Category : Concept
01. Raster images and vector images
Raster images (sometimes referred to as bitmap images) are made up of thousands of pixels which determine the colour and form of the image.
Vector-based images (such as those created in Adobe Illustrator) are made up of points, each of which has a defined X and Y coordinate. These points join paths to form shapes, and inside these shapes you can add colour fills. Because everything is generated based around this, vectors can be resized to any size without any loss of quality.
02. CMYK and RGB
CMYK is the standard colour mode for sending documents – be it magazines, newspapers, flyers, brochures, annual reports and so on to the printers. It stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (or black – key because in four-colour printing, cyan, magenta, and yellow printing plates are carefully keyed, or aligned, with the key of the black key plate). When you send a job to the press, cyan, magenta, yellow and black plates are made (on a traditional press, anyhow) and then aligned to print on paper. You can add Pantone, or fifth colours, which are created as separate plates.
When working in Photoshop or Illustrator, you have the option to set your document’s colour mode as CMYK, RGB (red, green, blue – for screen output) or other colour modes (but the former pair are the two you really need to know about).
Because CMYK has a more limited colour gamut than RGB (which is essentially what the eye sees and how screens output) you can experience a loss of colour when converting from RGB to CMYK in these applications.
03. DPI and PPI
Resolution is another key term that is often confused. There are two main acronyms used when dealing with resolution: DPI and PPI.
The former is only of concern when you’re creating work for printed output. It stands for ‘Dots Per Inch’ and refers to the number of dots per inch on a printed page. Generally, the more dots per inch, the better quality the image – and 300DPI is the standard for printing images.
PPI refers to ‘Pixels Per Inch’ and, as you’d expect, is the number of pixels per inch in your image. If you resize an image in Photoshop – making it larger – you will increase the number of pixels per inch (with Photoshop making up the data) and you will lose quality.
Put simply, typography is the art of arranging type. It’s one of the fundamentals of graphic design and one every designer should read into in great detail.
The difference between good type and great type is often what sets brilliant designers apart. And being able to spot a kerning (the space between two characters) error from a distance is somewhat satisfying!
The best way to describe a grid in graphic design in a series of intersecting vertical and horizontal lines used to organise and structure content. Whether in InDesign, or Illustrator, setting up a grid enables you to get your composition right and balance your type and imagery.
Common grid systems include a large header across the top with equally sized columns beneath – but there’s no real limit on what can be created. The Grid System provides an excellent resource including lots of further reading and templates. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann is also an essential read.
06. Logo design vs branding
Logos are powerful things; a great logo works as an instant reminder of a company or product, and for designers they represent the challenge of distilling a client’s essence into a single graphic. The best logos can live for a long time, and a new logo design can be a jarring event as the familiar is replaced by something new.
Designing a great logo is by no means easy;