More of an interactive designer than a badge maker, Alex Peterson runs his own design practice, Pixel-Air, from an office in Cheshire. However, when the rigidity of grids, buttons and client requests grind him down, he relieves his creative tension designing buttons, which he sells on

“I don’t really look to sell them. I just happened to go on one lunchtime and fancied having a go myself,” he explains. “It can be a nice surprise each month to see that 30-40 people may have bought my badges.”

He playfully describes his badges as “canapés of visual communication,” but also admits that they’ve led to a few commissions, especially for logo work. 

But, of course, they are very small. It’s not easy to design for a canvas that is a one-inch circle. “Clarity of the detail and getting the colour balance is crucial,” he says. “It’s got to be short and snappy. So I like to keep my work clean and simple and hopefully avoid any printing issues.”

Again, RGB-CMYK conversion is an issue; Alex finds his work tends to print darker than the screen designs, so he adds a bit of brightness before submitting to print. With buttons, there’s also the problem of the curvature of the print surface; the PSD templates feature sufficient bleed area to avoid printout problems. 

One of Alex’s most popular badges is a design that incorporates his initials and isometric perspective. “I love typography,” he says, “and so my logo simply came about from experimenting. I remember filling a sketchbook with hundreds of little doodles and squiggles and eventually came up with an idea to combine the letter ‘a’ and ‘e’ using one single line. By adding a bit of isometric perspective and lighting you could tell the two letters apart.” 

But what’s more important is good badge design. “Make it relevant to now,” he recommends. “Think about what’s popular in your social circle and industry and try and communicate that via a badge. Think about what appeals to you because after all you should want to wear it with pride.”