Borrowed Logos: A Symptom of Market Void?

Cheap pre-made logos can seem to be small companies’ saviour. But their company image, not being backed up by proper marketing research, could be at risk

Many people in the design world might have probably heard about the dispute involving LogoWorks. Some of the logos presented by LogoWorks seemed to have been used and owned by other companies.

This is an instance that shows a possible market void in the world of design. A company providing design services, such as logos, should always have the clients in mind when doing so. If they cared about their clients and not just about making a few bucks, they would make sure their logos would be quality work and would not be copied from somebody else. It ruins the branding of the clients who use the logos as they are just copied “company identities”. That said, somebody who just buys a logo off a site like LogoWorks obviously doesn’t understand or isn’t bothered about branding, as it’s very unlikely that pre-made logos which do not target the company’s target market would forward any type of marketing strategy.

As I stated before this seems like a market void–companies who want to get cheap logos look for places where they can get one, often overlooking the positive effects that a well marketed company image can have for them. Factually we have two conflicting worlds here: the world of the professional designers who obviously want to get a proper exchange for their valuable work and the time they spend in designing and develop a branding strategy for their clients, and the world of the small companies/clients who might not afford certain expenses.

The answer to this would probably be designers whose only or main target is small companies as it is very likely that their fees reflect that. Yet designers’ work is valuable whichever type of client they work for/with. A better answer would probably be to educate clients on the importance of branding and marketing and how a pre-made logo cannot substitude a proper researched logo which is tailored for the client’s target market. Clients should be educated on what is behind the creation of a logo and how the work that goes into it will actually put the client in the position where he can afford things like proper promotion. Associations such as the the Professional Graphic Design Association can help achieve this.

Related links:
PGDA: Code of Ethics
Creative Latitude

InDesign vs Illustrator

Some people might wonder what the difference is between InDesign and Illustrator. The two programs have some similar features, but they are geared towards different aspects of Desktop Publishing.

While there are plenty of articles about Quark VS InDesign, I often see questions about the difference between Illustrator and InDesign.

Many of the tools and graphical elements in the user interface of the two programs are similar. Many functions are similar. Printers who accept InDesign files will accept Adobe Illustrator files too. Soo, why can’t one just buy either program?

Illustrator and InDesign have two different purposes. While it is true that one can design an entire flyer in Illustrator and give to a printer to get it reproduced, there are things that Illustrator cannot do, when we talk about laying out a piece of literature.

The first problem arises when one tries to design a multi-page document. Illustrator can only deal with one page at the time. That means one file for each page. It also means that consistency could go out the window because you don’t have the aid of master pages and other tools that you do find in InDesign. You might think: “Oh well, not a big deal, I will just copy and paste the repetitive elements in each document.” Just the fact that you have to create a new document for each page is tedious. Then you start copying and pasting elements in each document, making sure they are all exactly on the same spot, and if a graphic element is going to run through a spread of two or more pages, then you will really start having a hard time. Imagine doing all this for a publication with 120 pages.

InDesign has also other tools that aid the designer in his workflow. It has preflight tools that help the designer see if all the elements of the document are as they should be for offset printing. You can easily check which images are CMYK and which ones are RGB without having to open all of them in Photoshop or some other graphics editing program to find out. You also have a packaging function, which allows you to collect all the files needed for a publication, flyer and so on, in one place. That is images, fonts and obviously the InDesign file.

InDesign gives you a better control over how to place external images withing an InDesign document and treats clipping paths differently from Illustrator.

The tools in the Tools palette of the two programs are different, as well as other functions. InDesign has tools that allows you to do basic editing, such as the Line tool, Shape tools, Scissors Tools and so on. Those tools allow you to create some basic shapes and so on, so you don’t have to open another program, such as Illustrator of Photoshop, to draw a rectangle or a line. However when we talk about graphics editing Illustrator is way superior to InDesign. This is because Illustrator is designed to handle graphics, particularly vector graphics. Illustrator as an array of tools that allow you to do all sorts of things with graphics. It has filters, even 3D options. Illustrator’s purpose is to create and edit vector graphics and that is its strongest point. It is much superior than InDesign in that regard. Don’t use InDesign for extensive vector graphics editing, because it is like using a toothbrush to sweep your floor.

