Back in the U.S.A.

A back yard in Pennsylvania

As I announced on lbdesign’s website last month, I have now returned to the USA. After spending seven very happy years in the UK, it was the right time to move back to America. I’ve landed in Pennsylvania, a very historic corner of the world. It’s a lovely area, with plenty of trees, hills and rivers. Settling just outside of Philadelphia, life is slowing down a bit as I getting unpacked and settled in.

Of course, part of my efforts with lbdesign will be to build our client base here in the US. We’ve already started working with The Whiting Law Group and Solstice Communications.

As a web designer, I am interested in meeting other designers and developers who live and work in the Philly area. I invite visitors to the site to get in touch.

A good printer is next to godliness

desktop printerThe creation and production of any brochure, flyer or bit of stationery is a tale of two halves. The graphic designer comes up with look and feel of the piece, and then turns it over to a printer to complete the equation. In the UK, there are a plethora of printers willing to accept my designs for a fee. And over the course of six years in the UK, I have interacted with a number of them. I can definitively report that some are better than others.

Before I list my preferred suppliers, let me offer two links where readers can familiarise themselves with the different types of printing I reference in this post:

Litho Printing
Digital Printing
(Note: I figure that oversize printing is pretty self-explanatory, hence no link for that.)

So, where to turn for your printing needs?  Let me make a few recommendations:

Litho Printing:

For all of my litho printing, I use Saints & Co., in Liverpool. Their professionalism, quality of print, reliability, technical skill and knowledge and customer care are miles ahead of their competitors. Their pricing is competitive. I’ve been sending artwork to Saints for more than 5 years running, and I can honestly say that they have never let me down.

Saints & Co can be reached on 0151 475 4100. Tell them I sent you.

Digital Printing:
I’ve two recommendations for digi print jobs. The first is my regular, London-based supplier, Hobs Reprographics. In particular, their Eagle Street office is outstanding. They know their machines and get the best out of them. Their professionalism and reliability have made me look good to my clients time after time. Their pricing is competitive for London. (I have to admit that some of their other branches have not lived up to the Eagle Street standards.)

My second recommendation is 1st Byte, also in London. Although on the pricier side, 1st Byte have unsurpassed technical skill and top-rate machines. They are true artisans. They can handle all sorts of digi runs, but I tend to use them on short-run, high-end projects.

Oversize Printing:
I stumbled upon LTD Limited shortly after I arrived in the UK. Based in East London, LTD Limited say ‘if you can design it, we can produce it’ and I have to agree. They do the most amazing print work on all sorts of materials and objects. In fact, on one job for me, not only did they print the posters for window displays, they almost crafted the mounts for the displays! Quality of print, attention to detail and customer care are these guys calling cards. Every time I need them, they always impress me.

Calculated coolness

screenshot of calculatorEarlier this morning, back when it was still dark out and I was too tired to turn on the lights in my office, I was seated at my desk, using the stark lighting of the monitor to see the keyboard. (Sound familiar to anyone?) I was using the calculator to figure out some basic maths (Sorry to Mr. Molnar, my maths teacher, for needing to use a calculator for basic addition), when I got this amazing message on the calculator: Result of function is undefined.  How cool is that! Suddenly inspirted, I flicked on the light and tried to re-create whatever computation I had just done to achieve that message.  I tried for several minutes before I started to think it was all a dream in my head. Good thing I remembered to save a screen shot.

Changing default language for text-boxes in InDesign

Character palette in InDesign If you’re an Adobe InDesign user and not based in the United States, then you probably don’t produce flyers, brochures and the like in American English. Yet that’s the default language for text boxes in InDesign. So, how do you change the default setting to whatever language is more appropriate for your clients?

It’s really simple:

  1. Open InDesign, but make sure that no documents are open.
  2. Turn on the Character palette. This can be done by navigating to Type > Character via the menu bar, or by the keyboard shortcut (on a PC) of Ctrl+T.
  3. Character palette with language drop-down list
    In the Character tab, select the down arrow next to the Language and then select your language of choice.

When you then create a new document, the default language for text boxes will be whatever you previously selected.

When opening existing documents which still have US English as the default language for text-boxes, simply open the document and repeat steps 2 and 3, making sure that no content is selected while you alter the Language settings.

Sharing Colour Palettes in Adobe Creative Suite

Arts Fresco logoRecently, I created a website and promotional postcard for a wonderful street arts festival called Arts Fresco. The festival is organised by Caterina Loriggio, an amazingly creative and professional festival director and street arts programmer, and is held in the lovely village of Market Harborough. Now in its sixth year, the line up at Arts Fresco included many well-known and established international acts.

In addition to the work that they had commissioned from me, the organisers of Arts Fresco were coordinating with the local newspaper to produce a series of promotional posters, banner ads and a wrap to be distributed on the day. As I was the lead creative on the project, I was asked to share my designs and files with the newspaper to ensure visual consistency across all the promotional materials. Continue reading “Sharing Colour Palettes in Adobe Creative Suite”