Monthly Archives: December 2011

Color can make you stand and up and say hey, or maybe, just maybe get you remembered.

A few color combinations from the past year that were used for some very effective print and web design. Black and white done right can be very effective, don’t under estimate it’s value or discount it if you are limited in color.


Too many choices and not enough options

More print terms to warm you heart. Some have already been explained under the topic of texture but here a few more printing/finishing terms. And don’t forget if you don’t understand a term your designer or printer uses, ask. Sometimes we forget you may not be conversant in our language.

  • Varnish—This is a finishing process. It’s a coating added to uncoated paper to minimize smudges. A black cover will often have a varnish. Only in principle is it like floor varnish.
  • Deckle edge—It’s that rough uneven edge that is left untrimmed from the paper making process.
  • Throw out—A page that is bound into a publication that folds out. A centerfold.
  • Tip-in—A card or page (usually of a different type of paper than the rest of the publication) glued into the binding of a book. Think of magazines with their subscription cards glued in.

You’ve got an idea, now what? Thumbnails

You have the idea. How do you flesh it out? Because it isn’t a whole formed idea, it’s just the germ. Where do you go from there? Go big or go home? Not yet. Right now think small. Really small. Thumbnail size small. Thumbnail is just a figure of speech. But I am talking about small. Small drawings. How small? Oh, whatever you can see. One inch, two , three, whatever. You’re just blocking out your idea. Drawing shapes that represent elements. Things to be moved around. I designed a logo for a consulting company, Civic Square. I drew these digitally but they can be drawn in ink, pencil, crayon, anything. They are small and I was playing with a germ of an idea. Try it out with your newsletter, that ad you may end up doing for a program book. Another thing I like to do is cut out the shapes I think I will be using and move them around on a piece of paper. Seriously, it works really well. See?

The rules are there are no rules!

There are rules. The sooner you accept that the better off you’ll be. The key is to decide which rules you’re going to break. I mean, fail to notice. The rule that I you urge to consider is the rule of thirds. Not in terms of your dinner plate. That’s a whole other blog. But for the record eat mostly plants. Nope, I’m talking about the rule of thirds as it pertains to page or image composition. Used lots by photographers and designers it is a compositional tool for placing important elements in key places. It’s simple to employ. Lay a three-by-three grid over your picture where the lines cross are the key spots.

Notice that the areas to the right are not filled with an image. The tone there is to support the image of the ornament with contrast. These areas on the right are intended to lead the eye around and back to the ornament. Before you use the rule of thirds look at paintings, photos, ads, etc., to see how the rule of thirds is employed. Then try it out yourself. And even if you don’t get it quite right, no big deal, it takes some time to learn.