graphic design

Even expensive software won’t make you a graphic designer

graphic designer desk

I had driven past the yard sign several times before curiosity got the better of me. Was it really an abstract watercolor in shades of gray and rose? What was it doing in someone’s yard? So I parked, walked up, and studied the sign. It promoted a community event having nothing to do with watercolors. … Read more


Print can still be very communicative, if you pay attention to how people read these days. Someone who clearly understands that is the publishers of Inc. Magazine, who recently unveiled the prototype for a new title called Build aimed at mid-size companies.

The sample page reproduced here shows how savvy print designers can connect with readers in this era of smartphones, tablets, and Web 2.0. Even though there’s a lot of text on the page, it’s broken into bite-size chunks, most of which use a bold lead-in to allow skimming readers to determine whether they need to read the entire paragraph. In fact, you can pick up the gist of the article just by reading those lead-ins.

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I enjoy building things out of wood. Sometimes, I get lost in the power tool aisle, studying tremendously expensive pieces of equipment that do amazing things in the hands of skilled operators.

I could buy that equipment, too. But would owning and using it suddenly make me a skilled cabinetmaker? Would I be able to produce furniture like an artisan? Could I apply filigrees with the deft of a sculptor? Of course not. Despite my best intentions, what I produced would invariably end up looking something whacked together out of a couple sheets of plywood.

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CAN YOU #&^@%$ SEE IT?

As a writer, I tend to become involved in logo design only peripherally, but I still manage to learn useful lessons from the process. I’ve heard a variety of interesting logo requests from clients, but the most instructive came from the president of a tow-truck manufacturer.

“I don’t give a !@#$@# what the !$@$@ logo looks like,” he said. “All I care is that someone going the other way on the @^#^#%# Interstate at 70 miles an hour can see the @#@% thing and know it’s my @#@%#$ truck.” Folksy? Perhaps. Crude? Probably. But sound? Absolutely. He knew that it was critical that other two-truck operators knew who made that good-looking truck.

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