Yet when we talk about laying out a publication, you are better off using InDesign, as that’s what it’s for and its tools are supposed to make your life easier while you design. You would be importing graphics you have made in Illustrator, or Photoshop or what have you, into InDesign. InDesign is what brings everything else together and what will give you the final result. Yes you can use Illustrator for laying out single page documents, just keep in mind that you won’t have the aid of the tools which you would otherwise find in InDesign.

As I said at the beginning, the difference between InDesign and Illustrator is in their purpose and, conesequently, they were developed with different focus.

InDesign Reviews

Do you want to purchase a layout application, but you are not sure which one you want to go for? If you are looking at InDesign these reviews below might help you make a judgment.

Here is a list of InDesign CS2 reviews from other sites. Adobe’s layout program is proving to be a powerful competitor of QuarkXPress. How many upgrading users will stick to QuarkXPress and how many will switch to InDesign? The release of QuarkXPress 7 might come too late considering the impressive features of the already released InDesign CS2. Find out about InDesign’s features in these reviews.

The Reviews

Pariah Burke, both Designorati’s Chief Editor and Quark VS InDesign Editor, shows you the 10 top features of InDesign CS2 on Quark Vs InDesign. He says:

We’ve been biting our tongues for months—in my case, for more than two years—about all the incredible features in InDesign CS2. Now that Adobe has officially announced it, we can finally speak.
Read the rest of the review.

Keith Gildert in states:
InDesign CS2 is definitely a major upgrade, with additions and enhancements that emphasize efficiency. Some new features will elicit oohs and ahs from designers, and some are powerful productivity enhancers that can make a real difference in your workday.
Read the full review.

Terri Stones, in MacWorld, has reviewed both QuarkXPress and InDesign. I mentioned his review of QuarkXPress elsewhere in this site. Here is what he says about InDesign CS 2:
“Efficiency” and “productivity” may not turn heads. But what about “fewer keystrokes to accomplish repetitive tasks” or “fewer nights in the office”? That’s what Adobe’s aiming for with the latest InDesign.
Read the full review.

Katy German on PC world states:
Make no mistake: Page layout involves a lot of repetitive work. Compositors and designers cut, copy, paste, apply styles, tag images, and so on–thousands of times a day. While Adobe Systems’ Creative Suite 2 as a whole has refined its workflow (particularly with the addition of Bridge, the new asset manager), in InDesign CS2 the company has focused on reducing the steps for repetitive tasks. An early look at a beta version of the app seems to indicate that it has succeeded.

Adobe’s InDesign CS2 Several improvements streamline the layout process, including finer control options for text and paragraph styles and more tools for object manipulation. Text editing is more word processor-like; with tools like drag-and-drop text editing, as-you-type spell checking, and support for footnotes (either in an imported text file or created in InDesign).

You also have greater control over what comes in when you import text files, with enhanced options to map or rename styles.
Read the full review.

QuarkXPress or InDesign?

As I said at the beginning of this article, InDesign is proving to be QuarkXPress’ biggest competitor. A comprehensive coverage of this DTP match can be found in Quark vs InDesign.


QuarkXPress Reviews

Do you want to purchase a layout application, but you are not sure which one you want to go for? If you are looking at QuarkXPress the reviews below might help you make a judgment.

Here is a collection of reviews from several sites. Some of them review QuarkXPress 6.x and others review the yet unreleased QuarkXPress 7. Unless you are using a Mac and need to run QuarkXPress on OS X, it might be better to wait until Quark 7 is relesead for an upgrade from earlier versions.

The reviews

Gene Gable, contributing editor says:
There’s a lot to say about XPress 7.0, and for most users it’s worth waiting for, if only to evaluate. Quark understands that this is a critical upgrade and knows that our collective patience is running out. Consequently, this isn’t a case of tacking on a few new features to XPress. It’s about a wholesale makeover that, if it works, preserves the things that made XPress such a success, while still moving the needle toward collaborative, automated, and fully integrated publishing processes.Read the full review.

