Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How To Design and Create Pocket Folders by: Brent M Durell

Pocket folders are becoming everyday things that many people utilize on a regular basis. In every need and purpose, a pocket folder printing would surely be there. In everyday situations like that in schools and offices, a pocket folder is one of the essential accessories that can be found.

Students and professionals alike use these folders to carry their documents – for the students, they are used to keep homework, report cards, term papers, and the handouts from the classes they have. For those employed, pocket folders act as presentation folders wherein other print promotional materials are kept organized and sorted out. They are even used for sending and mailing out marketing collateral to the target clients.

Creating Business Stationery Files In Adobe Illustrator 12 by: Jacob Gourd

Designing a identity for your small business can be a daunting task when your budget doesn’t stretch to hiring a professional to help you do the job. Digital artwork files need to be created to a correct size, resolution and color mode. Providing poor artwork files to printers will result in a unprofessional looking final product which wont leave a positive mark on your customers.

Screen Printing Terms / Jargon by: Michael D'Elena

This handy guide will allow you to quickly learn the basic terms and materials needed to screen print.


This can be a picture, drawing, cartoon, or words you want to put on your t-shirt. This is the starting point of screen printing your t-shirt. This can be done in many different ways using many different software packages. What is key is that the art must be done in vector format. The the main programs professionals (and amateurs) use are Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw.

How To Create 3D Effects Using Corel 10 by: Blur Lorena

CorelDRAW’s tenth edition software, the CorelDraw 10, is an upgraded combination of CorelDRAW and Corel Photo-Paint with new features and a unified interface. It has added features from Corel R.A.V.E., a vector based animation suite that introduced the popular Micromedia Flash animations and movie format best suited for web content. It also offers more fonts, clip arts, option palettes, filters, toolbars, and a graphics powerhouse to help you create print and web graphics design. All tools used in this software are those tools you see in Photo-paint or R.A.V.E.

Express Your Eccentricity with Corel Draw by: Maricon Williams

Individual differences teach us that we have diversities with other people included in this diversity is our sense of craftsmanship and artistry. To express this eccentricity in design we can rely on Corel Draw.
Corel Draw includes features like manipulating graphics and images, user-friendly interactive tools which allow the creation of fills, vector extrusions and envelopes. It also has new symbols to support the user limit the number of elements in his designs and reuse most common ones. Another feature is the chance to move between applications effortlessly. Not only that, you can also design your own workspace so you can decide how you want to work.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Photoshop - a Perfect Complement Of Photographer by: MAricon Williams

You and I both know that Photoshop is the tool that most of the photographers around the globe use. There is no doubt that it is the hands-down best to photographers when it comes to photo editing, enhancing and other adjustments. It has become and remains the industry’s standard in photography. In a matter of fact, photographers have found a perfect complement in Photoshop.

Functionality Oriented Web Design by: Matt Abraham

There are numerous web sites available that appear to be amazing and features the most recent styles in design however frequently fall short totally in their designed functionality. Design tendencies are, needless to say, essential simply because they provide you with fresh creativity and new strategies, even so the execution of those approaches and designs must be smart and centered.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Features In Photoshop CS4 by: Mandi Pralle

Adobe Photoshop is the most popular image editing software in the world. It's used by a number of professionals in the photo, magazine, and film industries, among others. When a new update comes, many people upgrade out of habit and don't really look into what makes the new version different. Others will

The immediate difference any Photoshop user will notice after upgrading is the user interface. A major component of this change is the new application bar. The application bar ties all elements together in a frame rather than leaving them floating as in previous versions.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

12 Steps to Creating a Professional Web Design by: Matthew Jurmann

Before we share some of the necessary steps used to create a professional web design and website, the following question must be addressed: What constitutes a "professional web design"? More often than not, a web designer or web design company claims to offer professional web design services for their clients. However, should they be promoting "web design services" rather than "professional web design services"? When measuring the professionalism of a web design and website, one must take into consideration a number of factors/steps:

Multi-stage web design process
Project collaboration tools (if project has more than one person involved)
High-quality design
Attention to detail
Current web design technology (CSS)
Well written, interesting, grammatically-correct content
XHTML and CSS validation (clean code)
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly
Abuse of Flash, Javascript, and sound effects

To put it simply, what separates professional web design from web design is whether or not a designer or web design company takes into consideration the above items when designing and building a website. Other than paying for a respected companies name and reputation, the items listed above are why professional web design services tend to cost more than regular web design services - you're getting a lot more than a website - you're getting the total package of web design professionalism that will surely shine through once the website is completed and released to the public.

