Introduction: How to Prep and Print Custom Nintendo Switch Spines
So you have yourself a nice collection of games for your Nintendo Switch. Perhaps you place them in a shoebox, or maybe a storage container. Or like many, you put the games up on a shelf. The thing is, a Switch game collection can be quite the eyesore looking at from the sides of the games. It's like a brick wall of gaming just insulting the eyes of you and anyone who looks upon your shelf. Now let's be honest, some people love the uniformity of the games, but for many others, the blinding wall of red can be tough to look at. Thankfully, a group of dedicated fans of made it their goal to make fun, custom made spines to bring our collections back from drab to fab with nothing but fancy looking paper work! In this tutorial, we will cover how to make your own spines and print them out and bring them to the physical world! If you'd love to see more of these spines and many more collections like this one, (many thanks to Reddit user u/Fyreant for their permission in using their before and after photos of their collection.) feel free to check out the subreddit r/SwitchSpines here!
- A Photo Manipulation Software.
- In this tutorial, I use Adobe Photoshop 2015, but any version of Photoshop newer or older should work just fine, as well as free alternatives like Paint.net or GIMP.
- 8.5x11 Glossy Photo Paper.
- Regular printer paper would work as well, but glossy photo paper can give a nice sheen that can match up with the professional print on the games themselves.
- A standard printer.
- I just have a Canon Inkjet printer. Make sure you're stocked up on ink!
- The attached template files
- One is for making the spines themselves, and the other is for printing them out!
Step 1: Building the Spine
So when you download the template and load it in your program of choice, it should look something like this. To assist in the process and ease of access, the template already comes pre-installed with a Nintendo logo as a reference for what "the norm" usually is for a Switch spine. The average custom spine is a red Nintendo Switch logo topper, our design itself, and then the logo of either the game's publisher or developer in the bottom. Nintendo's official spines usually have the logo of the publisher at the bottom, but as we are designing these spines for personal use, we aren't bound by the rules that Nintendo has in place. If you would like to give a shoutout to the devs of a game instead of the publisher, you're absolutely free to do so! This is YOUR spine, you make the rules! Except this one, in this tutorial. This tutorial spine will always be Deathsmiles 1+2, made by CAVE and published by Strictly Limited Games and City Connection.
To make things easier for me, personally, I like to rotate the canvas sideways and work with that. I've attached an image with how to rotate the canvas in Photoshop
Step 2: Asset Gathering
The next step can either be really easy or really hard, depending on how the blessed search engine gods are on any given day. To build a spine, we're gonna need some assets. Usually, I build a spine with three elements, the games logo itself, the developers logo, and some artwork from the game to use as a backdrop. For our game today, Deathsmiles 1+2, I got really lucky in being able to find the official logo of the game, the developers and some artwork from the game really easily from Google, but don't be afraid to do some digging! Check out lots of in-game artwork, as well as some of the other spines that have already been made on the subreddit for some inspiration. One very important thing to remember is that for logos, transparent files, or PNG files, will be your best friend, as PNG's have a transparent background and can easily pop itself out on a backdrop without having to manually erase any backgrounds left behind. Last thing you want to do is manually erase a black backdrop away from a logo that's very complicated.
Step 3: Putting It All Together
For this spine, I decided to go really simple and use some of the trim design from the map screen image I used to make a nice spine design, and simply plopped the logos for both the game itself and the developers in the appropriate places. I say "appropriate places" but there are no set rules for where the games logo can go, or what size it is. We're breaking the rules as it is, just go all out and make something you think looks good! Remember to rotate your spine back to be vertical once you're finished!
Step 4: Sharing Is Caring!
This step is totally optional, but please feel free to share your newly made spine with the rest of the community on Reddit! We're a community based entirely on voluntarily made spines. We are very much a "By the fans, for the fans" sort of practice and just make things because, well, its fun! I hope this tutorial can inspire you to go out and create your own spines for your games, or maybe the games of other games and destroy terrible red walls, one game at a time.
Step 5: Prepping Our Spines
To start off, we need to open up the template. WOAH LOTS OF BLUE LINES! I can understand that this can look intimidating at first, but pretty soon it'll make sense why it's like this. Once we have our template, we need to load our spines into our editor as well. To do so, simply load up the spine you'd like to print, highlight it all, copy it and paste it into our template. You may notice that the spine is much bigger than this template. That's because when we make spines, we actually work in a higher resolution to ensure that the spine looks as good as it can for when we do shrink it down to actual size. Now here's where all the blue lines come in handy. They're placed in a way that are already measured out to the exact specifications that we want to print, and a handy feature with Photoshop is that it can automatically snap images right to the edges. We're gonna take advantage of this and place our spine inside the parameters, snap it to four corners and place it! And that's it, one spine has been placed! Let's do the rest now. Same steps as before, just move along to the next column.
Step 6: Prepping for Print
Once we have our template all filled out, it should look something like this. Before I print, I always like to put all the spines we plopped into the template into a folder, to keep things organized in case we need to reprint this sheet in the future or make any changes, but this is totally optional. At this point, you can either send the file off to a local print shop and get it professionally printed, or print it yourself at home! I personally like to print them myself at home, but this is again, a personal choice! If you're printing it yourself, make sure the scale is set to 100%. This is because the template is already made to scale, so any changes to this setting could drastically break the final product.
Step 7: Cutting
We're almost there! Next we need to start cutting. This can be done with scissors, a paper cutter, or even a paper guillotine if you're feeling very execution-y. I personally like to use a combination of a paper cutter and scissors. You may notice in one of my images, my spines are a LOT closer to each other than they are in the final product. This was due to the closeness of the spines actually making things more difficult in the end, so the template design was alerted in the final product. Enjoy the behind the scenes nature of things!
Step 8: Inserting Spines
All you have to do now is slide your spines into your games! We do this by opening the game case up and just sliding the spine in place. Most of us, if not all in the community don't believe in damaging our games from their original state. We're just adding some pizzazz to them, not wrecking them! And don't worry about the spine falling out of place, once the game case is closed, the spine is held in and won't move!
Step 9: Enjoy!
That's the end! Once you get everything cut and slid into place, your collection is done and now much better looking to the eyes than a bright ketchup collection it once was. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and enjoy the art of collecting! Remember to share your collection with the community at r/SwitchSpines, we'd love to see your games!
Participated in the