Adobe Creative Suite: Without it, graphic designers would be S.O.L.
I was watching some period movie this evening, and I thought to myself, “God, what if I got stuck in some kind of time warp and ended up having to make a living as a graphic designer without any kind of software? No Photoshop for drawing; no InDesign for setting type. I’d be so screwed.”
In that instant, my appreciation for Adobe software, namely the CS4 trial versions I’ve been using for the past 10 days, skyrocketed.
Welcome to the third installment of reports on my Adobe CS4 Trial Period Graphic Design Challenge! If you’ve been reading the other missives on this subject, you know that since I only have access to Adobe CS4 for the 30-day trial period, I’ve vowed to create one design project for each day of the trial period.
As I go along, I’m learning little bits and things that are keeping me up-to-date on graphic design software, as well. Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past three days:
CS4 Trial Challenge: Day 7
Design Project: Desktop Wallpaper and Calendar
For the seventh graphic design in my challenge, I wanted to create a desktop wallpaper that would also serve as a calendar. I thought I’d use a Bingo card theme for the design, and I ended up creating a little still life.
Since the “January at the VFW” design had a mid-seventies feel to it, I wanted to make sure the finished product looked appropriately vintage. For this purpose, it helps to have a good handle on gracefully aging a modern-looking image. I’ve found this tutorial to be invaluable.
CS4 Trial Challenge: Day 8
Design Project: Package Design
Next, at my mom’s suggestion, I decided to try my hand at package design, something I’ve done before, but never mocked up in 3D. To showcase my stunningly urbane and sophisticated sense of humor, I decided to make packaging (individual wrapping and a presentation gift box!) for fictional Lifesavers flavored condoms. Stay classy, O’Dell!
But seriously, I love Lifesavers, I love the rainbow of colors available in that palette, and I think that safe sex is important enough to not be shocking anymore.
The real lifesaver (Ouch! Pun!) for me in this project were the Bevel/Emboss and Contour effects, which allowed me to create juicy, shiny, jellied rainbows and candies for the packaging. Here’s a brief explanation of gel effects, but the real fun (and reward) comes from playing around with the different contour presets yourself.
Modeling the box turned out to be a nightmare. I designed a shallow, rainbow-shaped container; for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to make a 3D mock-up in Photoshop. The final result is rife with flaws, but still, a cute and challenging project! I have simply got to learn more about how to create 3D models using Photoshop CS4, that’s all.
CS4 Trial Challenge: Day 9
Design Project: Portfolio, Back Cover
Previously, I created a design for my portfolio front cover in InDesign CS4 using a striking palette of navy, green, and Tiffany blue. I decided to work on the back cover in a similar set of shades, substituting cardinal red for navy blue. Also, I started the graphic design in Photoshop CS4 rather than InDesign CS4.
I based my design on a vintage 45 (vinyl single, for you pretty young things who don’t know) sleeve I’d seen online. Many hours and 35 layers later, I had managed to create an acceptable design. When recreating vintage paper products in Photosop, it helps to have good paper textures to start with. Next, you really need to be judicious about adding and adjusting textures, colors, and stains. And never let the text layers give you away with full opacity and crisp edges.
All in all, I’m pretty proud of my portfolio cover (shown here back to front, ready for binding).
So far, I think my Adobe CS4 trial period is going pretty well. In nine days, I have a few graphic designs I love and a few that will be great with a little more tweaking in Photoshop CS4 and InDesign CS4.
Plus, I’m staying undated on graphic design software and learning more and more about how to use the new tools and features in Adobe Creative Suite 4.
3 Factors to Consider when Evaluating the Price to Charge for Website Design
Becoming a professional web designer is not an easy task. There are many hurdles you must overcome along the way. Some of the most common challenges are the constant changes in the technological world and changes in customers’ expectations. You must keep yourself up to date with the latest technologies and trends concerning web design industry. The situation is also complicated by the fact that there are numerous web designers in the market today, some who offer very low prices.
One of the most challenging questions to answer is website design pricing. Since many websites are unique and each has its own requirements, it is impossible to set any true standard price. There are many factors that you should consider before reaching on a figure to charge. Some of the most common factors to bear in mind are:
i) Total cost of the website
When designing a website, there are costs involved. The costs may be in terms of hours spent on design, payment to third parties to do some of the work on your behalf like graphic design, traveling costs in some cases where you have to research for or collect materials e.t.c. Make sure that all your costs are included in your price.
ii) Your mark up cost
You must put up your mark up cost on the total cost of the website. This is usually the amount of money that you will charge over and above the total cost of web site design. It is usually your profit on the job done. You should have your mark up cost in terms of percentage; say 10 percent of total cost of website design. You should try to be fair not to overstate your mark up lest you lose business to low priced competitors. The friendlier your price, the more chances are for having more work and repeat customers.
iii) Size of the website
You must be aware of the size of the website you are expected to deliver. Some people or firms will expect you to deliver small websites in terms of number of pages while others will expect a big website with full load of information. If possible, you should have a basic price for which you charge basic websites. You should also set up a price below which you cannot take the job in question.
iv) Scope of the website
You should know the scope of the work you are supposed to do. Some may expect you to create dynamic websites that are database driven while others will want you to incorporate a content management system on their website. You might be expected to only make the website interface, do back end programming, design graphics, generate content, search engine submission or a combination of some of them.
v) After sales services
A very important factor to bear in mind when pricing website design is after sales services. How much long-term maintenance is required? The longer the period, the lesser the cost you should charge when deciding on your Website Design Pricing.
vi) Delivery time frame
Some customers expect you to deliver the work within a very short and limited time frame. Website design pricing for such work should be slightly higher as compared to the work that you do and deliver at your own pace. Be sure that you can deliver within the stipulated time frame before accepting any work. Never take on a project you do not have the resources or time to complete within the stipulated time frame.
vii) Your experience
When pricing a website, an important factor to bear in mind is your experience. How many years of experience do you have in handling that kind of work? The more you are experienced, the more you charge. If you are a newcomer, you may charge slightly lower than others. This will give you a chance to showcase your expertise. But be wary lest your offer very low prices which might be used to judge you harshly like labeling you as incompetent or making customers think of your services as of low quality hence the low prices.