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DIY GRAPHIC DESIGN TIPS
Everyone talks about starting a business, launching a website, doing what you love, quitting your job, etc. That's great but regardless of what you may read, people do indeed judge a book by its cover. When you start that business or website, you will most likely need a logo or some kind of graphics to accompany your text.
For those of you that have the ideas and not the skills to design a new logo, poster leaflet, or cover page for your business plan, you can either dish out some money to have a professional graphic designer do it or you can give it a shot yourself. Creating your own artwork costs nothing but your time and effort. You have complete control over the design and you're able to modify, tweak and refine to your heart's content. However, unless you have a keen eye for design and experience of using the relevant software, the results can sometimes look a bit amateurish. Fine if you're producing a leaflet to promote your local village fete, not so good if you're creating a prestigious brochure for a leading business consultancy. Clearly there is a time when a professional needs to get involved. However, here at ANGEL DESIGN AND PRINT WE OFFER FREE ADVICE. Take these notes into consideration next time you have to get a creative project done on a budget:
In the past thirty years, dramatic technical advances have been made in design and printing equipment. Gone are the days of using flexicurves, french curves, stensils, dry-transfer lettering & tracing paper. Modern typewriters were even being used to produce artwork that could print type that almost passed for typesetting. The above methods of producing artwork were very time consuming and the chances of an untrained buding
graphic designer producing artwork in a modern and professional way were few and far between.
The huge leaps that have been made in the fields of producing eye catching professional artwork yourself is now possible due to the boom in computer sales and software making it now easier than ever for you to produce your own artwork.
Already, over the past ten years we have noticed that many people think that graphic design is not just the domain of the trained and talented, who call themselves GRAPHIC DESIGNERS, but decide its cheaper and easier to produce their artwork themselves by using their own computer - endless possibilities for design open up. They then proceed to produce their own artwork for letterheads, compliment slips, business cards, invoices and even leaflets that cannot be used.
Owners of small businesses can and are creating their own image and corporate branding. At Angel Design and Print we understand the importance of saving the pennies and have no objections to customers supplying their own artwork for us to print. In fact we are even going to help you for FREE to make it easier for you to save money. Before you place your order for print simply email us your artwork design and one of our qualified graphic designers will give his honest opinion of your design and some FREE TIPS and ideas on how to possibly impove your design, that's of course if it needs improving. Most of the time the designs are great but the software used to produce the artwork is not ideal, so even before you start your own artwork contact us and ask us any questions that may be bothering you we will answer any questions you have FREE of charge even before you spend a penny with us or place your order for printing. Don't start to let your mind run wild with artistic ideas that cannot be printed due to a lack of technical knowledge. Click here for our FREE ARTWORK GUIDELINES OR SIMPLy CALL US ON 01580 754844 FOR OUR FREE DIY GRAPHIC DESIGN HELPLINE.
Remember it's not only your image on the line, its ours as well! We take pride in every job we print whether we have produced the artwork for you or you have produced the artwork yourself. We want the finished printing product to be something for you to be proud of. The secret of graphic design is not to be afraid to adapt and use ideas wherever you see them, graphic design is much like fashion it has its own trends, for example colours that are fashionable on clothing can also be fashionable on paper.
If you're creating artwork for print, you'll only get decent results if you've got a basic understanding of image resolution. What is resolution? As you probably know, when you view a photograph on your computer monitor you're actually looking at a grid of tiny dots or 'pixels'. Similarly, when a photograph is reproduced in print, it is made up of thousands of small dots of ink. Resolution refers to the number of these dots (or pixels) which are squeezed into a given area. The smaller the dot, the more dots you can fit into a horizontal inch, and the sharper an image will appear to the human eye (up to a point). If you zoom into a photograph on your PC monitor you will be able to see the grid of pixels which make up the image.
The grid of dots which make up a printed photograph can be seen using a magnifying glass. The resolution of an image is usually measured in dots per inch (dpi) or pixels per inch (ppi). Essentially dpi and ppi refer to the same thing, it's simply the number of dots or pixels which make up an image. If you view an image on your computer monitor its resolution will need to be at least 72dpi to appear sharp and clear. A lower resolution will result in large pixels which will be detected by your eye, resulting in a fuzzy or 'pixelated' image. However, if the same image were reproduced on paper using a commercial printing process it would need a resolution of around 300dpi to achieve a sharp result. A printed image requires a much higher resolution than an on-screen image (4 times greater to be precise). Therefore, just because your image looks sharp and crisp when viewed on-screen, it doesn't mean it will reproduce correctly when printed.
