Reinventing Myself Through Graphic Design
I was a professional photographer for 40+ years when I became disabled with a hip replacement that went south. I no longer had the mobility I once had so going back to school for graphic design was the next logical choice.
The same layout and placement of elements is very similar in many ways. Now, I design behind a big computer screen instead of a small digital computer called a camera.
I also have found the graphic art principles also apply to designing websites.
I always admired the people in the graphic arts field because I saw the result of what they did swirling all around me in the world.
From labels on boxes to ads on TV, printed flyers to movie credits.
The ordinary street and store front signs and deep into the internet world of websites, social media, graphic design is all around us.
Learning new software was the biggest obstacle when I first started graphic art school. It was a struggle at first because computers were not my strong point. I was very old school in many ways.
I had learned photography back in 1969 in high school using a 35mm camera and developing B&W film, and printing images in a darkroom the old-fashioned way. I was very hands on in a manual sort of way, like many people from my generation that started before computers came on the scene.
I think back on those computer and software struggles and it’s hard for me think of me having a hard time with them because I live and breathe with them now.
Finding Myself Through Graphic Design
Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
They are the three big engines that drive graphic design and are all made by Adobe. All very different from each other but, also very similar in many ways.
A.) Photoshop, to work on images and photographs to make them the best that they can be through cropping and image manipulation.
B.) Illustrator, to design individual pieces as in logo’s, individual flyers, ad’s or even adding text to images as a visual graphic for social media.
C.) InDesign, the software that designs multi-page newsletters, magazines or PDF’s for print and digital distribution. I will, many times make a main template for an organization that will be used for future designs with this program. InDesign is the hardest to learn because it can do so many different things on many different levels all at once so my schooling in this program was well worth it.
After I started school I realized website design would become part of this mix. My graphic art skills would be used to make websites look great in addition to functioning as they should.
The Software Design Process
I use Photoshop and Illustrator to design specific pieces, then bring them all together in to InDesign for a multi-page book or newsletter layout.
All the programs by Adobe play together extremely well and let me cross platform to each other easily and efficiently.
Drop and drag is the name of that game when work with them all at the same time.
That is the benefit of having three software programs that are made by the same company.
Learning Graphic Design
Many times, I will have all three open at the same time on three different computer monitors so I can be as efficient as possible. When working on a website I will have both Photoshop and Illustrator open with InDesign being the odd man out because WordPress is taking the place of InDesign as digital layout software.
I enjoy and love what I do now because it’s like using different elements of the same puzzle when I am in the designing mode. Graphic art and website design is a combination that allows me to branch out creatively in a couple different directions when the need arises.
I also like the fact that I help people, companies, churches, nonprofits and different organizations grow and become more successful at what they do with my creative skills.
This really is my idea of having fun.
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