Flexi-ble, e-fficient and Easy to Use

Sign-design software facilitates routine tasks and minimizes communication blunders.

Regardless of their niche, most trade professionals could name at least one tool on which they rely to complete their daily responsibilities.

For example, a carpenter might favor a flexible, steel tape measure, while a CNC machine operator/ programmer would probably tout the benefits of using such precision inspection instruments as calibrators, micrometers and gauges. Although different in form and function, many notable trade tools provide the same benefit: They facilitate routine tasks.

Completing projects quickly and efficiently increases a company's profitability, and heightens job and customer satisfaction. Thus, timesaving tools are essential for all trade professionals, especially signmakers seeking to streamline the design and manufacture of complex, high-quality signage. Although hardware is the most visible component of signmaking, the software that drives the machinery is an equally important and much-relied-upon partner.

According to the professionals profiled here, sign-design software is a must-have tool for any signshop because, not only does it facilitate production, it also smoothes the transactions between a project's key players.

Alliance's e-lation

Todd Libman, chief operating officer of Alliance Glass and Sign, a 5,000-sq.-ft. facility based in Boston, claims his shop's design-software program's features and capabilities are "out of this world."

Alliance, which Todd's grandfather established in 1952, served as a glass company until branching out under Todd's leadership decades later. Today, the six-employee shop specializes in the production of vehicle graphics, commercial signage and sandblasted designs.

During his early business years, Todd used an ANAgraph-manufactured, basic, text-and-shape design program. However, as his knowledge about the industry grew, so did his desire to create more complex, eye-appealing signs. Thus, he reconsidered his software options and eventually upgraded to CADlink's SignLab program, which -- in conjunction with the shop's Roland DGA Corporation ColorCAMM PC-60, PC-600 and SOLJET printers -- has become a prominent production tool.

According to Todd, although earlier versions of the program are quite reputable, e6 is the most powerful and dynamic CADlink Technology Corp.'s SignLab upgrade to date, and he confesses to evaluating the manufacturer's newest product offering during its development stages.

"I ran e6 in my shop a full year prior to its market release," he says, "and I'm convinced the program's Adobe