How to add fancy graphics to your PCB (tutorial)

Hello. Since I’ve asked many questions here, I thought I’d give something back to the community. I put this under the category LAYOUTS as opposed to footprints since it’s not really a proper footprint. hope that is correct.

After searching google, finding outdated vids, overly complicated instructions, once I finally figured this out, I was kinda amazed at how easy it was to do in Kincad 6.0. So here is my not-complicated instructions if you want to add a neat logo or graphic to your PCB which seems very popular these days….

All of this was done on a mac, so I have no idea if its different on linux or windows.

To start:

  1. Make sure you have a good quality black with white background image at a decent resolution. I’ve done it with a GIF and a PNG, both worked just fine.

  2. Open your KiCad PROJECT (not just eeschema or PCBnew, the actual project). If you’re confused about this, you want to see that the KiCad app itself is open, not the other apps…

  3. On the right menu you’ll see “Image Converter”, click that

  4. For “Output format”, choose FOOTPRINT

  5. Now click the big button that says LOAD BITMAP (don’t worry about the size yet, just leave on 0.0)

  6. Find and choose your file

  7. A message may pop-up that says your file can’t be loaded correctly (if the format is RGB). Ignore that, just say OK

  8. Now you need to enter the size you want your logo to be (it’s good if the file you imported is too big, this way it will scale down and still look sharp). There is no easy way to change the size once it’s in KiCad, so do all your measuring beforehand and make sure it will fit without covering any copper pads, although some PCB houses don’t care and they will automatically remove those parts for you. But proper design practice says not to do this… *Note that if you choose to do this, running the DRC checker will flag all overlaps as errors.

  9. Now choose, EXPORT TO FILE, then put the kicad_mod file wherever you’d like

  10. Now go into PCBnew and open your project. Click the “create and edit footprints” button

  11. Once this is open go up to the dropdown menu and choose “Import File”. Right now KiCad still doesn’t know your footprint exists, so you gotta import it. Find the file, select import, then your logo should popup on the screen, make sure all looks good.

  12. Now choose “SAVE AS”, choose the library you’d like it to go in, and name your file something easy to find.

  13. It’s a little confusing if you’re new at this like I am, but your logo still will not be on your PCB. Don’t worry…

  14. Now, once you’re back in PCBnew, choose “PLACE” from the menu, then “ADD FOOTPRINT”, find your footprint, click, and you’re done. Pop it wherever you’d like to on the board.

If I have any errors in my steps, please tell me and I’ll edit the post. Hope someone finds this useful.


I think steps 10, 11, 12 and 13 can be skipped if you save the footprint to the desired library folder in step 9.

And once the footprint is added to the layout you want to mark it as locked so it is not removed when updating layout from schematic.

Great, thx for the info!

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.