Social Media versus IRL

The stereotype is this: the more time you spend online, the more online friends you have, and the less time you have left over for IRL relationships. Makes sense, right? After all, the day is only so long, and most of us have to devote a certain portion of it to sustaining life and livelihood. So conversely, it must be those of us with fabulously active social lives who don’t have time for all that Twitter jazz and Facebooking.

Or, maybe people who are naturally social tend to collect friends both online and off, and loners tend to remain relatively solitary out of personal preference. This also makes sense – in plenty of cases, online and offline friends are not mutually exclusive groups.

No Correlation
As it turns out, both assumptions are wrong. Several studies came out in early 2012 that found no correlation between social media users’ online and offline social presence. The “time constraint” philosophy and the “loner vs butterfly” idea are neat little ways of labeling phenomena, but they are inaccurate.

Overall, it seems that the main factor affecting both online and IRL relationships is how you handle yourself. After all, it is entirely possible to let live friendships fall by the wayside if you’re spending all your time online, but people tend not to let valued relationships deteriorate that easily. Going to dinner with a good friend trumps the best troll-roll.

Overlapping Circle of Friends
Another reason may be the fact that our online and offline lives aren’t as compartmentalized as we assume. How many IRL friends and family members and coworkers follow your blog/status updates/tweets? Have you ever brought an online friendship into real life? The two groups overlap. While the internet makes connecting across distances easier, especially for the time-crunched, many of our online “friends” may be people we see face-to-face frequently. So your social circle may be smaller than you think it is if it contains double entries.

All that said, the possibility of internet addiction does exist. If you find yourself participating in real life less and less while your butt sort of melts into your computer chair, seek help. But an over-reliance on social media can be more insidious than that, especially in an age where people (especially the young ‘uns) are more likely to text a friend than call.

Simple Rules
A simple rule of thumb is this – use the quickest, simplest method of communication possible. If you plan to initiate a conversation, pick up the darn phone. If a quick “yes”, “no”, or “8:00 is fine” is all you need to say, texting is fine. DO NOT post a status update asking for a ride to work in an hour. Call or text. DO NOT private-message or tweet something that could be potentially embarrassing, because you will either send it to the exact wrong person or forget to mark it as “private”.

DO NOT break up with someone in a status update or tweet, because only d—–bags do that, and it leaves too much opportunity for trolling. DO NOT make duckface in pictures, because both your IRL friends and your online friends will think you’re an idiot.

Don’t be Forever Alone
Above all, remember that text on a screen does not convey tone. That is the biggest drawback to social media, and may be the one biggest troublemaker when it comes to friendships. It doesn’t matter how many emoticons you use, how many pictures you draw, or how many times you say “lol”. If what you just typed makes you sound like an a–hat, delete, delete, delete, and rephrase.

Because, kids, although social media doesn’t necessarily affect your life, it can. Not because it’s online, but because you tend to act like less than a sir, and your adorable face can’t make up for it over the interwebz.

How Does Social Media Affect Relationships?

Social media has played a very important part in ensuring that we stay connected with our near and dear ones. There are various social media websites out there and all of them compete to provide the best possible features to the users. These social media sites have allowed people to make new friends, and have fostered many relationships. Today, you get instant updates from friends whether they are out on a skiing trip or attending a concert. These features have made social media sites extremely popular among people, especially the youth, who are hooked on to these sites all day. However researchers are asking whether these social media sites are substituting face-to-face interaction. Has technology made people to rely too much on virtual communication? Well, if researchers are to be believed, social media has led to a change in the way people communicate with each other.

Social Media and Relationships

Social media has both positive and negative effects on a relationship. On one hand, it can make one stay connected with his friends all the time, on the other hand, it can cause people to have lesser face-to-face conversation. Also, it has been seen that relationships that develop when two people actually meet each other last longer than those which develop over the internet. In the absence of social networking etiquette, the interactions that you have can be repulsive. However, every coin has two sides, and social media is no exception to that, so it is important to understand the benefits and the repercussions of social media on relationships.

