I’ve gotten lots of complements on the graphics in my presentations and handouts, so naturally I’ve been tight-lipped on how I do it. Then, last week, some killjoy named Ryan posts this on Pinterest, leaking massive state secrets.
I am outted.... (this did not get picked though - too outre).
Check out this great video called “Made in Brooklyn.” Again - outted.
So, like a handcuffed mobster shoved under a lone lightbulb, I too am gonna sing on cheap design tricks.
Tools - More Powerpoint than you think
Powerpoint (2007) has been ramping up photo editing components like filters, cropping, borders, etc...
You can also amass lots of images and text boxes, hit "Control A" and "Save as Picture." I did a logo in two minutes doing that on the fly. If you want more options like Photoshop, check out this article on new sites, including one called "Fat Paint," which seems to be Photoshop in the cloud. I do use Photoshop - mainly with screen capture (round button+ on/off for iPad and Prt Scr on a computer). I do manipulate a lot of screen capture images.
My friends know I love nothing better than the hate on Comic Sans. But really - font is one way to grab attention. I use the website www.dafont. com to get fonts. They are free (but when I use the material I ALWAYS tip) and I have not had malware installed (yet). Once you install the fonts the new font will appear in the font dropdown window among the fonts installed on your machine. Here's a screen shot of the font "California" and the result when I typed in Florida House (my new gig). I LOVE the grunge look, but my fellow Board members did not. Ahem. Also note - there is a way to import for web, but I am not there yet.
Of course you can pay for clip art, but why?
This is the site I've waited for my whole life - full of vintage graphics. If you are in the Farmers Market and local food movement, or are trying to bring back bustles & corsets, this site is for you. The SEARCH page is the way to go (and click on the WORD not the images). I really love the Fruits and Veges, Transportation and The Sea. The Octopus in the screenshot above is from this site.
Pinterest is addicting for a reason - it's a great way to see pretty things and right-click-save-target-as.... and yours. Well, not exactly take it and run - Pinterest lists "Pin Etiquette" and suggests linking back to original posts. Still, it has that "this is not going to end well" outlaw feel of Napster circa 2001. Digital paternity is not as easy as Pinterest makes it out to be.
My favorite search terms for work graphics are "Graphic design," "poster," "business cards," and "resumes." For images, I get interesting pins from search terms like "bike lanes" "urban design" "transit stations," "great streets," and "coral skinny jeans." "Sprawl" gets you lots of pictures of sleeping cats. More organizations are pinning onto Pinterest, so you can follow them. If you are an organization or designer and NOT on Pinterest, get crackin.'
You can either curse "I can Haz Cheeburger" or roll with it. The site Meme Generator lets you plaster your own sayings onto hundreds of memes, including "Advice Yoda Gives," and "Philosoraptor." Oh Come On - you know these are perfect for your next public meeting....
Apps (you can look these up on the app stores).
I think Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram to procrastinate more on improving the crappy iPad camera, but gotta admit the they are fun. For the same reason, these filters let wannabe graphic designers get away with a lot.
My favorite photo and instructional apps are:
- Instagram and Phototoaster. I've hears Snapseed is also really good.
- Videopix for videos
- My favorite sketch apps are Penultimate and iNapkin2 (the paper looks like a cocktail napkin - do I need to explain the appeal?). The app ArtRage actually lets you paint, but it takes getting used to. There is also a blend tool that lets you "art up" a photo with oil paint effects. This "photo" is of the new Janie's Garden mixed use development in Sarasota. Yeah - I did that.
- I like Skitch for writing on photos (built to work seamlessly with Evernote - another fave)
- Doodlecast Pro lets you produce sketches with voice over. I'm still learning, but can see how it would be great to communicate back and forth with clients). The final product is sent to a You Tube account so it's really easy to share.
1) Clean white backgrounds and clean fonts - For my organization, we are doing our own printing, using using QR codes to lead to more information. Two pagers (at most) will be housed on Dropbox as we fan out into the community. There is more white space, with smaller or filtered photos & gray font to use less ink. I noticed this trend in catalogues as well - Walgreens and the outfillter CCS. Bold color, posters and maps still have a place, but use is more strategic.
2) Hand-drawn look - Bill Dennis has a great blog called "Draw Your Own Conclusions." Likewise popular fonts on dafont are hand-drawn-ish.
3) Modern & old fashion - Word-press like images, tags and stamps are appearing with regularity, with use of vintage images and modern fonts. Like my Florida House "problems" with catching the attention of several generations, it's a great way to merge traditional with modern.
4) Two minute video, but done well - The ease of embedding video onto websites is a blessing - and a curse. Nonetheless for community and urban planners, there are so many times when a video crams in a lot of information. The trick is to move away from the handy-cam interview to good prep, professional shooting, captions and music.
Here ya go. It did occur to me that I don't get hired for graphic design - I get hired for making great communities happen. My job is easier when I can point to great stuff others do, so to the extent design tricks I put in your hands comes back to me - I win.