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.JPG or .GIF

.JPG Or .GIF

Image compression is a huge deal for websites. Tours on paysites can be very graphics-heavy. There are ways you can save your slices to crunch them way down in file size and preserve the integrity of the image. You should save an image as a .jpg if it has a photo in it or a complex background. Basically, anything that isn't a solid color should get saved as a .jpg. If you are using Photoshop's Save for web, select 2-UP so you can see the original on the left and the one you're editing on the right. Make sure the right image is selected and choose .jpg from the drop down menu on the right. I usually set my compression to 65. If your page isn't graphics-heavy, you can go higher. Some images will show degradation at 65, so you may want to bump it up a little. If your image is solid color, like my logo for instance, save it as a .gif. Solid color has no gradients or halftones, hence less colors. Think of it as a cartoon or coloring book. You have lines and shapes filled with solid color. Go back to Save for web and get…

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Live Area, Margins, and Bleeds, oh my!

Live Area, Margins, And Bleeds, Oh My!

During the printing of your piece, the paper can shift and your art will land in a slightly different place in relation to where it will be trimmed. To avoid this from being noticed on the final piece, always be sure to leave the room for this shifting in your layout. Trim - The size that your work will be cut to. Margin - The area around the outer edge of the piece to allow for printer shifting. Live area - The area in the center, minus the margins where important info should remain, not going into the margin. Bleed - The amount of artwork that needs to "bleed" off the edge, over the trim to account for printer shifting. Usually .125" - .375", depending on pub. When you have specs for any print piece, you should always have the above 3 sets of measurements, 4 if you have a bleed. MANY pubs do not supply live area. I usually have to call them and ask what they want it at. Sometimes they don't care, sometimes they don't know what I'm talking about. When in doubt, I like to give it a nice 3/8" (.375") margin on a print ad…

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.PDFs and Vector

.PDFs And Vector

If you have ever lost vector art, listen up. If you loose your native files (Illustrator, InDesign, Quark) and only have a .pdf of the work, you can put that .pdf back into Illustrator and anything that was vector in it's native form will go back to such. If the type was still in tact and not converted to paths, it will require some clean up, but all vector objects will be perfect (or as they were in the final file to the printer - some illustrator treatments require flattening or rasterizing, which you would need the editable version of these graphics to go back to). As so many printers are now requiring single-page .pdfs for output, these are invariably saved as final files to the printer. Printers may have them on file and you may still have these files on your local drive should your server crash. I have seen this happen. Massive amounts of data lost. Tears. Heartache. Despair. If you have those .pdfs, you will at least get back your precious vector art. :)

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Vector Graphics and your Logo

Vector Graphics And Your Logo

One of my FAVORITE topics. :) Vector graphics are created with math as opposed to pixels like a bitmapped image. Pixels are heavy. Vector is very light. AND it's infinitely resizable. Your graphics will always be crisp at any size. With that said, your logo should always be created in a vector-based program (Illustrator, Freehand, Korel) - NOT Photoshop. When a logo is created in Photoshop, designers can forget that this brand will need to cross over other mediums in addition to the lo-res webpage they're creating it on. If they are mindful to use the vector shapes within Photoshop, that will help. But then you get into filters and such. There are things you can do in Photoshop that can't be done in Illustrator (yet). When a logo is created with these types of filters and treatments, the logo has trouble going to a larger size and has to be re-done to accomodate. In addition to this issue, you run into a busy logo. Simple graphics and easily read type are crucial. Consumers must have the same positive experience each time they come in contact with your logo, they must also have the same image of the logo reinforced…

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Pantone Colors and your Brand

Pantone Colors And Your Brand

Have you ever had a logo created and then tried to have it printed, only to find out that it looks like crap? Well, dry those eyes. There is help. :) Any time you have a logo created, it should be created in vector-based format (we'll get into vector-based objects and their value tomorrow... stay tuned). The relevance here, when dealing with color is... Creating your logo in vector will allow it to go from print to web flawlessly. Photoshop doesn't maintain true Pantone values and can skew your color slightly. Even being just a few numbers off can create a bad color situation. Pantone colors are a set of colors that can go from spot (RGB) to 4C process (CMYK) without as much variation between the conversion from RGB to CMYK than if you just went into your color pallette and started mixing colors willy nilly. When you break down a color to 4C process, you loose saturation. You only have 4 colors that need to make up thousands or millions of colors, so there will be variation in your color when the conversion takes place. Pantone colors reduce the amount of variation. They have swatch books that you…

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YOUR Work Space

YOUR Work Space

Have you seen Office Space? Man was NOT meant to spend 8 hours a day in a cubicle, indeed. It is important to like the environment you're in. Is your "office" a drab cubicle that holds no inspiration? Make it your own! Hang up some sweet artwork or put up some lights. Put some bling on your monitor - only if it's your computer though! Put some flava in your space. ;) Some establishments don't condone free thinking, individuality or creativity. They may not want you bringing in your tie-dyed tapestry from college to make a fort over your cubicle. Bastards. But you can find things that will get you energized about your work. Take a few minutes between projects and watch those things. Stare at them. Relish in the good things they represent. Then get back to work. I do this a few times a day, especially when I am concepting for a brand. New ideas are everywhere! Here are some pics of my Office Space to get the ideas flowing:

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