Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Scott’s Name Tag

The final nametag


When we were first assigned the nametag project, I knew I wanted to do something music related. I’ve always loved listening to and playing music on the piano & guitar :). I was also probably inspired when I first opened inkscape and when the text tool was selected, the font had already been set to symusic.

I immediately started looking online for music staff silhouettes, but of course I didn’t want them to be perfectly straight. I saw a few examples that captured the feeling or design I wanted, but wasn’t quite the right size to fit my name, or was almost but not exactly to my liking. 

Image result for music staff distortedImage result for music staff distortedImage result for music staff silhouette

And one common theme I saw is that the proportions were awful in all the examples I could find. The notes were tiny! Also, I’d of course have to get rid of them to fit my name on there. So I learned how to use the pen tool with splines, drew one line that I felt had the right length, thickness, and ‘wavyness’, then also learned about the spacing tool to create 5 copies and space them equally apart.

Of course, through all of this, there were several members in the FabLab helping me discover and use all of these tools.

Then I found a trebel clef symbol, and fit it onto the 5 lines (proportionately). Then I drew my own double bar line at the end, because I realized it seemed a bit empty on that corner.

My original intention was to have all the space in-between cut out (between the staff lines, in the letters of my name, etc) but I realized that would make my nametag quite too flimsy, especially towards the right side where there would be barely any material left. So, by the suggestion of a FabLab member, I decided to raster the image onto a more solid back.

After laser cutting and rastering, the members who have already helped me so far made a final suggestion – to add a magnetic nametag fastener on the back, and it turned out great!

Magnets on the back

Reflection: (I’m not sure how explicit this has to be)

Overall, the nametag definitely came out a lot better than I originally thought that it would come out. I also learned that laser cutter rastering doesn’t come out quite as dark as I thought, and I have to be more careful in balancing the grayscale – I’d expected the letters of my name to be much darker than the musical notations but they turned out very similar shades (despite being 100% black vs 30% gray). I feel that I’m much more comfortable in inkscape, because even two days ago I had only the vaguest idea of its features and capabilities, although I know I’m just barely scratching the surface.

I think one last thing that I have to get better at is getting a sense of scale from the computer screen to the final product – I had originally thought it would come out much bigger. Because of that, there were some design/sizing decisions that I was about to make that the wonderful FabLab members safely steered me away from (I’d almost made a 1.5-inch wide nametag)

This project has me very excited for the later ones to come, I had so much fun creating this nametag despite being a relatively small project. I love the open ended nature of the makerspace, providing both creative and technical freedoms 🙂