Label and ceramic chip design, where to start? What tutorials available out there? (1 Viewer)


Nov 4, 2014
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Preamble: I haven't ever used Photoshop and don't have access to it. I have a good grasp of Paint.NET and many plugins available for it, and I'm also familiar with GIMP but use it far less often. I am open to suggestions of any other free/inexpensive image editors out there.

Since the Lucky Derby sale was announced, I've been messing around with different basic designs, just a standard denomination above a location around the rim of the label in small point with a logo in the top-middle on a white background. I was also hoping to design my own ceramic chips, but find myself way out of my element since I have to basically design an entire chip from scratch. The restrictions in size a label project gives you also means less work.

I think all the label needs is a border that is the same color as the base of the chip, textured, repeating, and quickly fades into the white/off-white background . How do you find yourself doing this in whatever program you use?
The problem with GIMP and similar programs (which I've used in the past) is the inability to work in CYMK colorspace. With either ceramics or labels, most designs have a good amount of black that needs to be handled appropriately for printing. Adobe Illustrator is what I usually see requested. I'm sure you'll get more feedback from some of our talented artists and vendors.
PS and Gimp are pixel based.
Vector based programms are the better choice for designing the inlay art. So Illustrator or Inkscape (free) are the best options.

Color matching the inlay with the base color of the chip can be a science in itself.
Pat, what steps are involved in color matching aside from knowing/approximating the RGB/hex codes for the base color? I think pictures/scans wouldn't be accurate due to colors being picked up differently/lighting, but maybe averaging the colors from an assortment of pictures/scans would?

Some more examples of color matched chips:

A set like this with color matched inlays, while looking great isn't a perfect match. Does that mean it's more trial and error or is there a better way?
I'm afraid but I can't give you a detailed answer here. Graphic design is just a hobby of mine and this is a complex issue. Maybe some of the professional designers can chime in here.

I think if you go for CPC chips you can get some very close results, because they can provide you with the ideal color codes for their base colors. But as you can see the matching still isn't perfect. To use a gradient for base color matching often looks much nicer. See your example or puggy's GCOP chips made by BCC.

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