Don’t You (Forget About Tag)

It seems like every time I finish one of my designs/products theres another one lurking behind the corner just waiting to come out at me; and this week it was the gift tag!

To be fair it wasn’t as doom and gloom as I just made it sound. It was actually quite cool.

The only thing I knew about my gift tag was that I wanted to use laser cutting to make the designs (if I could ever find a time when someone else wasn’t using it!), beyond that, I didn’t really know what it was going to look like.

The designs that I chose to use was a stylised ‘V’ which I drew, using a pattern from one of my foil on photo paper ‘oh that went wrong, but I like it’ samples. I had to think about what it would look like when cut out, which parts would be kept and then how I was going to use it.

I finally found a time this week where no one was using the laser cutting and I jumped in there faster than, well something really fast. Steve showed me how to set up the machine, how to calibrate it to the type of material I was using, and then sent me on my way to create magical things.

One thing I didn’t realise, which I probably should have since the technique had laser in the name, was that it burnt through the materials (I did realise, I just didn’t think of it), which then caused a slight colour tinge around the edges. Not too bad, most of it wiped off but I was left with paper that wasn’t as crisp a white as it was when I put it into the machine.

Laser cutting is super cool. Its really fast, you get to use a big laser, and the results of the cutting are just, beautiful. The crisps, clean lines that the laser cuts is something that I doubt anyone could cut by hand, especially not me with my shaky hands.

I used filmwork and photo paper to laser cut. I wanted to use embossing foil because I thought that would look boss on a tag, but something about the way the metal reflects could cause certain death to any who laser it. So I went for some less death inducing materials.  I also chose a piece of photo paper which I had previously printed onto to see how that would look combined with the laser cut – I didn’t like it.

The design that I chose to cut is is both complicated and delicate, and the design that was printed onto the paper was quite blocky and only managed to help you lose where the laser cutting was, which was quite disappointing because it wold have been cool otherwise. What I did really like though was having my design cut out of brilliant white photo paper, where there was nothing to distract from the pattern that has been cut out. Mount that on some black card and, boy oh boy, I think I might swoon. I love black and white, the sharp contrast is so stunning in how it both clashes and meshes together amazingly. I took this change to experiment and see if I actually wanted to mount my design onto black.

I did, because it looks awesome. I feel that I would like it inverted as well, so a black design on white card, I think that would be just equally awesome, and both go with my colour scheme which just make me want to do a happy dance! What I also have in my colour scheme however is brightly coloured foils. Where was the foil in this designs, well i’ll tell you. The foil, comes in the ribbon of the tag. The tag itself is made up of layers (hells yas! Loving the components in this collection), the white design on the black card, and then a piece of blank filmwork behind, like those tags that have two layers to have a contrast or something interesting. I also then needed something that would make the tag attachable to whatever anyone would stick it on, which is where the ribbon comes in.

I didn’t want to just use the design I’ve come up with for my actual ribbon product, or the ribbon I used on my gift bag handles because wheres the fun in that. Each product is part of a collection sure, but they’re also individual. So I created two ribbons, one with blue foil on white, and one with blue foil on black, and after a majority vote, the blue and black ribbon one out, which I think is really for the best. The black organdie next to the black cards makes for a subdued background for the bright blue foil to actually be a colour pop and take the tag higher than just being a black and white tag.

I also like that if used in conjunction with the ribbon in going to make, those bright colour pops will clash and make the collection even more interesting.

  • My ribbon designs is hopefully going to be white organdie with bright orange foil! Sounds amazing, I know.

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