Positive Effects

Social media allows individuals to make new friends, discover new interests, and connect to a large group of people who share similar interests as theirs. People who are not very comfortable with personal interaction, or who suffer from social anxiety often fail to make good friends. Social media can provide them with a real opportunity to shed their inhibitions and be friendly with people. Social media has also made it possible for people from different countries to develop effective relationships. You can interact with people from different countries and know more about them and their culture. Social media has made it possible for a person to share instant updates with each other. Long-distance relationships were earlier characterized by the absence of communication, however it is now possible to constantly stay in touch with each other. Social media websites allow an individual to create a profile which has all the information about the person’s likes and dislikes. This is extremely beneficial in knowing whether you would be compatible with that person or not. Social media also helps you to network in an effective way from the confines of your home.

Negative Effects

One thing most couples complain about these days is that instead of spending quality time with each other, the partners are constantly hooked on to the social media to know what is going on in the lives of others. This can cause a dent in the relationship, as communication is very important to sustain a relationship. It is important therefore, that you spend considerable time with your close ones and limit the time you spend on the internet. The biggest threat social media poses to a relationship is that credibility of a person cannot be gauged on a social media site. This can make people create fake profiles, post incorrect information about themselves, manipulate facts and exaggerate the truth. Developing relationship with such individuals has its own risks as these people can take undue advantage of others. Relationships developed on social media tend to be casual and this can lead to emotional turmoil and heartburn in case you trust someone blindly. It has also been observed it is easier for individuals to indulge in confrontation on social media as compared to face-to-face confrontation.

These were some of the ways in which social media can affect a relationship. Technology is here to stay and one cannot blame it for our lack of understanding. As someone has rightly said that we need to fall in place with technology rather than it falling in place with us. It is important that we put technology to good use as it can really enhance the quality of our lives.

Driving Traffic to Your Blog

Driving traffic to your blog isn’t an easy task. Ask any blogger and they’ll tell you that getting hits takes time, patience, and work. You won’t find yourself getting hundreds of hits overnight, or even over the course of a few months. It can take many months, if not years, to create a base of frequent visitors. Still, despite all the challenges, there are several ways you can give your blog a boost in traffic. Here are just a few of the tried and true methods used by bloggers all over the world.

Unique Content
Writing something that’s fresh, unique, and original will give you an advantage in that there’s nobody else writing what you are. You can pique the interest of readers by giving them something they’ve never seen or heard of anywhere else. This is possibly one of the most effective ways of driving traffic to your blog.

Frequent Updates
Now, keep in mind that making ten updates a day will not further your cause any, but it’s best to update once every day or two to keep your readers coming back for more. Fresh content makes for fresh visitors, too.

Google
Ahh, Google. Whether you love it or hate it, you need it to get a decent amount of traffic to your blog. Other search engines, too, will prove useful, but getting yourself on Google and getting a good rank are essential to getting the hits you’ll need to achieve blogger success.

Technorati, Digg, del.icio.us, etc.
Engines like Technorati and others are not only great resources on which you can list your blog, but they’re also excellent tools for networking with other bloggers. Trade favorites/diggs/etc., add people to your friends lists, start up conversations, whatever it takes to get their attention.

AutoPinger
Pinging your blog after you post is another essential tool for driving traffic your way. Personally, I use a tool called AutoPinger to get my pings across to various blog engines out there on the web. There are other tools of this sort available, too. Do a quick Google search if you’re looking for something different, but don’t neglect the power of tools like AutoPinger.

Word of Mouth
Just telling people about your blog, whether in person or through posts on forums or other blogs, is a great way to bring people. It’s personable and shows you have a passion for what you do. Do whatever it takes to get the word out that you’ve got a blog and you’re looking to have your message heard.

How to Start a Blog and Make Money

If you are not doing on the Internet what the whole world is doing, then you face the fear of being socially ridiculed in the cyber world. Guess what I am talking about? Yes, creating a blog of your own first and then using it to earn a few good bucks! I mean come on, at least 8 out of 10 people you meet will have blogs! They are a great way to earn money, directly as well as indirectly.

Starting a Blog for Money

A couple of registrations, some settings and you are almost done, to begin with blogging. Of course not to forget the blog posts! What you need to do is given in the following steps.

#1
All you need to do is to log on the blogging platforms and register yourself there. You will get all the necessary instructions. What you can also do is create a blog on your website using a top-level domain name. This is particularly advised if you plan to transform it into an Internet business totally.

#2
Once you have set up the blog, this is where the real work starts. Now here, you have to put your best foot forward. Have posts which will make it distinct and easily identifiable. If you want to promote your business, add relevant and interesting posts. They should be catchy and the lay out has to be really good. For that, the basic look of your blog has to be impressive. The themes, layouts, and templates in your blog platform will be helpful towards that objective.

