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GRAPHIC DESIGN

VIEWS: 10 PAGES: 9

									GRAPHIC DESIGN
Steve Collier

Graphic design isn’t a science with ‘never-to-be-broken’ rules. Hopefully what I’ll do here is provide
guidelines to help you approach design and layout with more confidence.



People often think design is about making things ‘attractive’, but before             DESIGN IS ABOUT
thinking about how something should look, you’ve got to be sure :                     ‘WHO’ AND ‘WHY’ -
                                                                                      NOT JUST ‘HOW’
YOU SAY THE RIGHT THING...               Always keep in mind your Target
TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE...                   Audience and your Desired Aims.
IN THE RIGHT WAY!

e.g. The best designed display is useless if nobody sees it and what was
actually needed was a leaflet or advert to reach the target audience etc. etc.


Once more, before considering how something should look, decide on :                  CONTENT FIRST -
                                                                                      WHAT DO YOU
KEY PIECES OF INFO                       Again, refer to your Target Audience         NEED TO SAY?
AMOUNT OF INFO                           and your Desired Aims.
STRUCTURE/ORDER OF INFO

This applies to any pictorial or illustrative elements as well as to text -
don’t include pictures just because they’re available - be selective!

Apply the same planning skills as you would to any written report or paper. Don’t
abandon these skills just because you’re dealing with visual material -

TRANSFER YOUR SKILLS!


TEXT / TYPE                                                                           GRAPHIC DESIGN
PICTURES / GRAPHICS                                                                   CONSISTS OF FOUR
COLOUR                                                                                ELEMENTS
THE SPACE THESE ARE PLACED IN (vital but often forgotten)

The skill of the designer is manipulating these elements - or the ones
applicable to any specific project - to achieve your aims as best possible.

Unfortunately, as with everything, there is a fifth (usually major) element - COST!
But I’m not going to deal with this can of worms…
                                                                                          TEXT/TYPE

Typeface design is basically separated into two styles :                                  TYPE STYLES
SERIF typefaces (‘bits’ on the end ) and SANS SERIF typefaces (no ‘bits’)

As well as Serif and Sans Serif, there are also Display and Text typefaces.

‘Display’ faces usually work only as short pieces of text e.g.
headlines/posters, especially at larger sizes –
e.g.   IMPACT, and the very FANCY TYPEFACES
‘Text’ faces, as the name suggest, work best for large quantities of text,
especially at smaller sizes –
e.g. Times Roman, and Arial

As you’d expect some typefaces will ‘work’ to some extent in either situation.

Different typefaces create different impressions, so consider your choice –
do you want a ‘classical’ look, or a ‘clean’ look etc.

‘Reversing’ type - white lettering on black - gives a totally different
effect and can often be more powerful than black on white – although it can
also be harder/more tiring to read large blocks of text, especially in smaller sizes.


Other classifications worth mentioning are ‘Condensed’ and ‘Expanded’
This relates to the width of the letters in relation to their height (pt size) and they
can prove very useful, especially condensed typefaces as headings:

e.g. if you have a heading…


HEADLINE
HEADLINE                      the same size in a ‘condensed’ gives a shorter line…



HEADLINE                                 or a larger size will fit the same line…

HEADLINE                                 obviously the reverse with an ‘expanded’ face

Some apparently normal text faces are slightly more condensed than others, which
allows more text to fit in a given area – it may be worth trying different faces to see

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog (12pt Times Roman)
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog (12pt Garamond)
The following are obviously intended as guidelines for designing with text           ‘HANDY HINTS’ FOR
(especially when word processing) - there are no such things as ‘never-to-be-        LAYING OUT TEXT
broken’ rules when designing.


Remember design is as much about thinking of what you are trying to                  Content
convey, as it is about how to convey it. The layout etc should help to lead
the reader through the text.

Don’t use lots of different typefaces together just because they are available,      Variation
this takes a lot of skill to ‘control’ - unfortunately it’s very common with
word processing!

Instead, use variations of the same typeface to highlight certain things in the
text – e.g. headings, sub- headings, key words/phrases, references etc.
‘Variation’ means :

Normal, CAPS, Bold, Italic, and      Different Sizes              ...
and of course combinations of these.
Don’t be frightened of using larger sizes - try them for page numbers or headings

‘Readability’ of blocks of text is dependant on the relationship of typesize to      Line length / Type size
line length. If the line length is too long for the type size, or type size too
small for the line length, it is very difficult for the reader’s eyes to return to
the begining of the next line.

