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The Concepts of Strong Visual Design

Strong designs go far beyond looking cool. When you load a website, watch an ad on television or peruse magazine ads, are you looking at them with random purpose, or did someone sprinkle a breadcrumb trail for you to follow? A well-designed document leads viewers from point A to B, highlighting and emphasizing key components without shouting in all caps “HEY! LOOK OVER HERE!” While there are many creative and intricate ways to draw viewers to the important content like moth to flame, there are basic (and highly effective) methods that are commonly used in just about all of today’s media....

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Adobe Creative Suite: Introduction to Using Layers

Creating designs in Adobe CS programs is a little like making a collage–various materials are put together to make one composition. The key difference, however, is that a composition in Photoshop has to be treated as if it were in 3D. As in, you don’t slap materials next to each other. Rather, materials are stacked on top of each other. Be it text, photos, or an original design, if there is more than one source material for your project, you need to know how to manage layers in Adobe Creative Suite (CS) programs. For an easily-digestible overview on layers, check out our October...

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Adobe Lightroom©, Photoshop©, or Photoshop Elements© – Which One is Right for You?

Adobe© is known for being the “big dog” when it comes to digital corrections and changes to images. In recent years, Photoshop© has even become a verb: for example, “Look at that photo – I bet they ‘Photoshopped’ it.” However, with so many software products out there, it seems to harder and harder to know which Photoshop© program will work best for us. Let’s take a step back and weigh the pros and cons of each program so you can decide which will work best for your needs. The Classic: Photoshop© Photoshop© has been around for the longest amount of time, and it is still the go to program for...

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Vector Items Are Clean, Smooth

[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 3/23/12] Last week, I began discussing the differences between raster and vector graphics in digital images. This week is part two of the discussion and focuses on vector graphics – what they are, and how they can benefit you and your business. Whereas raster graphics, discussed last week, are made up of a grid of pixel information, vector images are not. Rather, vector images are mathematically created images made up of lines, curves, anchor points and shapes. Vector graphics can be used for simple or complex logos, diagrams and more. If you...

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Choose Graphics Program Based on Type of Images Handled

[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 3/16/12] Many of my students ask me whether Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator is the correct program for their graphic design, print media or image editing needs. And it’s always a tough question to answer. To understand what choice makes sense for you or your business, you must first understand the definition of the two major types of digital images used in graphic design: raster and vector graphics. A raster graphic is a graphic made up of a grid of pixels, often referred to as a “bitmap” format. The word raster is really just...

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