#3
Another very crucial factor is to have pay per click advertising and Google AdSense working on your blog. PPC and Google AdSense will get the cash flowing in for you right from the word go. To induce an increase in traffic and more clicks, this is a must.

#4
Always remember to market your blog well, if you want it to be popular amongst the netizens. This way you will attract more visitors. Blog rolling, article marketing, and adding some credible links connected to your articles will always help you in making money.

#5
Sell your cyberspace to others like you, perhaps who are looking to expand and reach out to optimum number of people. A button like “Place Your Link Here for…”, will surely get you some easy money. This will be a good option to make some money.

Well, this was the primary outline of how you can make money with a blog. However, we are still not over with it! Here are a few quick tips to let your blog earn the maximum for you!

Tips for Starting a Blog

A few things which you need to remember are still left when you are talking about starting your own blog. These are minor things if you look at them casually. However, in context of starting a blog to make money, they are crucial.

RSS feed is a must.
If your blog is not business oriented, but it has articles and you are banking on that to get you some money, some search engine optimization and zeroing on your niche is important.
Consider registering your new blog with the top website and blog directories.
Promote and market it in all the possible ways – the best and easiest way is through social networking websites.

How Greed Nearly Caused the Downfall of Blogging

Blogs, blogs, blogs. Everyone has a blog. But why? Is everyone a terrific writer (no), a deep thinker (no), a fount of new ideas? No. So just what, then, motivates people to devote a sometimes substantial portion of their lives to a blog? Should you have one too? It’s an interesting question.

Motivation

Bloggers’ motivations are vast and varied, and the majority opinion has changed as the internet evolved. In the beginning, people blogged because it was new, and it felt like being sorta famous. There weren’t many blogs around yet, so anyone with something to say could find an audience larger than their previous audience of mother and cat.

Then, blogging platforms improved and became more accessible. With drag-and-drop site design, shared hosting and pre-made templates, creating a blog was an hour-long affair rather than a weeks-long html nightmare. And so, the rush began.

The Rush

Suddenly, everyone was reading blogs, and soon after that, everyone had a blog. What started as an online diary of sorts became a platform for whatever, and everyone was just yammering away at each other. Some blogs got to be so popular that companies wanted to advertise with them – and that was the beginning of the end.

Once people discovered that you could make money with a blog, interest skyrocketed. Those (mostly pointless) blogs that wallpapered the internet were soon littered with pop-ups, flashing, singing, dancing ads on every square inch of real estate that wasn’t covered with words.

Cheating

This capitalism-meets-internet approach led people to do what they do, and find ways to game the system and increase ad revenue – thus began the rise of Black Hat SEO. Shady individuals began making dozens of blogs with identical content, just to increase ad space and increase the likelihood of traffic. Meta tags were flooded with top search terms whether they related to the site or not. Keyword stuffing made content unreadable, and the quest for more and more content for less and less money led to pages and pages of writing with little actual information, inaccurate information, and inaccurately-translated English (which can actually be pretty funny).

Then came the content mills, paying “writers” at rates considered slave wages by the writing industry, just to churn out more and more content to place them at the top of the search results, so they could get more and more page views and more and more ad revenue. But there’s one thing they didn’t count on – Google.

Eviction

As the number one search engine, Google is basically the landlord of the internet. If your landlord doesn’t like your business, he may not be able to just kick you out – but he certainly can triple the rent when your lease comes up for renewal. It’s not that Google had anything against the people behind these ad-riddled messes, they were only looking out for their own product.

You see, all this jockeying for high-ranking search results made Google almost impossible to use if you were looking for good information. The first few pages (or the first few dozen, depending upon the search term) were nothing but crap sites just trolling for clicks without offering anything useful – which undermined the usefulness of Google’s product, so they went on the warpath.

A number of algorithm tweaks later, and a Google search will once again lead you to information you can use in most cases. The blogs and other websites that junked up the internet are gone for the most part, because they were no longer profitable.

The Sun Always Rises

The good blogs, the ones actually worth reading, are still around – because they provided value to the reader, Google’s changes affected them positively instead of negatively. They’re rising to the top of search results like cream, just waiting for your eyes – but regardless of whether you become a regular reader or not, they’ll keep doing what they’re doing.

