I love receiving feedback from readers/viewers! I am a firm believer that one person’s design dilemma can help another. Therefore, I’m excited to launch a new section of this blog entitled Ask a Design Pro. I will post questions and comments from my wonderful readers/viewers and provide answers or feedback. In return, my hope is that we can all learn and grow our skills as design pros.
I’ve just watched a couple of your tutorials on YouTube – really good! Clear and easy to understand. I’ve graduated in Design and have come across projects since that have left me working freelance now which is great but not having someone there, as other designers may in an office, to ask questions can be frustrating. I’m still learning and I have lots of questions! I will be looking out for more tutorials! Thanks for taking your time to do them.—Rachel
Thanks! Remember, the internet is a great resource to reach out to people in your field. However, freelancing can be a lonely world leaving you stuck behind a computer and only interacting with clients. It’s important to seek allies anywhere you can for feedback, advice or just good conversation!
You discuss starting with a large image (300) and making it smaller, but what do you suggest if your image is a screen shot taken of something off the internet and it starts as a 72 resolution? —Susan
Whenever you work on print designs, all of your images should be high resolution at 300 DPI or higher to ensure excellent quality. However, you sometimes can’t avoid needing to use a lower resolution image. Your situation is a great example of what I call a designer’s compromise. You will have to take a screen shot at 72 DPI to include in your book because there really isn’t a better way to get a higher resolution version. In this case, you should take the screenshot from the biggest monitor with the best resolution you have access to. This provides an overall bigger image with more resolution then say a 13″ laptop monitor. Make sure your monitor is set to the highest resolution before you take the screenshot. For example, a standard 1024×768 resolution will produce a much smaller image then a 1680×1050 resolution. Using a higher resolution monitor creates an acceptable compromise without sacrificing major quality in the final printed image. You can get a nice 4×6 image with bigger monitors (27″). Remember, the human eye can only detect so much detail. Print a test page and see how blurry your screenshot is. This is what others will see. It’s up to you and/or the client if you accept that quality or not.
I just saw your tutorial on designing dust jackets and I was wondering if you had any connection with the publishing industry or knew of any opportunities for graphic designers to design book covers either on a freelance basis or directly within an organization.—Therese
I don’t have connections with a lot of publishing companies because I work directly with authors to promote their books. Most of the time, book covers are designed by in-house staff or through contract work via agencies or freelancers. The size of the publishing company greatly determines whether they use in-house or freelance designers. If you want to pursue the niche market of publishing, it’s a good idea to develop a portfolio of book covers that you can approach publishing companies with. Another way in is to work for agencies that design with publishing companies. You don’t have to focus just on book covers. A well rounded portfolio is also very beneficial. Don’t forget about self publishers. They don’t have the big publishing company behind them to help develop book covers and other promotional materials.
Readers: Share your thoughts and experiences regarding these design dilemmas below in the comments!