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Why Does Stencil Lettering Look So Weird? Here's Everything You Need To Know

Why Does Stencil Lettering Look So Weird? Here's Everything You Need To Know

Stencil design can be a confusing and tedious proposition.

It incorporates considerations of manufacturing capabilities and limitations, customer requirements, materials, size, and the specific art, logo, design, or image to be made into a stencil.

Fortunately, Stencil Stop’s design experts weigh these factors and provide you with your custom mylar stencil design optimized for both aesthetics and longevity.

Often referred to as connectors, connection points, lines, or gaps, "bridges" are (usually) a required element of a stencil’s design. To make it easy, we’ll stick with the terms bridge/bridges/bridged/bridging in this article.

Here’s an example how lettering can vary when bridges are used:

Stencil Bridge vs. No Bridge Diagram - Why Stencil Lettering Looks So WeirdAs you can see, the upper row of lettering does not include bridges. Therefore, the inner parts of the lettering on the A, the B, and the D are gone. Deliberate exclusion of bridges in fonts and logos can be a nice graphic design element. However, customers typically prefer their images to include bridging, as seen in the bottom row of lettering.

Size is another factor when adding bridges to a stencil design. Check out this stencil we made for Victoria’s Homemade Cake in South Florida:

Homemade Cake Logo Into a Stencil Design - Bridges and Connectors Make Stencils Look Weird

As you can see, the original logo submission is different than the resulting stencil design. Let’s take a closer look.

Bakery Logo Stencil Design - Why Stencils Look So Weird

The main ingredient (no pun intended) altering the logo’s features is the size. It’s only 1 x 1 inch, which is among the smallest of stencils that we can make. Therefore, detail and extensive bridging required to connect the insides of the letters are not included.

Here's what the size of a potential bridge for this stencil design would be:

Small Bridge Size Example - Keep Letters and Design In Place

That’s a bridge size of .05 inches, or 5 hundredths of an inch! Typically, we only include details that minute if they are specifically requested by the customer. Small, tedious areas like this reduce a stencil’s longevity; these areas aren’t as stable as a .25” bridge, or even a .1” bridge. One errant snag while moving the stencil can instantly tear this detail and yield the stencil unusable. Plus, tiny bridges are nearly imperceptible anyway, so they’re not worth the potential negatives. Therefore, for this particular logo design, all bridged areas were simply blocked out in both the text and whisk in the upper part of the logo.

Let’s take a look at one more stencil design that demonstrates how Stencil Stop uses the a logo’s existing elements to create unobtrusive bridge features. We recently made this stencil for decorating the top of lattes and other foamed coffee drinks for an event with Nike at the Dallas Cowboys Headquarters.

Cowboys and Nike Art and Stencil Design - Why Stencils Look So Weird

See the Cowboys logo? Look where the bridges are. They’re not cutting off the middle of the outer border of the star, like this one does. Instead, the bridges are flowing with the visuals of the design and are tucked into the space where they’re most unobtrusive.

Dallas Cowboys Logo Stencil Design

If you're still confused, no worries - we’re here to help! Holler at us if you want to know how we’d approach designing your specific logo or image, or if you have any questions.



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