Ribbon Resources

See also: Stock Ribbons and Ribbon Gallery

1. Do you want me to order ribbons for you?

Fill in your e-mail address here to sign up for my "Ribbons" mailing list, so you'll know when my orders go in. If you don't sign up for the mailing list, you might not receive your ribbons in time. As a rule of thumb, you should allow at least four weeks for your ribbons, possibly longer depending on whether I've got an order going in for the convention you're interested in.

You can still order ribbons on a week's notice, if you haven't planned ahead, but you may need to get them directly from one of the ribbon printing companies yourself. (See below.)

2. You don't have to order your ribbons through me.

  1. www.rvawardsaz.com (look under badges)
  2. www.hodgesbadge.com (flat ribbons)
  3. www.ribbonsgalore.com (badge/badge ribbons)
  4. www.shopforawards.com (nametags)
  5. www.marcomeetings.com (ribbons/badge ribbons)
  6. www.larsensawardribbons.com (flat ribbons)
  7. www.pcnametag.com (ribbons)
  8. www.speedyawards.com (ribbons - pinked, vertical only)
  9. www.luscangroup.com (look under events & trade shows, then ribbons)

You'll find different pricing structures, minimum orders, colors available... #1 is the outfit I use. #2 is the biggest one in the business. Although, a cautionary note -- some people have trouble with the Hodges glue wearing out and their ribbons falling off.

3. If you want to, though, you can piggyback on my orders.

Mailing list info is near the bottom of this page.

Okay, you want to order your ribbons along with one of my orders. To get the best price, I wait until I have at least 1000 ribbons; typically each order I send in to the little old ladies in Tucson at RV have between 1000 and 2000 ribbons, total.

I'll take paypal payments, my usual hazel address at this domain. Shipping, postage, tax, and the occasional CARE package for the ladies that run the shop are all included. Paypal accepted. Reprints are cheaper because there's a one-time setup charge built into these prices. Current prices as of April 2011, per title:

The base price is $.275 per ribbon, plus $10.00 plate charge for each new title and $1 packaging/handling. So, 250 new ribbons would be .275 x 250 + 10 +1 = $79.75. A separate zinc plate is etched for each for a new title, regardless of whether it's plain text or has a logo or picture on it, or how many lines it is.

4. Sizes

The ribbons I usually order are the horizontal style, 1 5/8" or 2" high and about 4" wide. If you want vertical ribbons, or you want a special extra-wide ribbon, ask for a quote. The 1 5/8" ribbon stock is the size Hodges uses for their one-line ribbons. Because ours come with a skinnier piece of tape, there's more printable area, so it's no trouble going two lines on that size. That size is not available in all colors, which is why some of the ribbons are 2" high.

There is 2" width ribbon available in all colors. On most of them there is a penny surcharge for the extra size, which allows us to use bigger (taller) imprints. They also have larger sizes, for special situations.

5. Ribbon colors

Ribbons are available in these solid colors:

red, maroon, pink, peach, rose, neon pink, neon fuchsia, dark fuchsia, "tomato" (really a reddish or "safety neon" orange), orange, old gold, yellow, light yellow, neon greenish yellow, tan, white, off-white, Navajo White (a pale off-white with hints of tan), gray, light green, emerald (this is the regular green color), forest green, "teal" (actually a dark bluish green), navy, blue, medium blue, light blue, turquoise, lavender, purple, grape (a darker purple), black, brown, bronze, mocha, burnt orange.

There's also a rainbow and a pastel rainbow ribbon; those are more expensive, so there's a penny surcharge on those.

They have a "red stripe" and "blue stripe" ribbon, which is a spectrum effect where it shades from light blue (or red) at the top, to dark at the bottom. There's a penny surcharge for this style ribbon, and you should check with me before ordering because when they run out of the stock they're not going to reorder. The "rainbow stripe" ribbons are no longer available.

The most popular color for a ribbon? Black of course -- everyone wants to have have black because it's unique. I won't stop you (although I can't do black/white -- the best I can get you is black/silver), but I'll urge you to consider one of the other possibilities other than black/silver or black/gold.

6. Special stuff

If you need larger-than-normal ribbons, wider widths are available such as 2.5". Note that there will be a surcharge, of 6 cents or more per ribbon. (I'll bill you for the overage.)

Other special ribbon colors are available, please add a penny surcharge for these: "Half and half" stripes, be sure to specify which end you want down: Red & White Stripe, Purple & white stripe, Blue & White Stripe, Navy & White stripe, Light blue & white stripe, Purple and gold (dark yellow) stripe. Also there's a light green with a pink edge; edge strip is about 5/16" high.

"Gold edge" ribbon (Gold edge is about 1/8" high on all of these): Blue with gold edge, Purple w/ gold edge, Pink w/ gold edge, Yellow w/ gold edge, Green w/ gold edge, White w/ gold edge.

