are fairly well known, and have been aired loudly and often. If you do a search you should find them. :D

My weapon of choice is Illustrator, but Corel will do the same job, and can probably be obtained a bit cheaper.
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Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:22 am

Im running with Corel X4 does pretty much all that I need. Automated sign tools would be nice, but can be bolted on at a fraction of the cost of flexi etc.

I also run an engraving machine from Engravelab, which is a very similar program to Signlab. Got it with the machine 2nd hand, but to upgrade is going to cost me about £1200, Ill stich with using Corel...........
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Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:58 am

Flexi is superb for sign work. Most shadow effects can be achieved with a couple of clicks rather than the long, drawn out methods of Corel, Illustrator etc. But it's expensive and you might be better off putting the money towards something else for your business if you're doing ok with Signlab.
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Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:47 am

My wife and I ran a very small sign business we used several dedicated sign programs then slowly started using Corel with winplot. At the end 99.9% of our work came from corel.
But do you really need to upgrade or do you just want to?
cheers Mike
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Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:44 am

I only use two design softwares...

Signlab V5 rev12 for all cut vinyl work
Photoshop CS2 for digital

The cheapest alternative on par with the above i would have to say Corel.
there is also a deal on just now that you get £90 cashback. http://apps.corel.com/lp/emea/cdgsx4/ca ... dsGRBanner
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Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:36 pm

Due to legacy we use a couple of the above mentioned titles:

On one PC used for vinyl only : Flexi & Corel
On the Macs : Illustrator / Corel / Photoshop / InDesign etc etc

We drive one plotter with Flexi and the other via Illustrator, all the digital stuff goes via Illustrator (mainly cos the pdf output when saving as a CS3 file is spot on which saves us time).

We use the Graphtec Illustrator plugin incidentally which I came across thanks to John and its almost identical to Flexisign in the cutting department!

Oo
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Post Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:52 pm

I started with Flexi sign and when I got the printer I found Corel x3 better for print work as you can do so much more regarding printed work.
I have now also got signlab 8 and love it so much as its go so many features. I also love the face I can send a design from Signlab directly to the rip with out exporting.
Having said all the above I would say if you dont have a printer you should save pennies and get Corel x3 or x4.
Rich
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:15 am

I agree, Flexi is massively overpriced for what is essentially a ( not as good ) clone of Corel / Illustrator.

I did try a trial of flexi for a while and found that most of the inbuilt things gave pretty amateurish 'bog standard' looking effects.

Not sure if it is supposed to be aimed at people with little design experience who just want basic looking designs, but I couldnt find anything in Flexi that couldnt be done in Corel once you get used to it, and found Corel gave you much more scope to work with text and layout.
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:11 pm

Mike, think you are being a bit unfair to software like flexi and signlab that was developed exclusively for the sign industry, costs are high because they don't sell the same volume of software as other companies. You may be right, I am not the best at design but I don't think it's fair to say they are all basic and amateurish.

Don't forget that not to many years ago programs like Corel. illustrator and freehand which were the main programs that could be used were very limited in what they could do and not really suited to a lot of signwork, hence the existence of flexi and signlab.

Over the past few years Freehand has I believe been dropped and huge developments have been made with both corel and illustrator which has brought them up to a level that they are as good as the dedicated signmaking programs and many people now favor them because of costs.

I think that if you had had more time to spend with flexi you would have found that it was capable of doing a lot more than you believe but why spend time doing that when you are happy with the software you are using.
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:24 pm

One claim that was made in the past was that sign design software like Signlab and Flexi came with their own dedicated fonts that were supposed to be superior for use in vinyl cutting to the fonts that came with desktop design programs such as Corel.
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 4:57 pm

Phill wrote:One claim that was made in the past was that sign design software like Signlab and Flexi came with their own dedicated fonts that were supposed to be superior for use in vinyl cutting to the fonts that came with desktop design programs such as Corel.

That's a point that is steeped in history Phill. Back in the day, the developers of signmaking packages wanted to sell us fonts at inflated prices, so they made their programmes so that they wouldn't work with the readily available postscript fonts that Corel and Illustrator have always been able to work with. Shades of Gerber sprocketing.

The reality is, and has always been, that although there is a lot of dross out there, good quality fonts were always available in postscript. The problem is that they are not usually to be found on free download sites. Another case of getting what you pay for.


Martin, Adobe bought the company (whose name escapes me for the moment) that developed Freehand. No point in them having two postscript drawing packages, and Freehand was the casualty.


