October 13, 2008

Calibrate!

Posted in books, print-on-demand, printing, production, technology, Tools at 9:08 am by India

For anyone who uses print-on-demand outfits such as Lulu.com, or who has been considering doing so, Cathi points out the following brilliance:

Dear Lulu” is a test book researched and produced by graphic design students and Prof. Frank Philippin at Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany, during an intensive two-day workshop with London-based designer James Goggin (Practise). The book’s intention is to act as a calibration document for testing colour, pattern, format, texture and typography.

Exercises in colour profile (Adobe RGB/sRGB/CMYK/Greyscale), halftoning, point size, line, geometry, skin tone, colour texture, cropping and print finishing provide useful data for other designers and self-publishers to judge the possibilities and quality of online print-on-demand — specifically Lulu.com, with this edition.

The book’s price is set at Lulu.com’s exact printing cost per unit.

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October 7, 2008

Flash vs. substance

Posted in art direction, Design, illustration, Lazyweb, technology, Tools, web development, Work at 11:47 am by India

Sole Searching

A few weeks ago, Rachel Sugar, one of my coworkers, had an idea—based on a book called Jews and Shoes—to present some illustrated factoids about footwear in Jewish tradition. Staff favorite Vanessa Davis was nominated for the art portion of the project, and I asked if she’d be interested in working on what was then still a very vague idea. She was game, fortunately, because she rocks.
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June 29, 2008

Prepress Gremlins: The Duotone Edition

Posted in printing, production, Tools, Work at 1:17 am by India

Archipelago Books catalogs

Twice a year I lay out a cute little catalog for a publisher friend, and I’ve been doing it for four or five years, so the files have gone through several software upgrades. They were originally supplied to me as Quark XPress 4.1 docs, and I probably kept it that way for one or two issues before converting it to InDesign CS. Then the files upgraded to CS2, and then the fonts upgraded to OpenType. For the latest issue, I started the job in CS2 at home (hello, my name is India, and I am a late adopter) and then made the final round of corrections at my office, using CS3. Everything preflighted okay, and I sent the printer both PDFs and application files.

Two weeks later, I got an excited message from our rep at Kromar. They’d had some problems with the files, which they’d taken care of, but their prepress guy wanted to tell me about it. Ooh, curious! So I called back immediately, and the nice man in Winnipeg tried to explain to me what had happened.
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April 30, 2008

“If I spike you, you’ll know you’ve been spoken to.”

Posted in Rants, Tools, web development, Work at 6:02 pm by India

Camberwell Carrot

So, the other day, I was asked to set up HTML for an e-mail that someone else—let’s call them Agent B—is sending. Today Agent B sent us a preview of the e-mail, with the Agent B logo added at the top and the usual “Click here to unsubscribe, etc., etc.” at the bottom, but the middle of the message—my part—has become completely verkakte in the process. So I looked at the code and found that my nice, clean, valid HTML had been run through MS Word’s garbagealator. For example, this—

<p>Sunday, May 18, 2008<br />
11am to 5pm<br />
The Times Center<br />
242 West 41st Street</p>

—was converted to this—

<p =
style=3D'mso-margin-top-alt:0in;margin-right:7.5pt;margin-bottom:12.0pt;
margin-left:7.5pt'><font size=3D3 color=3Dblack face=3DHelvetica><span =
lang=3DEN
style=3D'font-size:12.0pt;font-family:Helvetica;color:black'>Sunday, May =
18, 2008<br>
11am to 5pm<br>
The<span class=3Dapple-converted-space> <st1:place =
u2:st=3D"on"><st1:placename u2:st=3D"on"></span><st1:place
w:st=3D"on"><st1:PlaceName =
w:st=3D"on">Times</st1:placename></st1:PlaceName><span
class=3Dapple-converted-space> <st1:placetype =
u2:st=3D"on"></span><st1:PlaceType
=
w:st=3D"on">Center</st1:placetype></st1:place></st1:PlaceType></st1:place=
><br>
<st1:street u2:st=3D"on"><st1:address u2:st=3D"on"><st1:Street =
w:st=3D"on"><st1:address
w:st=3D"on">242 West 41st =
Street</st1:address></st1:street><u1:p></u1:p></st1:address></st1:Street>=
</span></font><font
color=3Dblack face=3DHelvetica><span =
style=3D'font-family:Helvetica;color:black'><o:p></o:p></span></font></p>=

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April 18, 2008

For anyone else who ever wondered

Posted in books, Editing, Reading, Tools at 9:41 pm by India

The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition. Nerd!

So I was trying to find an example of a paragraph-styled bibliography in the Chicago Manual when I had one of those irrelevant thoughts that so often interrupt my work: “I wonder if, using the magic of the internet, I could find out what books these sample pages are from?”

Languagehat: Fun with the Chicago Manual.

(Via Margaret‘s del.icio.usness)

Photo: my favorite corner by limonada / Emilie Eagan; some rights reserved.

