Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Is It Better Creating Your Own Web-Site Graphics Or Better Paying For A Graphic Designer

Operating your own website has become a lot cheaper these days, but the initial design and development is certainly not cheap, as you may have to hire the services of a website designer for creating a professional looking website.

Hiring a professional website designer is all the more necessary, if you do not have the basic knowledge about websites and website design. Whether you opt for a professional designer or decide to design your own website will also depend on the availability of funds.

If you have the requisite funds, you can easily hire a professional graphic designer, but if you do not have adequate funds, you will have no other option other than to create the graphics on your own. If this is your first experience, chances are high that you may not have the requisite funds to hire the services of a professional graphic designer.

However, this does not mean that you cannot succeed in your online initiatives because you also can create professional looking graphics by using free graphics software tools that are easily available on the Internet.

It does not matter what method you use for creating the right graphics for your website. What really matters is having the right graphics on your website because it helps in attracting new customers. With the increase in the number of websites offering similar products and services, it has become very difficult to create a distinct image for a specific website.

However, by including innovative and unique graphics on your website, you can always get the attention of online visitors. By having the right graphics, you will also be able to derive the potential benefits of word to mouth publicity because visitors who find your site interesting are most likely to recommend the same to their friends, families and business associates.

This way, you will be able to market your website without having to incur additional expenses on conventional marketing techniques. Another benefit of having the right graphics is that it helps in developing customer loyalty because customers who find your site interesting will keep coming back for more.

If you are looking to cut down costs, then you need to create the graphics on your own. However, this may not always be easy because in order to create graphics you need to have the basic knowledge about the various tools and techniques. If you do not have adequate knowledge you can easily end up creating amateurish looking graphics, which in turn might prove detrimental to the success of your website. To learn the basics of graphics and the use of different types of graphical tools, you need to opt for a graphic design course.

The best option is to opt for an online course, as it will enable you to learn at your own pace and in your free time. You will also be able to increase your savings because online courses are far cheaper than those available in graphic schools and institutes. After learning the various techniques and methodologies online, you can start creating the graphics for your website. The online course will certainly help you create innovative and professional looking graphics for your website.

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By Andy Eaton

Monday, February 26, 2007

Graphic Designing by Everyone?

t seems to be the norm these days that just about anyone can be considered a graphic designer to some degree or another. With so many programs being built right into digital camera software, greeting card programs and the standards that come with computer packages these days, it makes it really easy for people to get creative and experiment with their design skills. Many are at home designing and saving money by creating their own wedding invitations, holiday newsletters, calendars, advertisements and much more with borders, clip art, funky fonts and all kinds of themes and color schemes that can be achieved with just a click or two of the mouse.

Pictures can also be easily incorporated into designs of any media type, print or web, with one of the many software programs on the market today. But when it comes to pictures and images, a favorite amongst most graphic designers is definitely Photoshop. This program is manufactured by Adobe and has tons of amazing features and tools that can make any picture into a work of art with very little effort. It also enables you to touch up photos that might have been damaged or become worn over time, in addition to having the capability to add text and all kinds of cool effects to artistic projects. Adobe Photoshop does tend to be on the more expensive side, but if purchased in a bundled package, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also get a few other really great design programs that Adobe also develops and sells right along with it – then you can really get crazy going to town with your artistic abilities!

Results will vary of course, depending on an individual’s degree of experience, education in design and length of time working in this area, but even just a basic knowledge of a graphic design program can lead to some very imaginative results either on a personal or professional level.

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By Gabriel J. Adams

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Free Clip Art Role In Your Graphic Design And Web Design

Clip art is basically pre-made images that can be used to design any media. Of course, you can also create your own images instead of using clip art as clip art is something everyone has access to. However, the advantage with clip art is that you don’t have to spend time creating images to place on the website. You just have to get these clip art software that are available on the internet.

Clip art is found under different categories; it is up to you to decide on the clip art that is best for your website and product. You of course, should choose, and use clip art that is associated with the product or service you offer on the website. There is no point of choosing clip art associated with stationery if your website is one about automobiles and their parts. Remember, the clip art is meant to create a little visual stimulation to your website, while help in communicating your ideas to your readers. With the use of the wrong clip art, the clip art may in fact prove to be disadvantageous and not advantageous to your website!

With a clip art, you can actually speak more than a million words can say. You can depict whatever message you want to propagate through your website by means of clip art. So sometimes, it proves to be much more beneficial using clip art than a few pages of content on the website! Moreover, with the inclusion of clip art in your web page and website, you can include some humor, emotion or irony in your message. There are some images in clip art that if used correctly, can relay some irony or humor in your message that could not be achieved through words.