The point is that money should not be your sole reason for starting a blog. Use it as a sounding board, a portfolio, a way to get writing experience, or even just a way to get your name out there. But don’t expect to make a decent living off of it. Running a good blog is a time-sucking endeavor, and the money you make from it will probably not match what you could make at most jobs. Very, very few people subsist solely upon blog money.

Tips for Starting Your Own Travel Blog

travel

There are two things that you need to keep in mind before starting your travel blog. Firstly, start a travel blog only and only if you travel. Don’t take information from the Internet and write articles based on that. Only travel blogs with firsthand information are trusted. See the place yourself and then write about it. It makes a huge difference. Secondly, you need to have some concrete experience in traveling to start a blog. You’ll end up making too many mistakes otherwise. Having said that, we’ll now start with 12 great tips for starting your own travel blog.

1. Write down your reasons for starting the blog.
Why is it that you want to start a travel blog? The reasons can be several. Maybe you want to keep your friends updated about your travels (in case you’re traveling frequently), you want to help fellow travelers to travel smarter, or you want to jubilantly discuss the beauties of this world that you’ve had the opportunity to explore. Maybe you want to do all the above. Writing down the reasons will give you clarity of thought, a direction, and a purpose. This way you’ll know what your aim is. You see, starting a blog is not a big deal. But maintaining it with regular post uploads can get a little tiresome after a point. The zest with which you start a blog begins to ebb and the enthusiasm dwindles. However, if you have clear reasons etched in your mind for starting the blog, this gradual creeping in of disinterest can be combated to a good extent. Having a direction always helps with the motivation factor.

2. Decide what you want to write and for whom.
Now that you know why you’re starting the blog, make a list of things you want to cover in your writing. Every blog MUST have a focus. Do you want to give your readers stories? These would cover your experiences during your travels. Do you want to tell your readers about places? This would cover information about a specific place (what to do, eat, and expect) and will have less focus on personal experiences. This way you’ll be telling your readers what to expect from your blog in the “About Me” section right at the start. If people are interested in knowing more about different places, and find you narrating more about your personal experiences in spite of having promised otherwise, they might feel cheated somehow. They should know what you are offering and then take a call on whether your blog can help their cause or not. Be very clear about what you want to concentrate on and pursue it with a great amount of attention to detail. Know which section of Internet readers you wish to convert into steady followers. Once you’ve decided on these two factors, tapping trends and optimally utilizing them to your benefit will become a cakewalk.

3. Name your blog intelligently.
Now that you have a clear picture about why and what you want to write, think of a name for your blog. The name has to stand out and also convey the objective or at least the very essence of your blog. It’s very important for the reader to at least get a hint of what he can expect from your blog. The name should be conspicuous and catchy; it should be easy for people to remember. It should induce intrigue so that people are compelled to at least read a few lines, just to see what’s it all about. A long, confusing name will not only be difficult to remember but also lead to you losing out on potential repeat visitors.

4. Talk to frequent travelers, visit other travel blogs, and understand the value of your work.
Before you start writing or implementing things on your blog, talk to travelers and see what they expect from travel blogs. This will give you a rough idea about general expectations. Simultaneously, check out other travel blogs. Make a list of things they do to engage their readers. Also make a list of interesting and intriguing elements on their blogs. Amidst all that is available on the net, try to visualize how your work will add value. How will you be different? It’s very important to do something unique. If your blog is not unique and ends up being very similar to those already out there, it will be nearly impossible for you to make a mark. See, being inspired and incorporating an element in your blog will not be considered as a copy only when you add your personal interpretation of the element. That you have the power to analyze things in your own way is what people should be able to figure out from your blog.

5. Be sure of certain choices you make; they’re long-term.
Some of the changes you make or some things that you implement on your blog are long-term. For example, the website that’ll host your blog. Shifting websites later will not only add to your work, but also play a role in your rankings on search engines. Similarly, your logo, which will play a great role in establishing your identity, will also be long-term. The URL you choose for your blog will also last forever as this is what your readers are going to remember. Every element that you add to your blog, do it after a lot of thought. Don’t do anything in a hurry, especially things that you aren’t sure of.

