Sunday, May 4, 2008

Artwork Guidelines for Custom Chocolate Molds

If you have ever tried to order a custom chocolate mold with a logo or graphics, you may have wondered what the artwork requirements are all about and why people are not willing to bend when it comes to them. Most mold makers require very clean, black and white line art. No fine lines; no small letters; alot of space between characters. Photos are generally not acceptable unless they can be easily converted into line art.

The reason is related to the method in which the mold, or the model for the mold, will be made. For example, if the mold maker will be making vacuum formed plastic molds, characters must be adequately spaced and sized to allow the plastic to form properly. Silicone molds are a bit more forgiving, but still have limitations. If the mold maker will be using photo-sensitive materials such as photopolymer printing plates or magnesium hot stamping dies to make the model, the blank spaces within and between the letters must be large enough to wash away. If the lines are too fine, there is a danger that the line itself will actually wash away. If the mold maker is going to be using CNC machinery, the fonts will have to be large enough for the cutting to be done.

In an effort to avoid these problems in the first place look at the letters "a", "o", and "e" for clues. These are often the hardest letters because the spaces are so small. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules about what size font to use, or how much spacing is needing. It depends on the font. However, I would really recommend not using anything under a 36 pt. Arial for comparison purposes. Generally, the larger the font the better.

While on the subject of fonts, you must pay particular attention to the font you use. The best fonts will be bold and simple, without serif (which is the little decorative lines at the ends of the letters). These fonts may be labeled "sans serif". Script and cursive fonts can be used as long as the font is large enough and the lines are not too fine.

The requirements will also be different if you are going to have the text recessed, rather than raised, on the chocolate bar. To accomplish this, you will need an even larger font to ensure that the desired area is washed away completely and deeply.

For more information about making custom molds, see the Learn section of The Chocolate Mold Factory.

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