Of course, the greatest advantage of using clip art in graphic design is that just about anyone can use it. There is no need of you being a graphic artist to design sharp images. All you have to know is how to use the computer and the internet wherein you can produce images that may surpass some images the best in graphic designing may create.

If you use too large a clip art, the page may take a longer time to download. This is why it is better to choose just the right amount of clip art for your website as this will produce just the right amount of humor, interest or irony in the minds of the people who visit your website.

Robert Mathew is a freelance writer to read more about his articles visit Free Clip art & Halloween Clip art & Graphics

By Robert Mathew

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What Do We Pay Graphic Designers For?

We all know, that in actual fact designers not only create images that are designed to catch the eye of the consumer, but to make a business appear professional also and indeed the core purpose of their work is to help convert potential customers into actual customers via brand/image and marketing materials linked in with this.

Is that all? I’m sure a lot of business owners think that really is all there is to the design industry that serves them and the many designers that populate it.

In some cases (for some designers) that really is all there is to it – they don’t operate on many other levels other than to make their designs professional, pretty, and eye catching.

However there really are other aspects that must be considered when you commission a design to develop the brand image for your business, a couple of these are explored in more detail now;

1. Target Market; Recently I was approached by a company interested in brand design; their product and service was one that should be targeting both men and women, and yet when I was shown the design they had received already for another designer I immediately noted some glaring issues with it.

The design itself was eye pleasing and on the surface of it a less experienced person may observe that it was a professional effort; but the designer had produced something which featured a stylized woman as the central figure within the logo and not only that despite the stylized nature of the image, she was clearly of oriental heritage.

I quickly pointed out to the customer that when one’s target market is male and females and not women only, that to gender bias one’s logo design is counter productive, and even worse to possibly alienate even more people by making the character a particular ethnicity when your product is targeted at all nationalities.

A creative must think, think, think, and then and think some more about the target market when they are designing. To enable that before they start designing, they absolutely have to ask the business owner about the business; who are the customers, how will the product or service be sold to them, and so on.

2. Colors & Tones A long time ago now I wrote a very popular article entitled the ‘The Relationship Between Colors & Sales’ – I’ve long since populated the piece across the internet and you can thus read it on many websites.

Although as creatives we don’t need to enslave ourselves completely to the rules of color psychology, any designer working on a project should always keep this in mind.

In addition to considering the psychological effect certain colors have on mood and behavior, which is well documented by the marketing industry, one needs to consider the socio-economic dynamic of the target market as this has some bearing on the tone of the color scheme chosen.

For instance it’s not uncommon for my clients to ask for a bright color scheme for their brand design, but this doesn’t always suit their target market; it’s known that low income groups are attracted to bright colors and thus if you don’t wish to attract low income groups a bright color scheme isn’t right for your brand design regardless of what you like as an individual.

When your designer goes to work and you review concepts it’s vital to appreciate the design isn’t supposed to necessarily appeal to what you like, it’s supposed to appeal to your target market and this may not necessarily be the same thing as your own favorite colors.

These are just a couple of important areas that must be considered by your designer before they start work on your brand development, some of the other areas include;

- Ensuring the design will work well whether printed billboard sized or business card sized.

- Making sure the company name is easily readable.

- Ensuring the design is neither too tall in height, or too wide horizontally; disproportionate designs can be more difficult to incorporate into layouts for print such as fliers, stationery, brochures and so on; this means these items may not look as good as they should.

Much of this advice can also be applied even when you already have your brand design established and have moved on to developing this further with your marketing materials.

It’s important that the designer working on your printed stationery and marketing materials appreciates the need to be sympathetic to the brand theme already established, and also has sufficient skill and experience to bear in mind that designs created must appeal to the target market.

From http://www.trulyace.com - Leading Design

By A Vlahakis

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Graphic Design Programs

The dictionary describes graphic designing as an arrangement of typography and images to communicate a message, feeling, opinion, thought, or idea. Graphic designing is practiced in numerous fields and media, which include all segments of print media, the World Wide Web, motion pictures and even for branding. In recent times with the advancements in graphic designing technologies and with its increasing applications, it is turning out to be a lucrative and satisfying career option.

A different knowledge of designing is required for different applications of designing. For instance to take up a graphic designing profession in print media knowledge of software such CorelDraw, Photoshop and PageMaker is essential. Various programs are available covering all segments of graphic designing. Graphic designing programs can be classified as a bachelor's course that has extensive programs; most often, the degree is affiliated with some university. Many graphic design programs are even titled as diploma courses. Typically, these courses have a shorter duration than the degree but cover many subjects. On the other hand, an associate degree can be very useful to get some additional knowledge on a particular art of graphic designing, whereas a certificate course is ideal for individuals who are taking up the art just as a hobby or out of curiosity.