6. Don’t let the numbers get you down.
Initially, not many people will visit your blog. Maybe your friends, family, and a few colleagues. It will take sometime for search engines to crawl the content for your blog to show up on search engine results. This will take a while. In the meantime, do not let the number of visitors affect your efforts. You might feel a little depressed seeing shallow figures, but it is only your efforts that will pay off in the long run. Keep at it and stick to the plan you’ve designed for yourself. Slowly and steadily your readers will grow in number, stuff on your blog will be shared, and you will see an upward trend in popularity.

7. Don’t let your posting frequency fluctuate; post consistently and regularly.
Your posts are your marketing tools. With every post that you publish, you give yourself another opportunity to market your blog. However, don’t overdo it. Don’t have 14 posts in a week. Your readers should get ample time to catch up on what you’ve written. They should not feel as though they’ve missed a lot and have to spend too much time in reading all the older posts. Post consistently; have 2 posts every week or even one will suffice. Always try to post on the same days in a week.

8. Develop an understanding of social media.
Social media is the best tool you can put to use if you want to reach out to people. Websites like Facebook and Twitter don’t charge anything when you create a page with them. Of course, for further marketing and promotion, you’re expected to pay some money. Hunt for such viable avenues and tap them. Before using them, understand how they work, list down how they can help you in the long run, make a plan of how you’re going to use them, and only then create your social profiles on them. Just like your blog, your social profiles also need to be active and engaging. Go social yourself before using this medium for your blog. Try to add pictures and/or videos with every post that you write. These enhance the visual look of your blog and increase the probability of it being shared on social channels. Have social buttons which will enable your readers to share your content.

9. Don’t just decide on a sum; calculate how much you are willing to spend.
Most of the time, we just calculate a basic figure we’re going to spend on a project. As time passes, more expenses come up and sometimes very obvious ones that we tend to miss at first. Once you have written down all that you want for your blog, calculate how much they’re going to cost you for a year. Have this capital ready before you start. This way, you can concentrate on your work without much disturbance and stress when it comes to the financials.

10. Spend a good amount of time finalizing the look of your blog.
Readers develop a visual memory with certain brands. The basic theme colors you use will help readers to associate them with your brand. The look of your blog will be remembered more than your writing more often than not. Apart from this, the width of your posts should be finalized keeping in mind the attention span of readers; extremely short posts are not taken seriously and long ones come across as chunky and boring. You have to get the look just right. Certain fonts play a major role in attention span retention. Blogging is not only about writing well and writing profusely, but also about visually engaging your readers. You could consider it to be textual dramatics, if you will. So, employ all the resources you can dig up in trying out as many permutations and combinations as you can think of before zeroing in on one that seems made for you. Also, read up on the concepts of blogging in order to build your own brand of writing. For instance, if certain posts need to be of a length that is slightly on the longer side, employ techniques like inserting colorful images between paragraphs in order to break the visual monotony of words. You can also use HTML to insert colorful boxes with interesting trivia in them after every second paragraph. Knowing these things can actually help you to develop a style of your own.

11. Develop your understanding of technical know-how.
Technical know-how of platforms you are using is of utmost importance. This will determine the ease with which you’ll work and the number of mistakes you make once you have launched your blog. If you don’t know certain elements, functions, or software, read about them. Experiment with them after you’ve done your study and get better at working with them. Do this before you start posting on your blog to lessen the number of catastrophes.

12. Do your homework about SEO and keywords.
The best way to initially get readers to your blog is through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which basically deals with the use of keywords. It’s a vast function and you need to start reading up on it immediately. The basic advice is to not use too many keywords, not use them unnaturally, and to not use them unethically. Spamming might even result in penalization of your blog. Read up as much as you can about SEO on websites, forums, and discussion panels.

These tips for starting your own travel blog will not only help you to work smarter, but also ensure that your readers get the very best from you. Travel writers have started surfacing in considerable numbers in the last decade. It is a good idea to start now and make a name for yourself and your blog. Best of luck.

Tips to Improve as a Graphic Designer

The field of graphic designing is such that you can’t afford to become complacent and rest on past laurels, no matter how able you are. Continuous improvement in the work you do is the key to success. Practice helps refine the skills of graphic designers. Thinking out of the box also is one of the essential skills every graphic designer should master. There are many ways through which you can improve your graphic designing skills.

