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Accentuation in Technical Illustration

There are various ways to accentuate a specific part in its installation position. However in order to keep the printing cost as low as possible, it is recommended to opt for stylistic devices that are all in black and white.

ITEDO Software. Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Color


Acrobat 9: Grayscale PDF: A Smaller PDF

If you've designed a flyer or newsletter and are distributing the document in PDF format, the color is likely a critical aspect of the document. If, however, your PDF file is part of a workflow in a law office, the color may be incidental, and may actually add nothing to the document's purpose other than bloating the document's file size.

Mankin, David R. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2010). Articles>Document Design>Graphic Design>Adobe Acrobat


Ampersands With Attitude

Ampersands have long been the character in a typeface with which typographers can indulge themselves. Sweeping curves, flirtatious finishes and bold statements – these are the things that make ampersands an exciting character to use and, better still, to design. There are, however, two problems.

Smashing (2008). Articles>Typography>Graphic Design>Fonts


Analysis of Team Design Review

Every other team meeting, three team members get 30 minutes each to talk about projects they are working on, and they get to demonstrate some of the cool things they are integrating into the project. As a team, we look at the project and both learn from what they’ve done, and make suggestions on how they might improve the project.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Graphic Design>Assessment


The Art of Icons

Being "minimalist" and "streamlined" is not always most effective. Have you ever written yourself a quick, shorthand note, only to find later that you had no way to unpack your own great idea? Icons work similarly. They are pictures – meant to provide a visual shorthand to users moving through a task. While research indicates that icons are best when initially paired with text to increase recognition and learnability, users experienced with a given set of icons will begin to ignore the text, scanning for and acting from the image alone.

Michaels, Mary M. UI Design Newsletter (2007). Articles>Graphic Design>User Interface


Artistic Distance

If you are passionate about what you create, it is impossible to completely disassociate yourself from your work in order to objectively evaluate and then improve it. But the ability to achieve “artistic distance”—that is, to attain a place that allows you to contemplate your design on its own merits—will enable you to improve your own work immeasurably and, ultimately, to cast off the immature shackles of ego. Learn to let your work shine by letting go of it. Acquire the knack of achieving artistic distance.

Burton, Paul. List Apart, A (2012). Articles>Web Design>Graphic Design


The Awesome Power of Visualization 2: Death and Taxes 2007

Visuals that provide insights come from 1) a deep understanding of the goal / objectives 2) from thinking beyond what standard trend lines or stacked bar graphs can provide. Something non-normal to grab attention and yet communicate insights (sort of already contain recommendations and action items and not just data).

Kaushik, Avinash. Occam's Razor (2007). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Log Analysis


Be Kind to the Color Blind

Using color and color alone as a visual cue is appealing because it’s usually an aesthetically pleasing and a minimalist design technique. Calls to action and visual cues are critical to interface designers because users, especially on the web, have limited patience and are looking to process information and make decisions quickly. Since the brain recognizes and forms an emotional bond with colors almost immediately, colors are a natural choice for visual cues. Unfortunately, it’s easy to alienate or confuse some of your users when some of those aesthetically pleasing colors look very similar. To point out a few interfaces that use hard to differentiate colors as visual cues, here are a few examples that have given me some trouble.

Campbell, Chris. Particletree (2008). Articles>Graphic Design>Accessibility>Color


Be Prepared: Fill the Gaps in Your Photoshop Know-How

It's next to impossible for one person to know the ins and outs of every single facet of Photoshop. With that in mind, we present three video tutorials to plug a variety of holes in your Photoshop knowledge.

Perkins, Chad. Creative Pro (2007). Articles>Graphic Design>Software>Adobe Photoshop


Review: Beautiful Evidence   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Beautiful Evidence is Edward Tufte's fourth and latest book and both follows and diverges from the directions established with The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (Tufte, 1983), Envisioning Information (Tufte, 1990), and Visual Explanations (Tufte, 1997). Visual Display examined pictures of numbers, Envisioning explored pictures of nouns, and Visual Explanations addressed pictures of verbs. Beautiful Evidence foregoes the 'pictures of' approach and instead establishes the role of evidence as the foundation of reasoning. In some ways, this latest book might have been better positioned as the first book because of its efforts to explain interplays of understanding and reasoning.

Penrose, John M. JBC (2007). Articles>Reviews>Graphic Design>Usability


Best Practices for Getting Started with SVG

Web graphics in SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format offer better quality display over a broader range of device sizes compared to bitmap-based graphics. SVG also has inherent accessibility making it the best choice for interactive graphics and those involving text.

Yu, Jennifer. IEBlog (2011). Articles>Web Design>Graphic Design>SVG


Beyond Graphic

Today's graphic designer has moved beyond graphic. The term 'graphic' fails to accurately describe our profession to the business community and the public. We should consider replacing it with a more relevant, accurate description of what we do today. Why?

Saldanha, Errol. Creative Latitude (2004). Articles>Graphic Design


The Big Picture on Monitors

The analog format of the CRT is challenged by the digital capabilities of the LCD monitor.