A graphic designing program, to get expertise in the print media, covers designing software such as Corel Draw, Photoshop, and PageMaker. Besides most bachelor programs also include critical business courses such as critical thinking, logic communication and general management. A bachelors program also includes animation programs and even web-based designing modules. Such programs prepare students for an entry-level position graphic artist. If such courses are taken along with photography then they can work wonders. On the other hand, a graphic program in motion pictures includes learning how to create 2D and 3D characters and understanding the psychology and physics of human emotions. Moreover, these programs provide a student with all the expertise needed in the field of animation and special effects. Web-based graphic designing programs are designed to give students in-depth knowledge of website design, as well as knowledge of search engine optimization methods.

Today, computers are involved in every commercial field, which has drawing, or designing, thus these graphic programs can be of great help to make it the best.

Graphic Design provides detailed information on Graphic Design, Graphic Design Schools, Graphic Design Jobs, Graphic Design Companies and more. Graphic Design is affiliated with Graphic Artist Salaries.

By: Marcus Peterson

Friday, February 16, 2007

Graphic Design: Give Your Book the Best Look

Differentiation. It’s about being original; breaking free from the competition; leading, not following. Do you want to forge a path away from the crowd, away from the noise, and closer to your customer?

How Will You Be Different?

Along with the perfectly picked and placed words that make up the timeless writings that emerge as a cherished book—something we keep by our bed, travel with far and wide or relax with as we curl up in front of a cozy fire—a good book layout is important to an author. Especially to self-published authors who don’t have the talented staff of a major publishing house offering design options.

The job of a graphic designer is to give your book visual life and interest that will add “character” (look and feel) and catch the eye of a passing patron and spark intrigue that will make them pick it up and open the first page, never wanting to set it down. There’s an art to giving your carefully chosen words a look and feel that helps them portray hope, emotion or intrigue.

Book Layout

A slight size change, font style or placement on the page can make all the difference in bringing a powerful personality to your fascinating book. Paragraphs need to be the right length so they don’t seem overbearing—not too long, not too short—but cleverly balanced and readable to everyone not just elite readers. I’ve seen some books so jumbled and disorganized it would make a man quiver at the mere thought of trying to read them.

There are many ways a graphic designer can help you increase your book sales. There is of course advertising in the form of a flyer, poster, or a magazine ad. You could put together a media package or marketing kit for your book, which may include a CD, an ad, a book marker, a coupon for your next book and so on. You may need invitations to your book signing sure to be in your near future. You might market yourself using only your name, but a personal logo to brand your product is much more effective and professional looking. You may need business cards and letterhead designed to enhance your branding image. Are you sending out a newsletter to your database? Let a designer create your newsletter and send it to your customers “spam-free” through a permission-based email program. Why not convert your printed book into an e-book you can sell on your website? What? You don’t have a Web site? Every writer needs a website and I know of someone who can custom build one that best serves your needs. Jessica Dockter is the Graphic Designer who works in collaboration with the writers on Write On! Creative Writing Services to offer our clients a full range of services.

These are only some of the countless options you have when you bring in a graphic designer. From designing your book cover, to laying out the inside pages, to having the perfect index created, there is no end to what a graphic designer can do for a writer. For more information or to simply connect with a graphic designer, contact Jessica@yvonneperry.net.

Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and the owner of Write On! Creative Writing Services based in Nashville, Tennessee. She and her team of ghostwriters service clients all over the globe by offering quality writing on a variety of topics at an affordable price. If you need a brochure, web text, business document, resume, bio, article or book, visit http://www.yvonneperry.net. While there sure to subscribe to the RSS podcast feed and the free monthly newsletter about writing, networking, publishing and marketing. Read more on Yvonne’s blog at http://yvonneperry.blogspot.com.

By: Yvonne Perry

Monday, February 12, 2007

Adobe Photoshop - Your Ticket To Big Bucks In Graphic Design

Graphic design has always been big business but with the explosive growth of the Internet graphic designers are experiencing increased demand for their services. Every business needs a web site to be successful in today’s business environment and every web site needs graphic design in the form of logos and web graphics.

There has never been a better time to get into the graphic design business and the best part is all you need to get started is desire, Adobe Photoshop, and some training on how to use Adobe Photoshop to create stunning web graphics that sell.

Photoshop, Adobe’s digital photo editing and graphic design powerhouse, is capable of creating professional quality logos and designs that will allow you to compete with professional designers for graphic design business.

