Small aggravations lead to medium-sized headaches.
While I am pretty good at knowing how to use these programs, I have found that just the smallest slip and it takes two minutes to fix five seconds of work. This of course, does not mean that I am dissuaded from graphic design, it just means I am coming to accept that to do something good, I have to expect some bad.
I say this, because when it comes to working with these programs, one missed detail in Photoshop will become clearer in InDesign, which will force you back into Photoshop, but not before deleting the placed item in InDesign first, then making the correction, only to discover you didn’t save the file correctly.
What I’ve learned from the process of graphic design for Public Relations work is the following:
- Sketch out your idea. Even if you’re horrible at sketching, at least you have a framework.
- In InDesign, create a text box and insert your project parameters in it, off the page that you are designing. This gives you a handy guide that does away with having to refer back to an email or document.
- Save your PhotoShop stuff twice… Once as the layered PSD and then again as a flattened image. Always do it in that order too. And remember that the last Save As is the current file in PhotoShop – assuming you haven’t closed it down.
- Font installing/importing doesn’t always work – expect frustration.
- When possible, use your creative fonts in PhotoShop, not InDesign, at least, not right away. Insert your text, work your images then adjust everything to fit and shape.
With everyone and their dog out there writing blogs and making websites about every topic under the sun, it really helps to have a good resource for making your magic happen. I particularly like InDesign Secrets, which has a pretty good coverage of techniques that you can use in Adobe’s InDesign program.
I’ve yet to find a good site for PhotoShop. Many are good, but I’ve found that it’s just better to google search for help when it comes to PhotoShop. Some people have good text-based step-by-step breakdowns of how to do something, while others give great screenshots of the steps. Sometimes, you can only find videos, but I don’t find those helpful at all based on the need to stop and play as each step progresses. With videos, it’s like transcribing an audio recording of someone speaking.
Play, Pause, Write, Rewind, Play, Pause, Write, Rewind…
Given the need to produce good work for a variety of uses these days and based on what I have said in the past, I think these tips are really good for PR people to be mindful of, not just for print, but also for web. Once again, I will say it: CONTENT IS KING. Producing good graphics goes with the territory of producing good content. Online PR and Social Media PR rely extremely heavily on good visual content.
You can always write-up 1,000 words, but if you can produce an amazing graphic, then you can only make those 1,000 words even better.
What else can I say? Graphic Design relies on inspiration as much as it relies on hard work. Always look to other examples for ideas. When looking for brochure design ideas and templates, I found this cool little post: 22 Beautiful Examples of Brochure Design.
I hope my tips helped. Feel free to give others in the comment section!
–EDIT– JULY 16, 2012 —
I have one more tip that I can give for working in photoshop… SCRIPTS! In Photoshop, you can write a script that automates the saving process for you so that it makes multiple copies. I have not done this yet myself for making TWO .psd files, but I will be attempting to do so within the next few days hopefully. I will make a tutorial after I do.