BELOW ARE 12 KEY TIPS TO DIY GRAPHIC DESIGN ON NO BUDGET.
1.Designing your stationery, the first consideration is to keep the size and shape of your letterheads to conventional proportions for example A4 or A5.The size of other items of stationery such as-business cards and compliment slips, Invoices orders leaflets and posters can be printed using various sizes govend normally by your content and sometimes by your buget. Think few and simple: A highly-trained, experienced graphic designer can integrate a mass of disparate material into a good-looking whole. You proberly can't, so go minimalist. With the words, too. Less is more. Most people overwrite by 10%-25%; try cutting a tenth to a quarter of your text.
2.Every element you choose must reinforce your theme: An old-fashioned font on a technology announcement? Pink for something aimed at lawyers? Grey for something aimed at little girls? No. Just no. If it doesn't reinforce the theme, no matter how much you like it, don't use it.
You can always use it for something else another time.
3.Get one, or maybe two, really strong graphic elements from one of the many sites where artists more skilled than you make their work freely available. Our favorites are: stock.xchg. Stock photographs like you'd get from a pay site, well organized and easy to search.flickr. Thousands of mostly amateur, but often very skilled, photographers post here, and many of them let you use their photos. the Open Clip Art Library. Usually well-drawn and often completely without restrictions on usage. Unfortunately, the site isn't searchable. You can download the whole library for free, but it's large. deviantART. More emphasis on painting, drawing and digital art and less on photography. everystockphoto and PicFindr, which are search sites that search a number of different free photography sites. We find everystockphoto to be the more useful of the two. (Often, though, the best photos we find turn out to come from stock.xchg or flickr anyway.)
Make sure you check the usage conditions before you use a piece from these sites, as they do vary both between and within the sites. Familiarize yourself with the various Creative Commons licenses and what they permit, require and prohibit. Stock.xchg has its own usage terms, and individual contributors sometimes add other requirement such as attribution, linking to them, informing them or even asking permission from them before you use the work. Look underneath the photo to be sure. Flickr uses the Creative Commons licenses, and you can search by CC license either on Flickr itself or on flickrCC, which presents the pictures in an easy-to-view format.
For deviantART you will usually need to contact the artist to ask about usage. It's always courteous to let the artist know you're using their work in any case. And if you leave a comment on the piece of art you used, you have the opportunity to link back to your own site and promote it.
4.Use two, or maybe three, clean, legible fonts: A lot of amateur graphic design looks like an explosion in a font factory. One font for headings, one for body text, and maybe one other for special elements is the rule to go with. Look on your computer first - you probably have dozens of fonts already. If you don't have quite the right one, though, there are plenty of free font sites around. Two that are easy to use and well-organized are urbanfonts and better fonts. Build up a personal library. Study the current trends in type use.
5.Use three, maybe four, well-matched colours: Hands down the best site we've found for harmonizing colours is EasyRGB. It's for web designers, but there's no reason you can't use it in other projects too. Pick a main color and then get EasyRGB to show you good matches for it.
6.Use Inkscape to bring it all together: Inkscape is free software, and fairly easy to learn. You can do pretty much anything you need with it for basic graphic design. But of course if you're trying or hoping to produce a professional looking job you will need to be using professional software
like INDESIGN, PHOTOSHOP, QUARK or ILLUSTRATOR. PLEASE NOTE PROGRAMMES SUCH AS MICROSOFT WORD & MICROSOFT PUBLISHER are not ideal.
7.Align the elements with each other so that the viewer's eye moves through them naturally and they seem related: we have used these principles to design several logos.
8.Symbols and logos. The essence of a good symbol or logo is simplicity. This belies the fact that often they are born out of some very complicated ideas: a large amount of information is reduced into one simple visual statement.Although they often have the same function, symbols and logos are not the same thing. A symbol is basicallya picture representing an idea, while a logotype, or logo for short, is a group of letters or even a whole word which is used as a picture.
9.Using and creating a mood with colours offer the opportunity to project mood or feelings. This can be as simple as choosing colours that evoke the seasons, but colours can also convey by mental association, the feelings of freshness and harmony as well as of coolness and discord. Artists such as Picasso experimented extensively with the use of colour, and you will need to do the same to creat the right mood and professional look for your business or project. Even try using tones of a single colour.
