get asked many times what package I use, and my answer is
typically the same: anything I can get my hands on.
The key to design is not the package, but the content. Unfortunately
(or fortunately) there has never been a computer package
that can properly encapsulate design ideas. The best tool
of this is a pencil and paper. If you start with a package,
you're never going to properly investigate your ideas, and
find out which one works. It's really the same argument
as reading a book against reading text from a computer screen.
Books are one of the most portable devices ever created,
and you can virtually move from any part of the content
to any other part, in a matter of seconds.
I'm not a very good drawer, but here's an
example of the sketches I have made for the CNDS page design:
The scan of the page can be quickly enhanced
by selecting Adjust Color->Autolevels to give:
I think, for the book design, that the final one works
best (the one where the book is standing up). Once the
design has been selected, it can be enhanced and integrated
into the final design. You can see that it would have
been difficult to enhance the graphic, and try out ideas,
using a computer package.
A clever trick is to add a little bit of colour to the
scanned images of pencil sketches. This is achieved, in
Photoshop, with Image->Adjust-Variations. The following
shows the addition of green, blue and red. Which one do
you prefer? Well it really all depends on the place that
the graphic would be placed, but I personally prefer the
So does it work when it is reduced in size? Well there's
only one way to find out. Here are three different versions
using the green version of the graphic (remember the graphic
is still in a very rough form, but it'll allow us to try
I think that the first one works best for the position
of the graphic, but the second one works best for the
position of the links. So the final design could look
And for the module information.
If we merge the two:
So what have we achieved here? Well this article should
have given you some basic ideas on how you could draft
your content on paper, first, and then try out
a few ideas, before you finalise your design. A key in
design, though, is to observe your content over
time, and see if your eye becomes tired of the
design. If so, don't use it. Over time you should learn
the good and bad tips, but there is no real definitive
technique that will work for every type of presentation.
In fact if you do not experiment with your graphic elements
you designs may start to look a little too much everyone
else's work, which might be fine if your trying to sell
soap powder, but not very good if you're trying to innovate
Do you want to know how to convert your sketches into
a graphic. Click here.