The good news is, you don't need to hire a professional web design company or professional web designer if you want a professional web design and website. Although there is a great deal of work involved, if you'd like to attempt to do the heavy lifting on your own, then the following professional web design tips will help you create a professional web design and website.

Note: You might be wondering why a professional web design company would give away their process and professional web design "checklist" for free. The answer is quite simple: there is only so much time in the day, and unfortunately we can't professionally design every website in the world. The more high-quality, professional websites there are in cyberspace, the happier we as professional web designers and lovers of websites will be. To be blunt, there is just way too much junk out there. Lets get started.

Step 1: Multi-stage web design process

We've already written an extensive article on the basics of a professional web design process, so we're just going to list some of the article's key points for the sake of avoiding redundancy.

Stage 1: Conceptualization and planning (flowcharts)
When designing a website, one should not begin the process inside of a text editor (BBedit) or website builder application (Dreamweaver, GoLive, etc). Instead, the process should begin on a piece of paper or within flowchart software. According to Wikipedia, a flowchart is:

a schematic representation of an algorithm or a process.

In layman's terms, a flowchart provides a visual chart illustrating the structure of your website. How many main navigational items will your website contain? What will these items be called? Will there be any pages contained within the main pages? What will they be called? By planning out your website using a flowchart, you get a head start on:

Information organization
Determining the volume of content required

Stage 2: Modeling (wireframes)

In the modeling stage, static "wireframe" mockups are created for each unique web page. To create wireframes, one may use either:

paper and pencil
mockup software such as Adobe Photoshop or our personal choice, OmniGraffle Professional

These wireframes contain a bare-bones skeleton which illustrate the layout of a particular web page. Where will the logo go? Where will the content be located? Will there be breadcrumbs? Will you have a login box? Each of these questions (and many more) are answered in the modeling stage. A few things one should take into consideration when creating wireframes:

be sure to include all important elements that will be used (logo, navigation, content placement, images/video placement, login box, search, breadcrumbs, etc)
reference the flowchart which you created in Stage 1
don't use graphics - wireframes are meant to be bare-bones: boxes/circles/ovals which illustrate the placement of objects
only use text to label the elements, don't use body text (thats for the third stage)
focus on clean, well-organized, user-friendly layout; avoid cluttered layouts

Stage 3: Execution

The third stage in our professional web design process includes:

Creating the graphical user interface (GUI), also known as the design
Creating the content
Converting the web designs from images into code (markup) which web browsers use to present your website on the Internet

In the final stage, reference both the flowcharts created in Stage 1 and the wireframe mockups created in Stage 2 to create the final page layouts and designs. The design should be finalized in Photoshop or whatever image editing software you choose to use because it is a pain to make changes to the design once it has been converted into markup (code).

Trust us, process makes perfect

Following a well-structured web design process is by far one of the most importance steps that many web designers choose to neglect. By following a web design process such as the one we've just described, you increase the likelihood that your website will be well-organized, easily navigable, and user-friendly. If you're going to skip any of the items in our professional web design checklist, make sure that the web design process is not one of them.

Step 2: Project collaboration tools

Note: If you are the only one working on your project, then you can skip this step. Project collaboration tools are only recommended for projects which have two or more people involved.

Communication is one of the most important elements in a project. When multiple people are building a website, there usually are quite a few e-mails sent back and forth between one another. The more e-mails exchanged, the longer it can take to find a certain e-mail and the easier it can be to misplace important bits of information. This was one of the biggest problems that our professional web design company faced when we first began - there wasn't an easy way to organize the e-mails, attachments, milestones, etc.

Thankfully, after a little bit of research, we discovered a project collaboration tool called Basecamp. Taken directly from the Basecamp website:

Projects don't fail from a lack of charts, graphs, stats, or reports, they fail from a lack of clear communication. Basecamp solves this problem by providing tools tailored to improve the communication between people working together on a project.

