A page from the history of graphic design

There was a time — somewhere around the Middle and Upper Paleolithic periods of graphic design — when all pre-press art files were saved to a 250 MB Zip disk, packed into a Fed-Ex overnight envelope and delivered to a Fed-Ex pick location.

Working for a weekly newsmagazine, I was the last person to see that package and its digital content before it travelled 384 miles to the press that printed the periodical.

On one occasion I had to deliver the package to the airport due to a late breaking election story. That was before Adobe Photoshop CS arrived. And sometime between versions of QuarkXPress 4 and QuarkXPress 5.

The magazine introduced a virtual private network (VPN) in 2003. This linked the headquarters with various national offices as well as the press that printed the publication.

Soon Zip disks became novel items that were relegated to the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet. Like the extinction of the Neanderthals, the Zip disk has completely disappeared from all graphic design and print production today.

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Four tools to create a color palette

This is the most read blog post this week. Thought I would share it with those who may be interested in reading about graphic design tips.

Coffeehouse Junkie

Color palette based on book cover design Color palette based on book cover design for the novel Blue Dollar

Wear the blue neck tie to suggest boldness and confidence. Wear the red tie for passion. Or so the conventional wisdom offers those business persons who are presenting themselves for a job interview. Color is important when designing books, posters, web sites, etc. Building an effective color palette takes years of experience in knowing the right color combinations that present contrast or harmony or various other arrangements.

Thanks to some online resources, creating a color palette takes only a few minutes. Here are four online tools to use in creating a customized color palette.

  1. CSSDrive.com: http://www.cssdrive.com/imagepalette/index.php
  2. DeGraeve.com: http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/
  3. colorhunter.com: http://www.colorhunter.com/
  4. PaletteFX.com: http://www.palettefx.com/index.php

There is also a way to create a color matrix using Adobe Illustrator, but that’s a bit more involved and takes longer to explain. Here’s an example of what a color matrix looks like (see below).

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Who doesn’t love the smell of coffee and fonts in the morning?

Who doesn’t love the smell of coffee and fonts in the morning?

 

Say something creative

Yes. Someone actually asked me that. The request: “Say something creative in 150 characters or less. Grab my attention.”

Here is my on-the-spot 30-second reply:

An artist may paint an image of a stop sign on canvas and it earns some interest. A designer creates a stop sign and people stop. Message delivered.

Dry transfer lettering

Dry transfer type

From the graphic design archive…

Anyone remember doing advertising or editorial mockups using dry transfer lettering? Or the fact that mockups were expected to take days not hours?

Four tools to create a color palette

Color palette based on book cover design

Color palette based on book cover design for the novel Blue Dollar

Wear the blue neck tie to suggest boldness and confidence. Wear the red tie for passion. Or so the conventional wisdom offers those business persons who are presenting themselves for a job interview. Color is important when designing books, posters, web sites, etc. Building an effective color palette takes years of experience in knowing the right color combinations that present contrast or harmony or various other arrangements.

Thanks to some online resources, creating a color palette takes only a few minutes. Here are four online tools to use in creating a customized color palette.

  1. CSSDrive.com: http://www.cssdrive.com/imagepalette/index.php
  2. DeGraeve.com: http://www.degraeve.com/color-palette/
  3. colorhunter.com: http://www.colorhunter.com/
  4. PaletteFX.com: http://www.palettefx.com/index.php

There is also a way to create a color matrix using Adobe Illustrator, but that’s a bit more involved and takes longer to explain. Here’s an example of what a color matrix looks like (see below).

Color matrix

Color matrix (for a corporate brand book)

What tools do you use to create effective color palettes?

Rarely do I reblog someone’s blog post, but this is extremely useful for authors and graphic designers who are working on a children’s book.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Editorial Anonymous provided a great explanation of basic picture book construction a few months ago.

At that time, I skimmed the info. Today, I’m studying it.

Why? An editor asked me to make page breaks on my current manuscript. And know what? I had more page breaks than a 32-page picture book would allow! Whoops. I knew that my manuscript had to fall within the 500- to 800-word length, but I had neglected to pay attention to logical page breaks.

The editor said, “Page turns can make or break a book, and it can be helpful to an editor to see how you envision the text.”

In a 32-page picture book, you don’t actually have 32 pages for your story. You only have 24 pages since 8 are used for the book ends, copyright and title. And 24 pages translates to 12 spreads (an illustration that spans the two opened pages…

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Job title – Creative Director

JobTitleCD

It is still a bit odd for me when I see the title of “Creative Director” on the labels of mail and packages that are delivered to my office desk. I won’t deny that so many years ago, sitting in graphic design class at the university, I dreamed of being a creative director. But now I look at that designation, that job title, and wonder.

What does a creative director creative director do anyway? It is too reductionistic to say that a creative director is the primary enforcer of consistant brand and mission of a company. The job is more nuanced. One professional states that the “job doesn’t come with operating instructions.” [1] That is absolutely true, at least, in my case. There’s more I could write about the path to a creative director or even the role of a creative director, but that may be for a different post.

What makes me wonder about the designation of job title of creative director is what it means. Is it my identity? Yes. No. Does it matter? It seems that the title is more of a way for other people to catalog and/or judge me, but it is not who I am as a person. Does that make sense?

NOTE: [1] wiseGeek.com’s What Is a Creative Director?