Don't Forget Graphic Design Fundementals
One designers take on the current state of graphic design and the common shortcomings of many new designers.
I’m going to start this by giving the definition of Fundamentals:
Forming or serving as an essential component of a system or structure
Notice, if you will, the word ESSENTIAL. In relation to the design and print world, you can not achieve a printed piece without the essentials... unless of course you just get lucky.
There are a million resources online to teach you the basics... ok, there are actually only 942, 558, but let’s not split hairs. Anyway, a good place to start is www.about.com - and if they’re too vague they’ll probably have links elsewhere to help you further. I’m not going to get too far into teaching a lesson here, but I’m happy to give a list of things you should be looking at, along with anything else you stumble across:
Bleed - Your job won’t cut right without it.
Resolution - No, you don’t need glasses, it really does look that bad.
Overprint - Chances are you don’t need this, but many programs will have it built into their default settings.
OPI - Much like overprint, it could be active and you don’t know it, and again, chances are you don’t need it.
Convert Fonts to Paths, Shapes, or Outlines: eliminate font issues by turning type into shapes.
And lastly, here’s 2 bits of personal advice I’d like to throw out there that you might not find on any standard printing site.
1. Round up your copies of Publisher, Paint, Word, or anything with “Wizard” in the name and eliminate them. Recycle the boxes they came in, use the CD installers as Christmas Tree Ornaments, whatever makes you feel you still got something for your money. Word is fine for what it was meant to be, a WORD PROCESSOR. It’s not a design application. There is a reason programs like Photoshop, Freehand, InDesign, etc. cost what they do; they work.
2. Designing for the internet and designing for print are not the same thing. Different rules for different games. Yea, football and baseball both have “ball” in the name, but if you tackle the short stop then proceed to do the Icky Shuffle they will throw you out of the game. Not sure of the rules? Ask your printer first. Any printer that enjoys receiving payment should also enjoy explaining what they need to serve you properly.