Product Design: Sign-Making

Fab Lab San Diego and UCSD Extension present Product Design: Sign Making – a hands-on skill development program, hosted at South Metro Career Center.


‘Product Design: Sign Making’ introduces industry-standard vector-editing software such as Adobe Illustrator to create products that will then be cut using a vinyl plotter. Students will learn about design, geometry, production, CNC machines, and unique approaches to product design and creation while engaging in an innovative project-based process as they make their own products.

In addition to creating their own vinyl decals and stencils for decorating surfaces, students learn to work hands-on within a production environment. Through this course, students learn about the ways in which objects can be designed and constructed, leading to the creation of their own unique final products.

Product Design Spring 2011 Sign Making

Students working with vinyl cutter

Product Design Spring 2011 Sign Making

Production Environment - Students at work

Product Design Spring 2011 Sign Making

Product Design Students at work

Product Design Spring 2011 Sign Making

Vinyl artwork application

This program has been made possible by the support of the Gary and Mary West Foundation.

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Vectorized portraits

In this class, students learned how to actualize their vector-based graphic designs, we started getting their portraits taken and converted them into vectors using live trace in Adobe Illustrator. The next step was sending the vector files to the vinyl cutter (a computer numerically controlled – CNC – machine) to be produced. The final designs were vinyl decals with the personalized vector images of the students.


Fabricating signs with inspirational quotes

In this class, students learned about typography, how to work with type in Adobe Illustrator and got hands-on producing signs with inspirational quotes they have chosen.


Vinyl Application

In this class, students learned about the process of weeding self adhesive vinyl material and using application tape to apply lettering and graphics to substrates.


Creating the fab lab tree of inspiration

With designed elements that the students cut and weeded from self adhesive vinyl material, a big sign called the tree of inspiration was created with circuits, science and technology related icons, inspirational words and vectorized portraits applied to a 4’x 2′ white vinyl substrate.