Design tools and resources

design toolsThe internet is about design. You need to know and understand what is available to help you create a good looking, informative site or web page. You need to know what tools and resources are available to you to ensure your online presentation looks good and current. Design for Founders has a section dedicated to design tools and resources. There is some really helpful information on this site.

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Extract dominant colour

Image: Vaunt

It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to accessorise your latest outfit, decorate your home, create a stunning PowerPoint, an impressive visual presentation, rejig your website or create an appealing app, attention to colour is an essential skill in a visually oriented world where we are looking at everything all the time. Some people have always had a natural colour sense. The rest of us can now use tools to help create a finished product which is visually cohesive and has impact. You do that by extracting the dominant colours of an image and then matching the additional elements to that colour palette. It is easily coded and so there are apps and online sites which will help you keep your sense of colour together and aid you to create web pages, projects, posts and videos which have an intrinsic sense of colour balance. You can also use it to play with colour to get more interesting visual effects.

Vaunt is a free app which will give you plenty of dominant colour extraction options. It is as simple as dropping the image into the box and then trialling the options until you get what you prefer. There are two other quick and easy online sites for doing this as well but without the extractions options: Color Thief and Vibrant.

Enjoy!

Assembly app

Techgen has created a pretty good review of the Assembly app and the video goes through the key points of using it. I have been using it on my iPad and haven’t, as yet, encountered the problems he had on his phone. I can manage the shape choices across the bottom bar of my iPad Air quite well . What I can’t do is find out how to put in my own backgrounds as he did . There doesn’t seem to be an option for that. Maybe it comes with the subscription to Assembly Pro.

assembly app

Yesterday’s image

I am running the free version and have plenty to be working with and the shape packages are now all free. You can easily download them as you want them. I run it with the snap to grid functionality because it creates very precise placement and image manipulation. It is easy to change the colours and add text and to bring pictures forward or put hem to the back. It is an app which fits in well with the ACARA Digital Technologies curriculum requirements because students can learn how to manipulate objects, how to apply graphic design ideas , how to collaborate and how digital systems work to create meaning. It’s a great app for creating logos, simple designs and not so simple designs when you get good at it. There are tutorials on You Tube and the Assembly app site itself points you in the right direction. Currently it’s an iOS app. There is a review of it on stuff.tv¬†. It saves the created images ¬†in HD and the¬†size is about 4000 pixels square , so a good size for manipulating further and reducing them will not disturb image integrity.

Introduction to Graphic Design

Introduction to Graphic DesignI ¬†have just completed the free Introduction to Graphic Design on Udemy course by Sean Berg. Amongst other things he works on custom templates for WordPress in Brazil. His course was different from the other ones I have done in that it was 100% focused on delivering the content. It was a lesson in methodology as much as anything else. This¬†doesn’t mean the other courses did not concentrate on content. They did , but they did it differently. Sean Berg’s shining moment was the squares.¬†The way he was manipulating the squares to illustrate the points he was talking about was very clever. His command of visual literacy to illustrate his spoken content is expert. As he is talking about graphic design he is showing you. There were no exercises as in the other courses but this course really was about concentrated focus on content. It is an excellent example of how to utilise teaching¬†very effectively. Sometimes you just need to master delivering the message so that you are time efficient. I really enjoyed learning this way because there were no distractions at all. No swamping. Just the things he was trying to teach me. His¬†course was a good practical use of using design elements to ensure learners were in control all of the way.

Get your digital presentation right

SlideModelSlideModel is typical of current sites where there is a lot of free content and then you pay for extra access or extra content. That is fair. The free version allows you to participate in the digital world and then if you like it you can purchase extras or subscriptions as you see fit. SlideModel has varying models and so you can use the site in a way that suits you. Not everyone has graphic arts skills. These Power Point templates can be used for presentations but you can also take a screen shot so that the individual slides present content in an aesthetically pleasing, clear way . It also prevents you from jamming a screen with far too much information. Keep it uncluttered and simple and use the design models to create the content relational links for you. I downloaded the free Circular Chevron template. I have filled in a French verb on the first screen. If you look at the image there are other slides where I can present content clearly and effectively according to what I am doing. The layout is there. You just customise the text but you can change the elements of the slide image too.

When it comes to fonts Google Fonts has lots of choices and they illustrate them really well. Then you also need symbol and graphic fonts so you can add icons. Icons help readers and viewers to navigate your information quickly. The graphic fonts allow you to enhance and support visual literacy.

We are presenting information more and more digitally. If you cannot do it yourself then the internet really is full of helpful resources and people.

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