Designing Your Own Buttons

Getting Started | Custom Button FAQ | Custom Button Prices | Button Testimonials

Respect in my Check - Worker Rights, Pay Equality Button by Ricardo Levins Morales

The possibilities for your custom buttons are endless. Start the process by talking with us about your idea and your budget. Call Jeff at 612-703-6157, or email him at See below for all the details!

If you want to design your own button, PLEASE READ THE REMAINDER OF THIS PAGE BEFORE YOU SEND IN ANYTHING, because it’s a little trickier than you may think. If you don’t understand any of the following guidelines, please call before you spend too much time on it. We’ll let you know if what you have in mind will be something we can work with.

OPTION #1: Your handmade design
If you have a hand-drawn artwork, you can mail it or hand-deliver it to the shop. Do not FAX anything or send a PHOTOCOPY-they won’t work. We’ll have to have the original. Send or deliver your original artwork to:

RLM Arts
3260 Minnehaha Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55406

Once we get it set up for button-making, we’ll e-mail you a proof for approval, or you can come in and look at it before production begins.

OPTION #2: Your electronic design
If you want to submit your art as an electronic file we can work with the following formats:

* The best format to use is Adobe Illustrator. These are files with the extension “.ai”. Since we don’t have every font there is, you would be wise to convert all fonts to paths/outlines (or, you could send us the font files to download, if you have them).

I can also usually work with:

  • Photoshop files. These are files with the extension “.psd”
  • Encapsulated PostScript files. These are files with the extension “.eps”
  • Portable Document Format, or PDF files. These are files with the extension “.pdf”

Any image files (.jpg, .psd) should be saved at a resolution of 300 dpi, if possible. Remember, if your idea is very simple, or if you just want something legible and straightforward, it may be easier for both of us to have us design it here at the shop. There is usually no extra charge for making simple designs.

Remember that what we see on computer screens never looks exactly like the physical object that will be your button or sticker. After all, color made by mixing light on a monitor screen is different than color made by mixing ink on paper. Usually we will get very close. We work in the CMYK format, not with Pantone colors. With custom designs we will always send you a proof copy before production begins. No buttons will be made until you approve the design that you receive as a proof. If you live or work nearby and wish to come in to the shop to see an actual mock-up of your button, that can also be done; just ask.


If you are submitting button artwork in electronic form, be advised that the background color must extend beyond the visible area all the way to the diameter of the “cut” that is made when preparing the buttons for production. This is because the artwork will wrap around the edges of the buttons, and some areas beyond the clearly-visible areas will show around the edges.

Here are the dimensions of the visible surface, and the dimensions to which the background colors should extend, for each size of button that RLM Arts will be making for you or your allies, friends, or customers.  PDF templates are included for download.  If you would like a template in Adobe Illustrator format, please email





In all cases-especially if the background color is white-you should include a “cut line,” which is a black circle at the outermost edge of the background. For example, the cut line for a 3″ button should be a circle with a 3.425″ diameter. This line tells us where to cut the circle, and helps us make certain your artwork is centered on your button.


DESIGN TIME CHARGES: If we design your button, the first 15 minutes of design time are free, and this is usually enough for a good-looking button that’s not too technically complicated. However, if it takes longer we’ll most likely have to charge you a standard design charge of $25.00/hour, accruing in quarter-hour intervals.

RUSH JOBS: New jobs take their place behind existing jobs. As we are agreeing on a job we’ll tell you when we can start on it. Rush charges start at two or three cents per button and go up from there, depending on the degree of rush.

Should you do your own printing?

Generally we will do the printing of the artwork in-house. If you need or wish to do your own printing, rather than letting us do the printing, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING:

You don’t save any money by bringing us pre-printed button images. You may have reasons to do your own printing, such as specialized color-matching needs we can’t handle, or wanting a specialized paper texture.

IF the images on all the different pages you have printed line up perfectly from one page to the next, there will be no extra charge. However, if you provide the printed pages containing button images and the images are not lined up exactly from one page to the next, the pages cannot be stapled together and gang-punched. This is a big headache. Add 15% to the price of the order, and be prepared for a final product where the buttons are not all exactly centered.

Getting Started | Custom Button FAQ | Custom Button Prices | Button Testimonials