There are many software applications available that advertise the ability to produce high quality graphics and logos. These applications can range in price from $30.00 and up. The problem with many of these applications is that they use pre designed templates which the user pieces together to form logos that really are not that original and sometimes appear a little generic. While these applications allow the user to quickly begin creating graphic designs and logos they often simply do not produce designs that are original and in demand by web design clients.

If you take the time to learn adobe Photoshop there will be no limit to the logos and graphic designs you can put together. Although the interface can seem a little overwhelming at first, learning Photoshop is not difficult if you have the right tools and take the time to practice. Taking the time to properly learn to use Photoshop will pay off in the end. Pick up a copy of a good video based Photoshop tutorial and you will be on your way to making big bucks in the graphic design industry.

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By David Peters

Friday, February 9, 2007

Becoming A Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are artists in business. Graphic designers need to not only have an artistic inclination in life, they also need to have a knowledge base that includes art history, painting, typography, illustration, photography and computer design software.

To become a successful graphic designer, one must have excellent interpersonal skills and an ability to sell ideas to executives. Having a keen sense of color, type and composition, a graphic designer also has to know how to present and discuss ideas with corporate clients, understand market research and work under tight deadlines and budgets. It is preferable to take drawing courses while in high school, to develop a sense of art. It is possible to work as a graphic designer without a degree, but most companies do prefer graphic designers with a degree. So work for a degree in fine arts or advertising, with concentrations in graphic art and computer graphics. You could join any School of Art and Design for such a degree. Search for training in current graphics-related computer technology, with electives for business and finance courses.

You then contact your top school choices and, if required, send samples of your artwork along with your application. Some schools may also call you for an interview, so be ready for it. When in the school, try to get an internship in a design company or an advertising agency. This adds to your resume, and provides you with valuable career contacts for the future. While studying, try to do as much freelance work as possible. This will help you build a strong portfolio that you can show to your future employers upon graduation. Always make it a point to pay attention to packaging designs and advertising trends in all forms of media.

To learn about jobs for graphic designers, the best place to check is the Internet. There are many job openings for graphic designers here. Graphic designers are required in various fields of advertisement and printing, with openings also found on the Internet. And remember, the main thing that is required to become a successful graphic designer is to build an impressive design portfolio to present to your prospective employers so that they can get an idea of your capacity in graphic designing.

Graphic Designers provides detailed information on Graphic Designers, Freelance Graphic Designers, Becoming A Graphic Designer, Graphic Designer Portfolios and more. Graphic Designers is affiliated with Graphic Designers.

By Richard Romando

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Standard Rates For Graphic Design

Graphic designing is a profession where the raw material is creativity and the output is art. Calculating the work done in terms of money most of the times becomes an arguable issue. The fiscal calculations of a project depend on many aspects, though rough but different standards are established for various types of graphic designing.

Web site designing costs can be broken down to depending on the type of site, wherein sites are classified as low end, mid range and high-end sites. A low site offers a 2-4 pages content and uses existing graphical themes or sock graphics are purchased. The designing package does not provide any animation page or any database interaction feature. The standard rates of such low-end site range approximately from $500 - $2000. On the other hand a mid range website costs approximately $2000 - $ 5000. The website includes 5-7 pages of content out of which some is developed. In addition, the designer provides with 2-4 original graphics and a standard layout with some customization. Animation includes JavaScript mouse over changes but data interactions are not provided. A high-end website involves a high cost and the standards range from $5000 - $10,000. A designer provides 12 or more pages of content, or even contents that are pragmatically/dynamically generated. The design has a unique layout and extensive graphics with navigation schemes. The animation is often done in JavaScript, Animated GIFs, Dynamic HTML, and Flash. In addition, designers also provide with SQL or Flat File database interaction.

The services of most graphic designers can also be calculated in hours. For instance the standard rates for basic graphic design are approximately $ 80 per hour, for custom graphic design $160 per hour, for 3-D graphic design $250 per hour, and for prepress correction and graphic adjustments $ 80 per hour. Such types of calculation have greatly simplified the rate and cost problems of designing projects, as the designer is getting paid rationally if a certain project requires more time. Similarly, a client can give work in contracts that are based on hours.

Graphic Design provides detailed information on Graphic Design, Graphic Design Schools, Graphic Design Jobs, Graphic Design Companies and more. Graphic Design is affiliated with Graphic Artist Salaries.

By Marcus Peterson

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

How to Manage Your Graphic Designer to Get Great Design for Your Nonprofit

Nothing is as compelling as managing the design, of a printed piece or web look for your organization, service or campaign. It's easy to get swept away envisioning the impact it will have on your target audiences. And the creative adventure of bringing that piece, or web design, to life, is usually a welcome change from strategic and administrative work.

