Need To Improve Graphic Design Within 2 Weeks - Family Tragedy Is The Reason Why

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Meteo Xavier, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. Meteo Xavier

    Meteo Xavier Ultrasonic

    Nov 6, 2019
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    For anyone in the field of graphic design that might be on this board, I have some need for help

    Holy shit. My stepbrother was found dead today and the impact of that goes beyond tragedy within the family. Not only does that come with all that sudden deaths in the family do, but he was our main graphic designer for a small internet marketing firm that is our family business. Replacing him with a qualified outsider or freelancer is something we can't afford, so I'm stepping in to take over much of his work as that availability, at least, has some convenience to it, but I need to do it sooner as opposed to later because we have quite a few clients and they aren't all going to wait too long for service.

    I have an amount of experience despite being an amateur - I've made 100+ plus memes without meme generators and I have filled in for less significant graphic design work on the job as needed - but this surprise just hit us this afternoon and I'm going to need to take my amateur experience and start seriously molding it into something I can have a professional grasp on it. I can't draw or illustrate (partial disability), I just edit and cut and paste things until they look right.

    That is the context of my situation, now here is the actual question - what are your recommendations for concise learning on the foundation of graphic/photo-editing design? Like rules on (generally) what to do and what not to do when making things that are supposed to go out for businesses. Definitions on what these things are called - banners, vectors, textures, alpha channel, etc. I just need some building blocks and things spelled out for me to build a foundation, I'm not looking to, or expecting, to know everything there is to know overnight. And there's always people that respond with nonsense like "there really aren't any rules to this stuff" or "there really isn't a right and wrong way to do this"; that's nonsense, we all know there are structures and rules to art where exceptions sometimes work, getting to know those rules and structures as a starting discipline is what I'm looking for.

    And I will be Googling and researching stuff independently alongside asking for help - mentioning it here so I don't seem unrealistic and lazy.

    Thank you!
  3. Tarkus

    Tarkus Producer

    Oct 3, 2015
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    N.Y.C. area
    Sorry about your situation. There are a good amount of tutorials out there, just try to weed out the ones that take too long to
    get going, if you know what I mean, less theory, more results oriented. Good Luck.
  4. Sorry so much to hear this. Firstly, I would recommend Photoshop for everything with respect to basic photo editing. Always make sure your pics are at least 300dpi and in CMYK format for print. They are raster images. I would advise getting a hold of Adobe Illustrator. This is for work with type and of course any shapes, ie like you might want a box behind type. The graphics and the type itself are vector images. These can be scaled up or down without limits whereas a raster image scaled up is going to pixellate. I would start there and go to youtube for specific guidance.
    Note: I have avoided Indesign since it's multi page layout options will give you more trouble than you need. Use Illustrator one page at a time (labelled correctly) and let the printer sort it out.
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  5. famouslut

    famouslut Audiosexual

    Dec 31, 2015
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    Sorry about your brother, man, his legacy lives on!

    As far as design goes, good idea to know the difference between art (assets, pretty stuff, photos et al) and design (where you put the pretty stuff.) Slightly simplified.

    Photoshop is for art, Illustrator is for design. But it's prolly less intimidating to use Photoshop, there's a little bit of crossover.

    The rules? I guess all design is CARP:

    Contrast: make things as bold as possible, don't be timid; try to do layouts in b&w before you start adding color.
    Alignment: make sure things line up! Look at magazines to see how to align text / pics.
    Repetition: repeat design elements that work.
    Proximity: group similar stuff (info) together; have your email, phone, etcs in the same place. Make it easy to locate.

    (or "all design is CRAP", if you listened to my professor.)
    Generally, try to use art assets to lead the eye to the boring crap (text). They say that a good poster has 6 words on it. A brilliant one, three. I have no idea what your design work will be!

    Good idea is to look at the adverts in free papers or w/e, and look at which adverts stand out, to you. It's usually the ones with the most white space. Careful use of this is another essential.

    Generally, cut down on words (brutally) and try to pick / draw / illustrate something simple and effective. (Assuming adverts will be a part of your work?)

    But, you know that old saying: it's taken me 10 years to sketch out this idea in 30 secs! Nothing beats being able to draw and sketch ideas out, good practice - to practice. If you plan to do this long term, get used to checking out typography (new fonts.)