I'm with Mike. Illustrator will do just about anything that a dedicated sign package will do. Fair enough, it might take a few more mouse clicks, but the time difference is only seconds. And the thing is that the skills to do that are needed anyway for drawing logos and the like, and the time spent practicing on lettering shadows will be more than recovered in speed of doing other stuff.
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:03 pm

What additional software do you need to be able to cut from Corel?
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:13 pm

Nigel Hindley wrote:What additional software do you need to be able to cut from Corel?

Depends on your cutter Nigel.

Plug-ins are usually available for both Corel and Illustrator, free of charge, on the cutter manufacturers website.
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:17 pm

Martin, I take your point, and possibly in the past that was more true, but basically 99% of sign making on the PC is creating and editing vectors, and maybe importing raster graphics, then moving them around a bit and changing colours.

Once you get used to making your own vectors, be they simple shapes or complex text, then you can use any software package to do this, and dont need one specially made for any particular field.

OK, if Flexi could do things 20 times quicker than Corel it may be worth buying as it would pay for itself in design time, but I doubt that will ever happen.

Having a quick look, the latest version of Flexisign Pro sells for over £3000 plus VAT !!! I havent personally used it, but I doubt there is anything it can do that my £200 version of Corel can't in roughly the same time, so its not surprising they dont have a great volume of sales :D
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:58 pm

I use Corel X3 (may get X4 but not sure if it's worth it) and Signlabs 8.
Depending what's going on I usually use signlabs while my wife will use Corel on another computer.
shadows are a lot cleaner in signlabs but that's down to the font most of the time.
We always use Signlabs to cut but winplot on my Summa does the same job.

Steve
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:45 pm

Mike, if you read my first post on this subject you will see that I advised against buying flexi because corel will be more than capable of all that needs doing.

Just trying to point out in the second one that it was unfair to criticise software that you weren't that familiar with and I felt you were being harsh on anyone that used it.
It was developed for the sign industry only where as corel and illustrator were not which is why they have a greater sales volume.

The development of both illustrator and corel has now reached a point where they are as good as most dedicated sign packages so I would agree with you that there is little point spending that sort of money when a program costing a fraction of the price will do the same thing, which is what I said in my first post.

To be honest with you I would have though that the companies that own the major signmaking packages are going to have to review their pricing at some point as sales could drop to a point where it is not worth supporting.
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:34 pm

John Childs wrote:
Nigel Hindley wrote:What additional software do you need to be able to cut from Corel?

Depends on your cutter Nigel.

Plug-ins are usually available for both Corel and Illustrator, free of charge, on the cutter manufacturers website.


Thanks John - its an anagraph but looking to change soon - ill take a look at their website.

Nigel
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Post Sun Oct 18, 2009 9:41 pm

Robert Lambie wrote:I only use two design softwares...

Signlab V5 rev12 for all cut vinyl work
Photoshop CS2 for digital

The cheapest alternative on par with the above i would have to say Corel.
there is also a deal on just now that you get £90 cashback. http://apps.corel.com/lp/emea/cdgsx4/ca ... dsGRBanner


www.ecostsoftware have it at £243.......tis where I got my copy
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Post Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:51 am

I use Corel X4 and Signlab V8 and I'm probably known here as a Corel guy. I find any shortfall or Corels is taken up by SL and vice versa. Corel cannot do extrude shadows like SL can and SL is not as good on large pieces of text just to name two but if push came to shove I could make my living with the Corel Suite.
If you have one one of the cutters from the major manufacturers then cutting is no problem as they come with their own utility to do this - failing that export to your version of SL using AI at a low version and cut from there.
Biggest problem you'll have is when you upgrade your computer and SLV5 doesn't work on a new OS but you could use the old computer as a cutting slave I suppose.
Alan D
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Post Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:28 am

Mike Fear wrote:Having a quick look, the latest version of Flexisign Pro sells for over £3000 plus VAT !!! I havent personally used it, but I doubt there is anything it can do that my £200 version of Corel can't in roughly the same time, so its not surprising they dont have a great volume of sales :D


Well, it does have a RIP included too.
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Post Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:29 am

John Childs wrote:
Phill wrote:Martin, Adobe bought the company (whose name escapes me for the moment) that developed Freehand. No point in them having two postscript drawing packages, and Freehand was the casualty.


Macromedia was the company and Adobe bought it so that they could have Flash and Dreamweaver mainly to bolster up their ailing software range.

Adobe subsequently dropped a couple of lame ducks from their range.

Ok I have now played the anal card and I am going back to my hole..

Oo
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Post Mon Oct 19, 2009 10:30 am

Sign Software

Thank you for all your comments, that's great it's given me alot of options, definitely be looking into Corel Draw. Cheers

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