The way I see it, there are two distinct ways you could go about this, the image based solution, or the geometry based solution.
Both have advantages and disadvantages, which is best is up to you, depending on whatever end goal is planed for the model.
This solution will use one or several image based textures mapped all over you surface.
- It is relatively easy to achieve
- It can be light weight because it doesn't require additional geometry or objects
- Relatively standard workflow using well known common texturing techniques
- You can use a photo based textures to spare the trouble, or for added realism
- You can use a custom made vector-based image textures (from say an illustration program like Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator) for added accuracy
- Will easily allow you to add scratches grunge or wear, if you want to give it a worn out aged look
- Exports well to other applications like external render engines or game engines
- Requires image based textures (which can consume a lot of memory for high resolution quality)
- Image based textures don't work well for high contrast details like text or line art, so it will likely require several very high-resolution images for closeups, which will be memory intensive
- You will likely have to manually unwrap your meshes for proper texture coordinates which requires additional work, and may be difficult to guarantee accurate dimension relationships.
- A good UV map will require proper topology, and/or carefully placed geometry elements with correct rotation orientations to get good real-world texture proportions correctly.
- You can simplify by using generated texture coordinates if you don't need to export the model, but it will still require separate geometry elements with correct transform orientations to get good real-world texture dimensions correctly.
Geometry Based Solution
This solution will use text and/or bezier curve objects overlayed all over your surface for details. This will work well if you designed the console yourself and already have (or are willing to make) vector based drawings of the prints and surface details yourself. Can be imported as SVGs from illustration or vector drawing applications.
- Very high degree of quality and accuracy
- Sharp details, well suited for closeups
- Depending on required detail may consume less memory than several high quality textures
- Good for a clean "shiny new" look (like product rendering)
- Easy to edit and tweak, can be modified directly in the 3D View
- Suited if you already have vector illustrations or CAD drawings of the prints
- May be optimized with instances for repeating geometry or similar parts
- Compatible with different materials, using separate shaders for LEDs and lit parts or color prints.
- No need to fuss around with UV mapping or texture coordinates
- Poor topology tolerant
- Heavy geometry based solution, may result in high poly count, and/or high number of objects
- High poly and poor topology are likely less suited for exporting to game engines, or real time visualization
- Non standard workflow (poorly documented, harder to find help online)
- Less suited for "non vector" details like scratches, grunge or other weathering effects (may still be added as an overlay).
- May require additional manual work designing vector masks
- Geometry produced by bezier curves will have intrinsically ugly topology