We receive many requests to design and make ‘fablon’ signs, but the general term we use is cut vinyl letters for signs. So where does the confusion arise?
The free online dictionary has an entry for Fablon as:
1. a brand of adhesive-backed plastic material used to cover and decorate shelves, worktops, etc, and for handicraft purposes.
Which identifies Fablon as a brand name for sticky backed vinyl, it normally comes in decorative effect finishes like wood grain or marble. We use sticky vinyl from a number of manufacturers including Metamark, Mactac and 3M, but it is mainly flat matt colours, although we do stock metallic and frosted effect vinyl as well.
The artwork is created on the computer in Adobe Illustrator and saved as vector ‘outline’ paths. Then the design is sent to the vinyl cutter, the blade follows the path and cuts the lettering or design. We then weed out the unwanted part and apply the design to foamex or foamboard.
So that clears up the confusion, Fablon is vinyl, it is just one brand name among many that has become ubiquitous like ‘Hoover’ the carpet or to ‘Google’ something. Regardless of the definition, it is a fantastic material for making graphic props for film and television.
Things are calming down after a hectic week in the world of TV graphic props. We have been working on a new sitcom called ‘The Detectorists’ for Channel X for the BBC. Starring Mackenzie Crook, Toby Jones, Rachael Stirling, Aimee-Ffion Edwards and Lucy Benjamin the comedy revolves around a bunch of wannabe archaeologist, spending their time in muddy fields with a metal detectors, dreaming of finding that priceless ancient treasure that will make them rich and cement their place in detecting history.
Commissioned be Lucy Haley and Sam Harley, we have created some unusual graphic props including authentic pub signage that we designed and printed, pregnancy test packaging and an illustration that was manufactured as a brass lapel pin, as well as the usual newspapers, magazines and signs and posters.
Georgina Millett asked us to print and make up 20 cigarette packs for the Gunman, 10 of which were European soft packs which proved to be quite a challenge.
Other prop graphics designed include graph charts for a McDonalds commercial, photo editing and signage for a Kingsmill commercial and other bits and bobs.