I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions – sometimes I can be too much of a perfectionist to have it work in my favor. Instead, I come up with a one word affirmation for the new year ahead.
I know it sounds a little hippy dippy, but a one word affirmation is designed to be a positive statement that shapes your actions during the new year. In December, I contemplate the year that has gone by and think about the type of year I want ahead. I pick one, easy to remember word that will prompt me to act and have the year and experiences I want. And because it isn’t a full statement with a measurable goal that I can either fail at or finish (ie I want to visit Mercury or I want to become a breatharian) I can use the affirmation to take advantage of opportunities throughout the year that I might not even dream of in December. (Please let it be noted I’m not going to attempt either of the resolution examples above.)
This blog is about laser cutting, so how does this not-quite a New Years resolution post fit in? I’m showing you how I created the laser cut file to put my affirmation on the wall. Disclaimer – I’m not the trained graphic designer, Ryan is. This is my novice way, but it gets the job done!
My word for 2016 is “Go” which is a little simplistic, so I’ve picked a second word to do the process with as well – Shine.
Type the word you want in a program that makes files readable by your laser. I used Adobe Illustrator, version CC2015. Choose a font – I have used Archer for “Shine” and Plantagenet Cherokee for “Go.” Check if you like the bold versions of the fonts you chose – bold gives you a little more meat to the letters to make more solid connection when smushing them together. If bold is not enough, you can stroke the letters to add weight.
Bring the letters together so they touch. This can be done a couple different ways. The easiest is to reduce the tracking between the letters. Just like you can change the size of letters individually, you can also change the tracking between letters. This worked really well with the word “Shine” because the serifs are so prominent. For the word “Go,” I didn’t reduce tracking, but instead put the letters on different layers so I could move them more freely. Because of the baseline isn’t obvious since g and o are so rounded, I decided to move the o down slightly to nestle it in the the valley of the g – creating visual interest and increasing stability of the final project.
Expand the appearance of the type so the word is no longer type, but instead considered an object by the program. In Illustrator, “Expand” is an option under “Object.” Because the word is slightly stroked, I found I had to expand the appearance twice – the first time expanded the fill and the object, the second expansion gave me the option to include the stroke properly. Once expanded, it gives you lots of different layers.
Unite the expanded layers using the “unite” option under the pathfinder menu. At this point you should have a unified word. You’ll notice I don’t – there is a pesky dot to the i in “shine”. Because it is not attached, it’s easy to just move down. When it’s overlapped enough, unite the elements to make it one.
- Resize your vector to final print size.
- This step is optional, but it fun to jazz up your words – I overlaid a pattern on the word “Go”. It’s a raster pattern and will engrave over top. This effect is pretty on wood, and looks awesome when engraving through a painted layer, like we did in Week 56: Decorated Clothes Pins. (If you are curious, the design is one I won from Designious – it’s part of seamless pattern pack number 23).
- Make sure your design is print ready by setting the colors and line widths as specified by your laser cutter. Save in a laser friendly format such as .ai or .eps.
- Cut and admire your unique finished project! And have a fantastic year!