Design Strategies

In order for a website to be successful, it must have viewers and a lasting audience that is viewing the site. To maintain such a thing, the website must not only be helpful, but look appealing to the average person. In the mind of the designer, terms such as “white space” and “sans-serif font” come to mind, but that isn’t what is going through the mind of any old casual. People who do not professionally design look for whether or not a website is “attractive” or not. Someone’s idea of this may completely go against the rules of design.

The first step to attracting people to a website is to make it have a nice, friendly first impression. So for this step, make the site user friendly. All the controls should be clear, and each section of the site should be clearly marked differently by color or design and anything that is able to be interacted with by the user should be made clear so the user isn’t left confused and decides to leave the site forever. The layout of the website must be consistent too, nobody wants to get lost on a website. And the last thing for this step is to have a clear font in a visible color. When creating a site, the designer will want the site visitor to be able to read everything he has put on the website to be read. Having clear words will also increase the attractiveness of the website, which will make more people inclined to visit it.

Finally, the next ideal for design a website is to design with emotion. The goal behind this is for the creator to choose an emotion that he wants his site visitors to feel when they access his website and to be consistent with the emotion he chooses to create for the site. For example, if the web designer wants a light-hearted or humorous feel to his site, he can add in joyful colors and smooth shapes. However, no matter what theme the designer is going for, he would NEVER want to use comic sans because it will make the web page look unprofessional. And moreover on the user-friendliness of the site, if there is an error-404 page due to the website being under construction, the designer could make his own entertaining/humorous error-404 page the take the edge off any frustration the site visitor may get from receiving that error page rather than the real website.



Human Target Practice

A target audience is the intended audience for a product, website, show, and everything else in between. Target audience can be any age group between infancy to the elderly, depending on what the project is. Target audiences make a lot of sense because one product cannot please everyone and the age groups create a division. For someone in a company to determine his target audience, he must consider what the product is as well as the person who will pay for his product, the consumer’s influence, and his supporter.

For the target audience, the producer must determine the audience’s age, gender, job description, and hobbies. In order to gather this information, the creator must think about what problem his product is designed to solve. And then, more in depth: who has these problems? Once he answers this, he will have an idea of his target audience. The best way to get an understanding of the target audience’s thoughts and feelings of the problem is to contact them whether it be in person or via the internet or phone call for an interview. This step is vital for marketing a product because the producer will have no sales without a target audience.

Next, the creator should identify the target audience’s motivations to help achieve the consumer’s goals, which leads to new initiatives to increase sales. And if the producer aims to help their new clients, the new clients will want the same for the company they buy their good or service from.

The person who is trying to sell his product must also identify the influencer of his client so that he can appeal to him too. To do this, the producer can look at social media profiles of his clients. Upon doing this research, the seller will find that his target audience follows accounts that grab their attention. The next step would be to look into online publications that the target audience is subscribed to. This will further grab the attention of the target audience and continue to encourage them to buy the product of service. Once the producer gets online recognition, he should create a description of all the social media linked to his business. The people who follow the links of the creator’s description are a part of the target audience.


Copyrights of Fonts

Along with all original creative works, there are copyright rules, this includes fonts. However, most casuals do not know the rules and regulations for typefaces and fonts. For one thing, fonts and type faces are two entirely different things. The difference is that the font is the file on the computer that allows the user to access the typeface and tells the computer how to display the characters on screen. The typeface is the actual set of letters and characters that are shown on the monitor. Sometimes, typefaces are referred to as glyphs. For example, Comic Sans is not a font, it is a (terrible) typeface, the font for Comic Sans is the file on the computer (that should be burned) that allows the computer to display the characters in Comic Sans.

Copyright is the law that provides legal protection to the owner of a piece of work, giving him the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, publicly preform, or publicly display the work. The only exception to this law is if the work is bought or the person who wants to use the work asks for permission to use it. In order for a piece of work to be protected by the Copyright Law, it does not need to be donated to the US Copyright Office.

Copyright does not protect typefaces, but it does protect fonts if they are able to qualify as a computer software or program, which most fonts do. There are two kinds of fonts: bitmapped and scalable fonts. Bitmapped fonts are considered to be computerized versions of glyphs and are not protected under the copyright law. Scalable fonts are protected by the law because they are incorporated as part of a software. So basically, US Copyright Laws only protect scalable fonts and not their typefaces.However, this is not the case in other countries. The Copyright Laws in England and Germany both protect typefaces. Some typefaces can be patented, but they rarely are and most of the patents were done a long time ago and are expired now.

Be careful when using free fonts, some of them may be illegally copied. Do research on websites before mindlessly downloading fonts and potentially giving your computer a virus.


I Spot Colors!

Spot colors are any colors that are generated by ink in a single print. These colors are referred to as CMYK. To break it down: C is cyan, M is magenta, Y is yellow, and K is key which is black. Just about any color can be created from the CMYK color model. In order to do this, two or more colors in CMYK must be mixed and with certain amount of each color being used. For example, green would be a combination of cyan and yellow, and for purple, magenta and cyan. The printer that is printing a color created by multiple spot colors, the printer must have a special file for spot colors along with the CMYK colors. However, there are several systems that have been developed for matching specific spot colors. The most common system used in America is the Pantone Matching System. This system has about a thousand pre-designed colors that can be mixed from the company’s “Pantone Colors” inks which are sold individually.

