Wednesday, May 27, 2009

5 Steps to Good Graphic Design

By Timothy Fox

In this economy when you need a project done within the field of graphic design its important that the graphic designer you choose be versatile, fair, and a great communicator. Here are five things a good graphic designer should do.

1. Communicate effectively- A graphic designer should listen to his client and periodically show the client early drafts of the design project, to ensure that the client get what they want. Weekly, or daily status reports, are necessary to ensure that the project will be completed as scheduled. Often times Graphic designers lack the communication to find mistakes before they become problems, and follow the changing ideas a client can have throughout the design process. When this happens, the design or logo will be dramatically different then what the client envisioned. As a graphic designer, I have found that the client many times will want to change the design to meet their expectations, and if there is a lack of communication throughout the design process, a designer and client will make more work for themselves. If a mistake is not caught before more work is done, often times you are forced to scratch all work, because the mistake was not caught before heading the wrong direction.

2. Do the job right the first time- Just like everything else in business time is money. A good graphic designer will get the job done right the first time meaning that they take the parameters of what the client wants and create the design as best they can to meet those demands, within the scheduled time frame. All specifications and requirements should be clearly presented to the designer and they should fulfill these requirements with great care. Communication is key to ensure that the project follows the requirements, and stays on task. If the design or project is not what the client envisioned, steps need to be taken to provide the final product, within reasonable time frames, and a discounted, or free charge for service.

3. Charge a fair price
- In this economy its important that your graphic designer charges you a fair market value price. Many graphic designers these days will attempt to charge a price that is too high to make up for the downturn. Research the market and make sure the graphic designer keeps his prices fair or even is willing to negotiate. Payment methods and quantities are a must in the design service world. If a designer suggest all payment upfront, there is a chance that their dedication to the project has already fallen short of the cost for the project. For the sake of argument, this action is like a Plumber asking for all the money up front to re-pipe your building, and taking weeks longer than agreed upon.

That plumber isn't too concerned with your project, cause he has all the money he needs, and if he holds out on the finalized project, it's no skin of his back, because they already have your money. They'll finish when they feel like it. My suggestion is to walk into projects, with payments made based on schedules, and specific terms. Make a half payment of the full amount for the project, for a designers starting fee. Schedule smaller fraction payments, with required status reports, to ensure that they designer is on track, and will continue to dedicate the designer to work on track towards the finalized project, and still striving towards the final amount. Staying flexible with fees and payments, keeps a valued relationship between client and provider. many graphic designers will continue to land steady work, by providing an inexpensive, time effective, and desired product.

4. Follow the client's needs - Many graphic designers mistake graphic design for artistic design and try to put too much of their own creative mark or spin on a project when the desired work is much simpler. Many times this falls under communication, but it also is required by the designer to follow specifically, the demands of the client. Designers should stay on track with clients needs, and communicate exactly any questions the designer might have regarding the level of freedom one has towards creative cart blanche.

5. Be passionate and have fun with the design. No work done by a designer should be painful. Clients do not want to have a design, that is created with limited passion towards the design. If you're designing a simple business card for a company, with two colors and no special fonts or artistic designs, you might become bored. The fun and passion comes from understanding what the client wants, and making that a reality for them. Even if you really love the artistic, and free expressive style of graphic design, give your simple creative side a chance to breathe. You can make the simplest of designs, awesome. You can easily bring more clients to your services, by remaining passionate about the little things. The client is paying the designer to take care of all the little things in the design. Give it your all, and your creations will almost be worth more than gold.

Application of Graphic Design Theories in Adobe Photoshop

By Davey Johnston

Much has been said about the worth of Photoshop tutorials found on the web. By simply following a step-by-step instruction on how to achieve a certain effect, Photoshop is now becoming more accessible to almost anyone who knows how to use a computer.

Photoshop tutorials alone could not make you a successful graphic designer. Sure, you can probably know how to do basic photo manipulation but everything is in vain unless you have an idea on basic graphic design.

Graphic design is a process of incorporating the elements and principles of visual arts in order to achieve an aesthetically pleasing and functional effect. The functions vary per work. Aesthetics, as we all know, is subjective. It is safe to say then that there is no single formula for graphic design. The processes are not even consistent and would depend a lot on a designer's attitude, personality and motives.

Authors of Photoshop tutorials oftentimes subscribe to a rather wrong notion. But it can't be help and they can't speak for everyone. It is the role of a Photoshop learner to get the necessary background on graphic design and not just rely on spoon-feeding.

For one, a novice Photoshop user should at least try to analyze his/her intended audience. This is done in order to determine the purpose of your message. You can create abstract visuals in painting but not in graphic design. Every work should function as expected. Part of achieving this is how you will relay the message. Simply put, you have to consider your medium. If it is a movie poster, where shall it be placed? If it is a web design, to whom will it cater?

Once you have determined all these, you can now envision how the design will look and feel like. You can organize your text and graphics based on that vision. Use the appropriate layout, typefaces, styles, formats, and spacing. You can manipulate each graphic element and the design altogether. It would depend a lot on your imagination. It is more dependable than Photoshop tutorials anyway.

But how exactly, you may ask? Now comes in the elements of graphic design. Let us begin with the basic.

Line. There are a variety of them and each has its own design function. Straight, curve, thick, thin, broken-what lines do, independently or when incorporated with other elements, is organize texts and graphics. It creates a visual path that will help your audience follow through the design. Lines give a sense of motion to the design. It directs the eyes of the spectator.

Shape. Psychologists have always been fascinated with shapes. Think: Rorschach inkblot test. You can make use of the same principle in your design. By knowing the audience, you will learn how to easily manipulate their thoughts on a visual stimulus of your own doing. Shape, more than any element, symbolizes ideas.

Mass. The most confusing part of Photoshop tutorials is when the author begins blabbering about the importance of mass. Those who don't know a thing about graphic design will ask: "What in the world is visual weight?" Simply put, it is how graphic and text elements create contrast to grab a spectator's interest.

Texture. Another confusing thing about Photoshop tutorials is texture. The same question is often left hanging. These are easily understood once you already know your "emboss" from your "drop shadow." Visual texture also creates contrast and interest. It adds dimension and personality to the design. It provokes emotions and play on the spectator's eyes. Whenever you hear someone saying that a certain artwork seems alive, that is most probably the handiwork of texture manipulation.

Color. This is probably the easiest element to control in graphic design but is still oftentimes overlooked. Handling color is as simple as getting a color wheel and picking which color combination works together. But the tricky part here is learning color association and symbolism. Just like shapes, psychologists learned that colors evoke a certain behavior towards a spectator.

Those are the five basic elements of graphic design. Begin to apply these on your next Photoshop projects and notice how your skills improve.