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Graphic Designer's Essential Reference by Timothy Samara

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I have often compared graphic designers and the work they
do—composing visual stimuli and organizing it into clear
and dynamic structures—to architects, chefs, and musical
conductors. Each confronts an empty space, charged with
the task of producing a memorable, meaningful, and
hopefully enjoyable experience. To do so, each peruses his
or her catalog of content, styles, methods, and details to
envision an end result that will speak to his or her audience
with depth, drawing on the history of his or her particular
craft and interpreting it with distinction.
THE DESIGNER
AT THE
READY
Introduction
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Accomplishing a virtuoso
performance means being
ready—having the right
tools on hand and knowing
the possibilities they offer.
A good chef knows the fl avor and texture
of every ingredient; a conductor is intimately
familiar with the tonality of each instrument
and how it affects the others. Likewise, a good
designer is aware not only of all the different
ways of visualizing an idea but also how each
combines to deliver their message, and which
combinations will best create experiences that
are ideally suited for the specifi c needs of the
client and the intended audience.
For whatever reason, be it an entrenched
routine, an outright creative block, or the pres-
sure of a tight deadline, designers sometimes
nd themselves at a loss for how to proceed:
Photo or icon? Violet or gray? Oldstyle or slab
serif? To ensure readiness and spark ideas on
the fl y, this book offers designers an at-a-glance
resource of essential options for spurring the
imagination and getting the job done
with
style, originality, appropriate meaning, and aes-
thetic delight for client and audience alike.
What is it, after all, that a designer does
that is so different from the work
of these other creative professionals?
A designer gives form to ideas by inventing
images through painting and drawing, choos-
ing and manipulating photography, selecting
colors, formatting type and all these other
elements into various confi gurations, spaces,
rhythms, layers—much the way an architect
shapes a building, a chef conjures a new dish,
or a conductor orchestrates a performance.
Testing conventions of page structure, type
style, and pictorial options, the designer arrives
at a vision for conceptualizing the content he
or she must convey—and proceeds, through
iterative experimentation, with the precise
drawing techniques, color palettes, sharper or
softer serif typefaces, textural fi elds or blocks
of pattern, the larger or smaller instance of a
photograph, to arrive at a design that delivers
its message clearly, forcefully, and memorably.
And, like his or her creative counterparts,
the designer must have a fi rm grasp not only
of the historical framework and conventions
in which he or she is working, but also of the
myriad options on hand for transcending mere
formula to create something that is entirely new.
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