IT Reviews states:
Quark XPress holds a warm place in the heart of many journalists and layout artists. It’s been around for well over ten years (a lifetime in computing terms) and has built up an army of satisfied users. It’s very likely indeed that most newspapers, magazines, pamphlets and posters you see will have been designed using Xpress.
Read the full review.

Terri Stone’s review of QuarkXPress 6.5 at MacWorld: While most changes in the QuarkXPress 6.5 update are too minor or specialized to have much impact, a new image-editing XTension, QuarkVista, may bring about a major change in your workflow. QuarkVista lets you alter images in your layouts without opening that behemoth, Adobe Photoshop.
Read the full review.

MacWorld also describes some of the new features of the yet unreleased version of QuarkXPress, version 7. Read their article: Quark Promises Greatness in XPress 7.

Last, but not least, here is my own article, QuarkXPress 6.5, The Review.

The Quark vs InDesign Contest

Surely, if you have heard about Quark, you have also heard about InDesign. Some people swear by QuarkXPress, others swear by InDesign. If you want to follow this epic DTP battle, have a look at Quark vs InDesign, a website wholly dedicated to the two publishing giants.


An Overview of Desktop Publishing

Exactly what is Desktop Publishing and how does it relate to Graphic Design and to you as a creative mind?

Desktop Publishing can be explained as the use of a computer and software to create literature such as leaflets, magazines, brochures, and so on. Desktop Publishing software allows you to combine text and graphics in different ways to deliver the message you want to get across with your literature.

It differs from Graphic Design as Desktop Publishing covers the tools that that allow a designer to physically produce a promotional item, while design principles, the way to get your communication across, belong more to the field of Graphic Design. Graphic Design and Desktop Publishing are therefore very much interdependent.

Desktop Publishing Software

Desktop Publishers can use both PCs and Macs because many of the DTP applications are available for both platforms.

Generally a person doing Desktop Publishing will need three types of software:

  1. A layout application. QuarkXPress and InDesign are examples. Layout applications allow you to combine text and graphics to create the final layout of your printed piece.
  2. A graphics editing application for raster graphics. An example of this is Photoshop. You can use this type of software to create resolution dependent graphics and retouch photos, which you will then place into your layout application.
  3. A graphics editing application for vector graphics. Vector graphics are resolution independent. This makes them suitable for any type of artwork that has to be reproduced at different sizes. Logos are an example of what would be produced as a vector graphic, as they have to be reproduced in different sizes on business cards, letterhead, faxes, and so on.

These are the three main types of Desktop Publishing software. However there are a lot of other programs that aid the Desktop Publisher in creating printed literature.

Adobe Acrobat deserves a particular mention. Acrobat allows you to create and edit PDFs. A PDF document is totally cross platform and solves many of the problems related to making artwork ready for press. Factually, PDF stands for Portable Document File. A properly made PDF file substitutes the need of supplying fonts and graphics with the file of the layout application you are using. This allows DTPers to send their artwork to their printer through the internet without having to worry about the total size of all the graphics, fonts and layout application files – PDF files are much smaller. Another advantage is that if your printer doesn’t have your layout application, you can always send him a PDF and he will be able to print it.

How Do Word Processing and Desktop Publishing Relate?

Microsoft Word, Power Point, Excel and any of the applications in Microsoft Office were never intended to be used for Desktop Publishing. Each one of those programs have their own purpose, yet none of them are intended to create artwork that can be used for offset printing.

It is a good idea to use a word processing application to edit your text, whether it be Word, WordPerfect or any other word processing application. Once you are happy with your copy, then you can import it from the word processing application into the layout application. But, don’t fall for designing an entire publication in a program such as Microsoft Word if you intend to print it with a commercial print house. There are several technical reasons for this which I cannot explain in this one article. But I will write other articles about this in future.

How a Camera and Film Company Changed its Stripes, From the Inside-Out

Paul Giambarba was Polaroid’s in-house Art Director, and later a consultant, from the late-50s through the late-70s. In that time, he helped redevelop their brand to better compete with the likes of Kodak and created a identity recognized the world over. Giambarba, a writer and lecturer with many credits to his name, has chronicled his story in The Branding of Polaroid, 1957 – 1977, a blog devoted to the face of Polaroid many of us have come to know.