February 16, 2008

Search Engine Terms, 2/23/2008

Posted in humor, Meta, Tools at 12:02 am by India

Search Engine Terms

This makes me happy.

October 30, 2007

How do you learn Photoshop?

Posted in advice, Lazyweb, Tools at 1:12 pm by India

Deprecated!

India, Ink., has moved. The live version of this post is now located at http://ink.indiamos.com/2007/10/30/how-do-you-learn-photoshop/. Sorry for the inconvenience!

blackboard art

I’ve heard it said that most Photoshop users actually use only about 2 percent of the program’s features, and I can support this theory with my own experience: I know how to do what I know how to do.

I’ve learned most of what I know how to do from watching other people, either on the job or at InDesign User Group meetings and similar showcase-type events. Oh, and once, I read maybe the first half of Real World Scanning and Halftones. When I need to know how to do something else, I look it up in Help, Google what I’m trying to do, or look online for a tutorial. And then, unless that new trick is something I start doing every day, I usually forget it again pretty quickly. I don’t usually learn how to do a task by seeing it done once, but just knowing that something can be done makes it much easier to figure it out later. I would never have tangled with the vanishing point tool, for instance, if I hadn’t seen it demoed at the NYC InDUG.

This approach has worked just fine for me, in an assortment of jobs, since 1996, when I first got my paws on a copy of the program. And apparently my 2 percent is good enough. Read the rest of this entry »

August 13, 2007

The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies

Posted in Drawing, illustration, Tools at 7:06 pm by India

drafting tools

I can’t imagine how rubber cement—and its attendant erasers and thinners (oh, how I love those cans!)—could ever go out of circulation, and I can prove that I’ve used a type gauge pretty recently (in fact, I’ve been meaning to go buy a new one; and a loupe), but I’m still charmed by Lou Brooks’s The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies.

I ran across my erasing shield from high school drafting a few months ago. I could probably use that when erasing ill-considered proofreading marks. And I’d certainly have a “Pantone Thing” if I could afford one.

How many items exhibited in the museum have you owned?

(Via pica + pixel.)

Photo: Drafting Tools by Generation X-Ray / Paul; some rights reserved.

July 30, 2007

Creepaway Camp

Posted in art direction, illustration, Tools, Work at 3:50 pm by India

Nextbook.org home page: July 30, 2007: summer camp

Back when I was first asking y’all about how you find illustrators, I stumbled across illoz.com, a cool portfolio site with some handy art direction tools built in. I signed up, and since then I’ve made a lot of folders in my illoz account, with lots of samples by people whose work I like. But not until two weeks ago did I find an artist whose work I thought would be the perfect match for a specific story.

story illustrator
is about a girl at camp, mostly takes place in woods draws a lot of girls in woods
is creepy can draw very creepily

I confess that I didn’t contact Sam Weber using the lovingly designed art direction interface on illoz.com, though it certainly sounds nice—

An art director account at illoz gives you the ability to initiate project assignments with any illoz portfolio owner. Sketches can be viewed here at the site, then commented on and approved. After that, final art can be downloaded directly from a portfolio owner’s personal area. The job can go from start to finish, right here at illoz.

I think the thing is, I’m a socially challenged geek to begin with, and I’d always rather contact someone through a structured form than by phone or e-mail, so I try to fight that tendency by occasionally picking up the phone, instead. Not that I picked up the phone in this case, either. But I did write a long, no doubt overly detailed e-mail directly to Sam, mentioning that I’d found him on illoz. And he wrote back! And he accepted the job! And he did it very quickly! And I love it! And it’s on our home page until tomorrow morning, and in the story indefinitely!

So, that’s my illoz success story.

The story Sam illustrated, incidentally, is by my colleague Ellen, and I think it’s really good. You should read it if you’re, you know, one of the few designer-types who knows how to read.

July 13, 2007

Measuring the marigolds

Posted in Tools, Work at 3:59 pm by India

Inchworm

Here’s another thing I looked up for the dozenth time that I thought you, too, might want not to have to look up. I use picas as the default unit in InDesign because I find them far more useful than inches when working with mostly type. But I wanted to tell someone how big an image needed to be, and I wanted to do it in inches, and math is hard!, soooo . . . I knew there was some way to get the units of measurement shown in the control palette to change on the fly, but I couldn’t remember the keyboard command.

The answer, per InDesign Secrets, is CMD+OPT+SHIFT+U on the Mac, or CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+U on Windows. Keep hitting that combo until the palette cycles through to the unit you want.

While trying to find this shortcut, I also came across a CreativePro article, one of whose tips I’d never seen before: InDesign How-To: Six Small Things, Six Big Results. The third, “Sneaky access to options,” was new to me and seems like it’d be useful.

Bonus non-InDesign discovery: Palette Generator: Automagically create a harmonious color palette from a photograph (via The Paper Pony).

Have you looked anything up lately? Do tell.

Photo: Inchworm on the rim of my cup… by seahorse_ / melanie; was licensed CC-by-nc 2.0 on 7/13/07, but the photographer has subsequently changed the license to copyright.

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