April 26, 2006 9:11 AM Subscribe
Help me impersonate a graphic designer! I know it’s kind of insane, but as early as this afternoon I may receive the proverbial offer (well, assignment) that I can’t refuse, and I’m wondering if anyone might be able to offer some fake-it-till-you-make-it tips for this sort of project (a short catalogue for a half-dozen or so boutique products). See, the thing is, I'm not a designer, although I have some experience with Quark, Illustrator and Photoshop. I’m most interested in a list of ten or fifteen things that you talented designer folks do over and over again that seem impressive to the uninitiated, but that are simpler than they appear to we of the untrained eyes. Books are also fine, but due to the potential immediacy of this, the shorter the tutorial, the better.
posted by Sinner to work & money (32 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Here’s the big picture: I’m the editor at a small start-up. Freelancers of varying skill levels handle most of our design work, but they only come around when needed. Due to budget constraints, over the past year or two I’ve taken on an increasing amount of lower-level design work (in Quark, Illustrator and Photoshop) to help cut costs. Still, I know my limits and am always the first to try to farm out work that I’m not able to do. Today, however, my boss’s boss (the owner of the company and someone with whom I have virtually no day-to-day interaction -- he barely knows my name) asked me for help on an out-of-the-office project. Someone of some relation to him, blood or otherwise, is going to be selling a boutique retail product, for which a logo already exists and which he thinks requires a sort of portfolio. This is not something I would normally feel comfortable doing. Nevertheless, my discomfort is outweighed by my fear that telling him that I’m not qualified to do this will make him question whether I’m suited to remain in my role at the company. So I said I’d give it a shot, but hedged my bets by telling him that 1) there are “really sophisticated people out there” who will charge well up into the hundreds, 2) my work for our company doesn’t require me to have that "really sophisticiated" level of expertise, 3) I will do something on spec, with no up-front financial commitment from him. Again, I have some practical experience and know how to use the tools on a basic level, but my job rarely requires me to make anything with any real aesthetic appeal. I’m looking for quick-and-dirty tips from pros ("use a lot of radial gradients" or "don't use a lot of radial gradients" more than “take a class at a local college.” (I should also reiterate that I’m keenly aware of the fact that design is a difficult field that one doesn’t pick up overnight – if I’m able to squeak by on this one project, it’ll be by luck and/or the grace of God, but it won’t magically make me a designer.)