Basecamp (and project collaboration tools like it) allows multiple users to access a website which stores all of the messages, milestones, file uploads, to-do lists, time it takes to complete parts of the project, etc. that are associated with a project. No more sending e-mails. Everything is securely stored on the Basecamp servers. The only e-mails you will ever receive are notifications whenever something is contributed or changed within a project.

Basecamp has packages available that can be tailored to suit your needs. If you only need to use Basecamp for one project at a time, then you can signup for free. Unfortunately with the free version, there are no file uploads allowed. However, for a measly $12/month, you can control up to 3 projects at once, have 250 megabytes of file upload space, have unlimited people and clients, have a real-time chat that can easily be integrated into Basecamp, and much more.

When it comes to project collaboration and communication, nothing beats a web application like Basecamp. If you're serious about your project and want to have the best communication possible, then you must try Basecamp. A project collaboration tool such as Basecamp is especially useful for a professional web design company which handles a number of projects and clients at any given time. For project collaboration, there is simply no better way to communicate.

Plug over.

Step 3: High-quality design

Who and what determines a "high-quality design"? There isn't one answer. Often times something that is appealing to one person may be extremely unappealing to another. Despite this fact, there are several things that a high-quality design should have:

Balance. Balance refers to the equal distribution of the heavy and the light elements on a single page.
Unity. Unity keeps all of the similar elements in the website alike and those that are diverse further apart; everything should be pulled into one integrated whole.
Emphasis. Emphasis involves the main points where the eye is drawn into the design; also known as "focal points".
Contrast. Not just color contrast, but also contrasting shapes, sizes, textures, and even typography.
Rhythm. Also known as repetition, rhythm brings internal consistency into your web design.

Since this is a broad topic and cannot be fully covered in this article, you can read more about the five basic elements of web design.

In addition to these five basic elements of web design, information overload is often times one of the biggest killers of a website design. Designers sometimes forget the saying "less is more" and somehow seem to believe that the more information that is stuffed onto one page, the better it will be. Don't become a victim of information overload. Keep your layout as clean as possible. Give different topics their own dedicated web pages. One of the biggest causes for information overload is not successfully planning out your website layout through the use of flowcharts and wireframes, discussed above in Step 1: Multi-stage web design process. Remember: white space is not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, white space is your friend, especially when creating a professional web design. Successful professional web designers learn how to use white, negative space to their advantage, and make it a key element of the design.

Step 4: Attention to detail

When professionally designing a website, every little detail is thought out and planned. Should there be a line above the headers, and if so, why? If you use rounded corners for your main body, should you be consistent and use rounded corners for everything else? Does your logo look better with a reflection underneath? The only way to answer any of these questions is to experiment. Sometimes the best results come from accidental experimentation. Don't always be happy with the first design. Work to improve upon the design and go through a few revisions, each time asking yourself "What can be done to make the design look better?", be more consistent, and most importantly, give your website a stronger identity and image.

When we say "detail", we're not just talking about graphic design elements. No, graphic design is just the tip of the iceberg. We're also talking about typography (font faces i.e. Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet MS, font sizes i.e 10 pixels, 12 pixels, 18 pixels, font weight/style i.e. bold, italic, font placement), the use of negative space, and other elements of design.

Attention to detail is important because it is oftentimes the details in your design which make your website stand out from the competition (or from other websites in general). People get bored with the same old design - give them something different, unique, and attractive, and they will come back and visit. Heck, they may even become inspired by your design.

Remember: Less is more. Use details, but don't abuse details.

Step 5: Current web design technology (CSS)

CSS - also known as cascading style sheets - replaced table-based website layouts years ago. The problem is, a lot of web designers are still using tables to create their designs. Not only is this unprofessional, but tables just plain suck. Here are a number of reasons why using tables for your web design is a bad idea:

Tables slow down your website. Everything inside of a table's cell is loaded before being shown to the user. This is especially apparent for people using dial up connections.
Tables make messy code and add unnecessary junk markup. File sizes are increased due to the excessive lines of code which means slower load times. Also, having to sift through hundreds (sometimes thousands) of lines of code just to make a change isn't a lot of fun.
Universal layout updates are difficult and time consuming when using tables. Making universal edits with tables involves opening each file, sifting through the code and junk markup, and making a change (again, on each page). Often times with CSS, all one must do is open the stylesheet and change a single value.
Tables should only be used to show data, not be used to design websites.
Tables limit your creativity and design. Table layouts are limited to boring, grid-based layouts. With CSS, you can place anything anywhere. The layout possibilities with CSS are endless.
CSS will save you time and increase your revenue in the long run. Updates and edits are much easier using CSS than tables. Because of faster load times, fewer visitors are likely to become impatient and leave. Longer visits = more browsing, more ad-clicking, lower bounce rates = more money for you.
Display your CSS website on tons of high-quality CSS Showcase websites. Tons of exposure if your website is featured. Table-based layouts are not welcome. Complete list on listible.com.

