Lucite Tombstone & Deal Toy Glossary

Acetate

Clear film placed inside Lucite onto which text and artwork is screened. Material is similar in texture and consistency to mylar film or Saran
Wrap.

Acrylic

An extremely durable, malleable, high-grade plastic. Yes, acrylic is plastic, but as one authority explains, “…just as there are different grades of metals or woods, there are different grades of plastic. Particle board is technically wood, but then so is cherry or walnut, and aluminum is a metal, but so is platinum or gold.” (See our gallery of acrylic awards and recognition pieces).

Autoclave

Lucite production involves a curing process accomplished with a pressurized oven similar to a kiln called an autoclave. Early in production, an acrylic resin powder is mixed with a monomer—resulting in a thick substance similar in appearance and consistency to toothpaste. That mixture is then poured into a mold and objects that are to appear inside the deal toy are layered on top of it; another layer of the mixture is then poured over the objects, which are now sent to the autoclave. The baking process, which is intended to draw out air bubbles from the piece, involves temperatures of approximately 350 degrees F and several hours (though certain designs call for this baking phase to be performed more than once). The intensity of autoclave’s heat and pressure explains why certain objects cannot be placed inside a deal toy.

Deal Toys

Also commonly known by such terms as tombstones, deal cubes, Lucites, these are typically made of acrylic and are intended to commemorate financial transactions done by investment banks and other financial institutions.

Digital Print

Process printing method using a high-resolution ink jet printer on opaque film—similar in appearance to glossy, white paper.

Embedments

Usually refers to anything placed inside Lucite (see pewter castings); also commonly used as a synonym for deal toys, as in “Lucite embedments” or “acrylic embedments.”

EPS File

Encapsulated PostScript files are a common means of exchanging vector files, such as logos. EPS files are self-contained, and scalable—-meaning that the logo will be capable of being enlarged without loss of resolution, and that the PMS Colors of the logo can be taken directly from the file as well.

Frosted Acetate

An acetate in which the film has a slightly glazed effect. Technique basically enables a design element—usually a photograph—to be placed behind text—usually the deal terms—without either the text or the photograph losing their visibility or legibility. The film is opaque enough so that text screened onto it is still readable against the background image, but still transparent enough that the background element itself (say, again, a photograph) is still clearly visible.


Frosted Black

A fine, silver screened onto the back of a flat Lucite surface. The effect provides a semi-opaque background, which makes text or artwork printed on acetate considerably more legible.

Lasering

Imprinting process in which artwork is etched on an acrylic surface using a laser beam

Lucite

Like Perspex, Lucite is a trademarked brand of acrylic—just as, for instance, Scotch is a brand of adhesive tape.

Pewter Castings

Metal miniatures with a gold or silver color finish, (and capable of withstanding the high temperatures of the autoclave process) that are commonly used as design elements inside deal toys. By contrast, most materials, such as plastic or rubber will either burn, severely discolor, or melt. (See also Don’t Even Think of Putting That in Lucite.)

Photo Transfer

Process in which a photo image covers the entire back of a Lucite piece.

PMS Colors

The Pantone Matching System expresses 1114 color variations by number, thereby enabling standardized color reproduction. Insuring that their logo colors are reproduced both accurately and consistently is understandably a priority for corporations—as with most banks as well. For instance, “IBM blue”, not to be confused with Pepsi blue or HP blue or Ford blue, is expressed as Pantone 2718. Pantone colors can be extracted from vector files—-hence the importance of starting off with the right formats.

Sandblasting

n contrast to lasering, sandblasting uses a blast of air or steam laden with sand. Can be applied to all or part of a surface.

Screenprinting

Process in which artwork is printed onto a surface via squeegeeing ink through individual screens stretched over a surface.

Screens

Screenprinting is essentially a stenciling process, with each component color requiring a separate, corresponding screen.

Surface Printing

Screenprinting onto the surface of a Lucite, rather than embedding the printed material. Commonly used to maximize space available for text, or to increase size or legibility of text or logo.

Vector Artwork

Contains a vector image composed of lines and shapes (as opposed to raster or bitmapped images, which are comprised of pixels). With respect to deal toys, vector files are the preferred format for artists and designers because they are fully scalable, and therefore logos contained in these files can be enlarged and manipulated without loss of resolution.