Token Designer Concepts

 The Token Designer is built around a number of concepts.  Understanding those concepts is the first step in mastering the tool.

Layers

Much like onions and ogres, tokens are designed in layers.  There are four types of layers in the Token Designer: Base, Shape, Text, and Cut.

Base Layers: Every single token needs a Base Layer.  It defines the overall shape of the Token.  Base layers default to white, but any texture and/or color can be applied to it. The Base Layer is always found at the bottom of the token.

Cut Layers: Cut Layers are very similar to Base Layers as they cause a cut to appear on the token.  Unlike a Base Layer, Cut Layers do not have any colors or textures.  All they do is indicate where a cut will occur. A token can have multiple Cut Layers.  Cut Layers always appear on the top.

Shape Layers: Shape Layers add a colored shape to the token.  The shape defaults to white, but any texture and/or color can be applied to it.  The shapes can be rotated and placed anywhere on the token.

Text Layers: Text Layers add a string of text to the token.  Like shapes, any texture and/or color can be applied to the text.  Like Shape Layers, Text Layers can be rotated and placed anywhere on the token.

Shape and Text Layers appear between the Base Layer and any Cut Layers.  The order in which they are stacked will determine the final appearance of the token.

Textures

Textures are simply images, such as wood and metal, that are used to give shapes and text an appearance of... texture.   By adjusting the transparency settings, different effects can be achieved.

The Token Designer includes a large number of textures and users can even add their own textures.

Colors

Anywhere that a texture can be applied, a color can be applied as well.  However, color does deserve some special consideration.

To put it bluntly, the color that you see on your monitor will not be the final color on the token due to a variety of factors.  Each monitor is slightly different in how it displays color and the color that the printer outputs will vary slightly based on the age of the ink, temperature, humidity, paper, and the passing of a nearby train.

This is generally not a problem unless you are going for a very particular color or are trying to use the contrast between two similar colors to achieve some sort of effect.

In the general printing world, this is handled by the printer sending the customer a test print so that the colors can be checked.   Given the cost of sending out a test print vs the cost of a set of tokens.... it is usually best to simply remember that the colors will not be exact.

Kerf and Bleed

The final step in the token creation process is to cut out the tokens on a laser cutter.  The process of cutting introduces two errors that need to be accounted for when designing tokens.

The first error is lining up the token to be cut in the correct location.  As with any process that is mechanical in nature, there has to be a tolerance.  For tokens, that tolerance is generally under a 1/32th of an inch.  When we print the tokens, the Base Layer's texture/color is printed 1/20th of an inch extra in all directions, so if we are off we will still have color out to the boarder of our token.  This is called "bleed".

The second error is the thickness of the cut or the kerf.  This varies by type of material and is usually under 1/32th of an inch.

Keep in mind these two sources of errors when placing Text Layers near the edge of the Base Layer and Cut Layers.