If you’ve ever had to send a large file via e-mail to a printer or publication at the last minute, only to realize that either your ISP, or the ISP of the person receiving the e-mail cannot send files as large as yours, you know how frustrating it can be. You could get your own domain name and post it on your site, but that seems like overkill. You could use FTP, but your run the risk of having to spend an hour on the phone explaining to some underpaid secretary how to use FTP on her 7 year old PC – not to mention you still need a site to upload it to. Enter YouSendIt. YouSendIt is a “remailer” service, and it’s totally free. You go to their site, upload your file to THEIR server and type a custom message. YouSendIt then sends the person you want the file to go to a simple text message with a link to the actual file that they can download via the Web. Since pretty much everyone on the planet is capable of clicking a link, it couldn’t be simpler. The file remains available for download for a short time, so the end user isn’t forced to download it immediately, though you don’t want them to wait too long, because the files are deleted after a set amount of time.
One of the many vital resources any designer makes use of is stock photography sites. We would all love to have the budget for a photoshoot on each job, but the reality is that 90% of the jobs out there have a budget more condusive to Royalty Free photos. The problem is, of course, that stock photos tend to get “old” quickly. You see the same photos being used everywhere. While I’m sure most designers know about Getty, Veer & Corbis, it’s the much smaller and specialized sites that can make or break your work – sites that don’t charge $500 for a single photo. The recent trend is going to the subscription model where you pay a flat fee per year for all the photos you want. One such site is AbsoluteVision which offers photos in the JPEG2000 format – which includes an alpha channel for “cutout” images, and custom drop/cast shadows for a realistic cutout photo. Did I also mention that AbsoluteVision offers a free photo download every week. You don’t even need to be a paying subscriber, just register and you’re off to build your own image library! My only “catch” is a warning to not go crazy with the royalty free photo use. Spend some time searching for just the right photo, with so many photo sites out there, I know you will eventually find it. Rushing through and picking a photo from the old PhotoDisc archives on Getty is a sure way to get people to laugh or ignore your 1970’s era photo in an add proclaiming how up-to-date your bank’s new secure deposit service is!