"Colored edge" ribbon (Colored edge is about 1/16" high): White w/ green edge, White w/ yellow edge, White w/ red edge, White w/ blue edge, White w/ purple edge.

7. Printing

Colors of foil printing: gold, silver, copper, blue, green, red, black (see below), or rainbow. I don't recommend using rainbow foil on dark-colored ribbons.

RV recently got some new BLACK foil. It seems to work well all of the ribbon colors we've tried so far.

No, we can't do WHITE -- RV can only handle the metallic foils. Use silver instead. If you have to have white printing, check out the other outfits starting with www.hodgesbadge.com.

8. Justification

The ribbons are printed by hand, on a letter press. As such they're not guaranteed to be perfectly centered -- it's a little old lady doing the work, and we're lucky enough that most of them come out straight and parallel to the bottom edge.

Speaking of bottom edge, the printing tends to be bottom-justified even though I draw them as centered in my mockups. I think one of the reasons they're printed this way is to maximimze the stacking-them-up capability.

9. Typefaces

Most of the ribbon companies have one price for stock typesetting using their typefaces in house, which is hand set at some places like RV, and another price for using custom art. I wore out my welcome in the summer of 2006 with far too many hand-set ribbons, so RV has asked me to submit custom art for all of my ribbons.

So printing two or three lines on the ribbon: no problem. Samples of ribbons I've ordered for myself and for others.... Because we use custom art for all the ribbons, we can put almost any kind of logo or clip art and any font on your ribbons. I use the Clarendon family of typefaces for most of the silly ribbons I order, but if you've got a favorite font we can use that. No problem. Many thanks to Lindsay Tallman for occasionally drawing things for these ribbons. Regarding art, this isn't a place for shading or fine detail. Keep it straight black and white (anti-aliasing is okay), no lines thinner than .01 inch or gaps between printed areas thinner than .02 inch. If you must have some kind of shading, use lines or cross-hatching -- look at the portraits they print in the Wall Street Journal for inspiration.

10. A special note about special art on dark ribbons/light colors

Most of the ribbons we print are dark ribbons with light printing. Doesn't make much of a difference for straight text, but if you've got art that's a physical object -- like a hand, wizard, dragon, condor, penguin or a space station -- you may want to see how your black and white art looks when it's presented as a negative image.

Therefore I suggest starting earlier if you want something fancy!

11. Submitting custom art

Usually I lay out the art for the ribbons. (No charge.) Sometimes people submit their own art, as a high-res PNG or a PDF file or something like that. If you go that route, remember it should be solid black on white. Even if you want yellow ribbons with blue printing, please submit it as a white background with a black design!

12. Timing and turn-around; mailing list.

I send in an order every month or two during the busy convention season.

To learn when I'm sending in an order, join the mailing list by sending e-mail to ribbons-subscribe@lists.bostonbaden.com and respond to the confirmation message you'll receive. Or fill in your e-mail address here and respond the confirmation message that you'll receive.

As a rule of thumb, though, if the convention you want the ribbons for is less than a month away, you probably want to send in your own order instead of waiting for my next one to go in. And even allowing one month is pushing it. The reason for this is because while I like to allow three weeks for them to work on my orders, I don't send in an order every week -- so my order might not be going in three weeks before your convention.

13. Graduating and doing it yourself

If you have more than 6 titles, or much more than 600 ribbons total in your order, it may be time for you to start ordering directly from RV Awards. I can help you get started. Generally I lay out the art as a 300 dpi grayscale GIF image and e-mail it to them, and they have the zinc plates etched from that. It's not too difficult, if you're adept with a program like Paint Shop Pro you should be able to get the hang of it. Basically, if you've got a lot of titles, it's more work than I want to deal with; if you've got a small number of titles but want a huge number of ribbons, I can keep taking your money but you'd save a bit if you ordered directly.

14. Beyond the scope

As far as I know, RV can't put two colors on the same ribbon. (Not counting the multi-colored rainbow foil.) You probably want Hodges. For a price, they can actually do full-color printing: Imagine a color printer running with a roll of ribbon material instead of a stack of paper. But that's very expensive.

Depending on what you're trying to accomplish, you might see if there's a wide ribbon at Michaels or Jo-Ann Fabrics that suits your needs, and buy a pair of pinking shears and a roll of Scotch "Scrapbooking Tape" to roll your own ribbons that way.

15. Scrapbooking tape?

Yes, it's the double-sided tape that has a plastic peel-off strip. I've found it handy in case I run across a tapeless ribbon. This photo shows the red/purple packaging, I've also seen it in a mostly purple package. I don't use the double sided sticky back tape in the yellow package, because it doesn't have the protecto-strip.

Rev. 20-Jan-2014