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5 Ways To Boost Your Resume With Adobe Illustrator

Let’s face it- today’s job market is tough. The credentials that would fetch a top-tier position a decade ago are now only delivering an entry-level one. Unemployment and unpaid internships abound, and there is a distinct trend that is emerging from this new market milieu. Those with the most well rounded resumes are the ones getting hired and promoted. The ambitious and creative few who take the time to flesh out their skill set and tack on certifications are the ones who bring the most usability to the job market. Utilitarianism has taken over, and employers are looking to stretch their new hires over several different professional fields. In this new minimalist market, if you can offer the skills and expertise of three people rolled into one, you’re miles ahead of the pack. The digital era is nothing new, but accomplishing design and marketing in-house is still relatively fresh. Many companies and startups are starting to make their own logos, brochures, websites, and other materials, utilizing their own limited staff. So if you are looking to get a leg up on the competition, or put your hat in the ring for a promotion, basic graphic design skills are pure gold on your resume. You don’t need any particular art background or drawing talent to become proficient in Adobe Illustrator, and it makes the ideal addition to any CV from any field- finance, education, nonprofit, tech…everyone benefits from savvy and sharp design. Adobe Illustrator classes are waiting for you to enroll, so here are just five great reasons why you should sign up today! Logo Design It’s amazing how one simple image can speak for an entire brand, provoking recognition and market power with just a small mix of colors and shapes. But the influence of logos is more and more appreciated, and more businesses are choosing to co-create their branding with their own staff to better reflect their ideas and values. Logos are one of the easiest things to create using Illustrator, and there is a huge demand for logo design in the market today. If you can show you have the know-how for this, you are bound to be more attractive to a potential employer or promotion manager. Infographics The general public is being more accustomed to having information fed to them in sharp, eye-catching graphic ways. Text doesn’t hold the power it used to, and more designers are funneling their facts and figures into colorful displays that are easy to digest and also easy to share via social media. Creating mathematically accurate and stunning charts and graphs is a staple of the Illustrator repertoire, and can boost your appeal especially in the education, nonprofit, and finance sectors. Custom illustrations The demand on the market now for unique and handmade illustration graphics is at an all-time high. Everyone is looking to create their own individual look on everything from business websites to kids’ birthday party invitations. Adobe Illustrator makes it simple to make a variety of graphics for a variety of purposes- you can even work off a base photo image if you aren’t comfortable with freehand. Having the skills to transform ideas into icons and images puts you ahead of the game in the working world. You can lend your expertise to website work, brochures, book publishing, and much more! Vector images In the digital design world, there are two basic types of images- raster and vector. The former type is the one most common in photographs and other shared media; these include your familiar jpg, gif, and tiff files. These are all comprised of a grid...

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3 Reasons to Get Certified in Graphic Design

Over the last decade, we’ve seen an explosion of amazing design content, partly fueled by the popularity of online marketing and small business startups. Everything from logos and flyers to website icons and Facebook banners- the world of graphic design is more in demand than ever before. While many students are choosing to major in the design fields in college, the majority of the talent market is coming from post-graduate people looking to expand their expertise, round out their skill set, and break into this fresh and exciting industry. Many community colleges and online institutions offer certifications in graphic design, and it may be difficult to choose the one that’s right for you. Luckily, at the Digital Workshop Center (DWC), you can be sure that your instructors are real people working in the fields that they’re teaching about- unlike some online schools. They also provide straightforward and practical education at a seriously affordable price, along with offering financing plans so you can stop worrying about the money and focus on your blossoming career! If you’ve been considering a certification in graphic design, here are three great reasons to sign up for classes at DWC today! It will boost your resume It’s a crowded job market out there, so any professional skill you can add to your resume brings you serious field advantage. As more job seekers are shifting to include freelance and contract work, the successes are coming to those with the most real-world certifications and hands-on experience. A four-year university degree is a nice thing to have, but focused skills in marketing, design, website building, and multimedia often have an even bigger pull with prospective employers. More businesses are coming to see the benefits of hiring someone with a variety of usable skills, not just an expensive diploma. The Advanced Graphic Design Certification will spruce up your resume and is a worthwhile investment for anyone between jobs or looking to make a career change. Hands on instruction in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign will make you stand out above the crowd.  It may provide extra revenue streams Since design work is something you can do from the comfort of home, many artists and creative professionals have taken to selling their work on the side. Some have even found full-time success this way. Websites like Creative Market and others like it provide a platform for talented individuals to sell their graphics and mockups directly to the public. There is a potential customer pool out there for anyone proficient in digital photography, logo design, icon design, website building, and online marketing. And the best part is you can create your designs once, package them for download, and continue to sell them over time- all you need is the initial investment in your education and an entrepreneurial spirit. Everyone from working professionals to students to stay at home parents can take advantage of the high demand for graphic design. And who said art could never pay the bills? It will make you self-sufficient Small business owners are often overwhelmed by all the aspects needed to launch and run their ventures- beyond the initial inventory acquisition, there are dozens of other jobs that must be accomplished and positions to be filled before true success can be achieved. Many of them end up contracting with professionals to help with those things, and graphic design is one of the biggest aspects where people look for assistance, often at a significant cost. But wouldn’t it be easier if you could create your own logos, marketing materials, and website? More and more businesses owners are coming...

