April 6, 2017

A to Z of Design: E is for EPS

Filed under: Design & Art — lidia @ 11:44 pm

A to Z of Design: E is for EPS

EPS, TIF, JPG, oh my! Navigating all the various file formats can be confusing. Here’s a quick primer.

  • EPS (vector): A fully-scalable file format, which means quality and resolution are not lost when scaling up. This type of file is generally used for logos or other artwork that will be reproduced in print.
  • TIF: The standard format used for high-resolution, detailed images that will be placed in a layout program.
  • JPG: A compressed image file format, mainly used for desktop printing and web/online graphics. It does not support transparent backgrounds.
  • PNG: A low-resolution image format used for web or social media graphics, as well as PowerPoint/Word files. Images can have a transparent background.
  • GIF: A low-resolution image format mainly used for web or email.
  • PDF: A file format that embeds fonts, images and design. Used often for design proofs or forms (fillable form fields can be created). Print vendors will also accept high-resolution PDF files for print projects.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 5, 2017

A to Z of Design: D is for DPI

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , — lidia @ 10:38 pm

D is for DPI

DPI (or dots per inch) is a way to measure the resolution of a printed digital image. The higher the DPI, the higher the detail and quality of an image. For most print projects, 300 DPI is optimal.

When an image is enlarged, its DPI and resolution become reduced so it’s best to use an image that is 300 DPI at actual size or larger than it will be used. This also means that you can’t “size up” or take an image of lower quality, say 150 DPI, and make it 300 DPI. (Note: vector images don’t apply to these rules as they can be enlarged without losing quality.)

To learn more, read Creative Bloq’s post, The ultimate guide to image resolution.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 4, 2017

A to Z of Design: C is for Color

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:11 pm

C is for color

Designers use a variety of color systems, based on the project’s needs and goals.

CMYK is a color system in which colors are created using a combination of cyan (C), magenta (M), yellow (Y) and black (K) inks. CMYK is also referred to as four-color process printing.

PMS (Pantone Matching System) is a standardized color system in which each ink color is assigned a number, i.e. PMS 179. This allows print vendors to assure color accuracy. PMS colors are often used for branding projects (usually 1 or 2 colors) in which color match is crucial. PMS colors are also called spot colors.

RGB (red, green, blue) is a color system used by computer monitors and video screens. RGB colors are difficult to match as brightness and quality can vary by monitor.

Hex is a six-digit color system used for web applications (i.e. HTML and CSS). Colors are specified like this: #CD5C5C.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 3, 2017

A to Z of Design: A is for Alignment

Filed under: Design & Art,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — lidia @ 5:07 pm

A to Z of Design: A is for Alignment

Alignment is the positioning of text, images or design elements in a layout.

Items can be left-aligned (also called flush left), right-aligned (flush right), centered or justified (when text aligns on both left and right edges).

Justified text can cause strange gaps, so extra attention must be given to line breaks and spacing.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 1, 2017

A to Z of Design: a daily blogging challenge [intro]

Filed under: Design & Art — lidia @ 5:49 pm

Today is the first day of the 2017 Blogging from A to Z Challenge, a daily blog challenge I’ve been participating in for the last three years. (See my A to Z of Being a Mom in Business and A to Z of Branding)

This year’s topic is A to Z of Design, basic design terminology that will come in handy if you work with graphic designers.

Follow along here during the month of April or on twitter at #atozdesign

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

February 28, 2017

What the kerning? Why spacing matters.

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 3:07 pm

What is kerning and why does it matter? Kerning is the process of adjusting the space between characters to make it more visually-pleasing. More of an art than science, it makes a typographic design look more professional and polished.

Watch this 45-second video and see why kerning matters.

November 15, 2014

Halfway through PiBoIdMo (Picture Books Ideas Month)

Filed under: Creativity,Design & Art — lidia @ 12:45 pm

halfway through PiBoIdMo

Two weeks ago, I started the Picture Book Ideas Month challenge, otherwise knows as PiBoIdMo. The idea is to come up with 30 picture book ideas, sketches or concepts in 30 days.

Ive been working on a typographic board book for kids, so this was the perfect excuse to keep myself motivated.

I started with a thick sketchbook that was a bit daunting, but it ended up being freeing: I could use as many pages as I wanted without editing my ideas.

This challenge has been a great excuse to brush up on my drawing and sketching skills. I was excited to dig out my box of colored pencils (which gets dumped out by my toddler on a daily basis).

Most of my great picture book ideas come from the aforementioned toddler. Usually, he does or says something that sparks an idea. Sometimes I ask him: “what kind of book do you want Mama to make?” (his response usually involves construction or monster trucks—not my subject of choice, but I’m trying to think outside the box…)

Some days, a great idea just flows and I can’t stop writing and brainstorming. Other days, there are no ideas. But it’s OK.

Onward to the rest of the month!





October 22, 2014

Feeling stock photo research overload? Try this…

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 4:23 pm

Anyone who has researched stock photography knows that it can be really time-consuming—not to mention, mind-numbing. Here are a few expert tips to make the search go smoother and faster:

  1. stock photo - orange orchids

    iStock #2734373

    Know what you’re looking for: make sure you specify if you are looking for royalty-free or rights-managed* BEFORE you find that perfect image

  2. Start specific: instead of “family”, search “mother and daughter”
  3. Specify a wide age range: age specifications can vary based on photographer or website—use a somewhat wide range (and be prepared to be shocked by what is considered “elderly”)
  4. Pair them up: when searching people photos, pair it with an activity (biking, reading, canoeing) or place (park, lake, mountains) to narrow the choices
  5. Go with what’s popular: checking the “Most Popular” box usually gets you the best images first
  6. Step away from the computer: when you start to feel stock photo overload, stop and clear your head. Or close the search window and start from scratch.

*Royalty-free (RF) = you pay once for unlimited usage (subject to the stock house’s agreement). Rights-managed (RM) = you pay based on specific usage rights (timeframe, usage types, number of pieces printed). Rights-managed images are a good choice if an original or exclusive image is needed.

Need stock photo website suggestions? Shoot me an email!

November 27, 2012

Typography in the City gets some love, both locally and abroad. #TypeTuesday

Typography in the City book Creative Bloq  Typography in the City featured on ChicagoJournal.com

Hooray for urban typography!

I’m excited to share that my “type-spotting” blog Typography in the City and the related book were mentioned in two places yesterday.

Bill Motchan, writer of the Chicago Journal’s ‘West Loop Wanderings’ blog posted an article about my inspiration for Typography in the City—including a photo of one of my favorite West Loop typography spots. Read the Chicago Journal article.

My self-published book, Typography in the City (based on the blog) was featured on Creative Bloq, a blog that delivers a daily dose of design tips and inspiration. Read the Creative Bloq post.

Thanks Chicago Journal & Creative Bloq for spreading the word about urban typography!

October 24, 2012

Special offer: 40% off personalized gifts from MyChronicleBooks.com (ends 10/30)

Filed under: Creativity,Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 1:42 pm

MyChronicleBooks race car growth chart

As a Chronicle Books affiliate, I’m pleased to share this special MyChronicleBooks.com offer with my readers:

One week only! 40% off Personalized Books and Gifts at MyChronicleBooks.com with code MYCB40. Ends 10/30/12

Click the link and make sure to enter the code.

About MyChronicleBooks

MyChronicleBooks.com offers personalized Books, Growth Charts, Lunch Boxes, Placemats, Wall Art, and paper goods based on their beloved book titles.

Get those kids’ holiday gifts early!

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