10.What is printing bleed? 'Bleed' is an essential part of creating artwork for print. Professional designers will always extend (or 'bleed') background elements and images beyond the edges of the document by an additional 4mm or so. This prevents unwanted white borders around the edges of a printed document.Graphic Designers are also careful to avoid placing important elements such as text within around 5mm of the edge of the paper. It not only looks unprofessional and cramped, there is a risk that it could be cut off! This area is sometimes referred to as the 'quiet' area of a design.
11.If you can afford it, for best results you should employ the services of a graphic designer they're worth it.. A good designer should possess the training and experience required to communicate your message in the most effective way possible. To help him create a solution which will motivate your customers, he will usually listen to your requirements and carry out research into your target audience and competitors. It's normal practice for the designer to supply at least two design concepts, one of which he will develop further in response to your comments. But zero-budget graphic design isn't as hard as you may have thought. Especialy if you take advantage of our FREE DIY GRAPHIC DESIGN HELPLINE ON 01580 754844
12.Spot Colour Printing. Designing for Spot Colour can be a challenge, especially where elements are being designed in several different programmes, for instance pictures in Photoshop, drawing in Corel Draw and the layout in Quark Express. The reason for this is that different programmes, especially those produced by different software manufacturers can often describe spot colours differently. It is very easy to end up with a file for a two Spot Colour Job which contains four or six spot colour channels (for instance instead of just Pantone Reflex Blue and Pantone 032 the file can end up containing 032CV 032C Reflex Blue CV Reflex Blue PMS etc)!! The approach we recommend relies on first understanding the way that Litho Printing is produced. Before anything, which has been designed, can be printed it must first be reproduced on a Printing Plate using a Platesetter. The Platesetter uses a powerful laser to ‘burn’ the image on to a light sensitive layer on the face of a printing plate. The plate produced ends up being a combination of Black areas (the image) or White areas (where there is no image). Every plate produced is monochrome (Black or White). Printing in Full Colour relies on installing four monochrome plates on a press which is set up with Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black Inks. CMYK Process = DESIGN ON COMPUTER to PLATESETTER = PLATES OUTPUT from PLATESETTER to IMAGE PRINTED ON EACH OF THE PRESS UNITS to FINISHED PRINT.
For Spot Colour work the monochrome plates are loaded on a press which is set up with the spot colours required for the job (e.g. Pantone Reflex Blue or Pantone 032). Spot Colour Process = DESIGN ON COMPUTER to PLATESETTER = PLATES OUTPUT from PLATESETTER to IMAGE PRINTED ON EACH OF THE PRESS UNITS WITH PANTONE REFLEX BLUE AND PANTONE 032 to FINISHED PRINT.
The Spot Colours which are printed are not determined by the colours used at the design stage but only by the colours installed in the press. We have found that it is easier to design for Spot Colour using channels of Full Colour. The steps to be used are:
Step 1a) Decide what Spot Colours you require on the finished job. For this example we will use Pantone Reflex Blue and Pantone 032.
Step 2a) Decide what CMYK Colours to use for each of the Spot Colours. In this case we will say that everything which will eventually be Reflex Blue will be designed in Cyan and everything to eventually be 032 will be designed in Magenta.
Step 3a) Commence designing. Use Cyan for Reflex Blue Text, use Magenta for 032 text. If there is a Reflex Blue Photo then work on this in Photoshop and make sure that it is only a Cyan Image. Save it and import it in to the document. If you are going to have a Duotone photo then make the two tones Cyan and Magenta. When the Duo tone looks the way you want it to convert it to CMYK save and import it. For a graphic in (say) Corel use the Magenta and Cyan colours from a CMYK palette.
Step 4a) Save the finished job and print it to get approval from the client. Of course the print you show the client will be entirely the wrong
colours - Cyan and Magenta. You should show them swatches of Reflex Blue and 032 together with the print. In our experience this is one of the BEST things about using the CMYK technique for Spot Colour! The reason for this is that if you design in true Reflex Blue and 032 then the print out will be a Full Colour render of these Spot Colours. No matter how many times it is explained to the client that the colours are not accurate they will usually have in their minds that the colours they are seeing on the proof are the colours they will get!!! This often ends up being ‘a discussion’ when the finished print is presented. By producing proofs with ‘entirely wrong’ colours to those required this comparison does not arise.
Step 5a) Order the printing online clearly stating, in the Special Instructions text box, that the Cyan is to be printed in Reflex Blue and the Magenta in 032. The technique works well for jobs with up to four Spot Colours. In our experience very few jobs are more colours than this.
We hope these tips are usefull.
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