However, the excitement often fades when you dive into the process of finding, hiring, and managing a designer or design team. Let's be honest. It's challenging to manage a designer's creativity into a design take that meets your organization's needs can be challenging. You definitely want to give the designer the opportunity to channel her creative genius into something powerful. On the other hand, you want to ensure that she translates your marketing concept into something that speaks to your audiences and motivates advocacy, donations, registration, inquiries, or whatever call to action you need.

I've run up against this challenge time and again, first as an in-house marketing director in several publishing houses, and at the Foundation Center, and most recently as the marketing firm point person for nonprofit and foundation clients. Over the years, I've devised a few strategies that ensure that the design process goes smoothly. And they really work.

I advise you to take these five steps. When you do, you'll generate the design results that make the greatest impact for your organization:

Step One: Take your time to find the RIGHT designer.

NOTE: Take this step immediately, not when you're in desperate need of a designer.

I have, over the years, developed a stable of about seven good designers. They are all the RIGHT designer, but not one of them is the right designer for every single design project.

The question is how do you find your stable of RIGHT designers? You're likely to need relationships with three or four designers. The number depends on the volume of design work, the range of looks you're trying to achieve, and the diversity of materials and online projects to be designed. My situation is unique. Because I work with many clients with diverse needs, I require more of a range of design skills and price points than would any single nonprofit or foundation.

Here's how to find your designers:

Step Two: Gather favorite design samples Keep a folder of favorites, printed materials you identify as good design in the same range as your organization's image or the image you want to establish. Bookmark website designs in the same way.

Make sure that some of your picks are produced by nonprofits and foundations.

Step Three: Compile your list of prospective designers Contact communications colleagues (make sure you like their design sensibility first, judging by their products) and ask for designer recommendations. Get basic information on pricing, work style, and client base.

Contact the communications director at those organizations who produced the print materials or websites you've tagged. Start by contacting the folks at organizations closest to yours in focus and/or budget. It's most likely, but not a definite, that their designers are the best fit.

Step Four: Hone your list to the top three or four by interviewing ten to twelve designers Contact the top ten to twelve before you have a design project ready to go. At that point, you won't want to waste a minute in getting design estimates in.

Here are some of the questions I ask prospective designers:

  • How long have you been designing? With this firm/working freelance?
  • Have you worked with nonprofit organizations? If so, who are some of your clients? How did you get into design work for nonprofits?
  • Do you design for print and online media?
  • Could you show me a few samples of what you consider to be your strongest design projects? What is the average size (dollar-wise) of your design projects?
  • Take me through the design process for a brochure? How about an annual report?
  • Do you have references I can call?
  • Will you personally be designing our work, and be my point person? (for non-solo designers)
  • These are the quirks you'll face in designing for our nonprofit (explain any, from the Executive Director thinking she's a designer--and putting her stamp on every piece--to a boss who always changes his mind completely on what a piece should feature when he sees a design concept)
  • While reviewing past work is a very important consideration, be sure you also spend some time talking to their clients to find out more about their design process, working styles, and the results of the project.
Step Five: Write a creative brief the moment you get a whiff of a pending design job

A creative brief is the most effective way to get everyone (your colleagues and the design team) started with a common understanding of what needs to be accomplished. An effective creative brief gives the designer direction and provides your team with benchmarks against which to evaluate design concepts.

Spending the time to complete a thorough creative brief will save you a lot of time up front, and ensure that you get the design product you envisioned.

In two pages at most, your brief should:

  • Define the project and its objectives
  • List, characterize and prioritize audiences
  • Present Unique Selling Proposition(USP), one sentence about what makes the organization, program or service unique
  • List top features and/or facts about the program, service or organization, and its value to audiences
  • Detail tone or image
  • Specify budget and time frame
  • Outline internal review and approval process
These five steps will lead you to strong relationships with the right designers. As a result, I guarantee that your print and online design work will be more effective than ever in engaging and spurring recognition from your target audiences.

Start right now by diving into the stacks in your office. It's likely that, when you do, you'll find some great design samples that will lead you to more effective (and maybe even less expensive) graphic design for your organization.

Nancy E. Schwartz helps nonprofits succeed through effective marketing and communications.

Subscribe to her free e-newsletter "Getting Attention," at http://www.nancyschwartz.com/getting_attention.html and read her blog at http://www.gettingattention.org for more insights, ideas and great tips on attracting the attention your organization deserves.

By Nancy E. Schwartz