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Graphic Designer's Essential Reference by Timothy Samara

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BASIC TECHNIQUES
NEARLY ALL DESIGN problems share some fundamental aspects:
Typefaces will need to be selected or photographs arranged in an
interesting
way across a layout. Regardless of specifi c concerns that may need to be
addressed in a particular project, there are general strategies most designers
will use as foundations for more complex visual concepts, or to ensure
common notions of quality (e.g., that a layout is dynamic) are met in the
nal presentation.
In this preliminary section, you’ll fi nd a sampling of such essential
visual techniques: developing rich color palettes; reliably mixing type-
faces for contrast and style; using abstract forms to support other imagery
and customize visual experiences; achieving dynamic picture placement
within a column grid; and many more. Consider these strategies as build-
ing blocks—as you add each component to your repertoire, you’re one step
closer to becoming the most confi dent, assured designer in your studio.
Essential Visual Strategies
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DESIGNER’S GOUACHE
Rich, opaque fi nish in both color
and black and white; for the
old-school virtuoso.
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Basic Equipment, Tools,
and Supplies
Being able to conceptualize and com-
pose seamlessly, while ef ciently
working among various media, to ex-
plore different ideas means having all
the tools you need—and the best ones
for the job—on hand at all times. Here
are the items no well-appointed studio
can do without.
GUI COMPUTER
It’s the studio workhorse. When
comparison shopping, realize that
there are few roses among the
thorns—choose the best you
can afford.
SABLE BRUSHES
There’s nothing like Kolinsky hair
for precise handling. Two sizes
No. 4 and No. 6
are suffi cient, but
have three of each size on hand:
one for black, one for white, and
one for color.
SPOT- AND PROCESS-COLOR
SWATCH BOOKS
Don’t trust the computer screen
for color: See the real thing. They’re
an expensive, but ultimately
indispensable, investment.
HIGH-RESOLUTION
LOUPE
For examining serifs up close
or supervising registration on a
press sheet, 10X magnifi cation
or higher is best.
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r
but
CUTTING MAT
Self-healing is best, to prevent
making grooves that will misdirect
your blade in the future.
STEEL STRAIGHTEDGE
AND TRIANGLE
Avoid aluminum for these tools—
knife blades shred aluminum and,
after a short while, a true edge is
no longer a given. The triangle,
archaic as it may seem, helps ensure
90° angles.
STUDIO KNIFE
Get a good knife with a textured
gripping surface, and an array of
interchangeable blades. Replace
the blade every 6 to 8 cuts to keep
the slicing sharp and clean.
WHITE AND KNEADED
ERASERS
White is for serious erasing from
tough stocks. The kneaded version
is best for delicate papers, or for
slight tonal adjustments.
BONE FOLDER
At some point, you’ll need to make
mock-ups to show clients. This is
what you’ll use to fold pages and
covers.
LUCITE BRAYER
Unlike a rubber brayer, whose
porous surface may stain or
encourage peel-up, this rolls hard
and fast, and cleans up spotlessly.
PRECISION RULERS
The master designer measures
in 1/64” (0.396 mm) increments,
and it’s even better when the
measuring device is transparent
and fl exible
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