Outline fonts the right way in Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesignNothing ticks me off like receiving an InDesign document where the fonts have been outlined. What a waste. There’s really no reason to do it. Not only does it kill the quality of the text, often times making it appear bolder than the original font actually is, but you loose many features such as underlines, strikethroughs and more. Just embed the fonts in your PDF file. If your printer tells you that they need them outlined, tell them to bugger-off and start your search for a new printer – because the one you have sucks! If you simply must “outline” your fonts, you can “flatten” them instead and get much better results. David Blatner over at InDesignSecrets shows you how to convert text to outlines the right way.

Why logo design doesn’t cost $5.00

“A designer should not have to invest time and resources with no guarantee of payment…”

Jacob over at Just Creative Design has an opinion piece in which he discusses his thoughts on Spec work, design contests and more. While logo design contests that pay $35 to $200 are somewhat demoralizing, and ultimately produce mediocre work, I don’t entirely agree that they’re bad and should be avoided at all costs. The fact is that your work is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. In today’s economy, companies don’t place a great value on great design. This is a poor business decision, but out of our control. If you need the money, and you can bang-out some quick (and I do mean QUICK) logo designs, why not make $200 for your two hours of work? The key to dealing with design contests such as 99designs and other sites offering these contests is to accept that the clients they bring to the table are not “prime” clients. They’re “filler.” Don’t spend a lot of time and effort on them because no matter how many you win, you aren’t going to make a living, and ultimately you aren’t going to produce your best work. I’m not advocating these design contests, I just don’t believe they’re all the evil that some designers believe. They can even serve to stimulate your creativity, or at the very least provide you with some work for your portfolio.

Force Quit your apps faster

Mac OS XMost Mac users know that you can force-quit an application by hitting Command + Option + Esc and selecting the app from the list. You did know about that, right? I mean, you weren’t actually launching Activity Monitor and selecting from the list and force-quitting that way, were you? You can force-quit your apps fast by Option + Click and hold for about 1 second on the application icon in the Dock and selecting Force Quit from the pop-up menu.

Clear print jobs from the completed list in OSX 10.5

If you’ve ever opened the individual printer application that launches when you print a job, you’ve no doubt noticed there is a Completed Jobs tab which will show you a list of documents you’ve printed in the past. Unfortunately, there is no quick way to delete all those print jobs directly from the list. Instead, you must use CUPS (Common Unix Printing System). In your Web browser of choice, go to to http://127.0.0.1:631/printers/ . This will take you to a configuration page which lists all the printers you have set up on your Mac. Now click the “Cancel All Jobs” button that appears under the printer whose current and completed jobs you’d like to remove. If you would like to prevent all future print jobs from being stored in this completed jobs list, open your Terminal application in the Utilities folder and enter the following, followed by hitting the Enter key:

cupsctl PreserveJobHistory=No 

You can change it back by re-entering the code and changing “No” to “Yes” at any time. In addition to deleting past print jobs, the CUPS configuration page allows you to configure some settings on your printer such as resolution, color and quality settings, paper settings and defaults, etc. Obviously what you can configure depends on what features the printer has.

Path Styler Pro: Creative plugin for Illustrator and Photoshop

Creating fancy logos, title graphics and stylized type generally requires a lot of work. And depending on whether you use Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, you’re probably going to end up with layer upon layer of gradients, strokes and bevels. Thankfully, Path Styler Pro 1.5 solves all those problems no matter which program you use, producing high-quality graphics with a noticeable ease of use. Read my full review of Path Styler Pro at Macworld.com’s Creative Notes blog.

