Graphic Design Tips: Copyrighted Images vs. Royalty Free Images

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 @ 09:57 AM

We’ve said it before, and will probably say it again:  Technology changes EVERTHING! This is especially true in the field of Graphic Design.  The growth of personal computers and desktop publishing software made EVERYONE an amateur graphic designer. Now, the internet has become a wealth of knowledge and resources; especially for people looking for photos. This brings us to a VERY important topic: Image Use and Copyright Law.

While most professional graphic designers already know all about this, the constant influx amateur freelance designers are often completely unaware.  Here are a few VERY important things to know.

  1. UP copyright blogGoogle is NOT “Public Access to Free Pictures!”
    Google, and other search engines, are exactly what they claim to be:  Search Engines.

    If something exists on the internet, Google WILL find it.  Unless you’re savvy enough to clearly keep your photos offline, or only available to restricted groups of people, Google will catalog and reference every image it finds.

  2. ALL photographs are owned by SOMEONE.
    ALL images are initially owned by their creator, whether it’s a photograph or digital art. The creator is the person who must give permission to use the image.  There are exceptions, of course, like those cases where a company or organization has hired an artist or photographer. These images then become the property of those who bought the rights.

    Sometimes a photographer will sell the rights with a company that deals with “Stock Photography,” which means they make these images available for public use. Sometimes these images are available for free, but more often they will charge per use or require a subscription to their service.  Either way, this becomes a reasonably affordable AND very legal way to have access many images.

  3. “I didn’t know” and “I’ve done this before” are not valid excuses.
    Laws regarding Copyright and Image Usage Rights are just like every other law; not knowing you’re doing something wrong doesn’t make it legal.  You certainly don’t want you OR the client who paid you to create something, to suffer the consequences if your choices.

Help is on the way!

As we mentioned, there are a bunch of Stock Photography options available online. Below are just a few that we’ve used for some of our projects:

bigstockphoto.com        

photospin.com

istockphoto.com

freedigitalphotos.net

BUT… if you REALLY think Google is the best option, there’s a way to help find those images which are available to use commercially.

Step 1. Go to Google and search for what you’re looking for (for example “Cool Cars”)

Step 2. Select “Images” (just like you normally would) but this time click that little gear icon on the right, and select Advanced Searches.

Step 3. Under the Advanced Search options, find the “Usage Rights” dropdown, and select the appropriate “free to use” option.  If you need images for commercial use, like advertising or marketing, make sure you chose one of the “even commercially” choices.

Step 4. Click the Advanced Search button and you’ll still see several images, but this time they are all images that can be used with permission of their owners.  NOTE:  You may still need to credit the owner, which will be noted with you click the images you chose.

For more information about Copyright Law, Fair Use, and general Graphic Design ethics, check out this site:  ethicsingraphicdesign.org   They have a ton of resources and information to help you AND your employer or client.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, business solutions, Graphic Design Durham, Photos

Learn How Small Businesses Can Vastly Improve Their Sales and Marketing Response Rates By Completing the Simple Exercise Below.

Posted by Robert Moura on Fri, Jul 06, 2012 @ 01:30 PM

Are you clear about what value you bring to your clients?

Do you speak your customers language?

Most of us speak in our marketing and presentations about what “we” do and the great tools “we” have to do “it” with.

Consider what drives you to buy from Vendor A over Vendor B.

Universal Printing Understanding Client NeedsIs it about them and their tools, or is it about you and how their tools solve your problems?

Consider the following when preparing your sales and marketing campaigns:

Speak in Your Clients Language

  • Understand their needs
  • Use their language and terms
  • Tailor the pitch to their business
  • Propose a solutions that solves their problems and needs, not yours

Here's the Simple Exercise:

Can you fill in the information (in parenthesis) below regarding your company?

How (who you sell to) can (insert verb) (insert problem) through (insert solution).

Universal Printing example for pharmaceutical marketing:

How (leading Pharmaceutical companies) can (improve their patient recruitment results and lower cost) thorough (leveraging the benefits of QR codes, mobile optimized web sites and social media).

Now do this exercise for your company and your customers and watch your results soar.

PS: Did you notice that the title of this article conforms to the exercise? Got your attention, didn't it?

