Starting Out as an SVG Designer….

If you are new as a designer in the SVG market or if you are just beginning your design professional career or if you are interested in the Cut files market but have no idea how to start as a designer, don’t worry been there done that. I hope that this post can help you and solve some questions. 

What are SVG Files or Cutting Files? 

This question is like asking what are PNG Files and what is sublimation. SVG files are vector files that can be stretched to any scale you need and can be used (among other 100 things) as Cut Files for Cutting Machines such as Silhouette Cameo and Cricut. These two are the most popular actually domestic cutting machines > in the heavy industry these kinds of machines are called plotters. They cut the outline or they can draw it on multiple materials. 

Can you start selling cut files without owning a cutting machine?

I would say no. For one simple reason, the clients that buy the cutting files are usually full of questions about the software itself. And they address you as a designer for help. So you must be aware of their machines and the potential problems the clients can face. And saying “ No, I have no idea what you are talking about”, it’s not good either for you or for the clients. I know it’s not our job as designers to explain the software, after all, cutting machines have extensive guides, but let’s be realistic, most clients will address the easy solution: Us as designers. 

Another important issue is that you must understand the cut, the potentials, and the limits of a cut machine. And test your designs. This gives you confidence as a designer, and the clients feel a lot safer knowing you test the designs yourself. 

So as a first investment yes please buy at least one cutting machine and get familiar with it. Even if you are not an avid crafter yourself. 

Cricut or Silhouette? 

To be honest the most problems you are going to face with clients will be with Cricut software. Not Silhouette. Personally, I have Silhouette, and many times I get questions from Cricut Users the problem with Cricut is that the software creates problems such as mixing up all the lines when put in the Design Space while a preview is fine or because it works with SVG the internet explorer will interfere and the file will appear as a web page. And even more, if they haven’t read the instructions (I am talking about the users), and reach the cutting mat all the design will be separated into pieces. And you are going to be the first to be blamed. So if you want to skip all these as a designer who needs to cut the designs > go for Silhouette but make sure you learn your lessons about Cricut because this is the part where most problems will come up. 

Programs you will need…

For me, you need one program just Adobe Illustrator. This is my program. I love it. I know they are many free programs online and haven’t tested them. But I have also heard about many problems with how to connect paths, how to convert outlines…how to trace…in a few words… Adobe Illustrator does it all and never fails. 

Do you need Photoshop? 

For Vectors? For Vectors, you need photoshop as much as you need Illustrator for photos. So if you want to save money you don’t have to buy photoshop. It will be of no use to you. Its text editing capabilities are even below InDesign. Photoshop takes up too much memory, and can’t (because it’s a pixel-based program) deliver the same results. 

Do you need a tablet?  No. 

Do you need Procreate? No. 

But What I am going to use For Mock Ups? 

Adobe Illustrator. If you just plan to insert a photo and the text on top and a logo (which probably will be Ai) and some text (Ai all the way)…you need nothing more. 

Where will I find resources? 

All over the internet. First of all, if you intend to make quotes you must have a great variety of fonts. Fonts are a great asset to have. Typography is an art itself and it’s also quite challenging but also so interesting to know. In order to be a legitimate designer all of the designs that you use must be purchased. So if you are on a limited budget research fonts. When you create quotes you can use any font as long as you have a commercial license (that’s why buying from known marketplaces) can be beneficial, because they all supply this license to you. What is not permitted however is to buy a font and turn it as it is into an alphabet. 

What Fonts to buy? 

Don’t buy fonts that are all under the same category. For example, a bundle full of sans-serif fonts for the price of 40 dollars is not a good idea if you have a limited budget. Buy Bundles that have a variety of fonts, serif and sans serif, script, and hand-lettered to start with. 

Attention: Brush fonts and many thin hand-lettered fonts with rough edges are not suitable for cutting machines. I know they are impressive but not suitable for cutting, only printing. Choose fonts with smooth edges. And not too contrasted in stroke. 

In the next post, there will be examples of fonts and many more for all of you interested in how to design SVG files. 

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