Prepress Tutorial: Preparing PDFs Made from Microsoft Word for Offset Printing

Can you use Microsoft Word for Desktop Publishing?

You just received this wonderful PDF from one of your clients. It was made from Word. On top of that, the client who gave you that PDF wants you to make some changes to the text. How do you make those changes using the PDF itself and what do you have to do to make that PDF press ready?

The first hing to know is that no matter what you do, Microsoft Word will produce PDFs in RGB colour mode. If you need to get your PDF printed with an offset press, then you have to convert that document to CMYK. The second thing to know is that PDFs can be edited and any other idea that they can’t is not true.

There are mainly two types of graphics in Desktop Publishing. One is called vector and the other one is called raster. If you looked at the two links I provided, you will see that Photoshop handles raster images.

PDFs can contain both raster and vector elements. When one makes a PDF from Work, the text is still vector. If someone has used a clipart from Word Clipart Gallery, then also the clipart is very likely to be vector.

If you open a PDF in Photoshop all your text and everything else that is vector will be rasterized. You won’t be able to edit it anymore, i.e., you won’t be able to change the text unless you erase parts of your image.

If you opened the PDF in Acrobat (full version, not the just the Reader), you would still be able to edit the type without touching anything else in your PDF. However I don’t think you could convert it to CMYK (I have to test that).

You could also open the PDF in Illustrator and you would still be able to change edit the type like you would with Acrobat. And you could also convert your PDF to CMYK right there and then.

However there is a catch to all this, actually two. When you modify a PDF either in Acrobat or in Illustrator you need to have the fonts that were used in the Word document before it was made into PDF (there is an exception to this, but there is no point in explaining that now and make everything more confusing).

The second catch is that if there was an image imported into Word which was not a clipart, but an actual photo or so, then you cannot simply convert your file from RGB to CMYK in Illustrator. You have to use a program such as Pitstop or Photoshop.

If you only have Photoshop, I would first edit the text either in Acrobat or in Illustrator and then go into Photoshop to convert the PDF to CMYK. All the text and vector elements will be rasterized which means that they will loose some of the crispness (especially if the text is very small), but you haven’t got much choice in this case.

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QuarkXPress QuarkXPress’ Work Area

This is the first of a series of tutorials on Quark 6.x. It will cover the work area to give an orientation to new users.

QuarkXPress is a high end program which has been used by DTP professionals for years. Even though it now shares the “industry standard” status with InDesign, QuarkXPress is still a powerful program.

While this tutorial is basic, other tutorials will follow and you will soon find articles for both advanced and new users.

QuarkXPress’s Work Area

Like most programs, QuarkXPress has a Menu Bar on top of the screen. It also has the Tools (on the left in the illustration) and the palettes. Palettes are little windows which have specialized functions, e.g., you have got one that handles colours, one that handles style sheets, one that handles pages, and so on.

Quark’s Work Area (Enlarged version)

The Menu Bar

You can get access most of the functions of QuarkXPress through the Menu Bar. However you will see that, as you become more proficient and faster at using QuarkXPress, you will want to learn shortcuts so you don’t have to drag your mouse around in search of the option you want. If you want to learn the shortcuts, just look next to the command you are interested in and you will see the shortcut if there is one.

If you want to open a new document go to File> New> Project (Command + N for Macs; Control + N for PCs). When the New Project window shows up, choose your document settings and press OK.

The Menu Bar (Enlarged version)

The Measurements Palette

The Measurements palette hosts a variety of information and settings such as the coordinates of an object, its size, the size and font being used and so on. You can make it show up by going to Window> Measurements. Its functions change depending on what you are doing — for example, if you have selected a shape, the Measurements palette won’t show you the information related to fonts.

Let’s have a closer look at this palette now.

measurements paletteThe Measurements palette (Enlarged version)

As you can see I drew a black box in the middle of the page and I have selected it. The first two measurements you see, X and Y, are the coordinates that tell you where your box is on the page. The X and Y values are important to know when you are trying to position something precisely.

