An essay studying examples of different art and design pieces in an effort to find out what makes graphic design different than art.
Symbolize and summarize. —Saul Bass A lot of graphic design work is pretty specific in nature. Brochures have specific sizes and folding patterns. Direct mail has to meet postal regulations. Web design has to be flexible, legible, and accessible across many devices and browsers. But logo design? Well. Logo design is in its own category. Think about the projects mentioned…
Using smart objects, I’ve created a high-resolution open booklet or magazine template (sized 8.5″ x 11″) that can display an interior spread and front cover. You can even remove the staples if you like (if, for instance, your publication was saddle-stitched or perfect-bound). All you have to do is paste your 300dpi 8.5″ x 11″ page into one of 6 specific smart objects, and you’re good to go for your portfolio or client presentation.
Many of us work in specialized industries that all have a unique vocabulary. Since we spend 8 hours of our day working in these unique environments, it’s easy to assume anyone you’re talking to understands your everyday language. But chances are your customers, vendors, clients, and users don’t have the same level of education and experience in your field that you do. Using industry-insider jargon can quickly alienate people you’re trying to reach.
If you want to positively impact your audience, speaking clearly is incredibly important. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your next interaction with someone outside your business.
Responsive web design describes a site that has been designed to display a website’s content legibly and usably on any screen in any context without the viewer having to make any adjustments.
The world-wide web isn’t static anymore. I’m not sure it ever really was.
And your website shouldn’t be static, either.
Antietam Cable Television approached the team at Icon Graphics to create full-page and banner-sized print ads for the local newspaper, matching the minimalistic strong tone of their new TV spots. I was tasked with creating a print strategy for this “Home of the Future” campaign. The client was thrilled with the result.
One of the struggles I had with preparing for the campaign was finding suitable images. They all needed to be easily masked from their backgrounds or have a white background, and be able to work together with other images. A decent chunk of the time spent designing these ads was in selecting and prepping the images. Typographically, I chose to go for high-contrast between Myriad Black or Bold and Myriad Light. I found that this communicated both strength and sophistication, which is exactly the feeling Antietam Cable wanted in their campaigns.
After the ad campaigns were so well-received, Antietam Cable came back to the team at Icon and asked us to redesign all of their collateral materials in the same theme as the ad campaign. This included their cable channel guide, digital phone booklet, services pricing guide, digital phone brochure, digital cable brochure, high-speed internet brochure, business-class services brochure, and business-class services stepped one-sheet inserts. Once again, these designs were successful: the client approved the design, which was created specifically for ease of use for their customers. All around, it was a win-win.
Read more to see the pieces designed for both the ad campaign and the business collateral.
This week, my company has been working on a client’s website, making some slight design adjustments and choosing new photos for some of their pages. They’d expressed a desire to use this image as the header for their site:
The most glaring problem was the pole and myriad telephone lines distracting from the main subject of the photo. So they were the things I took care of first, creating a new layer entitled “clone stamp” and using the clone stamp, healing brush, and paintbrush tools to clean everything up. This was rather painstaking, taking about 40 minutes to do since some of what I was removing was in heavily detailed areas, like the white house on the right and the tiles on the main building.
Then I wanted to adjust the color and contrast a bit. I created two Hue/Saturation adjustment layers: one for the whole photo, and one with just a mask to target the main building. I also created a building-specific Color Balance layer to help it stand out just a little bit more. Finally, I created a Curves adjustment layer to adjust the contrast of the entire image. Here is the final result:
And just for funsies, here’s the before and after together.
Not too long ago, my partner and I discovered the joy that is Aaron Nace‘s Phlearn Photoshop and Photography Tutorials. We spent hours almost every evening for a few weeks watching the tutorials, and it seemed like a whole new world had opened to me. I’ve always been competent in Photoshop, don’t get me wrong. But suddenly it seemed like I could move from mere competency into proficiency. In fact, I must heartily thank Phlearn for making their valuable resources so readily available, as even little tips and tricks I’ve picked up from the show have been so helpful to me in my job as a graphic designer.
Particularly when working with stock imagery that’s close to what a client wants, but not quite.
I do a lot of custom typography and lettering in my graphic design and personal calligraphy work. I aspire to create vector images that are clean, crisp, and intuitively drawn so as to make the job easier for the next designer who has to touch my work. As I continue to read and watch tutorials from experts in the business, like…