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.