Design for Print

Know your audience: the secrets of great cover designs

by Keith Martin on 8 February 2011 in Design for Print
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A book cover has a specific set of tasks to achieve: it has to provide some kind of recognisable identity; it has to grab someone’s attention (appeal to the right audience); and it must, in some way, tell or at least allude to what’s inside (to sell the contents). Get this right and you have an effective cover – simple, right?

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Drawing lots: can the iPad replace the designer’s sketchbook?

by Keith Martin on 12 January 2011 in Design for Print
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If you’re a designer, the odds are high that you use a sketchbook. If you don’t, you should. Sure, you can use your Mac to throw together all sorts of ideas, but there are two important reasons why Illustrator, Photoshop and whichever desktop publishing application you favour really won’t cut it when it comes to brainstorming.

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The CD cover game as art therapy for designer’s block

by Keith Martin on 20 December 2010 in Design for Print
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What do you do if you find yourself staring at an empty page, unable to get your creative juices flowing? Design block is no fun and it happens to all of us on occasion. Fortunately, one of the best ways to shake people out of a creative slump involves a no-pressure, a purely creative bit of fun. I’ve found it’s also a great way to get new students into the basics of working with type and images.

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Creating interesting new characters for your font

by Keith Martin on 1 December 2010 in Design for Print
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Of all the design discipline specialities, typeface design is probably the most monastic. Creating a new font takes skill, serious attention to detail and a perseverance that a medieval monk would respect. Not only do you have to consider the aesthetics of stroke weight, overall form and the effect that has on the ‘colour’ of text on a page, you need to get the technical details right so everything Just Works no matter what combination of characters someone tries.

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Paper facts and recipes for discerning designers

by Keith Martin on 19 November 2010 in Design for Print
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Graphic design processes are almost always about putting marks on surfaces, and those surfaces are almost always paper. We take this medium for granted, but do we really know much about it? We talk about ‘dead tree publishing’, reject the paperless office concept by consuming tons of the stuff, recycle it (probably not as much as we should, but some at least)… and rarely give it any other thought.

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When it comes to resolution, size really does matter

by Keith Martin on 1 November 2010 in Design for Print
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When I teach, I constantly have to remind myself that things that seem simple because I learned them years ago weren’t always easy to grasp the first time around. Image resolution is a case in point: understanding the relationship between a bitmap image’s resolution, pixel dimensions and printed size is simple once you know, but [...]

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