Remote Control Cosmetics and Artwork


Many, but not all, remote controls have recessed areas around the keys of the remote. These recessed areas allow for overlays (also called inlays) to be placed in the area for custom artwork, button labels, logos etc. The overlays fit in the recessed area and sit below the surface height of the face of the remote. This is different than a label that sits on top of the remote control plastic. Not all remotes have key areas designed for overlays. Some remotes have part of the keyboard area available for overlays.

Using overlays, you can also customize the number of keys that are exposed and available to the user. This is typically the process used to reduce the key-count (number of keys) on the remote when using off-the-shelf remote control mold designs. If the keyboard is made from rubber, unwanted keys can be removed (post-production) or not fabricated at the factory. Most overlays are made from a material which is thick enough to cover the remaining "holes" in the top housing plastic. The thickness of the material ensures the user does not realize there is a hole below the overlay. Removing keys can also be used to ensure the keyboard layout fits the requirements of your application. A 3x3 matric of keys can be reduced to up, down, left, right by removing 5 keys, and using an overlay to cover the holes.

Overlays can be manufactured to match almost any color requirement. You can match the color of the plastic used in the remote, or, use a contrasting color to allow the keyboard to stand out. Overlays can have a matte or glossy finish.

Artwork on overlays is used to label the buttons, or, provide icons, graphics, logos and instructions.

Printing on Keyboard Keys (Buttons)

Artwork and labels can also be printed directly on the surface of the rubber keypad. A special ink and process is used for printing on the silicon rubber to ensure the artwork does not fade or rub off with use. Labels and icons can be used, but keep in mind the size of the rubber keys is usually fairly small (for most remote control designs), so care must be taken when selecting intricate designs. The colors used to print on the keyboard will also depend on the color of the silicon rubber used for the keyboard. Most keyboards use grey or black for the key colors as these colors tend to show less dirt build-up over time. Post production printing on the keyboard keys is possible, but usually at a higher cost than if the printing is done during original manufacturing.

Silk Screening Artwork

Silk screening is a printing process used to print artwork directly on the plastic housing of the remote control. Typically, the artwork is a company logo, but, if the remote does not make use of overlays (see above), key labels can also be silk screened directly onto the surface of the remote control plastic. This can also be used with priting directly on the silicon rubber keys.

Plastic Color

Most remote controls use a standard black or dark grey case color. Darker remote control colors tend to show less wear and dirt over time. These darker colors also tend to match the color of the devices the remote is actually controlling. Other colors can be used, but usually only with higher volume orders. Colors can be matched exactly (pantone). Sometimes, the manufacturer will have a stock plastic color close to the color you are looking for at a lower price than a color-matched plastic. Translucent colors are available, but tend to be harder to work with in the plastic molds causing higher manufacturing failure rates in molds whose original design was for standard ABS plastic. Custom molds can of course be designed to better handle the heat-flow requirements of alternative plastic materials.

Special Processes

Other processes are available to use to customize a remote control.

One process is called soft-touch. This is a production process that coats the outside of the remote control case with a special soft-touch paint. The texture of this process is almost rubber-like in feel.

Another process is called hot-stamping. This process allows for a textured label to be rolled out onto the face of the remote. Brushed metal textures can be simulated with this process.

A remote control housing can also be spray-painted with a gloss or matte paint. This can be used to make an otherwise textured suface smooth and glossy. Spray painting can also beused to mask production blemishes or inconsistencies in the case plastic for a more even surface look. Usually a matte paint is used for the later.

Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved, Celadon, Inc.

Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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Please contact Celadon, Inc. should you have any questions regarding infrared or radio frequency remote controls or related remote control products.