I picked up an old notebook that I used to jot down some handy graphic design tips when I was doing work experience and during the first six months of full time employment. I came straight out on uni and did work experience at Navig8. When I learnt something new, I wrote it down. There are some pretty useful tips in my note pad it to be fair. Here they are, I'm just going to write down exactly what I have in front of me:

  1. Try to think about scale. Use bigger and smaller elements on the page to give your design impact.
  2. Kern as you go.
  3. You can have a lot of fun with small jobs, people often miss the opportunity.
  4. Design at the size you would see it.
  5. When choosing a background colour, try just selecting a colour used within the design and just add a percent of black or a percent of opacity.
  6. Punch your type out with subtle shadows or glows over images. They must be subtle.
  7. Grab the Pantone swatch books, get the proper colour codes, add to swatches and make sure colours are consistent.
  8. Use the right tool for the job (Photoshop for web, InDesign for layout, Illustrator for logos).
  9. Create a quick outline from a scan or image in Illustrator > Object, Live trace, make and expand.
  10. You can use PNGs in a Google mashup.
  11. Name your layers and folders as you go. Nothing should be called 'Layer 1'
  12. In Photoshop, un-sharpen mask by about one pixel when bringing in items such as logos into InDesign, especially when you reduce their size.
  13. Change weight of type, not he size to create hierarchy. Sometimes it just works a lot better.

  14. When aligning things like dates, use the word of the month first for a hard edge.
  15. In Photoshop, add shadow to a 1px white rule > Layer style, drop shadow. This creates a sharp edge and a shadow that lifts an object of the page.
  16. When looking for sign-off on a project, make sure you use a draft email that will clearly outline all terms you want to lay down. In the subject line insert the proof number so that you and they know how many sets of revisions have been made.
  17. When saving images for web, make sure they aren't mammoth sized. Find out what best to name the file for SEO purposes.
  18. Know your paper weights. (Following this note, I have a few paper samples stapled into the book for reference).
  19. When feeling the weight of a certain paper stock, try doing it with your top lip, the larger the sheet size, the thinner it will feel.
  20. When in InDesign, if you want a rule above or bellow your type, do it through the Paragraph panel. Select the drop down, rules, and choose your desired style. A 0.5pt rule usually works best, set the offset. Save the style in the Paragraph Styles panel.
  21. When you need to do the same thing to a lot of images, use the Automated Actions in Photoshop. Handy for things like making a batch of images lower resolution or converting them from RGB to CMYK.
  22. Do not use a hard return to break a column of text, use the column break shortcut – alt + Enter for Macs.

Keep notes from day one. You can buy a note book that is designed just for graphic designers here. It has grids for sketches and tips and tricks o every page.

Hope you can find them useful.
Have fun.
Cris

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