Tagged: advice

Why you shouldn’t install MacKeeper

MacKeeper

But the real problems with MacKeeper that I can see is that it provides questionable value to most users, can destabilize an otherwise stable Mac, and embeds itself so thoroughly into the operating system that removing it is an uncomfortable and weird process.

iMore’s Peter Cohen wrote a great article about MacKeeper, a highly-suspect disk utility for the Mac that’s been floating around for quite a long time. He makes a great argument for not installing it.

I’ll go one step further than Peter and say that running ANY disk utility is largely placebo, and quite often causes more problems than it solves. I haven’t run a disk utility program since the pre-Mac OS X days and have zero problems.

If you want to feel like you’re doing all you can to keep your Mac running smooth, try this:

  • Let your Mac stay on all night for six days, then shut it down on the seventh before you go to bed. Mac OS X runs maintenance scripts overnight.
  • Run Onyx once a month to empty caches.
  • Limit the amount of apps you install that run in the background. Generally these are apps whos icon lives in your menubar.
  • If something does go wrong or your Mac is running abnormally slow, have an experienced friend take a look at it, or take it to an Apple Authorized repair shop.

Advice: Building the best graphic design toolbox

There is no perfect set of tools for graphic designers. We’re all unique, we all work in different ways, and budgets always come in to play. I’ve put together a breakdown of major factors when building the best graphic design hardware and software toolbox based on my experience. Consider the following as a guide, rather than a set of absolute rules.
Design Toolbox

Keep it simple

I’ve been a graphic designer for 30 years, using the Macintosh the entire time to produce work for some great clients. I’ve worked for ad agencies large and small, a design firm, printing companies, and I’ve freelanced full and part time. Over the years I’ve learned a few short rules as it pertains to building my design toolbox and getting things done—and it has held true everywhere I’ve worked. Those rules are: keep it simple no matter the cost, don’t get caught up in software trends and gimmicks, buy a little more than you think you need, because you will grow into it. The following is more specific advice for building your design toolbox. (more…)

Design Advice: Naming your Photoshop layers

For the love of God, PLEASE NAME YOUR LAYERS. There’s nothing worse than opening a Photoshop file with 50 layers that are named Layer 1, Layer 2, Layer 1 copy, Layer 4 copy, Layer 4 copy 2 (you get the idea). It makes it extremely difficult to work with later on; especially if that Photoshop file was created by someone else.

Name your layers in a short but descriptive manner. And don’t be afraid to group things into Layer folders. Photoshop even has a Note tool you can use (found under the Eyedropper tool). You’ll have a much easier time editing it later, and anyone else that has to work with the file will thank you.

Design advice: Know your target audience

Lost on most of the design talent coming out of portfolio school is the fact that all the talent in the world won’t make you successful unless you learn how to target your desired audience with your design and messaging. Design is about communicating the message in a way that your target finds it easy to read and desirable. Great design isn’t always successful, but success is always due in part to great design.

Here’s a case of great design that isn’t remotely successful. The email below is one I received from Network Solutions recently. It’s not that it looks bad, it’s not that the information in the email isn’t accurate or easy to read. The problem is that it’s certainly not targeted at someone like me. But it is rather insulting to me, and has absolutely no chance of getting results from me. Now I’ll grant you that the average consumer isn’t as knowledgable about this subject matter as I am, and it’s a mass-email sent to (presumably) hundreds of thousand of people. But they sent it to me, and it’s a great example.

Nice design

A nicely designed email advertisement? Only if I’m an Internet idiot.

As you can see above, the email’s primary message is that Network Solutions offers Cloud-based hosting. The main message is also the main problem. Can you tell me what hosting (from any Internet Hosting Provider) is NOT cloud-based? Of course not. All hosting is cloud-based, otherwise nobody but you could see it. Duh! Let’s move on to the next problem. Apparently they think I’m blind and wouldn’t notice the fact that the $5.99 per month is only for the first three months. No mention of what it is after, not even in the disclaimer. I could spend an hour listing the reliable hosting companies that offer cheaper prices than $5.99. Clearly they’re hoping I don’t do research before paying for a service. The fun doesn’t stop there… (more…)