The Art of PCB Design

Designing a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) is a process that demands for experience. A professional PCB should not only function as needed but it should also look great. There are various techniques and steps that the art of a PCB designing follows to ensure that the PCB is both of good quality and aesthetics.

Design Constrains

When designing a PCB, you realize that you can take different routes that lead you to the same place electrically but to a different place aesthetically. For example, making a decision about where to put a Via is often times arbitrary; especially when there is plenty of space on the board. Still, it is important to ensure that the PCB remains as small as possible, while keeping the PCB traces within the manufacturer’s PCB factory requirements! Adhering to all these constrains takes the art of a PCB design.

Silk Screen

This is a layer on a PCB that shows the component names, the component value or number and also company logo and brand name. Any set of information could be added on this layer to convey certain important information. Silk screen is an important and sensitive part of the art of PCB since it provides the details of the PCB. Poor silk-screening can make the PCB look fake and incomplete. This can greatly affect sales. The PCB Designer and manufacturer must ensure the alignment of the silk screen with the soldered components. It should also be clear and not faded. The standard silk screen colors are white, black and yellow. Other colors may significantly increase the cost of the PCB. It also cuts on cost to put the silk screen on one side only. As the PCB Designer puts together the silk screen, s/he must have in mind the PCB Brand, the PCB Aesthetics, the PCB Details, and the PCB Cost.

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PCB Shape

In modern PCB Designs, PCB Shape is an important consideration of the part of the art of the PCB design. PCB Shape defines the company brand; especially when the PCB will stay exposed in its operational life. It also has to go hand in hand with where the PCB is designed to fit in its application. When making Wearables, PCB Shape is vital since it has to blend in with the normal clothing or cosmetic. The PCB Designer must make the right decision for what shape the PCB shall take. This involves knowing the right dimensions, the company brand, and the intended application.