Author: Katie Dodson

Experienced designer

InDesign for publishers: Annette Peppis interview

Ahead of the upcoming training courses InDesign and Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tools at work. The following interview by Katie Dodson is with Annette Peppis, virtual team leader at Annette Peppis & Associates. Annette’s work was recently commended in the ‘Best Website’ category at the Richmond Business Awards.

1) How frequently do you use InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I use InDesign every day (and Photoshop/Illustrator occasionally). I switched over from using Quark XPress in 2004; I was freelancing pretty much full-time at BBC Books, and attended an in-house course on transitioning from Quark to InDesign. Almost immediately, I was hooked.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

I am a Creative Cloud user, so have access to the latest updates. However, I only update occasionally as the latest versions often have bugs when they are first launched. I improve my skills by googling things that I don’t know how to do and then follow with tutorials. Adobe have quite a good Help section, but I often prefer to follow tutorials on YouTube.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

Always use style sheets. You will save yourself time, save your clients money, and make it easier for others to follow your styling. InDesign provides Paragraph style sheets (for overall formatting of typography), Character style sheets (to apply to individual characters or groups of words) and Object style sheets (so you can set the style of boxes, for example). If a global style change needs to be made, altering the style sheet will alter every instance within your document.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

You can see a selection of my design work in my Bookmachine portfolio:

https://bookmachine.org/people/annette/portfolio/ ,

or more examples of my work on my website’s publishing portfolio pages

http://graphic-designer-richmond.co.uk/portfolio/publishing/lifestyle/ .

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use InDesign?

If you are a beginner, go on a course. It really pays off in the long run. If you are a fairly accomplished user, lynda.com has some good tutorials or you could google problems as you encounter them and follow online tutorials.

6) What do you use InDesign for mainly?

Just about everything! In the past two months, I have used it for website banners and sliders, book covers and text pages, brochures, exhibition banners, packaging and logo design (though I switch to Illustrator to refine and finalise logos).

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:

InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw
Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

Photoshop and InDesign for publishers: Subha Chelvam-Lewis interview

Ahead of the upcoming training courses InDesign and Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tools at work. The following interview by Katie Dodson is with Subha Chelvam- Lewis, Freelance Designer & Consultant, working from her newly Hygge-ed front room in leafy Banstead.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop/InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I started using InDesign when I did my Bachelors in Journalism for magazine layouts. It has come in handy ever since. I’ve used it as part of my Masters in Publishing at City University, for publicity internships, personal creative projects, and every day at my last full-time job as a Graphic Designer at a news agency. Today, I prefer to use it hand-in-hand with Photoshop and Illustrator too. It’s a great platform to work on for those of us that started off making lemonade with of Microsoft Publisher (throwback!).

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

Platforms like Lynda.com and Terry White tutorials are great. But I also find myself looking at design products differently now. I will look at a page layout or a book cover with a different eye and determine how it was juxtaposed and what I might do better. To me, it’s not all about using skill, but also refining taste

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

If you’re starting out, reverse colouring is an easy way to create something eye-catching. Our minds are used to black text on white backgrounds, so using lighter text over coloured backgrounds is a quick way to challenge the eye and amp up the design that little bit. Playing with text size and using dynamic text as shapes to fill a space is also a great way to show a flair for design.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

There is an endless plethora of my work on my website here:

www.subhachelvam.wordpress.com

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop/ InDesign?

Most of my design knowledge is self-taught. And mostly through practice and trial and error. Knowledge of the softwares is great, but if you focus your energy on experimenting with text, shapes and colours on one platform like InDesign, you can still get creatively-skilled results. It’s all about experimenting; and pushing what you can do with limited resources (think back to those Microsoft Publisher days!).

6) What do you use Photoshop/InDesign for mainly?

I prefer to use InDesign when possible now. I usually use Photoshop to create the backgrounds or illustrative elements of a project and InDesign to puzzle all the elements together. Illustrator is another tool that is great for vectors and infographics. My projects can be anything from book covers to online marketing banners, Instagram posts, infographics, posters, programs, editorial layouts, GIFs. You can even edit video with Photoshop now. I don’t think I’d go back to those MS Publisher days even if I could!

If you too would like to improve on how you use InDesign/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:

InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw
Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

Photoshop at work

Tips for using Photoshop at work: Beate Allerton interview

Ahead of the upcoming training course Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tool at work. This interview by Katie Dodson is with Beate Allerton, who runs a writing and creative business in Aberdeenshire.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop and when did you start using it regularly?

