Posted on February 01 2019
This tutorial contains everything you need to know about creating your own, printed light up acrylic LED standees using Adobe Illustrator.
1. Download our templates
To start submitting your printed LED standee designs you’ll need to download our design template.
Download our Illustrator templates >> here <<
Each template comes with a working area where you will import or create your design. Please make sure that your artwork fits INSIDE of the blue borders.
2. Understanding our layers
Opening the template, you will notice that there are 6 layers in your Layers palette. If you can't see the Layers palette, hit F7 to make it appear.
IMPORTANT - Please don't rename existing layers or create additional layers as this will confuse our systems when processing your designs.
If you have used any effects / layer styles on any of your layers you MUST flatten them before saving. To do this simply right click on the applicable layer and select 'Rasterize Layer Style' from the menu.
'Office Use Only' Layer
This layer contains the blue borders which your design must sit inside, our logo and a brief description of the template size that you are using. DO NOT USE THIS LAYER.
'Artwork A' Layer
Place the artwork that you would like to appear on the front of your LED standee on this layer. You will need to flip / mirror your artwork on this layer so that it appears the correct way around via the 'front' of your standee.
ALL ARTWORK ON THIS LAYER SHOULD BE FLIPPED / MIRRORED.
'Artwork B' Layer
Place the artwork that you would like to appear on the back of your LED standee on this layer.
DO NOT FLIP/MIRROR THE ARTWORK ON THIS LAYER.
Use this layer to add a base layer of white ink to your designs. Printed areas with a white base layer underneath them will appear opaque. Printed areas with no white base layer will appear translucent. Unprinted areas with no white layer and no printed layer will appear transparent.
‘Cut Area’ Layer
Use this layer to show us where you would like your standee to be cut. We'll use this information to create a path, which will then be used to create a cut line for our laser cutters.
Please note that we do not print right up to the edge on our printed acrylic standees. It is therefore ESSENTIAL that you create a border of AT LEAST 1mm between your artwork and your cut line.
Failure to leave a 1mm border on your standee designs can result in damage and lifting along the printed edge of your designs as a result of the heat generated by the laser. See step 5a for more info.
'Standee Foot Template' Layer The 'Standee Foot' is the section of the standee that inserts into the LED base and makes your design light up. Position the standee foot at the bottom of your design to show us where you would like this placing.
The dotted line represents the distance that the foot inserts into the base. Any details below the dotted line will not be visible.
Please make sure the 'Standee Foot Template' fits neatly INSIDE the blue borders.
3. Importing your designs
Select the 'Artwork A' or 'Artwork B' layer and draw your designs directly onto these layers or, copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) previously saved artwork.
Create or paste the artwork that you would like to appear on the 'front' of your standee here.
Artwork on this layer is printed back to front so that it is viewed the correct way around when you view your standee from the 'front', so please remember to flip / mirror your artwork on this layer.
Notice the back to front writing on this artwork. This will appear the correct way around when your standee has been printed.
This is where you will create or paste the artwork that you would like to appear on the BACK of your standee.
Do NOT flip your artwork on this layer.
4. Check your Alignment
If you're producing double sided standees it's important that your A-Side and B-Side artwork lines up correctly.
A simple way of checking this is to select your 'Artwork B' layer and lower the opacity to 50%
Now view your artwork and check that both A & B are the same size and nicely aligned. Here is an example of how it should look...
5a. Adding a layer of white
Our coloured inks are naturally translucent and require a layer of white ink underneath them to make them appear bright and opaque.
Areas with coloured ink and a base layer of white ink will appear opaque. Areas with coloured ink and no base layer of white ink will appear translucent. Areas with no coloured ink and no white ink will appear transparent.
Having control of your own white ink layer allows you to create different transparency effects for your designs.
To create your white base layer simply copy your artwork from the 'Artwork' layer and paste it into the 'White' layer using the 'Paste in Front' command CTRL + F.
Use the 'Image Trace' command (if your design is a bitmap) or the 'Unite' function from the Pathfinder palette (if your design is a vector) to create a silhouette version of your 'Artwork' layer.
Give this silhouette a 100% Cyan fill with no stroke.
5b. Identifying unwanted areas of coloured ink, white & varnish
IMPORTANT - If you have imported your artwork from Photoshop or any other bitmap / raster based software, it's important to check your white layer for low opacity pixels. The following steps are taken from our Photoshop tutorial and can help eliminate any unwanted areas of white ink and gloss varnish around the edge of your charms...
Using soft brushes in Photoshop can result in unwanted, low opacity pixels causing issues around the edges of your artwork.
These pixels can be invisible to the eye but get picked up by our printers, which print ALL pixels on your white and gloss layers, no matter how low their opacity, as 100% white or 100% gloss. This can cause unwanted areas of white ink and gloss varnish around the edges of your finished charms.