Some people will argue that table-based layouts are better than layouts which are built using CSS. However, oftentimes the person arguing that tables are better than CSS is the person who spent thousands of dollars on a table-based layout. Despite what anyone tells you, table-based layouts are inferior to CSS and should be avoided at all costs.

To read all about CSS, visit w3schools.com. Again, to be blunt, if your website is created using tables, it is not professional web design quality. Start using CSS stylesheets today and keep the tables in your spreadsheet application.

Step 6: Well written, interesting, grammatically-correct content

One thing that greatly compromises the quality and credibility of a website is poorly written, grammatically incorrect, misspelled content. This kind of content is unfortunately present in an extremely high number of websites - especially "professional" company websites.

If you don't know how to write, then hire someone to write the content of your website. You'll thank yourself later. Even if you do know how to write, mistakes are easy to make. Run through your content a few times to confirm that everything makes sense, is interesting, and is spelled correctly. You'll look more professional and people will take what you have to say more seriously.

Step 7: Usability

Website usability is extremely important. According to usability.gov:

In general, usability refers to how well users can learn and use a product to achieve their goals and how satisfied they are with that process. Usability, as defined by Joseph Dumas and Janice (Ginny) Redish, means that people who use the product can do so quickly and easily to accomplish their tasks. Usability may also consider such factors as cost-effectiveness and usefulness.

If website usability is poor, then people can easily become frustrated and leave your website. A great deal of importance must be placed on website usability if you want your web design to be of professional quality. It is usually poor usability which separates the regular websites from the professionally designed websites. Usability is the most important element of a professionally designed website.

For a wealth of information regarding website usability, visit usability.gov and also read our Dos and Donts of Website Navigation Usability.

Step 8: XHTML and CSS validation

Some people will argue that validating your website with XHTML and CSS validation from W3.org is a waste of time. To be blunt, they are wrong (for a number of reasons).

Accessibility. Without accessibility, you run the risk of being sued. For example: a disabled person who cannot use a "conventional" browser can sue you if your website is inaccessible to them. Although validation doesn't necessarily guarantee accessibility, it is an important component of exercising ones due diligence and is reason enough that you should validate your website's XHTML and CSS.
Cross browser compatibility. The more validation errors your website has, the higher the chances are that your website will not look the same in all web browsers. We will cover the importance of cross browser compatibility in the next step.
You look more professional with a valid website. Again, like having interesting content free of grammatical errors and misspellings, having a valid website makes you look more professional to your visitors. It tells them "Hey, I care about my website's image, I took the time to validate it".

If you're building a website for the first time, then you may find that your website has a lot of validation errors. Don't worry, this happens to the best of us. The more websites you build and the more time that you take to learn the rules of validation, the fewer errors you will get and the easier it will be to validate your website.

For more information about XHTML and CSS validation visit W3.org.

Step 9: Standards-compliant

Perhaps the most difficult, time-consuming aspect of professional web design is making sure your website is standards-compliant.

Taken directly from Wikipedia:

Standards-compliant is a term often used in describing websites & user agents' (often web browsers) relative compliance with web standards proposed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

In layman's terms, if you want your website to be considered professional, then it must look and function the same in all major browsers. In addition, achieving interoperability lowers costs to content providers since they must only develop one version of a document.

As mentioned above, creating a standards-compliant website will take a good deal of time and can even involve using basic hacks in order for certain elements to appear the same across all major browsers. Major browsers include: Internet Explorer 6 (IE6 -PC), Internet Explorer 7 (IE7 - PC), Firefox (PC and Mac), Safari (PC and Mac), and Opera (PC and Mac). These browsers control the majority of the browser market share and therefore the website which you create should be tested extensively in each of these browsers to ensure standards-compliance. In addition, XHTML and CSS validation (as mentioned in Step 8: XHTML and CSS validation) are extremely important when programming a website to be standards-compliant. Validate your website, validate your CSS stylesheet, validate yourself (okay, you can't validate yourself, but if you could, would you?).

