InDesign – What a load of CRAP!

Ho Ho Ho, Graphic Design Humour

Hating software is easy, not only is the help section usually useless, but it doesn’t even defend itself.  InDesign has application.  Its as simple as that, however for those of us who eventually got our heads around Photoshop, it feels like a cheap imitation, all the bad tools left in, the good ones removed.  I have recently started to realise that, having learnt Photoshop first, and mostly being self taught in the program, I was used to creating posters just for fun.  However I always failed to recognise the importance of CRAP (contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity).  InDesign is designed to be used with these graphic design issues whereas Photoshop is much less so, however as I have only recently become aware of the necessity to adhere to the rules of CRAP so closely, I am beginning to understand that InDesign has the tools that allow easy manipulation of the CRAP issues.

Seeing as Indesign, and therefore the principles of design, was the second part of our Creative Computing module, I decided to create one in-depth post about the lectures, as well as the program and tools we discovered as part of a class.  I realise that I have made individual posts for each Photoshop lecture, however I feel that InDesign is much more about the theory of how and why you do something in the graphic design world, as opposed to Photoshop which is much more about the tools.

The Lectures

I believe we had a total of 5 lectures in InDesign, all of which focused on a specific point, such as layout, typoraphy, colour, graphics and a general introduction to the software. Some of these I found more usefull that others, however I did appreaciate the necesety of the catagories individually.  Considering that graphic design is mostly about catching peoples attention and focusing the eye on specific information, I felt that the lectures on layout, colour and typography where the most important.

Layout

Gaining an understanding of the rules of Graphic design (CRAP) was essential toward my development.  Most people can see a poor image, poster or website design, however knowing what makes them poorly designed is much harder to grasp.  Contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity.  These four things where not stressed enough to me until this point.  I studied a Graphic Design National Diploma 5 years ago, and even during that these four points where not shouted at me at every point like they should be.  Summing up everything that a Graphic Designer has to deal with is impossible in one word, however it could be done in four.  Write it down, sing it in a song or tattoo it to your arms, it doesn’t matter, these four things are what its all about.  During our Layout lecture I learned how to tell what is wrong with an image or website, and how to put that into words.

It does not have to be complicated either, as this image and quote shows.

Pyramids arent cool.

This example of poor layout was taken from a post on webdesignstuff.co.uk, as well as this quote:

This is a graphic design website for small business. However, the overall appearance of the site looks immature and unprofessional. You can clearly see that there is not much information on the home page, the layout looks so basic and the typography looks very fuzzy. The texts on navigation also display as an unclear images and it could also affect the accessibility standards.

I would possibly use words stronger than unprofessional, and I would also like to point out that setting text in a triangle shape just isn’t cool.

Colour

Most people understand that colour has a huge effect on a text, in the same way that most people understand that Red can mean danger, but having said that, this is culture based, an example being that red to the Japanese is lucky.  This lecture was mainly about understanding how colours compliment each other, and how you should think about what meanings certain colours have to the text to which you apply them.

The HP Colour Wheel makes life a little easier in this area, showing the different combinations of colour schemes, and how they fit together.

Graphics

Graphics are still a bit of a mystery to me, though I understand how InDesign handles them, I would out of preference handle in the same way Photoshop does.  InDesign lacks a lot of the image editing tools that Photoshop has as standard, and while InDesign is not supposed to edit images, it is an Adobe piece of software, which means the layout looks similar to the point of forgetting that you are not using Photoshop, which can be annoying.  Having to link images into the document if they are above a certain size also annoys me, though I do see the point in keeping files sizes down, the risk of human error when it comes to packaging all files up after completing the work would worry me.

The Interface

Well, what can I say really.  It’s defiantly not the best interface in the creative digital market, but to be fair to it, its not Maya.

In your face Maya

Typography

Finally Typography, another incredibly important part of the graphic design process.  Finding a font that will not only look good but work with the type of document you are producing can be a nightmare, however it is vital to consider how each font it made up, is it a serif or not? How wide are the letters? How tall are the capitals?

Use Comic Sans!

Lastly this is a pretty funny video full of font based humour, with an interesting twist in appreciating the usual font leper, Comic Sans.

Open Mailbox!

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About opinionatedalex

Less opinionated than one might think.
This entry was posted in Creative Computing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to InDesign – What a load of CRAP!

  1. lagq says:

    The way Indesign interacts with colors is ridiculous,
    PMS standard none or very limited, RGB conversion none,
    CMYK is always off, HSB doesnt even show when using icc
    profiles. It´s a place and publish software with limited capabilities
    of editing. Why dont they merge Illustrator with Indesign already?

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