Posts tagged ‘adobe’

Tips for Using Quark Correctly in Commercial Printing

If you’re new to the wonders of Quark for desktop publishing and commercial printing, or even if you’re an advanced user, avoiding some of these common Quark mistakes will make your working experience smoother and less stressful.

One of the most common mistakes new users of Quark is to fail to register their software. Though tossing the registration card in the trashcan along with the plastic wrap packaging of any new software is habit for many people, you should think twice in this case. Registering with Quark has several distinct advantages. For one, registering with quark puts you into Quark’s user database. This automatically entitles you to 90 days of free after-purchase technical support, which can be invaluable should any unexpected platform or hardware problems slow your digital presses to a crawl.

Another common error involves the overuse of fonts on a single project. Tempting though it may be to run wild through the list from arial to zapf chancery, keep in mind that professional publishers rarely if ever employ more than two separate fonts on a single page. With a little practice and some time and effort, you can achieve a striking level of design and eye-appeal with correct image and text placement, color schemes and layout. In fact, the same basic idea of less is more applies to the total amount of content you put on one page.

Overcrowded pages full of different clashing colors, jammed-in images and pictures, and rocketing text bars looks overzealous at best and downright clownish at worst. Some subtlety and room for the eye to move will ultimately be appreciated by your audience. Pages with too much going on, and those blanketed in contrasting swaths of neon and animated graphics will quite literally become eyesores that are unlikely to generate repeat traffic.

Consider, instead, some of your favorite websites, especially ones you visit repeatedly. Chances are they have sleek, simple and elegant templates or navigational bars. Their color scheme is uniform and somewhat understated but still unique and appealing. You know exactly where you are once the page loads and it’s easy and comfortable for your eyes to scan the page and read long blocks of text.

Take a lesson from such sites and apply their general simplicity to your commercial printing project. Especially in environments where several postings or publications are competing for public attention, it’s the tastefully designed but visually pleasant publications that are likely to get the most consideration.
A final word to the wise Quark user involves master pages. These are like templates for your commercial printing project, and they define and keep track of those elements of your publication that are going to be unchanged from page to page.

Logos, headers, business address footers, for example, are all in the realm of master pages. Creating and using master pages will halve your production time while simultaneously ensuring the continuity and uniformity of your product. They quite easily reduce the possibility for error and omission, and therefore should not be overlooked.


April 17, 2010 at 8:58 am Leave a comment

The Basics of InDesign’s Control Palette for Commercial Printing

Commercial printing publishers, graphic designers and casual users alike have reason to celebrate Adobe’s InDesign software for its customizability and robustness of functionality. Knowing how it differs from other commonly used web to print publishing software is essential to getting the full use out of this software. Because the basic features of this software are easy to overlook but always applicable throughout the course of a design project, a quick refresher is in order for anyone hoping to get the most out of their InDesign experience.

The customizable menu bar, which defaults to being docked at the top of your workspace in InDesign, features a special palette known as the control palette. This is the palette which changes in appearance and functionality to reflect any new tool selection made by the user. This control palette also contains the item measurements of any object you create or select within the workspace. For example, if you were to create a rectangular shape in the center of the workspace and then select it, you would notice the X and Y coordinates of this new object being displayed in the control palette.

These coordinates are very helpful when it comes to properly aligning various elements within your project or positioning single elements precisely. Because web to print and commercial printing applications, for example, demand a high level of precision in order to guarantee proper image displays on hard copies, it’s important to make note of these coordinates.

When you select your rectangle, you will notice a display of various little black boxes. When the center box is selected, you are telling InDesign to use the corresponding center of the rectangle as the reference point. Based off this reference point, the software will display the applicable coordinates. If you were to click a different reference point box, such as one in a corner, InDesign will likewise show you the applicable coordinates based off your new selection.

Other key elements of the control palette include the H and W values. These offer the user at-a-glance measurements of the height and width of their selected object. Another handy tool provided for managing the size and shape of your object is represented in the small chain icon nearby. Clicking this chain icon tells the program to constrain the selected object’s height and width in order to preserve a constant scale.

Basically, if you increase the height of a constrained object, its width will increase proportionally, and vice versa. This is a great time saving tool whenever you’re trying to create a banner or graphic for, say, a print on demand product that requires a totally filled space. In the same vein, should you find yourself having trouble manually expanding an object or image to take up the exact amount of space required, you can directly type over the displayed H and W values in order to tailor your object to your exact specifications. In this case, the chain feature serves the same purpose and will behave just as it would in a manual expansion.

April 16, 2010 at 8:42 am Leave a comment

The Basics of Adobe’s InDesign Tool Palette for Web to Print Products

As any long term user of Adobe’s InDesign will tell you, the tool palette gets a lot of use. It’s important to understand its basic functions in order to get the most out of your design project. If you’re just beginning to learn your way around this design software, it can be helpful to know that hovering your mouse over each tool for a moment will produce a pop-up with the name of the tool. A good portion of becoming comfortable with this software and using it to successfully design print on demand or web to print products is simply learning the full language of the functions, so hovering over any icon you aren’t yet familiar with will soon have you up to speed.

The tool palette in Adobe’s InDesign has a feature common to many other palettes across various other platforms and software suites. Known as the flyout, this little arrow at the bottom corner of many of the icons in the tools palette will display hidden or additional specialized options for each function when clicked.

The next major feature of the tools palette, known as swatches, is located a bit further down. These swatches allow for the assignment of color throughout your project. The swatches section of the tool palette displays both the fill color, the color taking up the body of an object or space, as well as the stroke color, which is the color of any outlines. You will also notice an arrow that allows you to swap which of these colors two you’re focusing on with a single click.

If you’ve been tinkering with slightly different shades and hues only to feel ultimately unsatisfied with your color choices, you can revert an area or object back to default coloration by pressing the small default color button on the swatch section of the tool palette. If you haven’t selected any text, you can also press “D” in order to do the same.

The next functions are essential to print on demand and web to print applications. Beneath the swatches section of the tool palette you will notice two icons, one of which is a box. This box icon tells the InDesign software to apply the currently selected colors to boxes or objects. The other icon, the capital letter T, conversely tells the software to apply selected colors to text only. This is a useful tool whenever you have occasion to create boxes or objects with text inside them, as you can quickly choose whether a certain color will be applied to the box, the text, or both simultaneously.

Beneath these color applicator icons are three more icons which respectively apply single colors, gradients of color, or no color whatsoever to a selected object. For example, selecting a box you have already colored green, and then clicking the no-color icon, will remove the green color from the selected box. Becoming proficient with these quick shortcuts to handling color will drastically increase your overall design speed.

April 14, 2010 at 8:22 am Leave a comment

Using Illustrator for Vector Based Graphics Design

Design Software Highlight: Illustrator

Adobe® Illustrator® CS4 software is a comprehensive vector graphics environment with new transparency in gradients and multiple artboards that invite you to explore more efficient ways to design. The latest version, Illustrator CS4, is the fourteenth generation in the product line. Numerous new features include multiple artboards in a single document, a “blob brush” that is similar to the brush in Adobe Flash, and support for transparency in gradients among other features.


February 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

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