A follow-up. Last year I told you I was teaching myself InDesign. To reiterate, I am not a designer, but sometimes I want to design things. It can be a frustrating process at times. I am sharing because a lot of my customers are not designers either, but they are required to design things from time to time. I thought I would share what I have learned – through trial and error and from others, and maybe it will make the process easier for someone else.
In no particular order, here we go!
1) Save, Save SAVE.
Save frequently. I would like to say it only happened to me once, but all it takes is a program to freeze up, a computer to die or any number of events that might cause you to lose your work. I suppose this is true of any file you are working on, but experience tells me, it is extremely painful to work through layout and design only to lose it and have to re-figure out how you did it in the first place!
2) Keep design pieces you see that you like. Utilize the great design of others you see as a template. It doesn’t mean you have to copy a design exactly, just mimic the elements you like.
3) Utilize free online print design templates. Start with one of their well-designed “backgrounds” and make it your own. Many online sites let you save the design as a pdf. You can place that pdf in your design program of choice and add text and/or photos over it. Be mindful of the resolution and if you need to size it for bleeds, etc. Or just create the whole piece in the online design site! Look up “free online design programs” and start creating!
4) Naming files. Let’s be honest, I am not one to talk as an authority on this as I still haven’t mastered this very simple skill. Basically, I can say this, BE consistent and don’t ever name a file with FINAL. Why? Because you will end up with a folder full of “FINAL” files. I would recommend naming by date or number (ie.1,2.3). Then you can easily see in your file folder the most recent update.
5) Get a second opinion, but not 3 or 4 or 5 opinions. I have found it is helpful to have another set of eyes to offer a constructive critique, but too many opinions will have you scrambling to make corrections, change colors, design elements and ultimately you will never make everyone happy. And in the end, probably make yourself miserable.
6) Do re-read and re-read again. Or maybe have someone else read. Re-reading catches spelling errors, but it also catches run-on sentences or oddly worded sentences. I write like I talk. Sometimes with too many words and very long sentences. Someone with a different writing style may be able to offer helpful suggestions to improve your message.
Take these print design tips from me, or not!
Now go forth and create!
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