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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Image File Sizes

It is important to understand how to size image files accordingly to how you plan to use them.  For example you would have a larger file size for print output so the image would remain crisp and clear throughout the entire process.  For digital output you would have smaller file sizes so the image would transmit faster.  For example you want the images on a web site to load quickly or a visitor might get tired of waiting and leave without seeing a thing.
For digital output you need to look out for two things.  First make the image the exact size that you are going to use it. So if your web page has a space for an image that is 200px x 100px (px stands for pixels), then you need to open the image in a photo editing program and make it exactly 200px x 100px.  Of course apply this theory to whatever size the image is being used for.
The second thing to look out for is setting the dpi correctly.  The standard is 72 dpi, but I have had some less than perfect quality images that didn’t look good at 72 dpi so I made them 150 dpi instead.  Use your best judgment, obviously the smaller image file size will open faster but we don’t want to sacrifice quality or really what point is there for even having the image.
The standard rule of thumb for professional printing is to set your images to 300 dpi, however some digital printers work better with 250 dpi.  As you can see this is a much larger size than digital output and it should be.  Printers are made to take the larger files size and in fact require it to produce a crisp clean image. As always I recommend asking your printing representative what file size they recommend since different printers can vary in requirements.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Image File Formats

When working with images there are several things that need to be taken into consideration.  One major element is image file formats. How do you know which format to use?
Digital Output Formats
Digital output meaning web sites, multimedia and really anything that will have a final output on a monitor.  The standard rule of thumb is JPEG for full color images such as photos and GIF for line drawings and illustrations like a logo. 
Jpegs show off full color images nicely, with the capability of dropping enough pixels to compress the file yet maintaining the integrity of the image.  A properly saved jpeg can show all the vivid details of a photo yet maintain a reasonable file size for digital transmission. 
Gifs show off line drawings well because they don’t drop pixels.  Really something as simple as a line drawing can’t afford to have the loss in pixels that a jpeg would produce.  In addition a gif has the capability of knocking out the background which allows more design freedom.
Print Output Formats
Print means just that, final output is through a printer on to a hard copy like paper.  If you are printing a low level image to your home printer you could get away with a high resolution jpeg.  If you plan on having professional printing done then you need to format images like photos as TIFF files, and line drawings or illustrations as EPS.  These format requirements could vary based on the equipment your professional print shop has so it is a great idea to ask your print representative their requirements up front.
Having just the right image format for your project can mean the difference between crystal clear graphics and fuzzy graphics so take the extra time to save properly in production to save you headaches and even money later in the project.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Color Formats

There are different color formats depending on the use of the creative.  The color format depends on final output.   The basic formats are RGB and CMYK.  So what do all of these letters mean?
RGB stands for Red, Green, Blue which are additive primary colors or starting colors.  Variations of each color can mix to produce a multitude of color combinations.  RGB is a used on some digital printers but is the preferred format for digital output since it accurately views when used in multimedia creative projects.
CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black and these are subtractive primary colors.  Just like RGB percents of each color can be mixed to create a multitude of colors. This color system is primarily used for offset printing.  A plate is made for each Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black showing various values of each color.  When combined these four colors can create the visual of a vivid photograph.
There is also another color system widely used in printing called Pantone Matching System. Nothing is mixed it is just the color of the paint used.  There are thousands and thousands of Pantone colors to choose from, with each color assigned a specific number.  This is great for one color print jobs and is usually used in offset printing and screen printing. 
Choosing the right color system for your project can determine how accurate your colors are in the final creative product and the using the right color system for your project can save you money.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Type Styles

There are several type categories: Script, Serif and Sans Serif are the most common.  Each comes in thousands of variations depending on the type foundry that created it. 
Scripts are more like handwriting.  You can find delicate curves and curls on the ends of letters for an elegant flow of text, or unpredictable letter endings that feel more like actual handwriting.  Scripts can be used for businesses like wedding planners, some types of restaurants, and more elegant business types in general.  Some examples of scripts are: Edwardian Script, Brush Script, or Mistral to name a few.  The downside to using a script is it is harder to read so use them for sparingly. 
A Serif is also considered to be an elegant type form and usually easier to read than a script.  A serif is the little tiny leg that hangs off the end of a letter.  Some examples of a serif are: Times Roman, Garamond and Lucida Bright.  For some uses the little tiny Serif seems to flow the letters together smoothly which makes it read easier and there are cases when the little tiny Serif gets lost which makes the design look fuzzy and unprofessional.  Be aware of the possible challenges, and if you are set on using a serif then experiment with different types of serif fonts to find the best readability.
Sans Serif means Not Serif, so that means it is a style that does not have the little leg or Serif on the end of the letters.  Some examples of Sans Serif fonts are: Helvetica, Arial and Impact.   This type is considered easy to read since there are no little parts hanging off the text; it is very clean and bold in appearance.   Use really depends on the right feel for your project
Whichever type style you choose experiment with different fonts to get the right feelings and readability for your creative project.
**Check out great tidbits like this one my book "Your New Business Logo".  Just clicke the ebook link for more information.**