branding an exhibition stand

Branding an exhibition stand

Posted Posted in Corporate, Exhibitions, Signage

Strathearn Stone and Timber (SST) planned to exhibit at The Home Building and Renovating Show in Edinburgh. After rebranding and relaunching their website, they wanted to make the right impression at the exhibition and show off as much as possible! This was the moment to build an impressive stand to reflect the beauty of their products.

Engraved panels

Mark, the MD, wanted to line the walls and floor of their stand with their wooden floor and wall panelling products. And they had a cunning idea to add branding. Knowing how good their products look when laser engraved, they asked us to engrave several pieces of panelling with their logo. These boards would be mounted in strategic places around the walls and floor of the stand to best effect.

Artwork

SST sent a vector version of their logo in black and white. This was perfect as I needed to rescale it to fit comfortably within the width of the wooden boards. Jpg and png images can loose quality when resized but that doesn’t happen with vector files, so we knew that the artwork quality would be print quality. And black and white artwork is perfect as the laser engraves or doesn’t engrave. There’s no ambiguity, and the laser engraves the black areas and doesn’t engrave the white areas.

All the boards were the same width, so one piece of artwork was required to engrave all the boards.  We set up the artwork so that the logo was centred on each board.

Production

Strathearn Stone and Timber provided wooden boards from their ranges in oak and pine and brought them to the workshop and we engraved them with a nice deep raster (fil in) engrave. It was important that the branding should stand out clearly and be visible from a distance

After the boards were engraved, Strathearn cut them to size and finished them. Their stand exuded the quality and natural beauty of their products.

How to make a Pepper's Ghost installation

Pepper’s Ghost installation

Posted Posted in Artists, Perspex

Angus was a 6th Form student at St Leonard’s School in St Andrews. He created this project as part of his studio work for the IB Visual Arts course.

Victorian illusion

The Pepper’s Ghost technique has been used by magicians and illusionists since Victorian times. More recently, music festivals have used it to create interesting visual effects. That’s how Angus first became aware of it.

Creating the right artwork

Angus wanted to create each part of the illusion by laser cutting three panels of black acrylic. He wanted the first sheet cut with face details, the second sheet cut with stars and the third with cloud details. He chose 3mm acrylic as it was robust enough for the job. It was important that light wouldn’t pass through the body of the material to spoil the effect of light travelling through the holes in it.

In order to laser cut the black acrylic, I needed vector files. Shapes for each star and each cloud outline must be surrounded by a single hairline vector line that the laser can follow. Angus and the school Art Department had no previous experience of laser cutting, and none of their artwork packages were able to generate vector artwork, so there was a learning curve to climb until I had the files I needed. Sometimes artwork creation can be the trickiest stage of a project.

Creating the illusion using acrylic

To create the Pepper’s Ghost illusion, Angus laid each of the laser cut black panels flat on a light box. You can just make out all three sitting one behind the other in the picture. The clouds are at the front, the stars behind that and the face is at the back.

Light shone from the light box through the laser cut holes in the black acrylic. This light was reflected in the clear acrylic sheets set above the black panels at 45 degrees, facing the viewer. You can see the front clear acrylic panel easily.

The transparent image appearing at 90 degrees to the black acrylic sheets. It incorporates the reflections from the layers of light reflected by the clear acrylic. All three reflected images superimpose to create the illusion of Angus’ face floating in the night sky. It’s an impressive effect and Angus’ ambitious installation was a huge success.

Each year, the Art Department has a show of pupil’s artwork for different year groups.

how to brand furniture

How to brand furniture

Posted Posted in Artwork, Furniture, How to, Wood

Colin Semple Furniture Design got in touch with LaserFlair because Colin was looking for a way to brand his furniture. There aren’t many ways for furniture makers to leave a lasting mark on their pieces, and Colin had an idea of how he wanted to do this.

Colin’s specification

Colin wanted to have his logo engraved on shapes of wood that he could mount strategically on a range of items. And he wanted something that would look beautiful! He knew that solid wood would give the right look, and decided on oak which always engraves well. To make it easy to use them, he required regularly shaped pieces that would be easy to insert into holes for a flush fit. A 50mm diameter disc 6mm thick was settled on as a good size that would keep each piece robust and the logo readable.

Detailed logo

The greatest challenge that this project presented to LaserFlair was getting the engraving right.

Colin’s logo is very detailed and in colour. Laser engraving works best with black and white (no greyscale) where the laser either engraves or doesn’t engrave. So to keep the detail while losing the colour, Colin wanted the C and S of his initials fill in engraved. The rest of his name engraved in outline so it appeared white inside. The tree trunk and canopy required similar treatment.

To achieve this, the logo had to be converted into a vector format made up of lines rather than pixels. This meant that individual elements could be picked out to be engraved in different ways. This stage was far more time consuming than the production phase, but it only needed to be done once.