Keeping it Simple and Clear -

Happy Sales!

Bob Moura

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: tips and tricks, business solutions, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, emarketing

Graphic Design Tips & Tricks | Easy Holiday Snowflakes

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Dec 09, 2011 @ 11:30 AM

Happy Holidays! Have you been preparing your Holiday cards, or winter print ads or marketing materials?  Nothing says "Winter" like the image of snowflakes, and if you want to know how to create your own original custom snowflakes quick and easily, you've come to the right place!

SnowflakesBefore we start, let me just say: There are a LOT of things to love about living in the Triangle (that region of North Carolina which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and surrounding towns and communities.)  We're so lucky to be smack in the middle of the best in college sports, amazing hospitals and medical research facilities, some of the finests Colleges and Universities in the country, access to the best in Arts & Entertainment, and truly outstanding shops and activites.  What's even better, is knowing that we're just a short drive from sandy ocean beaches, but still just another short drive away from lush forested mountains. We even get to experience all the seasons.  True, the summers can be long and hot, but the winters are short and mild.  We get to ENJOY snow, but we don't have to DEAL with it for very long. Still, there's something magical about snow:  Every snowflake is unique, symetrical, and beautiful.

Our Art Director, John Francis, has put together this short instructional video, on a very cool and incredibly simple way to make unique custom snowflakes SUPER FAST.  Why bother browsing through clipart, or using canned templates, when you can create something custom even faster? 

 

 

Many more tutorial videos like the one above can be found on our YouTube channel.  Let us know which tips and tricks you'd like to see!  Leave your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video response on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, Graphic Design Durham, Illustrator Training video, training video

6 Great Fonts for Graphic Design (plus 2 that just shouldn't exist!)

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Dec 01, 2011 @ 02:39 AM

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Myriad
[1992 - Robert Slimbach & Carol Twombly]

Ligatures &  ItalicsLike most sans serif fonts, Myriad robust, very open, and easily readable; but two of my favorite things about Myriad probably don’t matter to anyone but me.  First off, it has its own very nicely designed ligatures (which are certain letter pairs that actually change their shape for better flow and readability... see example to the right.)  Myriad is just a nicely kerned font all on its own, and having some well thought of ligatures just make it nicer to work with.  Secondly, I have great respect for folks who design their italics in ways that aren’t just “slanty versions” of the standard “roman” upright version.  Myriad uses this concept in several of its characters, like the “a” and “e” shown to the right also.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Helvetica

[1957 - Max Miedinger]

Oh Helvetica, you timeless old B*$+@^&!  You are easily the most used font EVER!!!  Most people assume Arial is the same thing (which it’s not; Arial was loosely based on the letter shapes of a type called Monotype Grotesque, but I digress…) Helvetica really came into its place within the Pantheon of Fonts during the age of letraset type, and easily crossed the bridge to the digital age.  It’s now the “go to” font for people who don’t want to think about what font to use.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Univers

[1954 - Adrian Frutiger]

Adrian Frutiger, you say?  The creator of the typeface actually CALLED Frutiger?  Yes, true, although of all Frutiger’s fonts, this is my favorite.   After all, with more than 40 variations (actually up to 63 if you consider the slightly retooled Linotype Univers series) it has all of the weights, widths, oblique sets, and positions you could ever need for clean, but bold design.  It also has a few characters with some visual appeal that makes it easily distinguished from other sans serif fonts; such as the capital “G” without it’s tail, the capital “Q” whose tail slides along the baseline” or the small “t” with a slight angle along to top.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Garamond

[1530 - Claude Garamond]

Unlike French Fries and French Toast, Claude Garamond was actually FROM France!  There are a crazy number of versions of Garamond around, but the most widely used is the version from Adobe (Adobe Garamond or sometimes AGaramond).  Claude also was the creator of Sabon, which is another really classy serif font, but just because of the shear popularity of his namesake, it had to go on the list!

