||June 9, 2011
Price: $3.99 (eBook)
Download to your Kindle (eBook)
This graphics manual covers the principles of design. It is intended for computer savvy people who need to learn the basic concepts of graphic design quickly.
Although many books have been written about graphic design, most are intended to be read by designers in training or those already established in careers. This handbook is intended for people who encounter graphics either through their jobs or through the needs of their organizations. Such people don’t need to become experts, but they do need to understand the basics either to produce graphics themselves or to work effectively with graphic designers.
The handbook covers basic graphics concepts, identifies problems that beginners frequently encounter, and clarifies the differences between graphics file formats. It also provides guidance for budgeting graphics projects and for working with commercial printers.
Concise and reader friendly, “Graphics Essentials for Small Offices” is a priced-right title that will quickly have its readers up to speed.
It’s not uncommon for staff members in small organizations to perform many roles. A SoHo employee may, for example, answer phones, greet visitors, keep the books, and mail out correspondence. Asking such a multi-tasker to take on graphics as well does not seem unreasonable; however several factors should be taken into account: Does this person have adequate knowledge to do the job properly? If not, how much time will it take for this person to acquire the knowledge? How much time will it take away from performing other duties? Will operational inefficiency result when time is taken away from mission critical activities?
The book that didn't come in the box
What could you possibly learn in a 94 page book? Not much if it's your typical, rambling eBook. But it's not. It's a straight-forward, no-nonsense, nuts and bolts guide. How could it be? Good question. For starters, vocabulary. High end and low end graphics programs have one thing in common: gobbledegook. No printed manual, an unhelpful help menu, incomprehensible menu choices in arcane jargon. How do I know if I want RGB or CYMK? Fixed or variable width fonts? Spot or bleed color? Vector or raster images? Save as jpeg or GIF? I need someone to tell me.
Enter David Loeff. All that crazy vocabulary, he explains, isn't just the made-up tech talk of the day. He delves back into the roots of the ancient art of printing which-- who knew?-- still exists. Not only does he bring us up to speed. He also enables the little graphics guy like you or me to talk to the printer like a pro. Why do I need to? Because for big press runs, press printing is far cheaper than emptying cartridges on an inkjet. He also talks about layout so you and the printer are on the same page concerning your project.
There's also some discussion of the role of the SoHo (Small office/ Home office) graphics person and a helpful bit on planning your project. There's a very brief discussion on programs-- MS Publisher (included with some versions of Office), Serif PagePlus (low end programs) up to Quark XPress and Adobe InDesign. After reading this book I went and bought Photoshop Elements 11 (which just came out as I write this review). The paperback is very inexpensive and excellently done. The eBook includes some inside color. Both are very easy to use due to Loeff's brilliant layout: words in the glossary in the back are bolded in the text, and defined in both places. You don't need to jump to the glossary in the back (but you can) when you encounter a word or idea in the text. Graphics Essentials is an indispensable tool that both novices and seasoned pros will find lives up to its name-- essential.
~ Gord Wilson on Amazon
Will answer your questions before they are asked
Graphics is an essential part of any small business, but it can be very difficult and confusing. This book aims to make it a little easier.
It is tempting to designate one of your employees as the "graphics person," instead of using an outside vendor; it's cheaper, right? Can other employees pick up the slack while the person is learning PhotoShop or InDesign? Will overtime be needed to keep up with the workload? If you do use an outside printer, make sure that they are aware of your budget. It helps no one if they deliver "champagne" graphics when all you have is a "beer" budget.
Come up with some sort of corporate identity manual, which includes your logo (with possible variations) and the colors and print font to be used in your documents. It's acceptable to re-visit the manual from time to time to do any necessary revising, but few things say "unprofessional" like constantly changing fonts and colors from one document to the next. You also need to decide what sort of text alignment will be used; left aligned, or justified. Don't use right aligned text unless absolutely necessary.
When you are designing your page, resist the temptation to get "creative" and fancy. Readability is most important. Use color sparingly. Put the headline right under the picture, and above the body text. Use a serif font instead of a sans-serif font (the book explores the differences between them) for body text. A reader's eyes travel from top to bottom and left to right. Don't try to make the eyes go in some other direction. Learn how to use, or not use, white space. The book also looks at working with images, and photo editing. If you are getting, for instance, an 8-page brochure ready to be professionally printed, the book shows just what the printer has to do to make it come out the right way.
The entire graphics process can be very frustrating for any small business. This book does an excellent job at explaining what should be going on, and will answer your questions before they are asked. It is short, and is well worth the time and money.
~ Paul Lappen on Amazon
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