Celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day (March 11) with some free apple-themed images at About.com Clip Art including a public domain stamp and an original apple label by Dixie Allan. Without or without images, create cards, Web pages, or other projects using candy apple red and related colors.
...and that's a good thing. Pages without enough white space can look visually heavy (lack of white can be gray), cluttered, too busy. Empty spaces are calming. They give the eye a chance to rest and they help other elements of the design stand out and grab attention.
Even if you think you know what white space is all about, a refresher never hurts and you may pick up a tip or two you've missed along the way.
- Use More White Space is one of my 12 Rules of Desktop Publishing.
- How to Add White Space offers up 7 easy ways to work more emptiness into your layout from paragraph spacing to leading.
- What White Space Can Do For You (by John Mcpherson for Six Revisions) acquaints us with why white space is important including readability and emphasis.
- The Importance of White Space in Web Designs (by Jennifer Krynin for About.com) reminds us that white space isn't just about blank parts of the paper.
- Use Lots of White Space in Your Email Messages (by Heinz Tschabitscher for About.com) has tips on making your email messages easier to read.
Why I Sketch Every Day (and why you should too) by Troy Church goes along quite nicely with the concept of doing thumbnail sketches in graphic design and desktop publishing. Do you put a real pen or pencil to real paper on a regular basis or at least when working out ideas for a personal or client design project? Discover How and Why to Do Thumbnail Sketches.
I have no idea what leprechaun writing looks like but if you want to give your St. Patrick's Day cards and projects a bit of Irish flavor, try using some of these uncial, blackletter, and Celtic St. Patrick's Day fonts.
When driving to an unknown destination do you find it easier to find your way by knowing street names and directions or do you prefer to know about landmarks, such as "turn right at the first traffic light after the bank that looks like a red barn?" Personally, I like a little of both.
Either way, you're finding your way around using signposts or visual cues to let you know where you are and where you are going. And you're also at the mercy of the person providing those driving instructions.
It works the same way in print publications and on the Web too. The reader is the traveler and the designer is the one providing the directions through artwork, titles, paragraph and character formating, and explicit navigational elements. As a designer, are you providing the appropriate visual cues to help readers find their way around your document?
A poster announcing and commemorating a live music performance, the gig poster gets its name from a slang term (gig) for any musical performance by an artist or band. Find out how to design gig posters for a variety of acts and learn some of the tried and true techniques such as collage, typographic, silhouette, and "the giant head."
How do you define easy? "Requiring little effort" and "free from worry or anxiety" are a couple of common definitions. Easy is hardly the term I'd use when working on a project with looming deadlines, clients or bosses hovering over my shoulder, or trying to decipher the not-so-helpful Help files for a software feature that I only use once in a blue moon. Clients, employers, and sometimes even our own assessment of how easy something will be is often way out of touch with reality.
Recently, in response to our on-going discussion of How Long Should It Take to Design a Logo?, cc writes:
"I was told in an interview I was expected to create logo's in 20 mins to 1 hour for products and their website. needless to say I walked out of the interview."
Awhile back our former About.com Graphic Design Expert, Eric Miller, posted a poll asking "What is the least favorite thing clients say?" The top two vote getters at the time I looked were "This should be really easy..." and "This shouldn't take you long."
Ah, yes. Love those. Read the comments after the poll for more entertaining client quotes.
People who know little about graphic design (or Web design or related fields) generally have no clue what it really takes to do those quick and easy tasks. Perhaps a lot of them are still stuck on the marketing hype of the 80s and 90s when desktop publishing software was new and amazing. Yes, it did make a lot of tasks less complicated and faster -- compared to how it used to be done. But that doesn't mean you can just slap something fantastic together in half an hour or so with "little effort."
It's not just clients who have unreasonable expectations. A few years ago I was working on some artwork for my boyfriend (for the face of a guitar) and after hours of image editing and rearranging layouts he'd come back with some variation of an easy change that shouldn't take too long. And him standing over my shoulder doesn't make it go faster, either. ARGGGHHHH. And there's not even the consolation of a payday at the end of the frustration.
Do your friends, family, employers, or clients think your desktop publishing or graphic design work is so easy that it shouldn't take but a minute or two to make corrections? Is anything over an hour too long to wait for a project created from scratch?
Start making next month your luckiest ever. Mix and match these shamrocks, 4-leaf clover, leprechauns, and pots of gold to craft your own St. Patrick's Day greeting cards and crafts. Or, use the tutorials to make your own lucky graphics.
An email correspondent once criticized my lack of in-depth material on punctuation. On the one hand, desktop publishing is about the presentation of the material not the writing - that's the job of the copywriter and editor and others who prepare the material for the designer. But it's also true that in many cases the copywriter, editor, and designer are all the same person. So, punctuation -- beyond how to create the perfect ellipsis -- is an integral part of desktop publishing.
In designing letterhead and business cards how much creative license can you or should you take with punctuation? Over the years we've had a lively discussion over formatting phone numbers and how much space should follow punctuation marks such as periods and question marks. Some punctuation issues are easily solved by the use of a style guide or house style, but what if one isn't provided? Have you encountered any interesting or challenging punctuation issues or questions while doing graphic design and desktop publishing? Tell us about it.
Related Punctuation Issues:
When you're designing for an audience that's 12 and under your font, color, and image choices may be a little different than when creating material for teens and adults. You'll probably use many of the components of an informal layout but with a few twists that appeal to the kids. Here are some suggestions for child-focused layouts.