Archive for the ‘Graphic Design’ Category

Need Fonts?

April 26, 2010

So today I was reminded of a site that I like a lot but haven’t really needed lately. MyFonts.com is a great place to buy fonts, look at fonts or even find out what a font is (they have a cool search feature). They recently released a list of their top 10 fonts of 2009, based on sales (unfortunately I couldn’t find that list or I would link to it).

Still it’s a great place to find some really cool fonts! BE WARNED! It can be overwhelming. There are, after all, thousands of fonts out in the world. And my one recommendation, when buying fonts, is to always try to get the OpenType version is possible.

Advertisements

Appropriate Use of Graphics

March 23, 2010

I see this all the time:

Questions from friends, former & current students, random strangers (well ok maybe not the last one); “I’m creating this *printed piece of choice* and it looks ok on the screen but it *prints horrible, came from the printer horrible, etc*.”

What’s the deal? Let’s talk about the appropriate use of graphics here. I know it’s confusing, I know it’s not intuitive; don’t worry, I’ll hold your hand.

There are a lot of different types of graphics out in the world. Most people just don’t pay attention to that. It’s either a photo, a graphic, a logo, whatever. But the type of graphic it is makes a huge difference!

So let me break it down in simple terms. If you want more information, check out this post over at the Digital Photography School website.

When it comes to types of graphic files it all comes down to 2 things – Resolution and File Type (or extension). The first is the most important but the second can tell you something about the first is. Confused yet?

Resolution means, in the simplest of terms, how good the quality of your graphic is. You want high resolution for printing and lower resolution for “on screen” viewing (I’ll explain this later).

How do we measure resolution? There are 2 ways that are interconnected, very similar, but completely different. For the sake of simplicity we’re consider them the same thing (yes yes you professionals, I hear you screaming at your monitors. Now pipe down, this post is for beginners and it’s a start. You can further their education later).

Where was I? Oh yeah, staring at your screen. That screen shows all those wonderful images, text, whatever; through tiny blocks of color called pixels. So resolution is measured by the number of pixels that can be crammed into an inch. Thus we get the measurement PPI (pixels per inch) or DPI (dots per inch).

*pause* Ok I know I was trying to make it simple but I can already hear some of your scratching your heads in confusion. “Wait, I thought he was talking about pixels? What’s with the dots all of a sudden?” While your screen uses those squares, most printers use dots to print. There’s a correlation between the 2. OK?

So resolution is measured as either DPI or PPI. The more you have the better the quality. This is where the file format comes in (remember, the extension part I mentioned above). Certain file types limit the resolution of the file itself. For example the typical resolution of a .GIF file is 72 ppi/dpi. That’s because screens can only display 72 pixels per inch. You can have more pixels in your graphic but it doesn’t do anything for your graphic except to add to the file size. Which will then annoy those who are looking at that graphic as it cause their computer to take longer to load the file.

So you’re probably asking yourself “what does this have to do the the appropriate use of graphics?”

Good question. They type of file you use and the resolution of that file are important to your use of the file. Resolution is tied heavily to use. Low resolution graphics are ok for onscreen viewing but not necessarily for printing out. High resolution graphics are great for printing but are overkill for onscreen viewing (they just take longer to load and do nothing to the view).

So picking the right file type can be a challenge.  In my next post I’ll tackle files types and their uses.

Do You Design?

February 24, 2010

Today Macworld.com had a nice article on their top 5 design sites. While not all of us do our own designing it’s still not a bad idea to be up on design in general. By doing so you put yourself in a better position to discuss your design or piece with a graphic designer if you are using one.

They’re all good sites, some of which I already use. It made me review where I go when I want design tips. So in addition to those, I subscribe to these:

I’m sure they are plenty of others I use, none come to mind right off the bat. I highly recommend searching for your own and keeping up to date.