A simple way to check your artwork for low opacity pixels is to click on your artwork layers, your white layer or your gloss layer, select the paint bucket tool and fill the background black.
The paint bucket will fill all areas of the background except where there are any low opacity pixels. These can then be easily identified and removed using the selection and eraser tools.
IMPORTANT - Please remember to undo the black paint bucket fill before submitting your designs.
The 'White' layer can be used to create areas where you don't want a white base. This effect works especially well on our clear acrylics to create transparencies (areas with coloured ink but no white ink or areas with no ink at all).
To create a transparent area, simply delete any unwanted areas on your white layer using the eraser or any of the other tools at your disposal in Photoshop to achieve your desired effect.
Here's our finished LED lamp illuminated...
6a. Creating your cut areas
Let us know where you would like us to cut out your LED lamp by creating a path (outline) on the 'Cut Area' layer.
It is ESSENTIAL that you make this border AT LEAST 1mm wider than your artwork. Failure to do so can cause your printed design to lift along the cut edge as a result of the heat generated by the laser. A 1mm border will prevent this from happening.
To do this, select all of the elements on your 'Artwork' layer, copy them (CTRL+C) and then use the 'Paste in Front' command (CTRL+F) to paste them onto your 'Cut Area' layer, the same way that you did when creating your white base layer.
Make sure that all of the elements on the 'Cut Area’ layer are selected and hit the 'Unite' button in the 'Pathfinder' window. This will merge all elements together to create one shape, which will be used to create your cutline.
Give the merged shape a 0.01mm outline with the following colour values R:255 G:0 :B0 and NO fill.
Use the OBJECT > PATH > OFFSET PATH command to offset (increase) this shape by at least 1mm. Delete the original path so that there are no duplicates.
TIP - Hide the 'Artwork' layer and view the document as outlines (CTRL+Y) to view your cut line as an outline. This will allow you to check for any unwanted paths. Once you're happy, hit CTRL+Y to go back to your normal view.
4b. Adding the standee foot
Position the standee foot template at the bottom of your design. The standee foot is the section of standee that will be inserted into the LED lamp base, making your engraved design light up.
The solid red line represents the size and shape of the foot and the dotted line represents the distance that the foot will be inserted into the LED lamp base.
Please make sure that no elements on your 'Artwork' and 'Cut Area' layers sit below this dotted line as this will prevent your standee from sitting correctly in the LED lamp base.
Please don't merge the foot template with your design.
9. Submission checklist
Congratulations, you've finished creating your LED standee design. All you have to do now is check the following before submission...
- Your artwork fits INSIDE of the blue borders.
- Your white base layer is 100% Cyan and located on the 'White' Layer (Step 5a.)
- You have checked for unwanted elements using the steps at 5b.
- Your border is AT LEAST 1mm (10px) thick.
- All text has been converted to outlines.
- Your standee template contains 1 design only. Additional designs will be sent separately.
- Remember to order a sample to check that your design is set up correctly.
10. Saving and submitting your designs
There are 3 different ways to save and submit your designs...
1. Submit your artwork immediately
If you have already created your designs, you can send them to us using the 'Upload Artwork' button, located on our product pages or by emailing them to ‘email@example.com’.
Save all Illustrator files in .Ai format. Here’s how…
Name each of your designs appropriately so that we know which designs you are referring to. Your file names should include 1. your name, 2. design number, 3. chosen product and 4. the date that you placed your order through our website. Here’s an example…
Select all of the designs that you would like to submit, right click and choose SEND TO > COMPRESSED (ZIPPED) FOLDER.
This will create a compressed folder containing all of your designs. Rename this folder so that it contains your name and the date that you placed your order on our website. Like this…
Please add all of your designs into one folder. So, if you purchased standees, stickers and pins, for example, just pop them all in the same, compressed folder and upload it using the 'Upload Artwork' button.
2. Submit your artwork later
If you have placed your order via our website but your designs aren’t quite ready yet, that’s ok. You have up to 2 weeks to submit your artwork to us, which allows you to take advantage of any special offers that we’re running.
To submit your designs later, save them with 1. your name, 2. design number, 3. chosen product and 4. your order number. Then email them to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.
Save all illustrator files in .Ai format. Here’s how…
3. Placing a re-order
If you have placed an order in the past and would like to re-order those designs that’s great! We store your artwork for a maximum of 6 months, which saves you the hassle of having to resubmit your designs via email.
To place a re-order, simply place your order online, email us with your previous order number(s) and let us know that you are placing a re-order.
You may only want to order 1 or 2 designs from your previous order(s). To do this simply quote your old file name(s) and let us know how you would like them producing and in what quantities.
Here’s how to do it…
I’ve just placed an order #12345 on your website and would like to re-order the following designs from a previous order #12121. Please can I have…
If you have any questions about this tutorial or any other aspects of our website and manufacturing processes, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.