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CorelDRAW is the most popular graphics programs in the awards and personalization industry. Learn about the difference between PNG and JPEG files; turning a customer’s low-quality artwork into a masterpiece; welding, trimming, and combining shapes; and more!

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Many years ago, an awards dealer told me that the best advertising idea he ever had was to place a sticker on the bottom of the awards he sold.

Have you ever stopped to think how certain tasks were completed without the use of the tools and technology that exist today? I can still recall—as a production artist in 1998—receiving artwork via mail. This had as much to do with the size constraints of email attachments at the time, as with the clients’ familiarity with email technology. This mailed artwork would often arrive as a tri-folded piece of paper in an envelope—a piece of paper that probably had two creases running through what the client was calling “artwork.” My job was to digitize the artwork using a “state-of-the-art” HP flatbed scanner (a process that often took 20 to 30 minutes) and make it production-ready for whatever process was required for the product requested.

How do I get a black penguin to show up on a black T-shirt? How do I perfectly mimic a smaller or larger version of a custom shape? How do I create text that looks threedimensional? You might think that each of these questions would lead you in three different directions. In fact, there is a CorelDraw tool that is the common denominator for all three: the Contour tool.

I would have to look back to a class I took in high school to point to my first experience with glass etching. My instructor, Mr. Siska, introduced me and several other sophomores to the process in his art class. It was one of the projects that I remember well and has stuck with me despite the 23-year absence from the process. It seems fitting that my career now finds me back to glass etching again—a technique that has changed little since 1987.

As a promotional products retailer, I find joy in producing and sourcing a wide range of products, including some that are unconventional or unfamiliar to me.

I’ve said it many times regarding CorelDRAW, “I use 10% of the program 90% of the time.”

This is true because some tools are essential, especially when working with vector objects. I do not know what I would do without the Weld, Trim, and Intersect tools—tools that have been a part of CorelDRAW since its inception.

In this tutorial, I will demonstrate how I’ve used these tools in a couple of projects. But honestly, I use them in almost every design project I do. If you are not familiar with them, this article will change the way you work in CorelDRAW forever.

Producing industrial nameplates with incremented serial numbers is hardly the most creative project to work on, but many retailers do find it extremely profitable. That’s because the customers who require this type of engraving typically are interested first in quality and timely delivery and consider price a secondary or even tertiary concern. We know we can produce a quality product and we’re experts at managing our schedules, so this seems like a perfect fit.

Where’s the beef? It’s in this very beefy project that, among other things, will detail a process for creating table tents with call numbers on them like those used by many fast-food locations.

Large franchise operations order these by the millions at a super cheap price, but smaller, local establishments often require quantities that can be profitable for laser owners, UV printers, sublimators, and other smaller-run personalization professionals.

If you ever get the chance to watch a skilled artisan practicing their craft, you’ll notice they make it look easy. With years of practice, one can make just about anything look easy. To see a neon sign-builder make his work look easy, search for “Blue Collar: Master (Bleep) Is Making Neon Signs the Old-School Way, By Hand” on YouTube to watch Jay “Dirty” Gordon hone his craft with some vintage metal-working equipment and a lot of ingenuity. Caution: salty language is included in this video.
Today, let’s stretch some of the new creative muscles found in more recent versions of CorelDRAW together. Not using the newest version? That’s OK—this also will reveal some of the useful, productive, enhanced features in tools that have been hiding in older CorelDRAW versions this entire time because the procedures in this article have been tested in CorelDRAW2018, CorelDRAW2017, and X8. Working in an older version than that? You can force older versions to duplicate the end result, but I suspect that many of you will consider upgrading to the current version of CorelDRAW after getting a feel for the upgraded tools it puts at our disposal.
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Awards and Personalization Association

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