I work in Photoshop on a daily basis and I love using it, because it offers so many opportunities for creative expression. I started using it in 2007, a short while after setting out as a freelance writer. I noticed that most editors preferred writers to supply their own photos with their articles. Pitching an idea with photos definitely helped getting commissions, especially as my articles featured travel, cookery and crafts. Using Photoshop helped with editing and making the image look its best.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

I am mostly self-taught in Photoshop skills. When learning to edit photos for my articles, I initially used a book for the basics and also attended a short course in digital editing at a local college. On acquiring more knowledge, I expanded my skills into digital art and design and most of those techniques were learned through experimentation and from YouTube tutorials. Whenever I identify a learning need, I tend to go online for advice and I particularly like YouTube as it suits the way I learn; I can follow along in Photoshop and pause any time I need. I subscribe to the Photoshop channel as well as a variety of other digital photography and editing channels, and always receive alerts when a new video has been posted. I also follow various threads and pages on Twitter and Facebook.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

You can make the subject of your photos stand out more, and therefore the photo more effective, by adding a touch of a background blur in Photoshop with the Gaussian blur filter. Usually this is done ‘in camera’ but not every photo turns out perfect, especially when dealing with food or travel photos.

This is more advice than a trick – always use the soft-proofing facility when submitting photos to magazines. When I started out I was horrified that my beautifully vibrant pictures turned out not so vibrant in print. At the time, I didn’t know about CMYK and other printer and paper settings. Although the original image on the monitor will never match the final print 100%, soft-proofing allows you to get the colours as close to the final output as possible. Also, make sure your photos are set to a resolution of 300dpi when submitting to magazines.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

My art/design/photography website is www.beateallerton.com
My writing/photography website is www.beateallerton.co.uk
Here is a direct link to one of my food portfolios for Country Kitchen

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop?

Identify what you need to know, find out where you can learn what you need to know and then practice as much as you can; I have found that the best way is learning by doing and experimenting.

6) What do you use Photoshop for mainly?

Photo editing work, web design, digital art and surface design work.

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:

InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw

Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

Tips for using InDesign and Photoshop at work: Adam Brightman interview

Ahead of the upcoming training courses InDesign and Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tools at work. The following interview by Katie Dodson is with Adam Brightman, Senior Designer at emcdesign. Since 2010, Adam has worked on some of the most complex creative projects, designing realia and infographics to help contextualise material at emcdesign.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop/InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I use InDesign and Photoshop almost everyday at work. As a book designers, the two programs really complement each other. I started to use Photoshop and InDesign regularly while taking my Degree in Graphic Communication at the University of Northampton. However, it wasn’t until I started working for emc working on large, complicated documents and big courses that I truly learned the potential of what the software is capable of.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

Design is always evolving and naturally the software is too so it’s important to keep up to date with current design trends and skills. I find Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration which often leads to learning new techniques and skills in the process. Indesignsecrets.com is a great website for keeping up to date with everything InDesign. Adobe’s new creative cloud service has also become a fantastic resource for keeping updated and learning new skills. Adobe TV has a massive library of videos tutorials and tips for all of their software. Every time a new software update arrives there’s usually a video explaining the new features to try.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

There are so many great tricks in InDesign but one of my (often overlooked) favourites is the calculator ability. When working in complicated large documents it’s very important to make sure that you work accurately and consistently. To achieve this, we work mathematically keying in numbers for X and Y positions and also the size of objects. InDesign has a really handy feature where you can use mathematics to work out the correct size for objects. For example, if you have an object with the width of 30mm’s but it needs to be 7mm’s longer you can simply input +7mm onto the end of the 30 and InDesign will calculate the new width for you and apply. It’s a very simple feature but has proven to be incredibly helpful and time saving in complicated projects where I’ve had to mathematically adjust multiple objects to fit a new grid structure. It also works when setting tab spacing too.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

Sure! You can view our full portfolio at http://emcdesign.org.uk/our-work/. I recommend taking a look at the new GCSE Food book. This was a really exciting project to work on. We had to set text and design realia around over a thousand photos and we created all of the artwork in house. Another project I really enjoyed working on was Keynote. We were commissioned to create a large series of illustrated infographics for a large ELT course. You can view some of my favourites in our portfolio.

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop/InDesign?

The best advice I can give would be to get online and start to run some tutorials. I’ve always found when it comes to design software to really improve you have to venture out and learn a lot of the extra techniques on your own. University courses simply don’t have the time to cover everything. There’s so many great resources online. The tutorials on Adobe TV would be a great place to begin.

