The worst argument against the Apple Car

There are dozens of ways in which Apple’s apparent effort to build an Apple-branded car could go wrong, but there’s one argument against the idea that I’m hearing a lot of that really doesn’t make sense. From Henry Blodget to former GM CEO Daniel Akerson to the LA Times to Yahoo Finance people are saying this won’t work because the car industry is a “low margin” business in contrast to the fat margins Apple is used to earning most of all on its workhorse iPhone.

Vox has a great take on the “low margin” aspect of this Apple Car story. The observations of idiots like the former GM CEO, Daimler AG chairman, and Yahoo Finance writers are so completely out of touch with the reality that Apple has been operating under for the last decade, that it’s no wonder they find their companies (Mercedes excepted) swirling around the toilet bowl with all the other turds of business.

That being said, those minivans Apple rented that have been seen driving all over CA, FL, AZ and a few other places, have been proven to be mapping vehicles (possibly even 3D mapping). So all this palaver of Apple building a car in the next five years, while interesting and fun to talk about, is just silly click-bait at this point in time.

Free eBook: The Freelance Handbook

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This is not an in-depth, step-by-step guide to becoming a freelance designer. Instead it gives you the broad strokes, with plenty of things to think about and act on.

I’m about half way through reading the 115 page PDF and I must say, there’s some really great advice in this eBook—even though the illustrations are stuck in the 80s ;)

How to recover a missing image link from an Adobe Illustrator file

Recover missing images from Illustrator
Have you ever received an Adobe Illustrator file that when opened offers the dreaded “Could not find the linked file” message seen above? The designer who provided the file to you forgot to either embed the image in the file, or send the linked image along with the Illustrator file. Worse yet, you need that image file now, and the clueless dolt who sent you the file is nowhere to be found, presumably hiding from you under a rock somewhere!

Fear not. There is a way to recover that missing image for use not only in the Illustrator file, but any other application as well. Now before I tell you how, just be warned that A) The image quality may not be quite as good as the original. And B) The method described below assumes that the image originally linked to in the Illustrator file was high-resolution enough to begin with. (more…)

Handing over source files to clients: Be realistic

Source files

If you’re a freelance designer you either have been, or will be at some point, asked to provide the source files for the work you produced for the client. Generally speaking, this means a full file collect of the InDesign file, fonts, any placed vector files and images, including a layered (PSD) file if applicable. Obviously this is so the client can use the files for producing further work. Without paying you. Ohhhh myyyyyy!

Unless you had a contract that spells-out otherwise, you are considered work for hire. As such, you do not own the rights to the work—those rights are transferred to the client when you get paid. But it doesn’t cover the “working files.” So unless the contract did stipulate that you hand over the source files, you aren’t legally obliged to do so.

But here’s the reality…

You likely aren’t creating a work of art. We’re probably talking about a corporate identity kit, or an ad, or a brochure. The world we live in simply doesn’t afford us some of the luxuries designers had decades ago with regard to keeping the source files.

Refusing to hand-over the source files (including those priceless layered Photoshop files) is NOT how you earn more work from that client later on. If you want to be an asshole about a few files that you’ve already been paid for producing, you’re doing nothing but pissing off your (now former) client. Trust me, if you’ve been paid for the work, don’t delay in providing those files to the client with a smile on your face. If you delay, you will tick them off immediately, and for many people, there’s just no getting back to a good place with them once that happens.

Zip it up

When you design a logo, provide the vector files. When you design a brochure, provide the InDesign file, any placed vector art, and any image files (including any PSD files that may be required to make edits). Add it all to a Zip file and send it to your client in whatever way is easiest for you. Burning a DVD with the files may be necessary, or even sending an external USB drive with all their files (which you should charge them for!) may be necessary if you won’t be working for the client moving forward.

There’s just no reason to be a stubborn ass about it. You got paid. Give them the files. All the files. What are you going to do with them if they’re no longer your client anyway? It’s just silly.

The only exception being the fonts. By law, you are not permitted to share fonts with anyone other than a service bureau/printer for the purpose of outputting the files for the specific piece of work you used them in. In other words, the printer can install the fonts on their device to print the file; but you cannot provide the fonts to your client so they can produce other works using those fonts. Convert fonts to outlines in your vector art, and provide a link to the site where the client can purchase the fonts if they so choose. And be sure to explain why you can’t share the fonts.

Back to reality

Again, it’s important to understand the reality of the business in the modern day. There are plenty of $25 an hour “designers” out there that will be more than happy to re-create the work for your client anyway—I know, because I’ve done it many, many times. So withholding the source files from your client will only ensure that you’ll never get work from that company again, nor any company that your client contact goes to work for in the future. It’s just not worth it.

I know many of my fellow designers will not agree with this advice, and still more will scream about contracts, legal obligations, standards & ethics, blah-blah-blah. No matter what the argument, I can still bring it back to “if you got paid, hand over the files if asked.”

Know Your Hyphens, En and Em Dashes

Hyphens_dashesHyphens, en and em dashes are three visually similar yet significantly different punctuation marks that commonly appear in text. Their definition and purpose are frequently misunderstood by designers and writers alike, often leading to inaccurate and unprofessional typography. While some of this confusion is a result of typewriter conventions still being used in today’s digital world, it is ultimately up to the person doing the typesetting—whether it be a production artist, web programmer, or graphic designer—to get it right.

Ilene Strizver has a great write-up at CreativePro about when to use each, complete with pretty pictures for us designers!