As the maker movement continues to grow, attracting people across a host of different disciplines, the first question many designers now ask when faced with a production challenge is ‘Can I make it myself?’. This could manifest itself in t-shirt design, poster printing, additive manufacturing, or the internet of things, but whatever the medium, there’s an increasing desire to take more ownership when it comes to producing products that will reflect on you and your business.
We faced this challenge recently when we decided to create badges for attendees at the London Generate event , presented by Creative Bloq and net magazine. It didn’t feel right to have these things outsourced to a third-party, and we wanted to press each attendee badge ourselves (call us weird, and you may well do that when you discover how long it took).
Following a quick search around the web, we discovered that you could pick up a badge making machine at a relatively low cost. For £136 via Monster Shop , we found a heavy-duty badge press, badge cutter, and all the components that we would need for 260 badges. And what a brilliant bit of kit it is.
From the moment you pull it out of the box, you know you’re using something that’s built to last, and we couldn’t resist pressing a test badge before we’d even created a template or design. Operating the press was a cinch, with the badge front, badge design, and a transparent Mylar/plastic disc being placed in a ‘raised’ mould on the left, and the badge back being placed in a ‘lowered’ mould on the right-hand side.
Before we could dive in proper, though, we needed to design a badge template. Because our badges were 25mm buttons, we had to create a temple that had a ‘live’ and ‘bleed’ area for each badge, as a part of the design is pushed around the side of the badge when it’s pressed. To make life as easy as possible (and we’ve provided thetemplate here so that you can use it for your own designs), we created aPhotoshop document with layer masks for each badge, so that you don’t have to size badge images perfectly. The supplied PSD file has a few layer folders, so we’ll go through them in order to explain what each does:
Inside guide : This layer includes a faint ‘live’ area for each of your badges, so when you’re placing your badge images within each Layer Mask (see below), you know what will appear within the live area, and what will wrap around the side of each badge. This is only a positional guide, though, so make sure you deselect this folder before printing.
Outside guide row 1, 2, 3, 4 : In these folders you will find outside guides for the four rows of badges in your template. Each badge has its own ‘outline’ Layer, with an associated Layer Mask, into which you can paste an image of your choosing (the Layer Mask means you don’t have to worry about sizing every badge). However, be sure to ‘Select Pixels’ when making a selection to paste into each Badge Mask, or you’ll simply create a new layer each time you paste (and the Mask won’t be applied).