Hawver, Mark. Digital Output (2003). Articles>Graphic Design>Prepress>Color


Review: Book of Probes

Combine the probing thoughts of media culture sage Marshall McLuhan with the visual insights of design guru David Carson and the result is the quintessential coffee table book for anyone that works with technology and design. The Book of Probes is an intentional chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter experiment to combine the ideas of McLuhan with the images of Carson in thought provoking ways.

MacLaughlin, Steve. Boxes and Arrows (2004). Articles>Reviews>Graphic Design


Build a Tweet Map with SVG

Divya Manian of nimbupani.com reveals how to create dynamic visualisations using Polymaps, a library that makes it trivial to create and manipulate map data in SVG.

Manian, Divya. .Net Magazine (2011). Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>SVG


Can Designers Save the World (and Should They Try?)

Designers are clearly more self-conscious about their social role today than they have been at any time in the last 20 years, yet the lack of substance of the critics who have come to the fore, and the issues on which it is chosen to take a stand, reflect a political agenda that is set elsewhere. There are many areas of life in which designers can make a real difference, but we need to look first at why they are taking themselves so seriously in the noughties.

Macdonald, Nico. uiGarden (2006). Articles>Graphic Design>Cultural Theory>Politics


Case Study: Shipshape Photography

Photography has become an essential element of the communication mix for the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), and is used to reflect the diversity and international nature of the business. If executed properly, a photograph can help explain a technical point or issue in such a way that it makes sense to an audience outside of the shipping community. We initially decided to use photography to enhance the visual content of our annual report. We now also use it in company newsletters (both internal and external), brochures and exhibit stands.

Smyth, Gillian and Susan V. Gonzalez. Communication World Bulletin (2006). Articles>Graphic Design>Photography>Case Studies


Color Universal Design (CUD): How to Make Figures and Presentations That are Friendly to Colorblind People

There are always colorblind people among the audience and readers. There should be more than ten colorblinds in a room with 250 people (50% male and 50% female). There is a good chance that the paper you submit may go to colorblind reviewers. Supposing that your paper will be reviewed by three white males (which is not unlikely considering the current population in science), the probability that at least one of them is colorblind is whopping 22%!

Okabe, Masataka and Kei Ito. University of Tokyo (2002). Articles>Accessibility>Graphic Design>Color


Comics Can Make You A Better Communicator

Comics are a medium. Just like film, theater, prose, poetry or any other process of telling stories comics can be used to convey all sort so information about a wide variety of subjects to multiple audiences. Comics can make you laugh, cry, gasp in wonder, shake in terror and they can also make great instruction manuals, training aids, white papers, or any other type of business or technical communication you can think of.

Porter, Alan J. Content Wrangler, The (2010). Articles>TC>Technical Illustration>Graphic Design


Review: The Complete Guide to Digital Graphic Design   (members only)

Bob Gordon and Maggie Gordon, authors of The Complete Guide to Digital Graphic Design, reinforce effective design principles by creating a text that visually inspires and instructs. With its vibrant colors and captivating images, the book demonstrates the capabilities of graphic design through instructive images and text. Each page provides a snapshot into the creativity and power of graphic design.

Craft, Tiffany. Technical Communication Online (2002). Articles>Reviews>Graphic Design


Converting Text to Outline

Powerful design software makes many choices available to graphic designers, but just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. For example, sometimes it’s a good idea to convert your text layouts to outline, but sometimes it isn’t. Learn more about this occasionally necessary, often ill-advised practice before you decide whether or not it’s time to convert.

Strizver, Ilene. Upper and lowercase Magazine (2008). Articles>Document Design>Typography>Graphic Design


Cooking With Stock

It’s not a secret. We all use stock imagery in our day-to-day design work. So why doesn’t anybody ever talk about it? Just like the inventory of a grocery store, not everything you see on a stock photo site is an ingredient for a gourmet production. By far the worst mistake you can make when choosing stock is selecting stereotypical or clichéd images to convey a concept.My guess is that we’re all just a little ashamed. We want people to see our work as just that: ours. When you have to tell someone that you didn’t create that grungy texture, or you didn’t take that beautiful photo, it feels a lot like admitting that you’ve cheated on a test. But this is nonsense—as designers, it’s our job to put things together and deliver a composition that looks good.

Beaird, Jason. Digital Web Magazine (2008). Articles>Web Design>Graphic Design


Copywriting or Design: Which Gets the Best Results?

Designers believe that if something isn’t working well, and it comes down to changing the copy or the design, it’s always the copy that should be changed, reduced or sometimes nearly completely eliminated. How can I convince my designer co-workers that succinct, simple and memorable words can be just as important as the visuals?

Chartrand, James. Men With Pens (2009). Articles>Graphic Design>Writing>Visual Rhetoric


Creating Bulletproof Graphic Link Buttons With CSS

A CSS problem I have been wrestling with lately is how to create a bulletproof shrinkwrapping graphic button. By that I mean an image-based button that will expand and contract to fit the amount of text it contains. It is a very useful technique for CMS-driven sites that allow the client to change the text that is displayed on buttons, as well as for multilingual sites.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Graphic Design>CSS



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