There’s no hard and fast rule – but a maximum of about 80characters per
line is a good estimate. N.B. a space between words is also a ‘character’.

You can get away with small size / long line if you only have a couple of lines

If you need to use a small type size (for space) try using more than one
column so that the line lengths are not too long.

Don’t forget the use of ‘space’ - it’s just as important as the type - don’t         Space
overcrowd! Try wider margins and splitting text into ‘digestible’ sections

Having chosen your ‘style’ for headings, sub-headings etc - keep it constant!        Consistency
Obvious, but amazing how often people vary throughout the a document.

‘Squinting’ will give you an idea of which text in a layout will stand out!          Squinting
It is a good, simple check that you’re achieving what you want from the
design - i.e. which pieces of text draw the reader’s attention most?


Text is intended to be read.
Designing with text should make this as simple and easy as possible.
Use ‘design’ to help the reader get the information or message!
                                                                                     PICTURES/
                                                                                     GRAPHICS

This section includes any graphic elements - photographs, drawings, logos etc - in
fact anything that is not text.

As with text always have in mind your audience and message - don’t use any           CONTENT
picture(s) just because it’s available - try to make every picture relevant!

Be selective with images - bad pictures are worse than no pictures, unless
they are absolutely essential and no others are available!


A common mistake with photographs and drawings is to produce them all                SIZE
to the same size and shape (or format). This is especially common with
displays.

Try to create more visual interest by using a variety of sizes - consider which
images are more important, either because of their content or
attractiveness, and make them more dominant.


Try different shapes to add interest. You don’t have to reproduce                    FORMAT
photographs in the same shape as the original.

You can trim them to be long and thin, or wide and shallow rather than use
the complete picture. Enlarge one section of the image if it makes the point
much better.

Trimming pictures does need a bit of skill to work well, but it is well worth
trying and you will get better with practice.

Trimming pictures can also be a great help in highlighting the important part
of a picture. It enables you to remove any ‘peripheral’ material.
                                                                                        COLOUR

Colour can be one of the most difficult elements to use successfully - and certainly
one of the most difficult to teach in a short space of time. I don’t want to get into
the theory of colour too much, but it’s probably useful to have a brief background
to how they work with each other.

Unfortunately, just to confuse matters, colour differs when using :                     REFLECTED /
                                                                                        TRANSMITTED LIGHT
Reflected Light – pigments : inks, paints, dyes etc
Transmitted Light - actual light : projected films, television, computers etc

For our purposes I’m only going to deal with Reflected Light as this is what
you’ll be using for most, if not all, of the things you’re likely to encounter.


A Primary colour is one that cannot be mixed from any other colours, and                PRIMARY COLOURS
all other colours are made up of a mixture of three Primary Colours.

A Primary colour is one that cannot be mixed from any other colours, and
all other colours are made up of a mixture of three Primary Colours.

The three Primary Colour are : RED, BLUE, YELLOW


If we mix equal amounts of any two primary colours we get a Secondary                   SECONDARY
colour which is Complimentary to the remaining Primary colour.                          COLOURS


Complimentary colours are actually opposites and will contrast with each other          COMPLIMENTARY
- sometimes quite violently! Of course this can be used to good effect if               COLOURS
you’re careful.

RED + BLUE    = VIOLET                  complimentary to            YELLOW
RED + YELLOW = ORANGE                   complimentary to            BLUE
BLUE + YELLOW = GREEN                   complimentary to            RED


If the primary and secondary colours, and a representative range of their               COLOUR WHEEL
mixes are placed on a ‘wheel’ we obtain what is known as a ‘Colour
Wheel’ (separate sheet).

The Colour Wheel shows which colours harmonise and which colours
contrast. Colours that are close together on the wheel harmonise, whilst
colours that are opposite each other contrast. This is a very useful reference
tool if you are uncertain about which colours will achieve a desired effect.
Just as with text, these hints are simply guidelines – there are no unbreakable rules, but if   ‘HANDY HINTS’ FOR
you’re unsure of working with colour these will hopefully help.                                 USING COLOUR


One very common mistake, particularly when producing posters, is the                            Coloured Paper
assumption that brightly coloured paper will automatically make a poster
work better, however...

Sometimes the paper can be more noticable than the message/info on it! So,
if you use bright paper, make sure the text and/or images are bold enough
to dominate the paper, and not the other way round!

If you do use coloured papers remember that any inks (printing or pens etc)
will not come out the correct colour, as the paper will affect the ink
pigments.