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Rockwell

[1933 - Frank Hinman Pierpont]

Originally released as Lithos Antique around 1910, Rockwell was updated and released in the early 1930’s in the robust form we know today.  Unfortunately, some early graphic arts publications incorrectly identified it as Stymie Bold which has similar traits but is kerned much tighter.  Rockwell was one of the early “slab serif” fonts referring to its blocky serifs that you can rest a dinner plate on.  It has a distinct geometric quality that really makes it stand out, and has been used for years by the New York Times Sunday magazine and for a while by the Guinness Book of World Records.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Duty

[2002 - Lee Fasciani]

Duty has all the roundness and richness of other classic fonts like Gill Sans or Futura, but with several more weight options and a few interesting flairs here and there.  I’m also a big fan of Lee Fasciani, a young British designer who has done the unthinkable, and proven that Typography is not dead, but in fact can still be a viable art form.

 

And 2 that shouldn’t have been made…

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Old English

This is a cheesy knock-off of Linotext, which already shouldn’t be used for ANYTHING.  Yet this font seems to appear in random places, and what’s worse is that you’ll occasionally see it in ALL CAPS.  Seriously, folks…  the 1400s called and they want their font back.  Sure, all you Medical School and Law School Graduates, we get it; you’re prestigious.  But don’t think for a minute that just because little Jimmy or Suzy graduated from the Third Grade or successfully played soccer for a season, that I actually believe that a team of Monks were sought out to hand scribe their certificates just because you thought it would be cute to use some old-timey font.

 

Universal Graphic Design Blog - Critter

Seriously?!  Animal letters?  I understand the need for Dingbats and Wingdings; but fonts as clipart are just silly.  While Giddyup Thangs and Lil Pics are both particularly annoying, Critters takes it to a whole new level because it tries to be clipart, alphabet, and nature lesson all in one!  “Look kids… the ‘R’ is a Racoon, and it LOOKS like an ‘R’ and ‘C’ is a … wait… what?”  Yes... you guessed it “C” is for Catfish.  Adorable… NOT!

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks

Graphic Design Tip! How Does Foil Stamping Work?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 @ 12:45 PM

’Tis the Season to send out Holiday Cards!  The weather gets a little cooler and winter is right around the corner, which can only mean one thing: Holiday Season!  It’s time to start breaking out the decorations and start singing carols like that old holiday classic Silver & Gold.  There’s just something classy about silver and gold.  It's used for expensive jewelry, it backs our nation’s currency, it' used for trophies, awards, and medals. Silver and Gold simply epitomize class, value, and sophistication.

You’ll often see gold, silver, or other metallic inks used on stationery, invitations, and a variety other printed materials.  They look nice, but somehow lack that special POP.  For those cases, where metallic ink just won’t do, there’s another solution: FOIL STAMPING.

When planning for foil stamping, it’s important to understand a few things about the process.

  1. Foil Stamping is NOT the same as embossing.  They are often done together, but they do not HAVE to be.  Embossing changes the surface of the paper or cardstock to create a raised image (or a lowered image in the case of “debossing”).  Foil is also done using a die and adding heat and pressure, but you can add foil to your project without needing to raise or lower the surface of the image.
  2. An even surface is better.  The best impact is going to be on smooth coated surfaces, like Cast-Coated or High Gloss stock.  Dull or Matte coated stocks take foil well also, as does smooth uncoated sheets.  Heavier stocks are more durable and hold up better to the process, although text weights can be used.  Textured papers like linen or felt are more difficult, since the surface texture and effect the way the foil is pressed onto the sheet, and your image might not be as crisp as it could be. Also, while you CAN foil on top of wax-free inks, you should avoid using coatings or varnishes in the area to be foil stamped.
  3. Line art is a MUST.  In order for the foil to fuse to the stock properly, there needs to be enough surface area to grab onto. Halftone dots and super thin lines won’t fuse as easily and may flake off, which will appear as “broken” or “missing” during a long production run.

What you need…

The Die: This is a metal plate with the reversed image raised from the surface, like you would see with a stamp.  Typically these will be made of brass, copper, or magnesium.  Buying a die can be a little pricey, but they can be used over and over.

The Foil: Foil is generally manufactured on a film roll made up of pigment, clear mylar, and a heat-activated adhesive.

The Stuff:  This is what you want to foil stamp.  It can be business cards, greeting cards, letterhead, pocket folders, certificates, invitations, or anything else you can think of.

