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I've just completed my first PCB and it's safe and well designed.

Now I want to put a vector image on the board with my brand's name with it. I was wondering how can I do this, so the art looks great.

Surely there's a way things are cut that matter quite a bit in the detailing when it comes out.

Is there someone who has done this frequently and has a checklist of things they keep in mind? I appreciate any feedback towards this.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What design environment, CAD program, are you using? \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2020 at 12:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Make a symbol that contains your logo. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 12:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Background reading: boldport.com/blog - this guy does a lot of PCB artwork, and you may find some useful tips there for making it look nice \$\endgroup\$
    – pjc50
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 12:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ If your logo has too fine detail you may need to simplify or otherwise redesign it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2020 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Grammar, capitalization, and spelling count a lot towards a professional impression. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 15:28

1 Answer 1

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How you add your logo will depend on your CAD package, but it is usually importing a DXF file to most of the common options.

As to what to keep in mind, you have silkscreen, copper, and soldermask, which you can use to control how your logo contrasts, e.g. for a darker colour you would flood fill with copper underneath it, for a lighter colour you might try and make sure all layers have an exclusion there so you're left with the colour of the PCB. In some cases you might remove the solder mask where you're trying to make a 2-tone pattern without paying for it.

For example, with gold plating and black soldermask, you can have a mix of off-white, black, and gold by varying what element is on what layer.

For placement, make sure you're crossing as few vias as possible: they will look like dark or partially-copper spots; you can hide small, e.g. 0.3 mm, holes under large areas of silkscreen, but for larger ones try and plan around them.

For the DXF, keep the size, thickness, and spacing limitations in mind from the fabricator: any silk line will be somewhat rounded, so sharp corners are difficult, you may need to smooth out certain parts of your logo to make it suit.

Give a defined area for the fab to place their serial number, ideally under some other component. I try and give them a 40x10 mm square, and ensure I tell them when ordering to use it; this prevents them slapping it whereever it suits them.

Other things unrelated to the logo, but that I like to do for professionalism are: if the back side is not used, include some notes, e.g. pin names or functions; label a few voltage test points, etc. - saves so many phone calls from someone hooking things up wrong.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good idea to give the manufacturer a designated area. They tend to "silk screen spam" pretty much randomly, in my experience. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lundin
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 13:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ When using Altium, the best long term solution for company logo's and the like (including other graphic symbols) on the PCB, is to make a PCB True Type font that holds all of these symbols. The True Type fonts scale really well in Altium, with predictable fidelity. Much easier than dealing with DXF imports. Works on all layers. The Altium community has generated a font set that has many common symbols already defined. You could download that set, and add your logo to the font. As a bonus, the font can also be used in any program that supports True Type Fonts (like autocad ;~) ) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2020 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Altium (continued): Bonus, Bonus: the Font with your logo can now be used in both schematic and PCB editors, adding some consistency to the documentation. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2020 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ When using Altium, apart from the community fonts, I generate an assembly master drawing with all sorts of notes (including just where they can put the serial number label) and a separate fabrication master (the gerbers / ODBII files cannot contain things such as material specification). \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 11, 2020 at 14:27

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