Author: James

It’s a designer’s job to ask good questions

This is some fantastic advice for designers of all disciplines, but particularly web designers. Ask good questions. The right questions. This is the foundation of a good creative brief.

My personal favorite is to simply ask “what is the goal?” The article even illustrates it almost exactly how I typically phrase it.

What's the goal

Janice Gervais at A List Apart covers that question and more, and ends the article with a bit of design truth: “Your work reflects your level of understanding.”

Don’t apply Baseline Shift to move a paragraph up or down in Adobe InDesign

id-baseline-adjust
Adobe InDesign’s Baseline Shift feature is designed for moving a character up or down a little bit—and it’s great for when a bullet is too low, or a trademark symbol needs to move down, or something like that. But it was not designed for setting the vertical position of a whole line or paragraph!

David Blatner has a great run-through at InDesign Secrets on how and when to properly adjust the Baseline of your text.

Ever wonder what new features were added to every version of InDesign?

InDesign New Feature Guide
I was fortunate enough back in 1997 to be part of a team of Adobe beta testers for an app called K2, which would later become InDesign 1.0. Even having come from Pagemaker, then years of Quark use, and a buggy as hell K2 beta, I could see even then that InDesign was going to thoroughly destroy the competition and take over the industry in short order. It ended up doing just that—despite its lack of features in version 1.0.

James Wamser, an Adobe Certified Instructor, has put together a list of features Adobe has added to InDesign since… well, since ever. I’m not sure how useful his PDF will be to you, but it’s possible that you read through and find out about a feature you weren’t even aware of that’s been there for years.

Download the InDesign New Feature Guide, a 1.5MB PDF, for free.

Possible fix for laggy Photoshop features

Adobe PhotoshopIf you’re using Photoshop to work on your image then switch to another app like Safari, Mail, InDesign, etc., then switch back to Photoshop, you may notice that Photoshop gets a little laggy or even stuck.

Conventional wisdom says you need more RAM. Unfortunately that is neither cheap nor possible with most Macs. A fast SSD drive will help, but again it’s neither cheap or even possible to upgrade your storage drive on most Macs anymore.

The solution might be found in Photoshop itself.

Go in to your PS Preferences (Command+K) and choose the Performance tab from the list on the left. Once in the dialog, tick the Use Graphics Processor checkbox if it isn’t already checked, click the Advanced Settings button. Change the Drawing Mode drop-down menu from Advanced to Normal (if it’s already set to Normal, change it to Basic). Also make sure Use Graphics Processor to Accelerate Computation and Use OpenCL/GL are checked. Hit OK and you’re done

This will tell Photoshop to use your Mac’s video card to help with the heavy lifting, but not to over-do it.

Photoshop Graphics Processor prefs
While you’re in the Performance tab, you might also want to set the Memory use to about 70%. Over the years I’ve found that using much more than that of your total RAM for Photoshop has more negative effects than positive ones.