Monday, 13 March 2017

Reflections on a lecture and workshop on the Adobe product "in design" by Dr Juliet MacDonald, Friday, 10 February 2017.

The application InDesign holds its key concepts based on the original trade of mechanical printing. Within this practice, various ways of working, nomenclature and phrases have transcended into digital design.

When considering any form of printing in the digital age, it is important to firstly examine whether the output from your work will be a fixed layout or a dynamic design. A fixed layout is suitable for printed matter whereas a dynamic layout is suitable for digital graphics presented on some form of screen. Further considerations of image resolution and/or the need for scalable graphics comes into play too. With regards to printed outputs, consideration of colour reproduction mechanisms reside within the four traditional inks used in modern printing, which are cyan, magenta, yellow and black often abbreviated to CMYK. In the case of electronically or digitally rendered outputs that will be projected (or presented on some form of screens, such as plasma or more modern variants liquid-crystal displays), the colour management is not through negative pigment manipulation such as CMYK. Instead, it is managed through additive manipulation of colours of light itself, namely the primary colours of red, green and blue. The final essential consideration of the outputs is simply a question of dimensional format which traditionally has been called landscape (that is where the horizontal dimensions are wider than the vertical dimensions), or portrait (where the vertical dimension is greater than the horizontal dimension).

As mentioned previously, Adobe InDesign's origins are based on the idea of the printed book. The format of printing, from the original Guttenberg Press and the subsequent Bibles and books printed from those early machines, were combined reproduction with artworks. Originally such artworks were hand painted or hand drawn such as those which can be found in the book of Kells and other early manuscripts. The ways of thinking about these artefacts have pretty much remained unchanged for over 600 years.

It is only since the end of the 20th century that electronic and digital printing (commencing with any form of growth in popularity, initiated in the early 1980s) emerged with the notion of the digital bitmap to mathematically position dots of ink based on a concept of a matrix or grid. Early pioneers of digital drawing and manipulation together with textual reproduction were born in such software applications as QuarkExpress (particularly for page layout design) and CorelDRAW amongst many others. While these early competitors took emerging market share within the industry, it was not until the American company Adobe began to gain dynamic market presence through the 1990s and into the early 21st-century.

In regards to artists portfolios, being substantially different to traditional format books (which tend to be what is known as "single spreads"), these artists portfolio presentations do not translate quite as well to the digital format. However, as portfolios can now be easily displayed through electronic means, portfolio presentations are now becoming much more popular.

Outputs from the digital context of reproduction are in continual change. For example, some of the myriad styles and formats can be found in
-digital magazines
-digital portable document format (PDF's)
-interactive online documents
-web design (through the use of other Adobe applications such as its sister product Dreamweaver).

The fundamental difference of web design is that it requires dynamic layouts rather than fixed layouts, whereas an output intended to be printed as a hardcopy or portable document format is of course of a fixed layout.

Other considerations of printing however still remain the same and include image resolution and the need or otherwise, for scalable graphics together with the document format of landscape or portrait; the printing and presentation outputs of subtractive pigment management through CMYK or additive light colour management of RGB.

We then conducted an exercise to familiar ourselves with the InDesign product. This included a short workshop on how to open new documents and through selecting the various intentional outputs such as printed matter, web-based or digital publishing. Also discussed were the early identification of a language that has transcended from the mechanical printing age, including the phrases such as "bleed and slug". Bleed is simply the extra image overlap which will be cut off from the paper to create a clean edge of multiple copies of paper when presented in a book or brochure format. Whereas 'slugs' are the crop marks and edges which are used as reference points in preparation for the practical cutting or guillotine operations to create the clean edge of books.

With regards to page layouts, the concept of InDesign is to use "frames" which is a very different notion than perhaps the more immediately familiar methods used in word processing.

By using the tool palette within InDesign, one is able to draw frames within a master document to create a fixed and standard layout which can be replicated easily throughout the book. Once an arrangement is established with the frames button, it is possible to then import, or 'link' files and images of text and pictures through pasting. This is usually done by the use of "placing an image" by using the selection of the keys 'command' and 'D' (on Apple Mac devices) or 'control'+ 'D' (in Microsoft Windows systems)

When in the selection mode (and a black arrow is displayed on the screen), it is possible, by double-clicking the black arrow on the particular choice to change such selection into what is known as "direct selection".
To visually check the aesthetic representation of formats, it is possible to insert various online text through generators, or random language, or alternatively, use the built-in 'traditional' printer's method of selection of Latin text commencing with the words Lorem ipsum.

In typographic design, consider the grid concepts as setting the definitions for aesthetic presentation. See the book by  Josef Mülller-Brockmann, a German publication entitled "Grid Systems in Graphic Designs; -a Visual Communications Manual for Graphic Designers, Typographers and 3-D Designers.

Lecture and workshop on the Adobe product "in design" by Dr Juliet MacDonald, Friday, 10 February 2017, at the University of Huddersfield.

Josef Müller-Brockman (1999), "Grid Systems in Graphic Designs; -a Visual Communications Manual for Graphic Designers, Typographers and 3-D Designers. This is now in its 9th edition, 2015 by Niggli Verlag (Publishers), Sulgen, printed by Drückerei, Kossell GmbH, of Germany.

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