Unless you are very confident, don’t use too many different colours at once                     Numbers of Colours
-just as with typefaces, this takes a lot of skill to make it work well, so it’s
much better to ‘play safe’!

If you have a poor ‘sense of colour’ or if you don’t feel confident with using                  Colour Wheel
colour, refer to the ‘Colour Wheel’ (separate sheet) to see which colours
will harmonise, and which will contrast.

‘Spot’ colour means one colour used in small amounts (e.g. certain text or                      ‘Spot’ Colour
headings, or even just an underline) on an otherwise monochrome layout.
‘Spot’ colour can be very effective and economical!

‘Colour-Coding’ using spot colours, particularly when dealing with lots of
informational text, can be very effective - but be careful not to confuse, it
should help the reader.

When a printer refers to the number of colours (2-colour, 3-colour etc) it                      Colour Terms used in
refers to the number of colours actually printed – the colour of the paper is                   Printing
not included. Of course, combinations of the colours printed can produce
more colours than the number of inks used.

If a printer or designer refers to FULL colour, or FOUR colour printing this
means printing using Magenta, Cyan, Yellow and Black inks.

From these colours the printing process can reproduce nearly all necessary
colours and is essential for reproducing colour photographs. If you look
very closely at printed photograhs you’ll see the dots of these four colours.

Full colour is also usually the most expensive printing process!
                                                                                       SPACE

Designing layouts that involve text, pictures and colour is obviously not a science,
and as you’d expect designers use their visual sensitivity and talent to arrive at
layouts that work. 2 x 2 hours sessions cannot possibly hope to teach you to
become designers. However, there is one approach to the problem that can form
the basis of a satisfactory solution, and can provide guidelines for non-designers.


Drawing an ‘imaginary grid’ on the page makes the positioning and sizing of            THE GRID SYSTEM
different elements much easier to arrive at. This is a very simple concept -
but one that people rarely think of unless it’s pointed out to them.

Utilising grids enables you to handle the forth element ‘SPACE’ to it’s best
effect - remember the whole page/poster/display area doesn’t have to be full
of text or images, in fact the elements work much better if carefully
positioned for ease of ‘reading’.

Most common / simplest use of grids we come across is the newspaper!
This utilises multiple columns which can be sub-divided to structure the text
and pictures. Headlines/pictures can run over more than one column width,
allowing certain elements to dominate others, yet the whole has a co-
ordinated appearance.

But grids can be more sophisticated than just applying uniform vertical
columns. The columns can be of varying widths on the same layout or page,
and ‘guide lines’ can also be positioned horizontally as well as vertically

The most common example of these types of grids are ‘coffee table’ books
and magazines. Look at layouts of ‘glossy’ books or magazines and try to
identify the ‘grids’ used.

Grids are also extremely useful for structuring display boards, posters and
even word processed documents - particularly if used in combination with
the ‘handy hints’ for laying out text!

When experimenting with more complex grids be careful not to make it so
complex that the unifying element is no longer apparent – this is obviously
counter-productive!
                                                               OVERVIEW
                                                               OF HOW
                                                               TO WORK

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO ACHIEVE!                     BEFORE ANY DESIGN -
                                                               THE MESSAGE!
WHO ARE YOUR AUDIENCE – AND WHERE!

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SAY / INCLUDE / KEY POINTS ETC?


DECIDE WHAT IMAGES / TEXT YOU MIGHT NEED                       THE DESIGN PROCESS

DO ‘THUMBNAILS’ TO THROW AROUND GENERAL IDEAS, DESIGNS
AND COLOURS

ENLARGE TO WORK IN MORE DETAIL - BUT STILL IN ROUGH FORM

PLAY AROUND WITH, AND DECIDE TYPEFACE(S) / SIZES / COLOURS

DO FINAL DESIGN TO ACTUAL SIZE(S) – ADJUSTING ACCORDINGLY

EITHER COLOUR YOUR DESIGNS, OR SPECIFY YOUR COLOUR
CHOICES


IF YOU CAN FIND SUITABLE OR SIMILAR IMAGES (from any source)   GENERAL ADVICE
THEN USE THEM - OTHERWISE INDICATE THE IMAGES AS BEST
POSSIBLE. HOWEVER, DON’T BE DICTATED TO BY WHAT IMAGES
YOU CAN FIND

DON’T BE SCARED TO COPY LAYOUTS THAT WORK -
LOOK & LEARN!

BE ADVENTUROUS - USE THIS AS A MEANS OF TRYING THINGS OUT

								
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