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Engraving White And Black Graphics On Glass

Many of the orders we make include graphics, and we welcome images that the customer supplies to be engraved. When an image or text is seen on a computer screen, it is normally shown in black (on a white background). It is important to know that what we engrave on clear glass will become frosted white. The black parts of a layout are engraved…however, these turn into a frosted white color, producing an effect much like a negative of a photo. The part of the etched glassware that is not engraved (the clear glass) is darker than the frosted white, giving the clear glass a “dark” appearance by comparison. Any engraved wooden gifts or terra cotta coolers are void of this photo negative effect since both materials engrave to a darker color….however, there is a similar effect on our black marble bottle coolers (which turns white when engraved).

For most images, this effect doesn’t really matter. With such things as silhouettes, line art, or text, the graphic will essentially appear the same whether viewed in black or white….what is important in these cases is just the shape of the elements, and not their actual color.

However, when the eye “knows” that part of a graphic should be black or white, then there can be an issue. We know, for example, that a wedding dress should normally appear white. If artwork is presented with the incorrect polarity, it will not look right….in this example, the wedding dress would appear black. This would be like looking at a photo negative. In such a case, you can tell what the subject matter is, but it just does not appear correct.

To keep the correct relation between black and white on a graphic, we might suggest that we “photo invert” certain artwork before the engraving process. Here are some samples to help depict this:

Graphic Polarity Graphic Polarity Graphic Polarity Graphic Polarity Graphic PolarityGraphic Polarity

Photographs are another instance where polarity is a significant issue….please view our Engraving Photographs page for further information on how photos will look when engraved.

It is always up to the customer….we can certainly engrave a graphic any way that you wish. However, we do recommend considering this “photo negative” effect if you have a graphic where the relative relationship between black and white colors is important. If you have any questions on a specific graphic, feel free to ask us!