    Most of design is having a good idea, and stealing as much as you can. Learn from design - it's everywhere, start noticing! Like they say about music: "everything is music, and everywhere is the best seat". Everything is design, and everywhere is the best gallery.

    I'd advise you to learn about typography and glyphs, some of the best art and design (and I guess the quickest to get right) is using ampersand as a big design feature. Remember, although most people want to use all caps, using all lowercase lets you blow up your logotype and takes up less space. Have fun! It sure beats working for a living :D
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  6. RobertoCavally

    RobertoCavally Producer

    Jan 20, 2021
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    Hate to hear you are in that situation. I'd agree with what Lenny said:
    Bitmap (like photos etc.) - use Photoshop.
    Vector (2D graphics, lineart, typography, etc.) - use Illustrator

    You can ofc insert a photo in Illustrator and add graphic elements. Learn how to use layers in both programs. They are like backups. If you're about to make a mess, make it in a new layer..

    About color space (model): CMYK vs RGB. I didn't understand if your end product will be something on the net, like graphics for a website or a printed product like a flyer or booklet. Preparing something for print (in that case CMYK) is quite demanding. In the beginning I would leave that to a print service (you just give them the Illustrator or Photoshop file).

    If you find yourself in a situation where you just don't have enough time to make something (and I hate to say this) - use templates. They are everywhere for these two programs. Make sure you have the license to use them or change them enough so you don't have any troubles later. Yes, it will not be as original as if you would make it from scratch ..I am just being realistic.

    I'll see if I can give you advice on some crash courses for the progs. There are certainly aplenty, but I want to check some of those since I didn't watch a beginners tutorial for decades. Anyway, after you learn the basics imo the best thing is to just learn as you go and search for the solution only when you get stuck..
  7. dondada

    dondada Platinum Record

    Jan 2, 2015
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    sorry about your loss
    ill make it simple
    forget cmyk stay rgb the printers know better
    if unsure ask that they send you a simple proof!

    Don´t use Manny fonts/ types(mix) most often will look tacky
    Just stay with one family of fonts
    M y tip take the Universe Family
    they include FAT thin italic and everything in between

    Keep Flow text between 12-15 words per line
    an a4 letter size page should leave a bigger gap at the bottom than the top, but leave enough room (see too many words bad look)
    Either way, the same space on the left and right
    Don´t make too many breaks, or not enough (don't be too strict)
    a nice balance doesn't disturb the flow, errors in wwriting a bigger prblm sztil!!!!

    white space aka space without anything is your friend

    Less is More (especially to highlight/break change topic)

    the same with Pictures
    Keep the same rules for everything
    Pictures always on the right? that thats it! Keep to that decision!
    Except if you want to emphasize something!!!

    Same with SIZE or Italics
    Keep the same rules for everything!
    Photoshop is great for Pics! in a Pinch i´ll use it for words too!
    Just remember to use best for Print (for fonts)

    Don´t worry about it too much!
    Use your Gut!
    Keep it Simple!
    Keep it Moving!

    Tackle Everything one Step at a Time
    Breath....... You got this!
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
  8. Meteo Xavier

    Meteo Xavier Ultrasonic

    Nov 6, 2019
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    Not much time to look thoroughly through the posts here, but I see some starting info that is exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks, gents!
  9. Denali

    Denali Noisemaker

    May 22, 2021
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  10. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

    Jan 31, 2012
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    I'm very sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace.

    One method than can help you to save time is to take some of your step brother work and study how it is done.
    As this way you will figure out a lot of details into a real example directly related to your family business.
    Look for each layer, and as it was mentioned before, alignment, fonts, colours and format.

    I wish you best luck.
  11. Yuri

    Yuri Rock Star

    Apr 14, 2014
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    I've no help with the graphic design other than what's been said, but sorry for your loss.
  12. BEAT16

    BEAT16 Audiosexual

    May 24, 2012
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    So many young people die every day, fatal accidents, fatal assaults, fatal diseases and war. Life has to go on. But one shouldn't forget the dead. I have selected 3 programs for you with "beginner status". You can download the demos and see if you can handle them.