Step 10: Optimization

Website optimization is another crucial factor that must be taken into consideration when professionally designing a website.
Website optimization includes:

Image optimization. Next to audio and video, images can severely compromise the speed in which your website loads. Always compress your images using Photoshop or your favorite image compression utility. By compressing images, you decrease the size of a file which allows a web page to load quicker which ultimately decreases the chance that your visitor will leave your website due to long load times.
Audio/Video optimization. Another major annoyance which screams "unprofessional" is having enormous video and audio files embedded in your web pages. Try to use Flash Video (.flv) compression for your video files and (.mp3) compression for your audio files. Not only are the file sizes smaller than using (.avi) or (.mpg) for video or (.wav) for audio, but the video/audio loads faster which means other elements on your web page will load faster, too.
Clean code (just say no to tables). In case you skipped Step 5, do not use tables when designing your website - use CSS (cascading style sheets). Tables have a ton of junk markup which will slow down your page load time, increase file sizes, and make editing and updating quite difficult.
Validate your XHTML and CSS. Although covered in Step 8, XHTML and CSS validation is an integral part of professional website optimization and therefore should not be skipped. Validate your XHTML and CSS.

Step 11: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly

Professionally designed websites should be designed with a solid SEO friendly foundation. To make your website SEO friendly:

Don't use Flash. If you must use Flash, make sure it is used sparingly. Flash content is not crawlable by search engine spiders and therefore the content located inside of Flash files cannot be indexed in the search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, or Ask.
Don't use Frames. Search Engine Spiders have a difficult time crawling through a website that uses frames. Many Search Engine Spiders will receive the following message when visiting a website designed using frames:
“Sorry! You need a frames-browser to view this site.”

Keyword Research. Optimize your web pages by including keywords relevant to the content on your website. Use keyword research tools such as Wordtracker or Overture to find the best, most relevant keywords for your content.
Researched Keywords in Title of web pages. Arguably the most important element in SEO, make sure that your title tags include the keywords found in the keyword research stage.
Researched Keywords in URL. Be sure to include the researched keywords in the title of your web pages as well. For example, if a page on your website is about energy drinks, make sure that the file is saved as "energy-drinks.html". Use dashes instead of underscores, if possible.
CSS Navigation/CSS Stylesheets. CSS navigation guarantees that your website navigational text is crawlable by search engine spiders. CSS navigation also loads very quickly and anyone will be able to view the navigation using any browser.
Researched Keywords in Anchor Text. For hyperlinks inside and outside of your website, be sure to include the researched keywords in the anchor text of your hyperlinks. This helps search engines better determine what a particular page is about and will help that page rank higher with the researched keyword(s).
Images: ALT tags, no text in images. Not only are ALT tags required for XHTML validation, but they are necessary components of web accessibility. Try to avoid placing text inside of your images since search engine spiders cannot crawl image text. However, if you must place text inside of an image, use the text inside of the image as that image's ALT tag. Search engine spiders can read ALT tags, just not the text inside of images.

Step 12: Abuse of Flash, Javascript, and sound effects

The last step in creating a professional web design and website is to avoid the abuse of Flash, Javascript, and sound effects. Not everyone has Flash or Javascript enabled on their computer, and therefore your website should not be built around them. If you're going to use Flash or Javascript, use it sparingly.

Try not to use Flash Intros on your website. Most people hate waiting for Flash Intros to load, hate being forced to sit through them, and hate being surprised by the sound that many of them have. Do not create your website using only Flash. Again, what about the users who do not have Flash enabled on their computer? That could be a potential client, customer, or reader who you're missing out on because of an unnecessary technological limitation.

If you're going to use sound effects, make sure that they only play if the user enables sound on your website - never force sound effects onto your visitors. Nothing screams "unprofessional" like having a sound effect play each time a navigational item is rolled over or even worse, when the visitor lands on the home page of your website.