Improving Skills Involved in Graphic Designing

Every artist has a unique way and style of expression. It is the difference in perspectives of these artists that enriches the world of art. Graphic designing is an art of creating pictures, typefaces and other graphics where designers cater to needs of their respective clients. In order to become a better designer, one has to strive for excellence by learning newer skills constantly. The job description can be elaborated in as many ways as possible. Similarly, there is scope for improvement in different areas.

Attending Exhibitions and Conferences
It is one of the best ways to get new ideas for designing. By attending exhibitions you get to meet new people, share your ideas and thereby, spend time in a learning environment. You can also make valuable contacts by meeting people at exhibitions. Listening to creative people at seminars and conferences helps obtain an understanding of their ideas, thoughts, and in all, their mental state while they are in the process of creating something. Acquiring information about new designing software, techniques of designing, etc. also proves to be useful.

Sketching and Doodling
It is observed that creative ideas, many a time just pop up into the mind (and vanish) while you are doing nothing or just relaxing. You may lose out on some brilliant ideas if you wait for proper work to begin. A sketchbook comes in handy when an idea crosses your mind and you wish to put it down on paper. Freezing the volatile ideas immediately onto a paper is therefore, the wise thing to do. It is very difficult to relive or experience that moment of inspiration once again. Having access to pen and paper whenever you need it is therefore, important.

Reworking Sketches and Designs
Sketches and designs that one has created in the leisure time can be used for actual projects. Ideas that have been captured in the form of designs prove to be of great use while working on serious projects. The activity of putting these bits and pieces of ideas together is like creating a collage.

Online Forums
A graphic designer can get most of his new ideas through interaction with fellow designers. Subscribing to online discussion groups, posting questions, commenting on others’ ideas, etc. are the activities that would enrich your knowledge and also help refine the required skills.

Blogging
A blog proves to be a good platform to interact with readers, clients and most importantly critics. One can share ideas and also advertise their work through blogs. Comments and feedback received through blogs can be of great help.

Visiting Studios
A tour of graphic designing studios would help a lot in obtaining up-to-date information on the subject matter and also in drawing inspiration from ongoing projects. You can ask about doubts and problems you encounter while working.

Reading Books
The activity of reading books is equally enriching if not more, in comparison to visiting studios and meeting fellow graphic designers. The advantage of reading a book is that you can understand the given topic in a step-by-step manner to its depths.

Online Courses and Tutorials
Enrolling for online courses can help graphic designers to learn new concepts and also in acquiring skills by undertaking a methodical approach. Podcasts and tutorials can also help learn loads about graphic designing.

Graphic designers are the in-demand professionals in a world where the World-Wide Web (WWW) is becoming an indispensable tool for marketing and mass communication. You have to constantly learn new skills in order to excel in this field. Thinking out of the box, perseverance and other such qualities together make for a good graphic designer.

How to Become a Graphic Designer

Graphic designing is a fast growing field with numerous opportunities. The communication industry widely depends upon graphic designs that help create a visual presentation of an element. Advertisements in any form, web design, newspapers, magazines and product packaging are the prominent areas where a graphic designer plays a major role. You help in designing the products and services to make them catchy, attractive and visually appealing, hence, attract maximum consumers. Well, if you are a born artist or a creative thinker this is the field for you! If you have questions like how to become a graphic designer, what does it take or how long does it take to be one, then here are the answers to all your questions.

Are you a Perfect Candidate?

Before we see move forward, let’s see whether you are interested in one of the following. Do you love watching advertisements and get really impressed about the creativity behind it. Do you love working on creative image tools for hours on your computer, like to explore the latest graphic design programs? Do you just flip the pages while you see a full page advertisement in a magazine or newspaper, or check it out keenly before turning the page? Do you take interest in watching the website designs, advertisement banners or hoardings? Well, if your answer is yes, you must definitely think of entering the field of graphic designing.

Requirements

As mentioned above you need to be interested in visual art and should be really creative to be a part of this world. You can start with Bachelor’s degree in arts or design. Further you can enroll for a course in graphic design. This can be an undergraduate degree in graphic design or a 2 year graphic design program. Though you can get a great job without a degree on basis of your skills, opting for one is beneficial in many ways. Having the knowledge of desktop publishing tools like Photoshop, PageMaker, FrameMaker, QuarkExpress, Acrobat Exchange is one of the primary requirements to become one. Taking drawing courses in school is definitely helpful. During or after the course, an internship in design department of an advertising, magazine, newspaper, website or a corporate firm will help you gain a lot of experience.

