Tagged: guides

Designers: What to charge, what should your contract look like and other critical information

Graphic Artists Guild HandbookThe number one question I see from freelance designers who are just getting started in the business is “what should I charge.” The second thing I hear often is tales of woe from designers who did work for a client and failed to receive payment for one reason or another. Inevitably other designers chime-in with comments like “you should have had a contract” or “this wouldn’t have happened if you had a contract.”

Graphic Artists GuildThankfully, the Graphic Artists Guild exists to help designers and content creators answer these questions and much more. The primary way they do so is by offering their excellent Graphic Artists Guild Handbook Pricing & Ethical Guidelines.

In its 15th Edition, the 430 page 8.5 x 11 inch handbook contains invaluable information about virtually every aspect of running a freelance design business. Some of the topics covered are:

  • The latest pricing guidelines for buyers and sellers. 
  • Current salary information with job descriptions. 
  • Formulas for determining hourly and per diem freelance rates. 
  • Hourly freelance rates by discipline. 
  • Copyright registration information. 
  • Model contracts and forms that can be adapted for specific needs. 
  • An expanded chapter of additional professional, business, and legal resources with the latest contact information.

The salary information for various design positions in a professional agency is great for those looking to negotiate their salary at an agency, as well to use as a basis for setting freelance rates. The contract section is awesome for those of us who simply don’t know where to start coming up with a contract to use for our own purposes. The section on dealing with payments, non-payments and collection strategies is outstanding. And the chapters covering all those lovely legal issues such as copyright, trademark and registration puts everything you need to know in plain English. The entire book is organized for quick reads on all the topics.

I almost can’t believe in my 35 years in the design/content creation business I had never heard of this book. I went to the “School of Hard Knocks” – having this book back then would have prevented a lot of sleepless nights, research time and quite a bit of Pantone 877 hair.

There are two ways to get the book. One perk of membership in the Graphic Artists Guild is receiving the Pricing & Ethical Guidelines book for free. If you’re not ready to become a member, you can buy the Graphic Artist Guild Handbook Pricing & Ethical Guidelines for $44.99 from the website.

If you’re getting started in the design business looking for pricing, business and ethical guidelines, or even a seasoned pro looking for salary comparisons or a knowledge brush-up, this book is a must-have.

Easily create guides at any angle in Adobe Illustrator

Rotate Guides in IllustratorMost people are aware that you can pull a horizontal or vertical guide out of the document ruler in Adobe Illustrator. But I suspect many users are unaware that you can then rotate that guide to any angle you wish.

Drag a guide out from the ruler. Now make sure your guides aren’t locked by unticking Lock Guides in the View>Guides menu. Select the guide (you can click and drag over the guide to easily select it) so it is active. Now select the Rotate tool (or simply hit the R key) and rotate the guide to your desired angle. Once you’re finished, you can re-lock the guide to keep from accidentally moving it.

Creating precision guides in Photoshop with the GuideGuide panel

Before you ask, the answer is no, there is no error in the headline. The name of the Adobe Photoshop Panel add-on is GuideGuide. It has a silly name, but it’s one of the more useful add-ons I’ve seen in quite a while, and it’s absolutely free.

Guide Guide panel

GuideGuide is a custom Panel you add to Photoshop which makes creating precision guides as simple as entering some numbers and clicking an icon. Rather than go into loads of detail, I encourage you to check out the GuideGuide page Cameron McEfee has put up for sharing his creation. If you’re a web designer creating comps, or a graphic designer looking for precision column guides, this Panel is going to make your life MUCH easier!

Temporarily turn off InDesign’s Snap feature

InDesign CS5If you happen to have a lot of objects in a relatively small area and are trying to drag and drop an object in a specific location, it can be difficult to do so due to Adobe InDesign’s Snap To feature. You object may try to snap to other objects on the page, or even guides.

You can avoid this headache by turning off the Snap To feature temporarily by press and holding the Control key as you drop your object into place.

Working with Photoshop Guides

Guides can be really helpful when composing your artwork in Photoshop. Many users often find themselves tediously trying to place a guide at the exact center of a Photoshop document by dragging the guide out of the ruler. Even holding the Shift key down to have the guides snap to the tick marks on the ruler, it can be a pain. There’s an easier way to do it. Go to View>New Guide and choose either a horizontal or vertical Orientation by checking the radio buttons. Then type 50% in the position box. Repeat the process for the other Orientation. You’ll now have guides at the exact horizontal and vertical in your document. Now that you’ve created your guides, you want them to stay centered. But if your guides are locked into place and you crop or otherwise resize your image, the guides remain wherever they are, including off the image completely depending on where they are located. To have them remain at the 50% mark no matter how you crop or resize, simply unlock your guides by hitting Command + Option + ; (or visit the View menu and unlock them manually). Alternatively, if you really want the guides to stay in place, lock the guides before your crop or resize. So that vertical guide you placed at the one inch mark will remain there after you resize your image (unless of course you resize your image to smaller than one inch).

Select & delete all guides at once in Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesignIf you’ve ever received an Adobe InDesign file from another designer or client that you need to work on, and upon opening found the document pages absolutely covered with useless Guides (Don’t you just hate that?), this little tip will ease your pain, and clear the document of unsightly and largely unnecessary guides. Rather than deleting guides one at a time, hit Command + Option + G then Delete. This selects all the guides on the page and deletes them. If you find the guides locked into position, hit Command + Option + ; to unlock them before selecting and deleting them.

Select and distribute guides easily in Adobe InDesign

Adobe InDesignMy friends over at CreativeTechs have a great tip to help you evenly distribute guides across your page in Adobe InDesign. You could do it the hard way, using measurements and a steady hand, or the easy way as follows:

  • Set your first and last guide where you want them, then drag more guides out until you have as many as you need. You don’t need to worry about where they are, as long as they’re between the first and last.
  • Now drag the Selection tool (solid arrow) across all the guides so they’re selected (make sure you only have guides selected).
  • Now click on either the vertical or horizontal Distribute icon in the Control panel at the top of the screen. Your guides will automatically be evenly distributed between the first and last guides you set.

If you need more help, I recommend you click the link above because CreativeTechs has a great animation of the process.

Set vertical & horizontal guides at one time in Adobe InDesign

If you want to set a vertical and horizontal guide along the edges of an object in Adobe InDesign, you normally find yourself dragging a guide out from the horizontal ruler, then another from the vertical ruler. Did you know you can save time by setting both guides at once? Let’s say your want to set guides, as I have in the image above, across the top and down the left side of a placed image. Hold down the Command key and click in the crosshairs icon where the two rulers meet at the top of your document. Drag out the dual guides to the top left of your image while still holding the Command key down, and release when they’re right where you want them. As you can see in the animated image above, the guides both appear right where I dragged them and I’ve saved myself another trip to the rulers!

Finding the exact center of your Photoshop document

In Photoshop you may find yourself trying to locate the exact center of a document by using a select all and dragging guides to line up with the handle points. This method works, but is tedious. Instead, use the View>New Guide menu item and use 50% as the horizontal and verticle locations in the New Guide dialog box.