The Dos and Don’ts of Custom Button Design

I have set up a lot of custom buttons over the years, some better designed than others. Over the years I’ve noticed that all of the buttons that have appealed to me the most have a few elements in common. The best designed buttons are simple, bold, and to the point.

Do keep things short and sweet. Don’t try to squeeze too much in a small space.

Think of your button as mobile billboard. You have about five seconds to grab someone’s attention, and 5 more for them to read your message. Keep your message clear and to the point. Buttons are small, and even if you have the greatest product or candidate in the world, if no one reads your button what’s the point?

Do Use Bold Easy to Read Fonts. Don’t use Comic Sans.

Large bold fonts will get your message noticed. Small thin display fonts will not. More than likely the demographic you’re going after is over 12 years old. With this in mind you should not use Comic Sans as your default font choice.

Do use Color to your Advantage. Don’t over do it.

Talking about color can be difficult. What is pleasing to one eye may not be to another. There is nothing wrong in choosing a color scheme because you like it, however, you do want to make sure that you color choices do not detract from your message. Keeping with a simple color scheme is a safe bet. When in doubt, consult a color wheel.

Type Color and Background Color

You want the messaging of your custom buttons to stand out. Make sure that the color of your type contrasts with your background. Don’t put pink type on a red background, it will get lost. If you really want to keep the colors of your background and type close, try outlining the type or adding a glow or drop shadow. Remember when choosing the colors for your fonts and backgrounds that you are viewing them in RGB, and when they get printed in CMYK they may not appear to contrast nearly as much.

Choosing the Right Font

When designing your custom button take into consideration the actual size of the finished product. It’s easy to forget that a one inch button is only about the size of a quarter especially when you’re viewing it on a 27″ monitor which displays the design 200-400 times bigger than it will print. That tiny 3 point type you added will not be visible or printable. On smaller buttons bold San-serifed fonts with clean lines are much more readable than italicized, wispy serifed display fonts. The cleaner the font the better.

Although we use high quality digital printers capable of printing up to 2400×2400 DPI, we can’t make magic happen. Always make a test print of your button design at home to be sure the fonts make sense when printed. What you see on your screen may not always translate well into print. To be sure your type is readable when printed try not to use a type size smaller than 5 points.

Saving your Text

If you’re saving your artwork as a.jpg this does not apply to you, but if you’re working with a layered file time like PSD it does.There are thousands and thousands of fonts in existence for both MACs and PCs, and we don’t have them all. When digital art is supplied to us with missing fonts, it makes processing your order problematic. You picked your fonts for a reason and don’t need us making substitutions. You have two choices, embed your fonts into your graphic, or convert them to outlines. Most graphic design software can embed/create outlines relatively painlessly. If you need help figuring your software out, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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