What Next

Once you are done with the course and internship and have the basic experience, it’s time to go ahead. Building a strong portfolio is what you must think about. Working on and designing promotional displays, marketing brochures, logo designs according to your client’s requirements will give you a vast experience. It might also include creating visual designs for the company’s annual reports, brochure, journals, etc. Taking a job in a magazine or newspaper will give you the opportunity to develop entire layout and design of the magazine, newspapers and their special issues. You can start as a freelancer and work on variety of projects. This will help a lot in building your portfolio. Remember that an impressive portfolio is an important factor for becoming a successful designer. Along with your job, you must make sure that you keep yourself updated with the new software and programs of graphic designing. Constantly observing the designs featured in newspapers, magazines, journals, packaging designs, and learning various techniques is a must.

With all the above mentioned skills, becoming a graphic designer is not really difficult. But having a successful career in this filed means taking efforts towards constantly improving your work and delivering better output each time and meeting the deadlines. Having good communication skills and working on improving it, is something you can’t ignore. After all, for finding clients, understanding their needs, explaining them your work and convincing them that you are the best, needs excellent communication skills. Hard work, knowledge, eagerness to learn new things and ability to work under pressure can make you a successful graphic designer. All the best!

How to Reuse And Recycle Your Work

People working in the fields of computers and information technology; from programmers and dedicated network engineers to creative graphic designers will all agree with the adage: ‘Reuse and Recycle’.

Now, what is meant by reuse and recycle? Let’s take an example from the point of view of a designer. He has been handed a project to design the GUI for an online games portal. Logos, color scheme, and content have been provided. Out of sheer habit, he opens his favorite layout software and starts to visualize the layout. For reference, he goes through many other sites dealing in online games and stuff.

Here an experienced designer will certainly go into details like navigation structure, usability issues, target audience, and media to be used (flash, html, etc.) for that particular project. By knowing these things, he may start his work in the same software, which the previous artists had chosen but with a few distinct differences. This artist knows that his site will be accessed more by viewers having 1024 x 768 screen resolution or more, and 90% of them will be equipped with flash players. Also, he is using the plug-in, as he knows that 75% or more users will have a broadband connection.

The artist now thinks more like a flash designer than a graphic designer. He is a clever guy reusing his experience for future work and he has already made templates with basic dimensions separately created for different screen resolutions. He opens one of them, saves this as a new file called ‘GameNFame.com’ and now relies on all his creative juices to work. Once he is through with the design, he even has a CSS template ready, for changing the look of the browser scroll bars. He has to simply change a few color codes and he has a page ready for its first test ride.

Let’s take another example of an ASP programmer. He has been told to code a simple contact form with 9 odd text fields and 2 drop-downs, which on submission by the user, must reach ‘xyz@nowhere.com’.

To start off, let’s assume this person is not an experienced programmer and yet he is a clever one. He has access to one of the previous forms made in ASP by another programmer. He simply saves the file as “newform.asp” and changes the field names, deletes, and adds new fields if necessary and pastes the design below the main ASP code, thereby enabling his page to work. This is called recycling the work.

Though the above two examples may sound basically simple and largely used by people around the globe, the same formula, if used in more complex and time-consuming jobs, can save hours of work in a single day. For instance, recording and creating “Actions” in Photoshop saves plenty of time, if the job involves scanning hundreds of photographs, applying “Sharpen” effects to files, etc.

If you study the WYSIWYG editors available today, you will understand that they work on the same principle. Templates are ready for different files like HTML, CSS, XHTML, PHP, etc., and a programmer has the basic code ready when he opens the software and a new file.

Today’s world is filled with templates and nobody has the time to wait and wonder. If you know what you require, then don’t wait; simply grab a template and get to work. It’s too bad that there are no such templates to write an article.

