Author: James

How to make your Adobe Illustrator documents much smaller

If you’ve used Adobe Illustrator for any amount of time, you’ve probably created a complicated piece of artwork. Those files can be fairly large, making file transfer and storage cumbersome. Thankfully there’s a simple way to drastically reduce your file sizes.

When saving your files, choose the native AI format. This offers you the most flexibility, and the ability to reduce the files. You’ll also want to tick the Create PDF Compatible File box. This allows Illustrator to recover the file should the program crash.

Illustrator Options
In the Illustrator Options dialog box that pops up, tick the Use Compression box. That’s it! Instant smaller files.

Now you may have guessed that ticking that PDF Compatible File box also adds some overhead to the file, so if you’re looking for the smallest file size possible, go ahead and uncheck the box.

Illustrator file sizes
As you can see in the image above, the original Illustrator file weighs-in at 101.2 MB. Saving the file with PDF Compatibility and Compression reduces the file to 63.7 MB. Unchecking the PDF Compatibility box reduces the file even further to 25.4 MB in size.

That’s a big savings!

Carpool Karaoke: The Series — official trailer

Based on the segment that has become a global, viral video sensation on The Late Late Show with James Corden, the new CARPOOL KARAOKE series features 16 celebrity pairings riding along in a car together as they sing tunes from their personal playlists and surprise fans who don’t expect to see big stars belting out tunes one lane over.

Season 1 guests include:
James Corden, Will Smith, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Seth MacFarlane, Chelsea Handler, Blake Shelton, Michael Strahan, John Cena, Shaquille O’Neal, and many more.

Apple’s rounded-corner icons

Apple's rounded corners
I’ve always thought there was just something ‘different’ about Apple’s rounded corner icons. I wish I could explain it, but there’s something comfortable and soothing about Apple’s implementation of rounded corners when compared to virtually every other company that tries.

Free font: Satellite

Satellite font
Satellite, a free font by designer Matt Yow, is a geometric sans serif with 194 glyphs. Standard & discretionary ligatures & directional arrows are included as well as multiple language support.

What’s the best size for fonts in email, web & TV?

Just because it looks great and is readable on YOUR screen, doesn’t mean that’s the case for your viewers. I like to stick with 14-16 point text for emails and web, and about 28-32 for PowerPoint/Keynote presentations being viewed on large-screen HDTVs. Anything smaller and you run the risk of your carefully crafted text being unreadable. There are exceptions, of course—but I almost always stick with those sizes.

font sizes for the web

Font sizes for the web: It’s all about the x-height


There’s actually a science behind the best font size for the web. There’s a lot of geeky gibberish in the article (which I personally found interesting), so if you don’t care about all that just scroll down to the bottom of the article and you’ll find a chart of recommended sizes for desktop, laptop, phone and TV viewing.

When to use a hyphen, En dash and Em dash

Hyphens & dashes
Hyphens, en and em dashes appear with great frequency in typeset copy. Unlike the days of typewriters where the only character available to represent these three punctuation marks was a hyphen, all three are available in almost all of today’s fonts. They all have different usages, most of which are a mystery to us designer types. Extensis Blogger, Ilene Strizver, has a great article that explains what Hyphens, En and Em Dashes are and when you should use them.

We all know the Hyphen is made by simply hitting the dash key in the number row on your keyboard. An En Dash is made by hitting Option + dash key. The Em Dash is made via Shift + Option + dash key.

Free font utopia

Free font license
There are plenty of sites to find free fonts. The problem with most of them is that the so-called “free” fonts aren’t actually free to use for anything beyond the little flyer you made for your kid’s little-league team.

If you look at the license for many of these free fonts you’ll find that they’re only free for personal use, not commercial use—which is what most designers are looking to use them for. I’m not saying that paying for fonts when you need to use them for commercial work is bad, but sometimes you just don’t have the time or budget for them.

If you’re willing to spend a lot of time scrolling through long lists of fonts to find the very few that you can actually use, have at it. But if you value your time, try checking Font Squirrel.
Font Squirrel
Font Squirrel has a ton of fonts. All of them free. All of them free for commercial-use. There are tons of fonts available at Font Squirrel, so they’ve categorized them to make it easier to browse. Because the laws of the universe dictate that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, you can use the fonts for free in your print projects and web graphics, but you’ll have to read the license for each font to see if you can use the font for things like embedding in a website.