How to Set Up the Right Files for Your 2D Projects
You could be the most creative graphic designer in the world, but your designs will only be effective if you're using the right tools and methods. When optimizing a 2D design, it's important to be aware of the best programs, file formats and color settings for the project to save you time and money and impress clients.
Imagine you're designing the logo for a company — once you've brainstormed the concept, it's time to perfect and deliver your design by using appropriate technology. Even the best business card printing company can’t overcome corrupt files or poor quality images.
Different File Types
Any sort of professional logo is designed using vector-based graphic programs, like Adobe Illustrator. Vector images consist of points and paths (based on mathematical equations) that represent the image on a computer. As an extra tip: If you're working with a web designer, make sure the image is being created with a vector format and make sure to ask for the final vector files.
Different Color Options
While the RGB color model, which combines red, green and blue light, is ideal for images on electronic devices, print design should be created using the CMYK color model. Printers use cyan, magenta, yellow and black (identified as “key” or “k”) to produce color. Also, printers may produce Pantone colors, which are rich hues that may be created in your design program using Pantone Color Manager Software. The reason a Pantone color should be used is to make sure your branding color is consistent throughout the design.
It's imperative to set up your design program to account for either RGB or CMYK designs since a design that looks great on the web may turn out totally different once it's printed. Adobe Creative Suite uses color profiles that should be embedded into every file. It's the best practice finding out what CMYK color profile is recommended by your printer, and convert your files accordingly.
Adapt designs for both color and black and white, and consider editing the black and white design with different elements if the loss of color impacts the logo's meaning. Also, be aware of how the logo may appear with different backgrounds, and provide alternatives accordingly.
Technology and Service
For both web and print designers, some of the most popular design technology is the Adobe Creative Suite, which includes programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Print designers often do their layouts in InDesign, while web designers usually work in Dreamweaver.
All web-based designs should be tested on several monitors, and print designs will need to be printed out and proofed before being sent. Remember to give clients editable files, in case they need to make changes in the future. Make sure you're aware of all your clients' needs before beginning work, and optimize your programs right away.
Photo by Flickr user University of Salford