Sign & Digital Graphics

August '16

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • August 2016 • 83 ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL Building a fastener library—prepare to be amazed Since 1985, Ma Charboneau has owned and operated Charboneau Signs in Loveland, Colorado. He can be reached on the web at or by email at B Y M A T T C H A R B O N E A U Designing Award-Winning Signs Nuts, Bolts and Washers O ver the years I've worked with half-complete clip art collections of parts and pieces of vari- ous nuts and bolts and fasteners that I borrowed, bought and begged for from other sign designers and graphic artists. As a result, adding in fastener details was a pain as it generally took longer than necessary to "make them work," and if a new fastener was needed it was difficult at best to modify a similar fastener so it resembles the Heinz 57 collection I was working with. Although they always looked good by the time the job went out the door, getting them to that point was a time killer. It was time for a solution. What I have always envisioned was a system or process for building a set of bolts, nuts, washers and anchors that are quick to resize and scaleable, with- out bitmap fills or outlines to worry about. So, after nearly a quarter of a century of procrastinating I finally decided that last year was the year I sat down to create this imaginary fastener building system that would change my life for the better, and it worked! Once I figured out how to build them, it took much less time than I anticipated. I now have a library that allows me to easily and quickly modify and build just about any type and size of fastener used in the sign industry. Prepare to be amazed at how simple this system is to build and use in Corel DRAW, and how this step-by- step guide will help you quickly create your own. Designing Your Own Fasteners Using CorelDRAW X7 (including X5 and X6) I have put together this step-by-step tutorial for a quick and easy way to make fully scalable, quickly changeable fasteners that look great at any size. First and foremost, start by taking a walk through the shop and collecting examples of the actual bolts you intend to draw. This is key to understanding how to illustrate the fasteners' head, body, thread count, washers and self-tapping tips graphically, so that it's visually recognized as the fastener it's intended to be. But it's tricky. Including too much detail will make the file size unmanageable and will slow down quick modifications. Too little detail and they look hokey. The beauty of this method is that each element and shape is independent and very small in file size. Each element enlarges and reduces flawlessly while grouped together with no outlines, no bitmaps; just clean vector shapes that look great at any size.

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