AListApart has an old article by Nick Usborne titled Design Choices Can Cripple a Web site. While the article is quite old, it still argues a point that I feel (almost) exactly the opposite about. I believe that the content of a Web site provides the site its worth – the design has to be at least acceptable and pleasant to the eye, but it is not the major reason for me to visit. Nick appears to favor the design of a site over the content (at least, that’s the conclusion I’ve drawn after reading). As designers we tend to focus on the design, the bells & whistles and the functionality of a site. But we must not forget the content. You can’t make a promise with design that you can’t deliver with content.
If you would like to know more about typography, the meaning of terms used with regards to type (such as tracking, kerning, leading, x-height and more) and a little type history lesson thrown in for good measure, then check out Thinking With Type. For more in-depth discussion about type and some general “rules-of-thumb” you can check out Learn Typography and Page Layout. They have a great page that discusses some dos and don’ts of setting type.
Talent alone simply isn’t enough anymore. You have to be a well rounded person to be successful creative in today’s market. There are a lot of things you can do to help yourself on the way, and LifeClever: Tips for design and life has some tips to get you started in the article titled Talent isn’t everything: 7 habits of highly effective junior designers. The seven habits covered are:
- Work quickly, produce a lot
- Attend to details
- Be versatile
- Make an effort to learn
- Anticipate problems
- Set goals
- Display a positive attitude
Design is not solely visual. Those who believe it is, make an unconscious decision to confine themselves solely to craft. This limits these individuals from growing and taking on more complex and broad challenges.
No more true words have been spoken about what a designer really is in the advertising business. Production artists exist to be craftsman. People who know and understand the tools (software) like the back of their hand. Designers on the other hand must learn to be more than someone who can simply draw pretty pictures, they must learn to be communicators! Ideasonideas.com has a great article titled Designers must write. It’s a great read for the novice or pro designer.
It used to be that all things design started out in print. TV commercials, radio spots, outdoor boards and even Web sites started out with a print ad and were modified to fit other mediums. That time has long-since passed. Many Web site designers nowadays are finding that the market for Web work is rough going and extremely competitive. Factor in ever-changing technology, and you have thousands of Web and multimedia designers scrambling to supplement their income—or slide over to print design completely. So, if you’re a Web designer looking to add print to your stable of talents, you may want to take a look at this article I recently wrote for MacWorld.com, titled Moving from Web design to print. I also encourage you to register at the MacWorld site so you can post comments on the articles. The more interaction, the better the resource becomes.
For your average designer or production artist, preparing your files for printing is nothing more than selecting “collect for output” from a menu in your favorite layout application. But if you want to be more than average, you should get to know the pre-press & printing process and how you can make your jobs run more smoothly. Gregg Stalter at PhotoshopCafe has a lengthy article covering the entire printing process from terms used and selecting a printer, to prepress and finishing your job.
I’ve been looking at a lot of résumés at the office lately, and I’m highly amused by the lack of common sense, communication skills or creativity at all. People actually believe all those “how to write a résumé” books that basically make your résumé look like 10 million other résumés – which are the brainchild of a typing instructor from 1952!!! Be creative!!! And for heaven’s sake, PLEASE read this brief article about some things that just kill your résumé!
Following up on my previous post about how much to charge, I have another link on the subject. When figuring out how to charge a client for creative services, designers have several different pricing models to choose from. How do you select the most appropriate one? This article by Shel Perkins expains each category of pricing, including:
- Time and Materials
- Licensing: use-based
- Licensing: royalty
One of the most often asked questions by new designers, part-time freelancers and those wishing to make a go at freelancing full time is what to charge. It’s a tough spot. Charge too much and you don’t get the work, charge too little and you end up with a bad taste in your mouth from eating frozen burritos 3 times a day. What I find the most is that most designers don’t charge enough. I’ve heard of people doing entire Web sites for $1,000, brochures for $300 or charging a whopping $25 an hour. This is insane! Here are some helpful hints on figuring out what you should charge: How Do You Rate?, by Neil Tortorella This article is pretty in-depth and covers all the bases with regards to taxes, lifestyle, etc. The Art of Business: Finally, a Design Contract for the Little Guy, an interview with Shel Perkins and Jim Faris, members of the AIGA, which discusses the benefits of getting a contract with a client. Ms. Perkins is largely responsible for drafting the official AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Graphic Design Services. Freelancers: Get Your Money, by Rachel Goldstein A great little article covering the most important part of pricing a project, which is getting paid!