Re-Mix, Brand A-peal: Custom Vinyl Logos Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - SCOPES Digital Fabrication

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Wendy Marrero


Logos are symbols that visually represent an idea, organization, or individual. Over the course of three remote learning classes (hours), students will design and apply a vinyl decal onto a T- shirt, using a vinyl cutter and heat-press or iron.

This lesson uses Google Drawings, available in Google Drive, to create simple logos. The lesson also utilizes Roland CutStudio to prepare student’s designs for cutting (Note: it is recommended to use this or similar software provided by the vinyl cutter manufacturer). The teacher will cut out their design and press them onto a t-shirt.


What You'll Need

Vinyl Cutter

Heat-transfer vinyl

Iron or heat-press



T-shirt (one per student)

Computer (one per student)

Design Process Data Sheet



Software: Google Drawing (within Google Suite) & Roland CutStudio

Optional Software: Inkscape

The Instructions


Challenge: Create a logo to help increase awareness of reducing individuals's carbon footprint. Identify: Articulate the criteria and constraints of the challenge (10-15 minutes).

As students enter the class, the teacher should prepare the vinyl cutter to cut out a previously designed, example logo. Allow students to watch the vinyl cutter cut out the logo.

Share with students the following or similar images around logo design.


Logos reflect the values of a group or individual. They can change to reflect updated ideals held by those they represent. Below are timelines of logos used to send a message about protecting the environment. Ask the students what message they think the logo is trying to convey.




Pass out( post on Google Classroom) Engineering Design Process Sheets. Under “Identify”, ask students in groups ( breakout groups in Zoom) to create a list of criteria and constraints around the project. Give students the criteria that these logos will be put on a t-shirt. Some suggestions may include:

  • Size – no larger than 6″ x 6″ or 2.5″ x 2.5″ (NBA logo patch size)
  • Appearance – meaningful symbols to represent how can we decrease our carbon footprint.
  • Content – monochrome with simple, non-overlapping curves and lines
  • Time – three full class periods



Research: Analyze one or several example solution(s) (logos) to this challenge (5-10 minutes). Develop Solutions: Sketch initial ideas for logos on paper (15-20 minutes).

Share with students the completed design from on the vinyl cutter. Ask the students “in what ways does this logo, or solution, meet your own criteria and constraints?”(Strengths) or “in what ways could this logo be improved?” (Weaknesses). After discussing, refer students to their data sheets to record these responses under “Research”.






Optionally: the instructor may allow students to search online for their favorite logos. If so, have students find and select one of these logos and record their answers to the previous questions.


Instruct the students to log into their student/school or personal Google accounts. It’s recommended to set up a shared folder for students to place and share their work. Guide students to this folder and have them create a new “Google Drawings”.

Allow students 10 minutes to explore this software without answering their design questions. This will give students a better understanding of this online tool and sense of self and peer-reliance.


After 10 minutes, have students return to their data sheets. Under “Develop Solutions”, direct students to draw at least three unique logo ideas. It is important for students to formulate an idea initially before spending more time on Google Drawings. Once their sketches are completed, have students attempt to design these sketches online.





Debrief students current understanding of Google Drawing and their project goals. (10-15 minutes)

Once all teams have three sketches on paper, the instructor will encourage students to demonstrate their knowledge of Google Drawing. Students should be able to complete the following tasks:

  • Place a shape on the canvas
  • Add a line or scribble to their canvas
  • Change the boarder weight of a line
  • Undo or redo
  • Align an object to perfect center


After students have demonstrated these skills, encourage them to share their current progress with one another (breakouts rooms in zoom). Students should share one skill they learned with their peers.

To further explain the function of the vinyl cutter, show out a small square of vinyl (this does not need to be heat transfer vinyl) and a pair of scissors. Tell students the vinyl cutter uses a small blade to separate the top layer of colored vinyl from the protective bottom layer in precise designs from the computer. This is an example of computer controlled manufacturing.

To demonstrate the difference between human and computer controlled manufacturing, the teacher will demonstrate cutting out a design with scissors (or cut a perfect circle). As students will quickly see, it’s difficult to complete this task, but a computer controlled machine can do it multiple times with ease.


Select Solution: Choose and refine the logo to digitally design (10-15 minutes).

Students should select one design from “Develop Solutions” to sketch to scale on paper in “Select Solution”. This will clarify the goals of their design to anyone that might help them, especially the instructors. Additionally, applying scale to their design on paper will give students an understanding of it’s actual size separate from that which may appear on their computer screen.

In a new Google Drawing document, students should create a larger, scaled version of their selected design.




Prototype: Cut out student designs and weed the unnecessary vinyl (30-45 minutes).

(Safety note: The vinyl cutter uses a rapid moving blade to cut vinyl. The heat press or iron can reach temperatures of 400F. To ensure student safety, it is recommended that only the instructor operate these machines.)


On a separate computer for vinyl cutting, the instructor will download and import completed student’s files into Roland CutStudio (or comparable software). To create a trace of the image, click the image and select “Image Outline” under the Object header. Move the “Alignment Image Density” slider to optimize the quality of the trace, then select “Extract Contour Lines” to generate lines the vinyl cutter will cut.