The printer is what produces the spot colors, and to do this, the printer uses a number called a PMS number, which is used to specify ink colors, to locate the base colors by number from the Pantone ink color palette to mix the numbers and percentages of each color necessary to create the spot color. There are even computerized scales for printers to get a color more spot on and accurate.

It is possible to create spot colors from other spot colors. However, this can only be done in duotones (a photo with only two colors) or tritones (a photo with only three colors). This printing is not often practiced because there is very few other effects that can be done along with it since the color range is so limited per photo.

While there are several printing effects that can be done, proofing spot colors is not one of them with today’s technology. But because the Pantone color chart works in numbers and matching the numbers, the production of spot colors is always assumed to follow a PMS guide.


Web Safe Colors

Web safe colors are colors that are consistent and show up as the same color on every kind of computer. The web safe color palette consists of two hundred and sixteen colors rather than the typical 265 colors because basic colors are the ones that translate well between all types of computers. Web safe colors work the same way using a word document from a mac on a PC would. If certain characters are typed into the word document, they might translate to ones that have completely different meanings. For example, what might show up as quotations on a word document on one type of computer, might show up as a pound sign on another type of computer with the same word document opened.

About a decade ago, computers were only able to display 256 colors at once. This limitation was due to the cost of RAM being so pricey. In order for a color to be able to be displayed, it must be described in less than eight bits of computer information.

For palettes, web safe colors are defined in multiples of fifty one. As random as it seems, the number fifty one is twenty percent of 255. The number two hundred and fifty five comes into play because colors on a color palette typically start on either higher (darker) or lower (lighter) increments of 51 and they will increase to as high as 255, or as low as zero. 255 is black and zero is white.

Web safe colors should be used when creating a website with a solid color background so that it shows up the same color on every computer and not some weird color. Also, a web safe color should be used on websites with invisible backgrounds because if the invisible background is not made a web safe color, the transparency in the background may become distorted on some computers. And web safe colors are also necessary for a text image that will contain a background color. When using a background color for this, the text will go on the picture beautifully, if not, there will be an annoying white fringe around the letters, making the picture look as if it were created by some random casual.

To summarize, web safe colors are colors on the web that are consistent with every kind of computer. These colors are usually preferred when creating a background for a website because it is not likely that they will appear to be an embarrassing color on someone elses computer.


Color Me Confused

When working with a project with color, the editor must consider his color mode before publishing his work of art. The two color modes are RGB and CMYK. The average commoner editor knows the differences between these color modes, but do not know why they are different.

RGB stands for red green blue and is also known as additive color because there are no colors and they are being added together to create other colors or white. This occurs because the human eye is not receiving reflective light and sees the color as black. The RGB color mode is used for web purposes, such as providing color or pictures for a website. Since this color range is used for the web, the graphic designer must also be mindful to set his screen resolution to a smaller number- such as 72 DPI (dots per inch) because the computer monitor works in pixels rather than inches.

CMYK is an acronym for cyan magenta yellow and black and is used for printing. This color mode is used for printing because a computer can display millions more colors than a printer. This is due to the fact that computer monitors have a larger array of colors than printers because the coloring of print is supposed to reflect the way the human eye sees color. CMYK is also known as subtractive color because when all the colors are removed, there is white. When creating a print design in Adobe Photoshop, a larger resolution (around 400 DPI) because the printer works in inches since the product of printing is larger and if a smaller DPI is being used for printing, the picture will come out pixelated.

To summarize, RGB (red green blue) is used for web graphics and CMYK (cyan magenta yellow black) is used for print. In order for a graphic designer to know which of these color modes to use, he must know if his art is to be printed or not.


Raster?? Vector???

The difference between a raster and a vector image is that a raster image allows for editing with color, and a vector image lets the editor resize the image to virtually any size imagined. The question many noob graphic designers have is when they should use a raster and a vector image when editing a project.

Raster images, or bitmap images, are typically used when photographs are being edited and not logos and illustrations. Raster images are made up of small squares called pixels and raster images need software that is able to render each and every pixel that makes up the raster image. Because of this, they have a higher DPI (dots per inch) and PPI (pixels per inch) than vector images do. Graphic designers will usually use raster images when they are editing using Adobe Photoshop. This, however, is specific to when editing a photo with multiple colors. A simple rule of thumb t0 follow is to look at the number of colors that are being worked with on a project. If there are several colors being used, the designer should use a raster.

Vectors are mathematical paths that are more useful when working with text and very few colors. Vectors can be identified by text and their smooth edges. There are even vector based programs that are designed to create wire-frame images with specific line lengths and curves, such as Adobe Illustrator, that will set vectors and vector formulas as a default when in use. The frames allow the image to be resized to any size without losing its quality and looking pixelated. A vector image can be determined not only by the few colors used, but  If text is being used in Photoshop, it is usually rendered in vector format. When using vectors, be mindful to convert the vector to raster format for the web for a higher quality image.

Some projects will require the graphic designer to use both vectors and raster images. For example, a brochure. The logo would require vectors and use of Adobe Illustrator, but the pictures in the brochure are photos and need rasterized editing that would be done in Adobe Photoshop.