How it works...

Gold Foil example of foil stampingAt its simplest form, Foil Stamping comes down to three things:  Heat, Pressure, and Time.

The foil film is positioned between the heated metal die and the material receiving the foil.

The die presses the foil onto the material and the heat activates the adhesive. 

Under pressure, the foil fuses onto surface of the item and is released from the mylar carrier everywhere the raise image has pressed.  If the heat is too low or the time is too short, then the foil won’t fuse and stick. If the heat is too high or the time is too long, the foil may bubble or blister; or the image edges may appear rough or ragged.

Another great thing about foil is that you’re not limited to just metallic effects.  You can find anything from gloss to dull, colors and fluorescents, holographic – there’s even clear!  See the chart below for some of the most common foils available, but these may vary. Contact us for other colors or samples.

REMEMBER!  Foil does NOT follow the Pantone Matching System for color.  So while you can't MATCH a PMS color, you may be able to find something close.

Samples of Foil Colors

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, setting up your files, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, foil stamping, gold foil

Where Do Pocket Folders Come From?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 @ 12:45 PM

Pocket folders are a great way to package and present a variety of materials to your intended audience; whether it’s documents, inserts, CD/DVDs, brochures, booklets, or other items.  One of the appeals of pocket folders is their ability to cost effectively enhance your brand or message, since they can be custom printed and produced fairly econimically.

Pocket Folder IconIt’s surprising though, how many people use, see, feel, and possess pocket folders, but have no clue how they are made!  “Do you have a template?” is a common question we’re asked all the time.  To the right is a diagram showing the basic layout of the print-side of a pocket folder.  Click the diagram to download a PDF for you to use in whatever graphic design program you have available.

If all you wanted was the PDF, then congratulations – you’re done!  BUT if you REALLY want to know more about the pieces and parts or a pocket folder, feel free to keep reading.

 

Anatomy of a Pocket Folder

Front & Back Panels/Covers:  In a “standard” pocket folder, these each measure 9" wide and 12" tall.  They are positioned side-by-side along a common folded edge called the “spine.”  Occasionally, one might add a “gusset” by adding a double score-line; separating the front and back panels 1/8" or more.  In these cases, you should remember that your pockets may require gussets as well.  Generally speaking, the gusset of the spine should be at least the sum of the gusset for each pocket.  (i.e., two 1/8" gusseted pockets would require a minimum 1/4" gusset for the spine.)

Pockets: With a 9"x 12" pocket folder, the standard pocket size is 9" wide and 4" tall. They are printed on the same side as the Front and Back Covers and fold up from the bottom.  When laying out your piece, remember to rotate the artwork 180° so it will be properly oriented on the finished folder.  Most die-lines for pockets include a V-notch along the middle to accommodate inserted materials, allowing the folder to properly close. The exactly position and angle of these notches can vary, so if you need "critical position" you may want to consult your print vendor.

NOTE: While a 4" pocket is standard, printers sometimes have access to other “standing die-lines” for things like vertical pockets or rounded pockets.  Check with your Sales Representative to see what other options are available without needing to spend extra money on a custom die-line. 

Glue Tabs:  Most pocket folders have "glued pockets" which are closed on one side by using "tabs." The tabs are created from extra cardstock extended from the Front or Back Cover, as shown in our diagram.  The tabs are cut with on a diagonal at the top and bottom, and scored along the face edge of the finished piece.  Measuring 1/2" to 3/4", you will want continue your image bleed across the score line, just as you would for any other bleed edge.   This will be covered by the actual pocket, but will hide any issues arising from bounce or misregistration anywhere along the manufacturing process.

Pocket Slits:  Pockets may have various slits cut into them to hold an assortment of additional materials.  The most common of these are Business Card slits; which allow a business card to be presented with the finished packet.  Typically these are created as 2 diagonal slits cut into the pocket on opposite corners of where the business card would go, although it’s not uncommon to see 4 slits (1 in each corner).  Round semi-circle (or half-moon) slits are sometimes used as well, either in the corners, or along the top and bottom of the positioned card.   Long horizontal barbell-style slits or rounded bar slits are also sometimes cut into the top edge of a pocket to hold CD/DVD sleeves or tri-fold brochures.

