Here are some more of the things I’ve learned this summer at Cleveland Website Design firm, Go Media:
1. Design Fundamentals
I am not officially educated in design, so many of my blunders can be fixed by adhering to basic design rules. If you’re in a similar situation, go to the library and order some books on the fundamentals of 2-D design and soak them up. After you think you’ve got it, try to apply the concepts. One fundamental rule I regularly overlook is watching out for tension points where design elements are too close (to edges for example). I must have a preference for really tight claustrophobic designs – but they usually look better with some breathing room.
2. Today I learned how to make a halftone in Illustrator.
1. Make a linear gradient from black to white in any shape you want by using the gradient in the Swatches pallete.
2. Go to the Effects –>Pixellate and choose Color Halftone. Increase the Max Radius to 15 pts and click OK. Your gradient will now be made up of little circles –this is a halftone. But it is not a vector halftone (yet).
3. Go to the Object –>Expand Appearance.
4. Make sure the halftone is selected and go to Object –> Live Trace –> Make. Live tracing turns raster images into vector images by approximating light and dark areas.
5. Now you’ve got a vector halftone!
2. Now use those Halftones
I never used halftone patterns before starting at Go Media – but they can really add some spice to a design. Take a headline of type and overlay a Halftone from the Go Media Arsenal. Now that the vector halftone and your logo overlap, experiment with the Pathfinder for some awesome effects. Select both the halftone and your logo and select “exclude” from the pathfinder. This tool cuts out any shapes where the two overlap, and can connect your logo with the page and other elements.
3. Get crazy with the Blend Tool
Here is one I saw Bill doing while working on a Vector pack piece.
- 1. Create a perfectly straight horizontal line by hitting “\” for the line tool, and holding Shift while dragging. Give the line a stroke of a point or two and no fill.
- 2. Drag a copy of the line downward by holding the Alt key
- 3. Select both lines and create a blend by hitting Ctrl+Alt+B
- 4. Go to Object–> Blend –> Blend Options.
- 5. Click the Spacing drop down and select “Specified Steps”. Choose a number between 5 and 10 and click OK
- 6. Now you should see a bunch of horizontal lines stacked up.
- 7. This is the fun part. Select the warp tool using Shift+R.
- 8. Use the Warp tool to move around the outer lines, and watch as the blend makes cool patterns. Experiment by distorting the original lines in every way you can think of!
1. Printing Sense:
When I was designing some materials for Go Media Stationary, Bill gave me this really practical tip: Gradients from Yellow to Black will print green in the middle. So will Yellow with black transparency on top (includes drop shadows, etc) – Yuck!
3. Images in Circles:
I saw Oliver using this technique as an interesting way to handle lots of poorly shot square photos on a brochure once, and really liked it. Here’s how you can do it too!
- 1. Draw a perfect circle using the shortcut “L” and holding shift.
- 2. Position the circle over the first photograph. Select the circle and make a copy, Ctrl+C, and paste in front using Ctrl+F.
- 3. Now select one of the circles and the image and create a clipping mask by hitting Ctrl+7. This will hide the parts of the image outside of the circle. Note: you won’t see the image now because its covered up by your other circle (remember you pasted in front?).
- 4. Select the remaining circle and hit Ctrl+X to change its fill to a stroke. Now you’ve got a circular photo in a circular frame. Group the two by hitting Ctrl+G while they are both selected.
- 5. Repeat this process for all your remaining images and experiment with their placement.
Well, that concludes Revelations of a Go Media Intern. I hope you have learned some new things and gotten a sense of how supportive the designers at Go Media have been to me!