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Archive for June, 2009

Just like choosing any profession, it’s important to consider what is really involved and whether or not it’s the right fit for you. As a former graphic arts instructor, I had students who did manual labor for a living and were dreaming of working Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. I had students who’s parents were encouraging them to go to college and they figured graphic arts could be an easily attainable degree. And then there were those students who would eat, breathe, and live design.

Let me start by saying that it isn’t as easy as it looks, and it’s not as cut and dry as you might think. But talented, hard-working people can make a decent living with a good quality of life in the graphic arts industry.

It starts with talent and a passion for art. That passion should be fostered at a quality college or trade school. It’s important to learn the structure behind good design. Understanding color theory and typography can make a good designer great. Learning to conceptualize solutions and execute your ideas can make you infinitely more marketable. I also feel it is important to start working in the industry at an agency verses an in-house art department. The wider range of clients and projects will broaden your horizons and expand your portfolio.

I have worked for in-house art departments, large agencies, small boutique design firms, and as a freelancer, and the following has been true no matter the arrangement:

1. It can be mentally exhausting as well as creatively stimulating. Just like the manual labor jobs, sometimes I go to bed completely beat from the day. But, when you win those awards and promotions because of your great ideas and hard work you feel like you’re walking on air for a week.

2. Some days you work 9am-5pm, but most days you work until the deadlines are met. And actually, it’s the kind of job that you never really walk away from. I’m thinking of the next great headline and solution to my clients problems while I eat my breakfast in the morning, when doing my grocery shopping, and when I exercise.

Becoming a graphic artist is not for those thinking the grass is greener or those looking for an easy way out. It’s for those who truly love to design and who are wiling to work for a career doing what they love.

Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

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Maybe you’ve heard these terms from your printer, designer, or marketing manager but you still aren’t sure exactly what they mean. You’ve come to the right place, by the time you finish this article you’ll be a pro at understanding the differences and importance of these graphic art terms.

Raster Art is something you’ve seen quite a bit of, and in fact most computers, both Mac and PC, come with some form of a raster based program like Adobe Photoshop. Digital photos, for example, are raster. The image is made up of tiny boxes of color and each box contains only one color. Having thousands of boxes, each slightly different shades of one another is what makes up a photograph. When there are many boxes per square inch (aka, high resolution or high dpi – dots or “boxes” per inch) then the image appears clear and smooth. But when a raster image is enlarged (or when it doesn’t have many boxes per inch, aka low resolution) the image will look jagged and unclear. You’ve probably noticed this if you have ever printed a copy of a webpage or any other graphic from the web, as those graphics are usually only 72 dpi (high resolution printing requires 300dpi.)

Vector Art is drawn imagery such as many illustrations or logos and is a little more conceptual to understand. With drawing programs (like Adobe Illustrator) there are no “boxes” of color. Instead, you draw your image using points, lines, and curves. The program takes note of the coordinates of every point created and calculates the exact curve between each pair of points. It’s all mathematically designed. Because of this, if you shrink or enlarge a piece of vector art, the program simply recalculates the math and the image remains crystal clear.

So, why is this important? Well, whenever you design using raster art you will want it to be the appropriate dpi so you image is clear (and so your piece portrays the professional, quality company that you are). That means, for web based designs you will need your artwork to be at least 72dpi at 100% of the usage size. With print, you will want at least 300dpi. In addition, certain graphics are better designed as vector art. Logos designed as vector can be enlarged to create building signage, vehicle graphics or sized down to create embroidered hats and company logo pens. You are never limited by the quality of a vector graphic, and it can always be converted to raster if needed for certain print and web applications (however, raster cannot be converted to vector).

Post written by KRSmith at www.khrysser.com.

ABOUT PROJECTCENTER:

ProjectCenter is a single-source service company providing marketing and document solutions to small, medium and large-sized businesses in the U.S. area. ProjectCenter is based in Phoenix, Arizona and its services include graphic design, web design, printing, copying, scanning and mailing. For more information, please call (602) 252-6655 or visit www.makepapereasy.com or follow us at http://twitter.com/ProjectCenter.

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