As a matter of fact, Flash and sound effects should generally be avoided when creating a professional web design. Javascript is the only exception as long as you program the website to work even if Javascript is disabled. Flash and sound effects are a nuisance to a lot of people, so for that reason alone, try to stay away from them.

The recipe to professional web design

These 12 steps make up the majority of the recipe which many professional web designers live by when designing websites. Of course, knowing the things that you know after reading this article and actually being able to create a professional web design are two very different things. However, as it does with anything, practice makes perfect. Now get out there and start building a professionally designed website! And hey, if you can't do it yourself, go to Google and search "professional web design". Chromatic Sites is in there, along with many other highly-respected professional web design companies.

About The Author
Professional web design company Chromatic Sites publishes web design tips for amateur and professional web designers.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vinyl Banner Design Tips

Vinyl banner design is about as easy as it gets for the non-professional graphic designer. Generally speaking, a vinyl banner is easy to design. Anybody with a little bit of graphic design experience can design a banner. And even if you have no experience, your supplier can point you in the right direction, or even design your banner for a small charge.

Here are some things to watch for when designing a vinyl banner...

1. Use software that handles CMYK full color output. There are at least three kinds of software you can use:

- Image editors like Photoshop, PhotoPaint, or PhotoImpact

- Page Layout programs like Quarkxpress, Pagemaker, or InDesign

- Illustration programs like Illustrator or CorelDraw

Generally speaking, programs that are designed for consumers or general office applications are not recommended: e.g., Word, Wordperfect, Publisher, Excel, etc. If you have a specific inquiry, don't hesitate to ask your vinyl banners supplier. A good source of information is your contact person at your vinyl banners supplier.

2. Keep your vinyl banner design simple and striking. The best designs contain two or three basic elements. Usually these will be a photograph, a large headline, and an "identifier" such as your company name, logo, or phone number.

3. Use bright colors. The most striking vinyl banners have lots of bright colors.

4. Design your vinyl banner so it is readable for your target audience. If it is going on a building or beside a road on a fence, or on an outfield fence at a baseball or soccer field, MAKE SURE YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE IS LARGE ENOUGH TO BE READ.

5. Make sure your images have sufficient resolution. For some advice on image resolution, see the Vinyl Banners FAQ.

6. Make sure your vinyl banner fits the area where you're going to mount it. Don't guess at the size. Most people who are not familiar with signage will UNDERESTIMATE the required size.

7. Consider alternative methods of mounting your vinyl banner. Grommets are the "default" method of mounting a banner on a wall or fence. But often "pole pockets" are simpler and more efficient.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Web Design Process Easy To Understand

The best thing that can be done for web design is to leave it to the designers! That is what a lot of folks particularly internet marketers like me believe about the web design process.
When you visit a large web design company the chances are they outsource the work to a freelance website designer just like I do in the majority of cases. You may have a current web site design project, you may be updating an existing site, or just interested in learning new skills. If so then this article will help you with your web design process decision making.
When your field of expertise includes nothing related to computers or the Internet, defining what you need in a web design can feel burdensome. However, I was tired of running behind companies, waiting for their updates on my website design. You must first develop a strategic plan and design your web site accordingly. Prior to designing your web site, you must have a clear understanding as to exactly what it takes to succeed. But these goals are nearly impossible to achieve without learning the rules that govern Web site design. Look for books on web page and web design. Use the web - there are thousands of sites that have tutorials and explanations of every aspect of web site design and implementation.
Set the right mood in your web design with great color! The design of your website is an integral part of the marketing process. Without a visually appealing, content rich, search engine friendly website design, your business is miles behind. Insert desired texts, your logo design, change button names if needed and the website is ready to use. You designed your web site for your needs, not their needs. An effective elegant website design tells your business' sales story in a simple, straightforward manner. But don't get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with "pushing the envelope" of Web site design. The use of high quality animation for web design involves file size optimization and professional development techniques to enable fast downloading and compatibility. With this deeper understanding, you will be able to apply more integrated design practices to their everyday work. Your multimedia flash website is no more at the mercy of your web designer. You can have your own ecommerce store, including advanced ecommerce website design.
Take advantage of the best of dynamic Web design, enabling you to design, develop, and maintain exceptional standards-based Web sites. This makes the design of a ecommerce website even easier. The whole process of website development is in a phased manner, thereby reducing any chances of any discrepancy while designing your website. Putting together a web site is a unique blend of publishing, user interface design, and technology. There are arguments for doing your website design in-house. It is difficult enough trying to find a web design company with these skills, let alone finding the talent in-house. However web design, search engine optimization and copywriting is a very specialized area. Design isn't only what you see, it's also what you think and feel as you navigate a Web site. Sure, learning HTML is an important part of designing a successful web site

Design This, Design That

There is a common misconception that design is all encompassing. That designing for the web is the same process as designing for print. This couldn't be further from the truth, for several reasons. You might as well be comparing apples to oranges. Both are fruits and that's about it.

