Friday, September 19

Graphic Design and LEGO

Josh Derksen, (armouredgear7 on Flickr) is no stranger to mixing graphic design and LEGO. He's done everything from display enhancements to board games to posters.

For SHIPtember this year, Josh has decided to step things up a little with some custom console stickers for the interior of his SHIP.
Josh explains his process from the computer to the finished product:
300dpi is ideal. You might get away with 150-200 if they're photographic, but I don't recommend it. I actually did these in Illustrator, so they're vector and I get excellent clarity in the 600-1200dpi range (depending on the printer).
Basically a 1x1 tile is 8x8mm, and every sticker LEGO makes is 1mm smaller than the intended application all the way around the edge as a safe zone. Therefore, a 1x2 tile is 6x14mm, 2x2 tile is 14x14mm, 2x4 is 30x14mm. Makes them easier to apply.
I set up my file with all the stickers butted up against each other, and I draw in crop marks for each row/column. I use an xacto knife and ruler to cut them out, which results in each sticker having its own backing paper. This is a little tedious to cut and apply, as it leaves no room for error if you mess up the cuts. You may want to add space between your stickers and give each one its own crop marks. I probably have way more experience cutting paper with a knife and ruler than most people - a four-year graphic design degree will do that - so I tend to take shortcuts.
Sticker Paper / Where to Print:
I have a really good printing place near my office in Toronto called TPH that will do a glossy or matte 12x18" laser-printed sheet for about $2 CAD. That is a huge number of stickers. They do clear as well, but I've heard from Halfbeak (when he did his Circorp logos) that only the black ink is opaque enough to look nice. I think Staples sells inkjet sticker paper in 8.5x11" sheets, and I've used them before with decent results.
Josh also mentioned that he is considering taking commissions for custom stickers. Hmm...

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