While this article only covers the most common pocket folder layouts, there are ENDLESS possibilities of standard or custom options available.   Feel free to contact any of our helpful and courteous Designers or Sales Representativesfor more information about what types of folders might be helpful to your company or organization.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: printing, graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, printing services

Tips & Tricks for your Graphic Design Portfolio | InDesign Columns

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Jul 08, 2011 @ 04:37 PM

Adobe InDesign continues to refine and improve it's tools. The video below is a review of the Column Splitting and Spanning feature, which helps eliminate the need for multiple text boxes.  This is ESPECIALLY handy for magazine and newsletter layout, where you might have multiple headers and the potential for far too many text boxes.  If you've been doing Graphic Design and Page Layout for very long, you've no doubt already dealt with clients or editors who've made very substantial changes, maybe even massive re-writes, which requires a major amount of reflowing and rearranging of your layouts.   Life will be so much easier if you use this simple and handy technique to eliminate unnecessary text boxes and keep things neat, tidy, and easy to rework if needed.

Another important point to make is this: The faster and more efficient you can work and rework your projects, the more time you'll have to take on more.  Your clients will be happy with how quickly you can turn out their projects, and you'll be happy with the time you'll save.  Just remember, when everyone is so happy, that Universal Printing was here for you the whole time, sharing our tips, tricks, and experience, to help you become a better designer and have better files for printing.

And as always, many more tutorial videos like the one above can be found on our YouTube channel.  Let us know which tips and tricks you'd like to see!  Leave your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video response on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, Adobe InDesign tips, tips and tricks, setting up your files, commercial printing, CS5 tutorials, product reviews

Understanding Paper Weight... Mysteries Revealed!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 @ 02:27 PM

A few months ago we posted a 2-part Blog about Choosing the Right Paper but we still get a lot of questions about one VERY confusing topic:  Paper Weight and Thickness.

FACT: It’s complicated!

ANOTHER FACT:  It’s complicated for NO GOOD REASON!

Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t make sense.  There’s nothing wrong with you…  it’s just that there are a lot of terms used in the world of paper. Some of them mean the same thing, and some of them don’t.  But here’s the good news!  Universal Printing is FILLED with people who love paper, know paper, understand paper, and deal with paper DAILY; and we’re more than happy to share anything we know about it with YOU!

Paper Weight Comparison Chart

Here’s a handy-dandy comparison chart to help you figure which paper weights are equivalent.

Universal Printing's Paper Weights Chart 

Dying to know more?

For the sake of this blog, we’re not going to talk about color, shade, texture, finish, or anything else like that.  We’re JUST talking about weight and thickness.  But to start, we’ll break it down to 2 main categories:

Text  
“Regular” Paper

Bond
Writing
Ledger
Book
Offset
Multipurpose
Text

Cover
("Cardstock")

Cardstock
Cover
Index
Board
Bristol
Blanks
Tag

Weight and Thickness are DIFFERENT

The different classes of text or cover each come with their own “weight” determined by Basis Weight.  Basis Weight is the weight of 500 sheets, at the base size for that type of stock.  Bond or Writing paper has a Base Size of 17” x 22”, so if 500 sheets weighs 20lbs than it’s called 20# Bond or 20# Writing no matter what size it’s cut down to.  Offset and Text sheets have a Base Size of 25” x 38”, so if 500 sheets at that size weighs 50lbs, than it’s called 50# Offset or 50# Text.

You’ll notice, that in our comparison chart further down, the 20# Bond and 50# Offset are the same thickness, which now makes perfect sense, because the Base Size of Offset is over double the size for Bond… so the Basis Weight for Offset will also be more than twice the weight of Bond.

GSM – Grams per Square Meter

Whether you’re familiar with the metrics system or not, you probably know that it one of the principles is to keep the math simple and make all things equal.  GSM is the metric systems classification for paper, because they don’t care about how it’s made or what it’s used for. They just want to know a simple way to determine volume.  So one sheet of these same papers (20# Bond or 50# Offset) cut to 1 meter x 1 meter, will weigh 75 grams  (which is 75gsm…  grams per square meter).  Again, this isn’t a measure of thickness…. but generally speaking, the more grammage a single sheet has at a fixed size the more density it has, which often relates to thickness of the sheet (but can also involve bulk and manufacturing process).