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Set, Forget InDesign Styles for Consistency

In my opinion, one of the marks of a professional graphic designer is consistency. It is so important to make sure that fonts, colors, and design elements are consistent throughout a project, but also across an entire company brand. Design consistency gives a feeling of familiarity and provides the consumer something to recognize about your products or services. When Adobe InDesign was introduced in the Creative Suite in 2002, it came with a bundle of new features that helped designers ensure consistency across documents. One of the easiest ways to do this was to use Adobe styles. In most of the graphics programs in the Adobe Creative Suite — including Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator — there are multiple panels referring to style. An Adobe style is simply a package of style information that can easily be applied to your document objects. In Adobe InDesign, there are separate panels for character styles, paragraph styles, table styles, cell styles and more. Each of these is intended to help you create the style and then easily deploy it as needed. By connecting all of your relevant objects to the style, you can easily make one change to the style definition and it can be re-applied to all associated items. For example, a paragraph style may contain the font, spacing and alignment information for different types of paragraphs. This concept alone can save you hours of tedious cleanup work. It also reduces human error and guarantees that all similar elements have the same appearance. However, these concepts can be taken to a much higher level. Adobe InDesign also has a way to create a pattern of styles throughout your project. For example, many print documents follow a familiar flow to organize the content. You may have a header, followed by a sub-heading, a first paragraph with an interesting design for the first line of text, and then subsequent body paragraphs. A feature of a style called Next Style allows you to set up an order for styles to follow. All you would have to do is set the style of header and then tell InDesign to flow the Next Style to ensure the remaining styles follow from there. Each style will remain connected to the source to allow for quick changes and consistency. There are far too many other-style related features and time-saving tricks than I can mention in this short column. I hope you try to use styles in your Creative Suite projects and find new ways to become more efficient with your design work. [Originally posted in the Coloradoan on...

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Fun with Adobe Creative Suite Panels

