In part four of our ju­nioe de­signer se­ries, we look at how to treate and adapt as­sets so they work seam­lessly in dif­fer­ent dig­i­tal en­vi­ron­ments

Computer Arts - - Contents -

Part four of our ju­nior de­signer se­ries fo­cuses on this crit­i­cal skill

prepar­ing as­sets for dig­i­tal use is a core task for ju­nior de­sign­ers to­day. You may get asked to cre­ate or adapt im­ages for web­sites, so­cial me­dia cam­paigns, dis­play ads, email news­let­ters, video an­i­ma­tions, in­fo­graph­ics and app de­signs, to name but a few. At Con­ran De­sign Group, for ex­am­ple, a typ­i­cal task might be to pro­duce im­agery for use in a re­spon­sive web­site, ex­plains se­nior de­signer 011ie Rone-Clarke. "Once the de­sign has been signed off, we'll cre­ate a core mas­ter file of each as­set size and th­ese will then be saved for the web, us­ing the right file for­mat to make the files as small as pos­si­ble, while still re­tain­ing key de­tail - so that th­ese as­sets are fast to down­load, for ex­am­ple, on mo­bile." So how you go about creat­ing and adaptina as­sets for dig­i­tal use? There are four broad I-7 things you need to con­sider. MAS­TER THE FUN­DA­MEN­TALS Firstly, you'll need to un­der­stand the fun­da­men­tals, which hope­fully you'll have cov­ered on your de­sign course. "From a func­tional per­spec­tive, typ­i­cally you should en­sure you're us­ing the cor­rect colour set­tings in Pho­to­shop: RGB rather than CMYK," ex­plains Os­man Gani, global dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing di­rec­tor at Hog­a­rth World­wide. "You'll need to be work­ing in the cor­rect dig­i­tal pix­els per inch, lay­er­ing the Pho­to­shop lay­ers with the cor­rect names, and po­si­tion­ing lay­ers from bot­tom to top. "You'll need to ex­port the cor­rect dig­i­tal for­mats as stip­u­lated in the brief, and en­sure text boxes and im­ages have been 'snapped' cor­rectly. And you'll need to ad­here to best prac­tices such as nam­ing con­ven­tions, clear folder struc­tures on the server, and us­ing ver­sion-con­trol es. Sec­ondly, ez guide­lines that An­drea Este­bal Much of the ti "Most of our pi clients whose with," she expl: have to ask the re­quire­ments,: lim­i­ta­tions the of file size and Thirdly, in a en­vi­ron­ment, ) with the platfo ich project will col are spe­cific to thc n, dig­i­tal de­signer me this will be relz ro­jects come from guide­lines we're al airs. "But for new m, fully an­a­lyse ti and think about al y may present, in : colours, for exam! in ever-chang­ing you need to keep u rms you're de­sign] newith dig­i­tal brand, says for Bat­ten­hall. ttively rou­tine. ex­ist­ing ready fa­mil­iar clients, we heir the terms de.!' dig­i­tal p-to- date a for. F3 ria

You’ll need to ex­port the cor­rect dig­i­tal for­mats as stated in the brief

“FareShare is a char­ity aimed at re­liev­ing food poverty and re­duc­ing food waste in the UK. It does this by res­cu­ing good-qual­ity sur­plus food that would oth­er­wise have gone to waste and send­ing it to over 2,000 char­ity and com­mu­nity groups across the UK. FareShare needed a way to share its key sta­tis­tics and suc­cesses through its dig­i­tal chan­nels. As­sets were cre­ated for the char­ity, mak­ing sure they were cor­rectly sized for dif­fer­ent me­dia, such as 72dpi for Twit­ter. It was also im­por­tant to make sure they were saved in RGB and low res­o­lu­tion. Thumb­nails were also cre­ated where re­quired.”

“So for ex­am­ple,” says Este­ban, “I have pri­vate so­cial me­dia ac­counts to test – and then delete – posts, to see how they look across all de­vices. We of­ten de­sign quite in­no­va­tive posts, like ‘click to re­veal’ on Twit­ter or ‘fil­ter to re­veal’ on In­sta­gram, so test­ing how ev­ery­thing looks in-stream rather than guess­ing is bet­ter. After all this, it should be easy to change each art­board to all the dif­fer­ent sizes you need: ad­ has all the dif­fer­ent up-to-date sizes, but Googling each plat­form also works.”

Fi­nally, you’ll also need to un­der­stand the sys­tems and pro­cesses of the or­gan­i­sa­tion you’ve come to work for. “Ju­nior de­sign­ers come in with the ba­sics of de­sign and as­set man­age­ment prepa­ra­tion, but they won’t be ready for the stu­dio fil­ing sys­tem,” says Rone-Clarke. “This is where we spend a lot of time with them, show­ing them how we file and set up stages for each de­sign job.” UN­DER­STAND THE DE­LIV­ER­ABLES How much your de­sign course will pre­pare you for all of this will vary. Chloe Holden, a ju­nior

de­signer at Con­ran De­sign Group, says hers was a lit­tle patchy. “While I’d learned that RGB was for dig­i­tal and CMYK was for print, what I didn’t re­alise un­til I was an in­tern is the im­por­tance of dou­ble-check­ing file set­tings when go­ing be­tween dig­i­tal and print files,” she re­calls. “Nor did I learn the hows and whys. It isn’t un­til you are work­ing in a stu­dio that you learn how to take a brief and un­der­stand the de­liv­er­ables clearly.”

Elena Morán, a UX/UI de­signer at atom42, also points to the im­por­tance of the brief in prepar­ing dig­i­tal as­sets. “Be sure you re­ceive a good one – and don’t be ashamed to push back if it doesn’t con­tain the in­for­ma­tion you need,” she stresses. “A baker can’t work without flour, and you can’t make the as­sets without the cor­rect spec­i­fi­ca­tions.” ASK QUES­TIONS

Don’t be ashamed to push back on the brief if it doesn’t con­tain the in­for­ma­tion you need

Most im­por­tantly, keep ask­ing ques­tions, she adds. “For ex­am­ple, if some­one asks you to cre­ate a dis­play ad, im­por­tant points to dou­ble-check in­clude the size of the cre­ative, di­men­sions needed and min­i­mum and max­i­mum weight al­lowed. Is it an­i­mated or static; do they want a still im­age or do they want dy­namic el­e­ments? If it’s an­i­mated, do they want an in­ter­ac­tive ad? What type of file: JPG, PNG, MP4, HTML5? And where is it go­ing to be dis­played? Ev­ery plat­form has its own unique rules.”

This can all be slightly over­whelm­ing at first. “As a ju­nior you will get a lot of work to do, so time is key. Track­ing your hours care­fully makes it eas­ier to pre­vent is­sues and cor­rectly or­gan­ise your projects. And if you feel over­whelmed, tell your line man­ager so they can or­gan­ise, push back and share, if pos­si­ble, with the rest of the team. Shar­ing is car­ing, so don’t just say yes all the time or you’ll end up pro­duc­ing less high-qual­ity as­sets as a re­sult.”

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