Again… it can get very complicated.  If you’re interested in knowing even more, you’re welcome to explore some of our past blogs about paper.  Or you can always speak with any member of our helpful staff.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: printing, tips and tricks, commercial printing, printing services, business solutions, digital printing, offset printing

Tips & Tricks for your Graphic Design Portfolio | Coils and Spirals

Posted by Universal Printing on Thu, Jun 09, 2011 @ 03:36 PM

Adobe Illustrator has also been the Graphic Designer's "go-to" program for creating and manipulating vector based artwork. It's withstood the test of time, and each release keeps getting better and better.  Granted, some people will always defend their personal preference (Like those die-hard, loyal CorelDRAW fanatics, who are convinced their program is the best.)  Personally, I actually enjoy illustrating with Flash because I think Bézier curves are a bit archaic and Flash handles line art in a more fluid and hand drawn manner.... but that just MY opinion.

The point is: regardless of personal preferences, Adobe Illustrator is top of the pack and rightfully so.  Also, no matter how long you've been using Adobe Illustrator, there's a good chance that you've barely scratched the surface when it comes to all the neat effects and features they've packed into it.

This week our Art Director, John Francis, shares a couple of very cool features: 3D revolving and surface mapping.  Check it out and have fun playing with these effects. In our example, we're making coils and spirals, but you can use the same process to make all kinds very cool 3D patterns and objects.

More tutorial videos like the one shown above, can be found on our YouTube channel.  Let us know which tips and tricks you'd like to see!  Leave your suggestions in the comments field below, or leave a comment or video response on any of our YouTube tutorial videos.

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, digital printing, CS5 tutorials, product reviews, Illustrator Training video, training video

5 MORE sites every Graphic Design & Printing Professional should know

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, May 20, 2011 @ 03:24 PM

Our previous blog (6 sites EVERY Graphic Designer or Printing Professional should know) was so well received, that we decided to share five MORE. Check out these sites for even MORE tools and information!


dafont.com

If you're looking for JUST the right font for your next printing or graphic design project, your first stop should be dafont.com.  They are like the Facebook of Fonts, with a cool community atmosphere where typographers can share their latest creations and talk about type.  The Forums section allows you to interact with peers and professionals for help recognizing a font, or getting feedback on new fonts and logotypes. Plus, their grouping and categorizing of all those fonts makes it SO easy to find what you need.

 

graphicdesignforum.com

Maybe we're a little biased... but these guys have been linking to our templates and resources for years. It's an online community of talented designers and prepress professionals that share a wealth of knowledge. You can also get critiques on your current or past design projects. But it's not for the faint of heart; These guys are tough, fair, sometimes harsh, and the occasional newb will get pwned! But still, it's a great resource for finding answers to just about any question.

 

designiskinky.net

If there's ONE thing better than an irreverent Aussie, it's MANY irreverent Aussies that knows a helluva lot about ART! These guys have daily updates about anything and everything going on in art, print, web, and design. Just this past week they covered events in their native Australia, over in Morocco, an all the way up to Portland, Maine! They don't miss a beat, and neither should you!

 

howdesign.com

Most every design professional either currently HAS, or HAD a subscription to HOW Magazine. All of us at Universal Printing are proud supporters of paper; so while there's no substitution for the printed magazine in your hands, we can't deny the shear awesomeness of HOW's online presence. They have forums, blogs, tools, lessons, lists of events, and so much more.

 

psd.tutsplus.com

Who doesn't love Photoshop?!  EVERYONE knows how cool it is, but let's face it... unless you're a graphic designer or prepress professional with at least 5 years of solid experience, then you haven't even STARTED to scratch the surface. (And sorry, you Photoshop SE and Photoshop Elements users, but you're even FURTHER behind!) Fortunately, the folks at Psdtuts+ have a TON of easy-to-follow tutorials on every possible effect and technique. Definitely a "Must-Bookmark" for your browser.

 

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, setting up your files, commercial printing, printing services, business solutions, product reviews