The possibilities with Adobe Creative Suite are endless. For this reason and more, Adobe CS has become the industry standard for graphic design, video production and many other creative professions. Programs such as Adobe’s Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign have revolutionized several industries and are now more accessible to the average consumer than ever before. At the Digital Workshop Center, we consistently see students who have been forced into these complex programs by their employers in the hopes they’ll be able to bring design work in-house. However, Adobe CS is designed for personal computers and, therefore, has a ton of options centered around customizing the program to best work for you. Whenever I open any of my Adobe programs, I first open and arrange the panels to best suit my needs. Adobe panels are common in almost all CS programs — they’re the small, moveable pieces within the greater Adobe puzzle. Each panel is focused on one group of commands. For example, in Adobe InDesign you have the Pages panel, which gives you all the choices you need to create, arrange and manage your pages. While you could also use the text-based menus at the top of the program, the panels are typically easier to understand. Each panel also includes a menu is in its top-right corner. The panel menu provides additional commands or options to help you fine-tune exactly what you need. Another feature of the Adobe panel system is that you can easily group or dock panels. By default there’s a dock section on the right side of most Adobe programs. This section usually has a dark-gray background separated from the design area of the program. You can fit all of your desired panels into the dock or drag and drop panels in any order you want. In addition, you can re-size the dock or collapse it to save you space. The size and resolution of your monitor is a huge factor in how you will arrange your dock, but don’t be afraid to play around with different arrangements. The more you use an Adobe CS program, you’ll learn which panels you need for your work. When you have all the panels opened and arranged the way you like, I highly recommend saving that as a workspace, which takes a snapshot of your program’s environment so you can easily return to that arrangement as you see fit. There’s no limit to the number of panel workspaces you can create and it works well to create different layouts for different types of projects. For example, you can create one workspace for your graphic design projects, another for web projects and maybe one for advanced typography. Through the window menu in any Adobe CS program, you can easily manage future workspaces. When a new student opens Adobe for the first time, I think there’s always a brief feeling of anxiety, maybe due to the amount of commands on the screen. However, if you embrace the panel system and get used to the similarities across all Adobe Creative Suite programs, you will see the logic behind panels and start to enjoy it. Stu Crair is the owner and lead trainer at The Digital Workshop Center, providing digital arts and computer training instruction in Fort Collins. Reach him at (970) 980-8091 or stu@fcdigitalworkshop.com. [Originally posted in the Coloradoan on...

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Trading Places: Dropping Photoshop Files Into InDesign

If you’re trying to use multiple Adobe Creative Suite programs together, one of the first things you should become familiar with is the Place tool. Place functions similar to the Open tool. The biggest difference however, is that the Open tool lets you open a document as a new file, while Place lets you stick an image, text file or other materials into an existing document as a new layer. InDesign is a robust layout tool for fliers, ads, magazines, etc. Photoshop lets you edit images to add effects, combine multiple images together, perfect a photograph, etc. Illustrator offers many tools to create designs from scratch. If you need to learn more about these three Adobe CS programs, check out our blog post “The ABCs of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.” When you use all of these Adobe programs together, you’re really firing on all cylinders. Adobe CS programs are highly compatible with each other, so you can mix-and-match any number of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign files across the programs. As a basic exercise, we created a document in InDesign, and we will be using the Place tool to import an image from Photoshop. Frame Your Layout To get things started, we created some basic text to work with in our document. We did this by selecting the Text tool and creating a text box to write in. You can play with the text to stylize it and add effect if you wish. Now that we have some text, it’s time to get our image from Photoshop. Prepare to Place For our image, we picked something simple: an image of Spider-Man with a white background. Tip: When selecting an image to place in InDesign, keep in mind that the background color of your Photoshop image will carry over to the InDesign document. To save yourself grief, you should give any files you will place in InDesign a transparent background. If you have a specific idea for what you want the background of your final design to look like, you can create that background as a separate file (in Photoshop or another CS program) and use the Place tool for that as well.   When you’ve finished touching up your image in Photoshop, simply save the file (we recommend saving it to a location that can be found easily, such as your Desktop). If you need help getting started on enhancing your Photoshop image, read our “Cooking Up Basic Photoshop Designs” Trading Places Now that you have a basic layer with text in InDesign and a Photoshop image ready, it’s time to “drop” the Photoshop file into InDesign. (If you need help with layers, read our Introduction to Layers blog). Create a new layer in the Layers panel. Click on File from the main toolbar and find the Place tool. After opening Place, select your Photoshop file. Now, a miniature version of your Photoshop image will appear where your mouse was. This happens so you can customize the placement and size of your image. Put your mouse in a good starting point for where you want the image to rest and click-drag until your image is the appropriate size. The proportions of your image will stay intact, so don’t worry about stretching or shrinking your image. Now that your image is in a decent spot, you can tweak its placement. A translucent “eye” or circle will appear in the middle of your newly placed image. (If you don’t see the eye, select the move tool from the Tool Palette and click on the image.)   By clicking on the eye...

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