    Sketch is a vector-based Mac-only tool and program that primarily focuses on web, app, and interface design. It has put a serious damper on the competition recently, as some developers prefer designer sketch files to Photoshop files. While Sketch is not intended for image editing or printed matter, it is great for designing icons and user interfaces for websites and apps. Designers can also create interactive prototypes that developers can preview by tapping or scrolling through to see what they will look like in the end.
    Best for: user interfaces
    Cost: $ 99 per year per device
    Required level: beginner
    Advantages: Easy to learn
    Cheaper than other popular programs
    Disadvantage: Mac only
    Not suitable for print designs or illustrations

    Affinity Designer
    In terms of function and style, Affinity Designer is an impressive and affordable alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Affinity is even recognized for being easier and faster to use than Illustrator, especially when working with layers. It's simple enough for beginners to use as a study tool, but powerful enough for a freelance graphic designer on a budget.
    Affinity recently received a major upgrade with new features and performance improvements. The software is a great option for anyone who doesn't want to spend as much on Adobe products but needs something that they can work with at a high level.
    Best For: Vector Files
    Cost: € 54.99
    Required level: beginner to advanced
    Advantages: Easy entry
    Much cheaper than the big programs
    Some of the tools available in Illustrator are missing

    Gravit designer
    Gravit Designer is a free vector program that is great for creating logos, image manipulation, illustrations, and animations. You can use Gravit online through their cloud-based software, although some reviews say it runs a little slower there than the version installed on the machine. The layout is modern and completely customizable. Gravit Designer Pro, however, is no longer free (49 € per year).
    Best for: vector images
    Required level: beginner
    Advantages: Lots of functions and possibilities
    The cloud program is great Disadvantage:
    The free version isn't nearly as good as the pro version
  13. Ed Jachimowicz

    Ed Jachimowicz Kapellmeister

    Oct 8, 2019
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    First of all my condolences for the loss of your brother.

    Then: whether you are talented or not time will tell. Still this is a creative job that can not be learned from a book or looking at examples from others if you want to create original work.

    That being said:
    Use Adobe Indesign (or Quark Express) for layouts. Illustrator and Photoshop are not useable since they embed graphics leading to large files that slowdown your computer.
    Indesign gives you speed and flexibility when it comes to designing. It can output as webpages and more important as PDF which is THE standard for printwork. Ask your printer for his specification (These can be stored as an output template which speeds up the work the next time).

    Archive your work in a good way (additional backups). I will come in handy when you have reoccurring work for costumers and you have your own database for mixing and matching when creating new work.

    There is so much to learn depending on the kind of customers you are serving but regardless
    Composition / Grids / Balance / Whitespace
    Use of fonts (kerning , leading, tracking). Use a fontmanager to not overload your computer with installed fonts.
    Use of colo(u)r (colour harmony) (and how these translate to (different kinds of) paper.
    Use of spotcolours / Finishes on printwork
    Establish a good relationship with your printer(s) (Person) They can help you with a lot of the technical stuff of printwork

    To get up to speed there are plenty of templates out there ( for exem.) that you can buy or illegally download. See link on sister site left margin). Adjust them to taste/customer.

    There is a lot of free stock pictures and vector material out there. Google is your best friend (for once)

    There is plenty of tutorials out there on Youtube that will get you started or extend your knowledge
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
  14. reliefsan

    reliefsan Audiosexual

    Jul 31, 2014
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    Lots of super helpfull replies here, so i'll just add this bit

    if you are in "badplace" and you want to get stuff done

    that will let you bypass the "craftmanship" and get the job done and out the door.
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  15. RMorgan

    RMorgan Rock Star

    May 17, 2014
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    Hey brother,

    My condolences.

    Could you tell me exactly what you'll be doing, possibly with some examples?

    This way, it gets easier for me point you to the right direction.

    Graphic Design is a huge field...Learning things you wont use, at this point, would only make things more confusing.

    Anyway, the Photoshop part is quite easy, actually. It's a very intuitive piece of software. Whatever you want to do, just search on youtube and there you go; A million tutorials at your service.

    The vector part is more complicated, though. Maybe you should search for complete paid tutorials on Lynda/Udemy/Skillshare/etc like "Adobe Illustrator for Beginners".

    The good new is, if you really take these two weeks to learn, you will accomplish your goal.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
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  16. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

    Jan 16, 2019
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    Someplace Over The Rainbow
    So sorry for your loss.
  17. clone

    clone Rock Star

    Feb 5, 2021
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    remember to take care of your clients, even if it means outsourcing some work while you are learning. it's harder to get them to come back. (there is very good money to be made brokering work).
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