Washer Jewelry: Creating a Design


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Creating designs to apply to washers is, for obvious reasons, a huge part of what I do.  Having been working with this medium for the better part of five years I've learned a thing or two when it comes to designing for this purpose and always try to steer my customers toward what works.  Let's take a look at what makes a great design:

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This guy is a great example of what works.  Obviously this is a bracelet design so there is negative space on either side to accommodate for the cordage.  None of the important elements of the design are being covered up and the text on both the top and the bottom say "Yes, this IS supposed to be a bracelet.".

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In this design you can see that the negative space concept went right out the window.  With a design that goes the full circle of the washer it's still aesthetically pleasing even though bits are covered here and there.  The main concept of the design isn't lost or corrupted by the cordage.

Now let's talk about what makes a design NOT work:

First and foremost is color.  With this medium the more contrast you have in your image the better it's going to look.  Super pale pastels tend to become even paler when exposed to the curing process and can lose some of their impact.

Another one that I feel I have to explain quite a bit is to be mindful the size of the washer you choose.  If you choose the 1.5" Large style you'll be able to fit a lot more fine detail or text than if you choose a 1" Petite style.  Often times I see parents requesting a petite washer for their child's Emergency Contact necklace and requesting three phone numbers on the back.  The text becomes so small that it can become distorted or extremely hard to read.  Keep this in mind when designing!

And lastly be mindful that there is a big hole in the middle of these pieces.  Often times I'll receive a request for a custom piece with an image that just doesn't lend itself well to a circular pattern.  Either its a portrait or a painting/drawing, etc where the main element is front and center.  In these circumstances I do what I can to try to retain the important elements but it's not always possible, depending on the original artwork.

One last do?  Be original!  Be creative!  Be you and be proud of it <3