Such a (page) imposition!

Pagination and page imposition is a strange thing when you first try and grok it. As designers we always see the pages in our layouts as sequentially numbered page pairs. The most complicated things normally get is explaining to newbies why things always start with a right-hand page (it’s the cover, of course), and figuring…

Invisible ink – still lots of fun!

I bet at least some of you experimented a little with invisible ink when you were young. Lemon juice was my chosen method, because it was easy, but mainly because I didn’t really know anything else. It dried clear, but heating the paper brought out the writing or drawing in brown. It was good, schoolboy…

Prints Charming: letterpress meets DTP

I got a new printer the other day. It was unexpectedly heavy – it took two of us to carry it from the car – and it isn’t the fastest of devices by any means. When I say ‘new’ I mean new to me, as really it’s rather old; as far as I can tell,…

Print effects without ink?

How can you print without using ink, without applying some kind of colour to a surface? There are two processes that come to mind: embossing and die-cutting. They’re not generally options we get to play with as a rule, but that’s no reason not to look into the possibilities. Embossing can be done with print…

QR codes: enter the matrix!

Quick Response (QR) barcodes are more interesting than you might think, so it’s worth considering them. Just make sure they work as expected before going live… You’ve probably seen a QR code, even if you don’t know what they are or do. QR codes are basically a two-dimensional form of barcode, with data encoded in…

No natural affordances in iPad mags

No natural affordances: big problems with digital magazines. The world is going crazy for digital design and publishing. And I have to put my hands up and admit that I’m a fan and a part of that. Creating layouts for the iPad is exciting; there’s a sense of liberation from some of the traditional restrictions…

Preflighting: boring but important

Know more about preflighting than your software or you’ll get caught out. Grammar purists, look away now; this is all about a word that’s made its way from composite adverb to standalone verb. Preflighting is the act of going through a series of important checks before committing yourself. It originated in the flight industry (hence…

Paper facts and recipes for discerning designers

Graphic design processes are almost always about putting marks on surfaces, and those surfaces are almost always paper. We take this medium for granted, but do we really know much about it? We talk about ‘dead tree publishing’, reject the paperless office concept by consuming tons of the stuff, recycle it (probably not as much…

With resolution, size does matter

When I teach I constantly have to remind myself that things that seem simple because I learned them years ago weren’t always easy to grasp the first time around. Image resolution is a bit case in point; understanding the relationship between a bitmap image’s resolution, pixel dimensions and printed size is simple once you know…

Color perception: more than meets the eye

Color plays a crucial part in how we perceive things, so understanding its emotive effects is fundamental to creating effective designs. How do you react to colour? The hue of things has a surprisingly strong affect on how we perceive things and even on how we feel, both physically and emotionally. It is thought that…