The next two measurements, H and W, respectively tell you the hight and the width of your black box (or any item on your page).

While the above 4 fields remain the same for picture and text boxes, they change when drawing lines. The rest of the fields changes depending on what you are doing. I will explain them when we get to those functions in another tutorial.

The (Other) Palettes

If you look at the first picture you see that there were several floating windows. Those are some of QuarkXPress’ palettes.

You can collapse a floating palette by double-clicking on the top bar of the palette, where its name is displayed. You can close a palette by clicking on the button on the top left.

All of QuarkXPress’ palettes can be conveniently found under the Window Menu. Following is a list of them:

  • Tools
  • Measurements
  • Page Layout
  • Style Sheets
  • Colours
  • Synchronized Text
  • Trap Information
  • Lists
  • Layers
  • Profile Information
  • Hyperlinks
  • Index
  • Sequences
  • Placeholders

The Tools

You will use this palette quite a lot. You don’t need to worry about how each individual tool works for the purpose of this tutorial. We will get to that, hold your horses! Right now it’s enough if you just move the cursor of your mouse on top of each tool to see their name appear.

ToolboxA flyout menu
(Enlarged version)

If you use Photoshop or Illustrator, you will be familiar with the little arrows in the corner of some of the icons in the Tools Palette. If you click on them, and keep your mouse button pressed, a little menu will pop up. That menu shows you some “hidden” tools which you can choose from. This little menu is called flyout (make sure you close all the windows in you room…).

A Few Words on Contextual Menus

Contextual Menus show up when you right + click (Windows) or Control + click (Mac Os) on objects in your layout. They change depending on which object you have selected. They are very useful as they show you options that are related to what you are doing, for example you can see the Get Picture command when you right click on a picture box. This also saves you the time to go all the way up to the top of your screen to the Menu Bar.

Book “The Non-Designer’s Design Book”

Robin Williams will tell you how CRAP design can actually be made into a good one.

book coverThe Non-Designer’s Design Book cover
(enlarged version)

When CRAP means Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity. These are 4 very important elements of design. Without them, a layed out page will look amateurish and might not deliver the message you want it to deliver.

Robin Williams, the author of The Non-Designer’s Design Book, aims at putting you in control of your design, giving you the specific terminology related to the design principles she explains in the book, as well as many illustrations that help you better understand the practical application of those design principles.

The author also explains some basic principles related to type because, as she says, “Type is the building block of any printed page.” The book is therefore divided in two sections: one covering general design principles and one covering principles specifically concerning type.

This book is aimed at those people who do not have a background in design and for whom this is a really good resource and an excellent starting point. Teachers who would like to use this book with their new students could greatly benefit from the clear and simple explanations provided by Robin Williams.

As the author says:

This book is not intended to take the place of four years of design school. I do not pretend that you will automatically become a brilliant designer after you read and apply this little book. But I do guarantee that you will never again look at a page in the same way. I guarantee if you follow these basic principles, your work will look more professional, organized, unified, and interesting. And you will feel empowered.

Designorati: DTP Editor’s rating: 3 out of 5
Title: The Non-Designer’s Design Book
Author: Robin Williams
Publisher: Peachpit Press, Berkeley, California
ISBN: 0321193857

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Getting Started with Adobe InDesign CS 2

Useful links and information all in one place

This is an overview of InDesign CS 2 designed to help you get started with Adobe’s top layout program. It mainly referrs you to different pages of the Adobe site, but it will save you from doing some time-consuming searches in your quest to get up and running with InDesign CS 2.

General InDesign CS 2 Information:
These pages give you a general overview of InDesign CS 2.

Backward compatibility with InDesign CS:
With InDesign CS 2 you can save INX files, which can then be opened by InDesign CS. However, before you do that, you need to make sure that you have updated InDesign CS. Here is the update that will allow you to do that.

Upgrading/Switching to InDesign CS 2:
You can upgrade from InDesign CS or Pagemaker to InDesign CS 2. Adobe has user manuals which explain how to switch from QuarkXPress to InDesign CS.

Troubleshooting InDesign CS 2:
Discover solutions to the most common problems.

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