This article will explain a few of the very basic differences between the two. The usage for your design will determine how you need to set up your document and which software is best suited for the project.

1. Ruler Measurements: This is probably the utmost basic of differences between document setup of print vs. web design projects.
Web: Generally when designing for web, width and height measurements are in pixels since this is the measurement that browsers understand and how the monitor area space is measured. A good analogy would be pixels on a monitor being golf balls in a bucket.

Print: When designing for print, the final outcome will be tangible. Obviously we measure the width and height of tangible objects in inches (or mm if you live anywhere outside of the US ;) So when designing for print we set up the document in inches so that the final outcome is reproduced accurately.
2. Color Mode: Choosing your color mode is very important. Especially if you're designing for print. This one simple setting can help you avoid making a costly mistake when sending your project to print. You should always check with your printer for file specifications before beginning your design.
Web: The native color mode for televisions monitors is RGB which is a color model based on 3 primary "additive" colors, Red, Green, and Blue, being mixed at different levels to create a wide array of colors.

As bright and vibrant as a design piece may look on your computer in RGB color mode, odds are when printed the colors will shift because the printer cannot always replicate every color in the RGB color space.

Print: Most printers today rely on the CMYK color mode. CMYK is made up of "subtractive" primary colors; Cyan, Yellow, Magenta, and Black. When designing for a printed piece, the design at one point or another will have to be converted to this CMYK color mode.

This conversion can result in unwanted shifts in color. The majority of color shifts occur in your brighter more vibrant colors as they tend to dull or flatten because the printer is unable to replicate the RGB color used.

That's not to say that you can't print bright or vibrant colors, it just takes a different mixture of color to do it. It's worth noting that a good portion of full color photographs will convert to CMYK without much color shift.

It is not uncommon to perform color correction after conversion to help retrieve the vibrancy the RGB color model produced. Even though the brightness and vibrancy can be adjusted, the specific color shade or tint may not always be replicated after conversion.
3. Resolution: This one is a biggie. Resolution is an important factor in both print and web design as each has its own standards and optimal setting for the best results for the intended use of the final design piece.

This is where those with no design background can get a little confused. I know as a web and print designer I've been asked a number of times to use images from the web for print. Why doesn't this work? Well it's like this:
Web: A monitor is only capable of producing 72 dpi (dots per inch) so this has become the web standard for images you find online. The fact that the monitor can only produce 72 dpi is actually a good thing because using this resolution helps to keep the file size low. The higher the resolution of an image, the larger the file size, the longer it takes to load.

The downfall of designing in 72 dpi is that the image will not produce a high quality print, especially if it has to be enlarged for the print project. The image can be greatly degraded, blurred, and pixilated making for a very amateurish unprofessional design when printed.

Print: When it comes to choosing a resolution for printing, this can vary. The general standard is 300 dpi to produce a high quality print. 300 dpi is a happy medium between a high quality print as well as moderate file size.

It is possible to crash a print server if your final print job has an extremely large file size so designing in resolutions higher than 300 dpi are not very common for the majority of printing needs.

The advantage of using high resolution 300 dpi images is that they can always be scaled down to the 72 dpi used in web design without loss of image quality. This makes print quality images usable for web design, but usually not the other way around, web to print.
Conclusion: As you can see there are some very basic fundamental differences between web and print design. These seemingly small differences can have a huge impact on the quality, effectiveness, and functionality of your finished design project.

Generally a web designers' primary software of choice is Photoshop. Print designers use Photoshop as well, but Illustrator is usually the software of choice for its scalability without loss of image quality (that's a whole other post we'll get into at a later date)

Are you a print or web designer? Do you have examples of how your field differs from the other and is often misunderstood by clients or employers? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!