Awards & Engraving

January '19

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A&E JANUARY 2019 • a-e-mag.com 21 Laser Engraving CUSTOM BADGE SHAPES Designing a custom name badge shape is a service few offer and can set your business apart. Design services can be profitable, and for customers ordering a large volume over time, the design work is a one-time upfront service that offers a unique-looking name badge for many years. You might even consider creating several designs to have on-hand that can be easily tweaked. This can be a real time saver. Your laser is the perfect tool for cutting out unique shapes. Why would a customer want a creative shape? Custom-shaped badges can be a real eye-catcher that stand out in a crowd. They are perfect for event networking. It is an inexpensive way for an organization to brand its name and logo. In a single networking event, hundreds of people will observe the logo. In designing a shape, I often focus on the logo, searching for a protruding shape from the rectangle that will highlight the logo. A smooth bump up or to the side might fit the shape of the logo. Another strategy is to create a shape that is associated with the business. For a regional waste management service, I created the shape of their truck for the name badge. The shape could also be a tool, machine, computer, or other recogniz- able symbol. You can use pre-designed or purchased graphics for shapes as well. LOGOS AND ARTWORK Unfortunately, a large number of smaller businesses or local and regional offices of larger corporations only have easy access to poor-quality bitmaps of their logo. Many are used on the web or for inserting into a text document. That creates a challenge on our end. I vectorize nearly every graphic bitmap I use. For the laser, everything is turned to black and white, or in some cases, grayscale. As the logo will likely be small on a name tag, perfection is not needed. If there are thin lines or a lot of detail, pure black gives you the best lasering results. For full-color prints of a logo, bitmaps won't give you a 100 percent accurate match of the colors used by the artist. Receiving vector artwork is your best shot at getting accurate colors, and even that is not a guarantee. Printing poor-quality graphics in color is less forgiving than lasering them. Not only will colors be off, but poor resolution often ends up in fuzzy prints. Certainly, the smaller the logo is printed the less noticeable a modest or poor-quality print is. After I vectorize a graphic I replace the text in the graphic if the fonts are easy to identify. I do get some help from What the Font, either online or the command built into CorelDRAW. Offering a robust name badge business can also lead to providing logo design ser- vices. You can make a whole business around name badges and I.D.s or offer them as an additional product line and service. Reverse engraving can be used to highlight a particular element. Lasered name badges can take many shapes including an oval. A&E

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