Once Colin was happy with the prototypes, we made the first batch of discs. He sent me this picture of one that he had cleverly concealed in the side of a drawer.

restored farm kist

Restored farm kist

Posted Posted in Artwork, Furniture, How to

John from Firhills Farm in Arbroath was on a mission. He wanted to restore the old farm kist (Scots blanket box) that they take to agricultural shows where they show their Charolais cattle, beautiful creatures with gorgeous curly creamy coats. We’ve helped furniture makers create personalised features on new pieces, so when John and his wife got in touch, we were keen to help.

Something special

This kist had been in the family for years and it needed some love after years of hard service on the farm. It was old and battered, and if something wasn’t done soon, the kist was likely to fall apart.

As Christmas loomed, John decided that restoring it would be a great gift idea for his dad. He wanted to make it special and memorable, a talking point that would be much admired by their farming colleagues. It was to be the family’s pride and joy, an emblem of their family business and their prized cattle for years to come.

Restoration process

John had done a lot of the work himself on the structure of the kist. A family friend had drawn the Charolais bull and painted the Union flag onto the lid. As a finishing touch, he asked LaserFlair if we could laser engrave ‘Firhills Charolais’ around the painting.

He detached the lid from the kist and made an appointment to bring it to our workshop. Together, we selected a font that was chunky and bold. Copperplate Gothic Bold was perfect. All the letters are upper case so the text is bold and clear, and it has elegance too.

We created the artwork for the text and centrally justified the two words in rectangles at the top and bottom of the lid. This would align the words nicely in the spaces between the painting and the edges of the kist.

When the artwork was ready, we put the lid on the laser bed. We realised when we measured up the lid as we created the artwork that it wasn’t a perfect rectangle. One end of the kist was wider than the other by 7mm! So we made up the artwork based on the smaller measurements.

John wanted a deep engrave to complement the chunkiness of the kist. The first pass was good, but we engraved another pass to add more depth as the engraving itself didn’t take too long. John, his wife and their small son enjoyed watching the engraving process. With jobs like this, having the customer there to give immediate feedback is very helpful.

Restored to its former glory

John was delighted with the results and knew that his dad would be too. Once he had finished the kist a couple of months later, he sent us a picture.

In March, we heard from John again. They had been to a show with the restored kist for the first time, and he wanted to say how pleased they were with it and how much it had been admired. The kist is used for storing show rosettes and beer amongst other things, and acts as a useful seat occasionally. Now it’s beautiful as well as useful.

how unicorns are made

How unicorns are made

Posted Posted in Artists, Designers, How to, Signage, Wood

InkPaintPaper is an artist and illustrator in Norfolk. She makes hand painted personalised plywood decorations and signs, all to her own design.

She had ideas for new products to add to her plywood signs line. One of her wrapping paper designs has a unicorn motif, the same one that she has on her logo, and she thought it would be a fun shape for bedroom door signs. So she got in touch with LaserFlair to discuss the feasibility of her plan.

Product development

InkPaintPaper and I have worked together for a few years now. She knows that we need vector artwork to cut out shapes and understands that chunky shapes are most robust. Her artwork was perfect first time with a single hairline line surrounding each unicorn. The most vulnerable point was where the unicorn’s tail meets its body, but at 10mm wide, it not a cause for concern, especially as she wanted to use 4mm laser ply. Being formed from laminated layers in birch, plywood is inherently strong and the unicorns would would be robust enough to send through the post.

Prototypes

This was a pretty straight forward product development project. InkPaintPaper knew exactly what she wanted, her artwork was good, the product robust and the material choice clear.

We laser cut some prototype unicorns for InkPaintPaper to decorate and test the market with. She hand painted them and got feedback via social media. It wasn’t long before she came back with an order for a production run of unicorns in the run up to Christmas!

community art project stencils

Community art project stencils

Posted Posted in Artists, Artwork, Mylar, Signage

Pat Bray, a local artist, won a commission for an art project for Letham Glen, a lovely park in Leven, Fife.

Pat designed 37 stencils with interesting facts about the park’s history. She included stories of local witches and ghosts, performing bears, and the local miners who built the swimming pool.

The stencils were to be used with chalk spray to create signs on the ground at points of interest around the park.

Choosing materials

First, we selected a material for the stencils. It was important that the stencils were easy to carry around the park for spraying. They also had to be waterproof so they could be used outdoors, placed on the ground for spraying and washed off without damaging them.

Pat chose mylar. It’s a light, flexible, waterproof plastic, and perfect for laser cutting. It’s very robust too, so the small pieces between letters are strong enough to withstand regular usage.

Choosing a font

Next, we had to choose a font for the text. Pat wanted the insides of letters like p to remain as part of the stencil, so we picked a stencil font. There are lots to choose from, so we selected a clear one that was easy to read. The stencils had to be legible when placed on the floor.

Finally, Pat decided to have two stencil sizes. Six of the stencils had more text than the others, so we created large and small stencils to make sure all the text was legible and the text on all the stencils was the same size.

Pat was delighted with the stencils. They have withstood the rigours of park life well! They’re robust enough to use again and again to entertain and inform visitors to the park.