Looking Good on a Budget: Principles of Design for the Artistically Challenged

Monday 4:00-5:00 p.m.

With the advent of powerful, freely available graphics and desktop publishing programs, librarians can now create attractive and readable publications. Whether on a web page or in a mailing, the way your message is presented is often as important as the message itself. Darrell Eifert, from Lane Memorial Library in Hampton, NH, focuses on basic design elements, including typography, layout and placement. Learn how to license images from the new low-cost “micro stock” agencies and the basics of Open Office Draw, GIMP and Scribus. Free CDs are available for those without high speed Internet access.

– Use Flickr images (look for Creative Commons Attribute, which allows you to freely use images provided you give proper credit — 8,000,000 images available) http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/
– Flickr is FREE – no need for professional photographers or to purchase stock images
– Sometimes purchasing images is necessary, i.e. when you have a specific idea that requires a narrowly focused, professional photograph or you need a human being in the picture (go to istockphoto — they have model releases on file)
– Can purchase images from istockphoto for $5
– Can “try before you buy” — download low-resolution, watermarked images

– Keep it simple
– No more than 2 fonts per layout
– Use serif fonts for body text
– Break large sections of text into multiple columns
– Balance columns across page so text lines up.
– More white space to enhance legibility

– Adobe Creative Suite retails for $1500
– Microsoft products retail for $500
– go to http://www.techsoup.com for savings (get MS Office for $16/workstation, minimum purchase of 5 licenses)
– or get Adobe CS3 Premium Suite for $160/yr (1 license max, there’s a waiting list)
– Most important purchase: a printer
– specs: wide carriage inkjet, capable of printing 13″x19″ borderless images on both matte and glossy paper, retails for $200-400
– his recommendation: HP OfficeJet 7000 Wideformat printer (available for $150 at staples.com)

Design Rules:
– Good design is based more on observation and analysis than it is on some vague notion of “creativity”
– Rule #1: Before anything goes on the page, decide what is most important. What single idea (or perception) do you want to communicate?
– Rule #2: Make what is most important the visual and verbal center of your project
– Rule #3: Arrange the elements in a visually pleasing layout that reinforces the central idea
– Three principles of design: composition, components, concept
– Composition: eye should move naturally from most important information to least important information

Recommended Reading:
book called Design Basics Index by Jim Krause


Photography and Image Sources:
Creative Commons Licensed Images on Flickr — http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons
Royalty Free vector clip art (15,000 images) — http://www.clker.com
Open Clip Art Library (7,000 images) — http://www.openclipart.org
IStockphoto (poster quality images for $5 each) — http://www.istockphoto.com
When you need big posters (email presenter for instructions) — http://www.mpix.com

Can request free CD-ROM of above software at deifert@hampton.lib.nh.us if you don’t have a high-speed internet connection