Be Inspired

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Ask The Designer…

How important is layout in the design of your publications?

In English, we read from the top left of a page to the bottom right.  Layout of your pages should keep this in mind and present the information just as the reader expects.  Making elements big or bold can interrupt the usual flow causing the reader to re-track.  But, there are a few tricks to keep the reader engaged.

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Adding color can redirect the reader’s eye.  Using a grid can provide rhythm to the information which also prevents elements from competing for attention. Grids also allow you to present a lot of information without it being overwhelming, but adding breaks to the grid can add visual interest.

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Styles of typography, color and layout usage have historical ties that cannot be ignored.  Lawyers, doctors and accountants usually want to show a sense of steadiness and conservatism such as with centered layouts reading top to bottom.  A similar layout will not work as well for a Rock band.



Design is also limited to the assets given.  Images should be high quality rather than clip art.  Copy writing should be effective with succinct, easy-to-read and appropriate tone of voice.


Excerpt and images courtesy of LinkedIn SlideShare / Visible Logic / Graphic Design 101 for Marketers and Business Professionals.

Ask The Designer…

copyrightShould you ask to see your graphic designer’s inspiration?

By all means, yes! Picasso was quoted as saying, “Good artists copy, Great artists steal.” Most doubt if he meant that literally, though Steve Jobs may have took the quote to heart. Copyright infringement, nonetheless, can make or break a new product release and it pays to fend off potential losses right from the start.

Look at this great example from a blog post by the “North Carolina Beer Lawyer.”



The client learned almost too late that the design for their new brew’s label was all too similar to a specific comic book illustration. The product was about to be released to stores when the issue was realized just in the nick of time. It cost them in new labels, but they were saved from potential legal fees.



The new label does still bear some similar characteristics to the illustration in question. However, the idea in itself cannot be copyrighted, while the artistic expression of that idea certainly can. detective-saison

This story demonstrates why it is important to ask for the graphic designer’s inspiration. Ownership for any copyright information and indemnification against any copyright infringement is usually assigned through the design contract. Save yourself some hassle and a bit of money by handling these matters  up front before the design is ever even drafted.

Dina's Desktop Logo Mascott

Multimedia Design with Retro Style and Feminine Flair.



Ask The Designer…


How much is this going to cost?

Keeping costs under control is a high priority for business owners. Ask your graphic designer about his or her current pricing, but also ask about things that can make pricing quotes change. Ask about how often the graphic designer adjusts his or her rate card, and ask how much advance notice the designer gives his or her clients about rate increases. Ask about cost over-runs. How does the graphic designer handle cost-overruns, and how does the designer handle cost increases that result from changes in your instructions?

Current pricing at Dina’s Desktop is very competitive and is adjusted only once annually.  Current clients are notified 30 days in advance of any rate increases.  A price sheet is also available upon request.  Things that can change the flat rates include image editing and custom graphics, as well as modifications.  Dina’s Desktop also issues prompt estimates of additional fees whenever special requests are received and will provide immediate notification when cost over-runs are expected.

You will be pleasantly surprised by the great service and the affordable pricing offered by Dina’s Desktop.  Contact Dina today and let’s make something beautiful together!





Tips & Tricks

How To Control Lens Flare with Exposure Blending

The Exposure blending method involves equal parts fieldwork and postprocessing. This procedure works well when the sun is present in your composition (Figure A).


To begin, make sure your camera is locked securely on a sturdy tripod, as this procedure won’t work (or at least will be prohibitively difficult) if your captures don’t match exactly. Make two exposures: one with the sun present in the frame and another in which the sun is blocked by your finger (Figure B).


It’s a good idea to manually set your white balance so your colors don’t change when the sun is covered up. You also may want to expose a half-stop or so brighter for your second frame, as blocking the sun can darken your resulting capture a bit. Your camera’s histogram can come in handy here.

Now that you’ve captured your source images, follow these steps:
1. Open your two fi les in Photoshop. Your first capture, in which the sun is visible, will be your Background layer.
2. Copy your second capture, with the sun hidden, and paste it over your Background as a new layer (Photoshop will automatically call this Layer 1).
3. Add a black layer mask to Layer 1 (Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All). Since black equals hide and white equals show in layer masking, your black layer mask will hide Layer 1 from view.
4. Select your brush tool, and set your foreground color to white. Making sure your black layer mask is selected in the Layers Panel, begin painting white in the areas of the image that exhibit lens flare. Watch as the offending areas disappear! While exposure blending is a powerful method for controlling lens flare, it can take some practice. Often, your two source photographs may have slight variances in exposure or color due to adding and removing a light source as powerful as the sun. Experiment with Levels, Color Balance and Exposure adjustment layers and masks in order to fine-tune your blended image (Figure C).


Text & Images by Scott Rubey for Outdoor Photographer May 2016