Information About Giclee Printing

UV LED Curing
It refers to the process where the surface material is treated with monochromatic ultraviolet radiation from LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to cure (dry) the inks, coating or adhesives instantly.
Along with original paintings, digital prints are seen commonly at art galleries, museums, and exhibitions. It has become simpler for artists, photographers, and individuals engaged in print media to produce bulk quantities of digitally enhanced copies of any art work. Giclée prints have also become very popular as a medium of printing reproducing art with precision.
What is a Giclée Print?
A giclée print is a digital print of works of fine art like paintings and drawings. It is printed using an inkjet printer. The term giclée (g-clay or zhee-Klay) was coined by printmaker Jack Duganne in 1991. ‘Giclée’ originates from the French word gicleur meaning “nozzle” and the French verb gicler which means squirting (of liquid), as this involves spraying of ink. A giclée print is known for its light fastness (resistant to destructive action of light) and archival quality.
Iris printers, introduced in 1985 by Iris Graphics, are color inkjet printers which produce a hard copy of the image to be printed, to check for color match before it is sent further to press for mass production. Around the later part of 1980s, these printers were used for making digital prints of fine art work. Many artists and photographers preferred this large-format color printer for its accuracy and high resolution quality of color prints. As this printer was mostly used for industrial jobs and home or office printing, Jack Duganne working at Nash Editions (producing Iris prints) thought of naming these art work prints differently, to dissociate these art replicas from the industrial print jobs. Therefore the name Giclée. The Iris printers used today can print at an apparent resolution of 1800 DPI (dots per inch) and create over 16 million colors. The giclée prints can be really huge. Certain printers other than the Iris can produce prints of any length with a width of 72 inches on canvas, textiles, and few selected papers.
Giclée Printing Process
It is the highest standard of technology used currently to print single or limited editions of fine art. They are made by spraying millions of ink droplets on to various substrates (material on which images are printed). The ink used is pigmented and is fade-resistant. Both the substrate and the inks used are of archival quality. Better color accuracy and richer depth of color is ensured through this medium of reproduction.
What Makes a Good Quality Giclée Print?
Accuracy and high quality digital scanning is the first step in getting best results. A good giclée print requires the best quality inks, substrates, and coating. However, the skill of the printmaker is of utmost importance as the color management needs an experienced eye. Continuous and careful monitoring of the color system, use of color profiling techniques, and understanding the colorspace or range that the machine functions in, is part of the process.
Substrates: Giclée prints are taken on a variety of materials: canvas, cotton, silk, paper, watercolor paper, copper, wood veneer, and plastic. Whether a material can be used as a substrate has to be checked though, as not all materials can work as a base for giclée printing.
Archival Ink: Dyes or pigments are used for digital printing process. Dyes are color molecules that are transparent and so, they dissolve in water. Pigments, however, suspend in water as they are insoluble particles or color molecules. Some inks used for giclée printing include the pigmented Roland, Bulldog Ultra, Epson Ultra Chrome, Epson Archival, or the dye based Equipoise, Lyson FA II, Pinnacle Gold, and Omi Tones.
Advantages of Giclée Printing
– Artists can print editions of their art work on demand, or as and when required. They can have limited editions, which suits them as they need not engage in mass production of the paintings or images.
– Archival of digital prints is easier than storing negatives or films. It also saves time and money while reproducing old archived editions.
– Giclée prints can be customized according to the needs of the client. A special paper, a mark, the artist’s signature or a personal statement add to its selling points.
Terms Used in the Giclée Printing Process
Color calibration: It is a software and/or hardware system used while adjusting color co-ordinates between two or more digital devices. These systems generally translate color models into a language that is device-independent.

Color management: Use of technology to get maximum color accuracy and consistency is color management. A colorimeter measures over 3,000 printed colors to create profiles for the multiple ink combinations.
Chroma: It is the measure of saturation with reference to the degree of color intensity, purity of color, relative brightness of a color in comparison to other shades.

DPI: Dots per inch is the measure of detailing in print media. Apparent DPI is the perception of the print having greater detail than actually exists in reality.
Edition: The total number of prints (that are all alike) produced from one single matrix.

Open edition: An edition from one single matrix, which is unlimited in number is an open edition.

Variant edition: The edition of prints of the same image but varying in sizes, colorant, materials, image consistency, etc.
Watermark: A light faint mark or image at the background on the print protecting ownership rights of the artist. It can be a mark or symbol, also on the substrate, referring to the maker of the substrate.

Saturation: A measure of the degree of purity of a color. It measures the amount of gray in a color or the movement away from gray. More gray means lower saturation and vice versa. It also refers to the degree to which a color is undiluted by white light.
Fine art relates to the aesthetic sense and pleasure we seek. If not original paintings and masterpieces, we can definitely look forward to having a collection of some exclusive giclée prints.