20 great free online file storage services

Please Digg this if you find it useful. A few years ago, I posted a long list of free online file sharing services. If you haven’t used a sharing service to transport large files from one computer/location to another, you’re missing out. It’s a whole lot cheaper, and most times, faster than burning CDs or lugging around an external hard drive. It’s also a little more secure than just tossing your document onto a “who knows how reliable” USB keydrive. Rather than post an exhaustive list of services, I decided this time to focus on 20 of the better services I’ve come across. I have tried every one on this list and found the experience satisfactory to excellent. As for me, I prefer two of these. MediaFire is fast and reliable. With its rather low 100MB file size limit, you might be turned off. But the simple site layout, speed and reliability, make MediaFire a gem. They make it as simple as it can possibly get to share your files. I also like the fact that they’ve been around for a long time. For files that are larger than 100MB (and that I don’t want to bother splitting up), I use File Dropper. It’s another simple to use site that I’ve had great luck with. Though the speed isn’t quite as good as MediaFire, it’s still better than most I’ve tried. And the large file size limit makes it perfect for transferring large video files when a DVD burner isn’t available. Keep in mind that the File Size Limit listed for each service is NOT the total storage space allotted, it’s just the limit of each individual file you can upload. Most services offer anywhere between 2GB to unlimited. Also keep in mind that free online storage services rely on advertising to pay the bills. When the ad clicks dry up, the service goes away. Many of these sites, such as MediaFire, have been in business for a long time. But many of the sites on my original list didn’t last long. The moral of the story, don’t rely on these “free” sites for important backups. They’re for temporary storage and transfer use only. Megashares File Size Limit: 10GB* (with Custom Uploader, 1.5GB without) Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Unlimited* (see FAQ for explanation) URL: http://www.megashares.com File Dropper File Size Limit: 5GB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Forever (deleted only if there is no download activity) URL: http://www.filedropper.com TransferBigFiles File Size Limit: 1GB Download Limit: 20 Downloads File Life: 5 Days* (see FAQ for more details) URL: http://www.transferbigfiles.com SnapDrive File Size Limit: 500MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Unlimited URL: http://www.snapdrive.net/ Driveway File Size Limit: 500MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: 90 Days (deleted only if there is no download activity in 90 days) URL: http://www.driveway.com zUpload File Size Limit: 500MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: 30 Days (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 30 days) URL: http://www.zupload.com Spread-It File Size Limit: 500MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: 14 Days URL: http://www.spread-it.com SendSpace File Size Limit: 300MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Unlimited (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 9 days) URL: http://www.sendspace.com RapidUpload File Size Limit: 300MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: 30 Days (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 30 days) URL: http://www.rapidupload.com FileFactory File Size Limit: 300MB Download Limit: Unknown* (per user download limit per 24 hours) File Life: Unknown URL: http://www.filefactory.com MegaUpload File Size Limit: 250MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Unlimited (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 90 days) URL: http://www.megaupload.com divShare File Size Limit: 200MB Download Limit: 50GB per month File Life: Unlimited URL: http://www.divshare.com Media Fire File Size Limit: 100MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Unlimited URL: http://www.mediafire.com MiHD File Size Limit: 100MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Unlimited (deleted 30 days after last download) URL: http://mihd.net/ Easy Share File Size Limit: 100MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Unlimited (deleted 30 days after last download) URL: http://www.easy-share.com 4Shared File Size Limit: 100MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Unlimited (deleted 30 days after last download) URL: http://www.4shared.com QuickSharIt File Size Limit: 100MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: Unlimited* (see FAQ for more details) URL: http://www.quickshareit.com/ Uploading File Size Limit: 100MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: 30 Days (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 30 days) URL: http://www.uploading.com Bigupload File Size Limit: 50MB Download Limit: Unlimited File Life: 30 Days (Deleted only if there is no download activity in 30 days) URL: http://www.bigupload.com FileDen File Size Limit: 50MB Download Limit: 5GB per month File Life: Unknown URL: http://www.fileden.com Please Digg this if you found it useful.

Free image templates for identity design

Among the numerous resources that can be found over at CreativeBits are a set of image templates for identity design. These “blanks” are perfect for showing off your design ideas to clients. There are around 200 images in 5 different categories available. The downloads are broken up by category and are anywhere between 7 and 17MB each. You can download the templates here. The download links for each category are below the photos.

Developers, writers, Mac users: Just shut the hell up

I’ll tell you right up front, this is a long-winded, foul-mouthed, inconsiderate rant. I’ve been storing some of these comments up for weeks, and in some cases months, just waiting to explode. Below is my abbreviated list of people who can just shut the hell up: MacHeist, developers, and participants: To all of you “other” developers who cry and complain that MacHeist (and similar promotions) are hurting all developers by de-valuating applications and the work it takes to create them. Please, do us a favor and shut your yap. I’m fairly certain that nobody from the MacHeist crew held a gun to the head of the participating developers and forced them to jump on-board. They did it to make money – the same reason you make your products. If they sell their apps for cheap, then they’ll have to deal with the consequences of making less money but still provide the updates and support required. Worst-case scenario is that they made a little extra money that they probably wouldn’t have made otherwise. It’s their call, So just shut up. And for all the cry-babies and whiners who complain about the quality or selection of the applications made available for MacHeist (and other similar promotions). Please do the rest of us a favor and shut the hell up. MacHeist gave away nearly a dozen apps for FREE! As in, it didn’t cost you a stinking dime. So shut up. The bundle of applications at the end cost less than half what it would cost you to buy separately, so it’s a smokin’ deal. We’re all terribly sorry that you expected Adobe Photoshop to be included in the $49 bundle, but you’re an idiot and we’re all tired of seeing that sewer beneath your nose spewing silly requests and comments like that. If these bundles don’t include the application you desperately wanted, and you can’t believe the entire planet doesn’t use, I have a suggestion. Shut up and go buy that app directly from the developer. They could use the money. But please stop trying to convince reasonable people out there that the bundle would be so much better and you would actually buy it if it only included your favorite sticky-note app. Nobody is forcing you to buy the bundle, and nobody cares if you don’t. Wow, that felt good to get that off my chest. Here’s some more: (more…)

Setting InDesign’s text wrap globally

Adobe InDesignTired of setting your text wrap with each new object you create in Adobe InDesign? Much like setting colors or character styles globally, you can also set InDesign to always use your preferred text wrap method with new documents. To do so, close all your InDesign documents and open the text wrap panel. Set your preferred text wrap method by clicking on one of the wrap icons. Now, whenever you create a new document, the default text wrap you chose will be used for all objects. To restate the obvious, the new settings will only take effect in NEW InDesign documents.

Phantasm CS rocks Adobe Illustrator

When we talk about plugins, you generally assume we’re talking about Photoshop add-ons. Most people don’t even realize that you can add features to Adobe Illustrator using plugins, let alone name a good one. Phantasm CS Studio 1.0 by Astute Graphics is not only one of those good ones, but it’s a whole suite of good ones.

Where most plugins have the goal of creating artwork for you, Phantasm CS is more of a production tool in that it’s main set of tools involves the ability to adjust colors by Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation, Curves, Levels and more. But Phantasm CS doesn’t completely leave you out in the cold when it comes to cool “design” features. The Halftone tools is uber-cool if you ask me, but I’ll get into that later. (more…)