6) What do you use Photoshop/InDesign for mainly?

InDesign is always my starting point to a print based project. I use it to build and layout all of the pages. It’s very accurate and easy to make flexible grid structures. It also has a great variety of typographic and styling options.

I then use Photoshop to edit any of the photographic content on the pages. The Photoshop files are placed into the InDesign document and I jump between the two to add life to the pages in InDesign. At emc I use Photoshop for all types of editing. Sometimes it’s as simple as just brightening up a photo but then there’s things much more complex such as extending a background to fill the page and working with masks to cut out layers of elements in one photo. There’s really no end to what you can do in Photoshop.

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:

InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw
Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

 

Indesign and Photoshop at work

Tips for using InDesign and Photoshop at work: Michael Goldrei interview

Ahead of the upcoming training courses InDesign and Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tools at work. The following interview by Katie Dodson is with Michael Goldrei, graphic designer, photographer & illustrator who works for Macmillan Education as a Managing Designer.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop/InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I use both every day a small amount for my day job (as I’m largely managing other designers who are working using these), but 7 days a week for Photoshop when I’m at home editing my street photography. I first started using Photoshop back in 2001 when I worked as a designer for PlayStation games, and was required to create most of my textures from scratch using its tools rather than from photos (which would have been far easier, but it did mean I got to know it pretty well!).

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

When I first started using both bits of software, it was a combination of working with others who gave me tips, and doing a lot of Googling. Training sessions would have been more than welcome, but I was never offered these when I started out! Nowadays, I ask the occasional question to a colleague if I can’t figure out how to do something, but it’s still mainly Googling.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

Possibly not that exciting, but create keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop for your most commonly-used tasks, so that using it feels more like playing the piano. I have the F keys set for things such as: cropping, flipping horizontally & vertically, and adjusting brightness & contrast. Keep these shortcut files on the cloud/on a memory stick in case you ever need to use someone else’s computer, as being without them soon becomes unbearable. I’ve been using the same shortcuts for 16 years, and still have them as Actions (as I don’t think Photoshop had an official Keyboard Shortcuts option in the old days).

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

The work I’m most proud of is my street photography:
http://microsketch.com/Photography
My series, ‘Hands Down’, of portraits of interest people’s hands (including John Waters, Derren Brown and Professor Green):
http://microsketch.com/Hands-Down
The Dark Green Line – my series on the staff and patients of Moorfields Eye Hospital (which was then featured on the BBC News homepage):
http://microsketch.com/The-Dark-Green-Line
And I used to do bits of illustration, which I’d draw by hand, scan, then colour using Photoshop:
http://microsketch.com/Illustration

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop/ InDesign?

Nothing beats having a real-life project to apply your skills to (otherwise taking a course and then not using the software means you’ll inevitably forget what you’ve learnt). If you’re lucky, you already have a project that someone’s given you. If not, just set yourself one that you think you’ll enjoy working on for your own benefit. I often do the latter with my photography (e.g. my Hands Down project) and find that the most difficult hurdle is taking the first shot in the series. Once you’ve made the first step, then the rest comes easy.

6) What do you use Photoshop/InDesign for mainly?

Photoshop for editing RAW photos, as well as creating quick mock-ups when I think it will help explain things to the designers I’m managing. InDesign for editing page layouts for books.

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:
InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

Indesign and Photoshop

Tips for using InDesign and Photoshop at work: Vladimir Verano interview

Ahead of the upcoming training courses InDesign and Photoshop for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tools at work. The following interview by Katie Dodson is with Vladimir Verano, Production Manager and lead Designer at Third Place Publishing.

1) How frequently do you use Photoshop/InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I use Photoshop and InDesign every day in my duties as designer and production manager for Third Place Press. I have been running the press since later 2009, and immediately began to use both regularly. I had already been using older iterations of Photoshop and InDesign for over a decade on a freelance capacity, but that was sporadic.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

I find that project-specific situations force me to improve my skills on Photoshop and InDesign. If I need to create an effect that I don’t know how to achieve, I usually go to online forums to find the exact process to achieve what I need.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

Since before I ever used Photoshop, I was into making photo-collage. Pre-Photoshop it was all hand-made, meticulously cutting and merging images gathered from a variety of sources (magazines, newspapers, etc.). When I started using Photoshop I would pull images off the internet (I had yet to learn the nuances of fair use and copyright), and would notice the images were low resolution, around 72 dpi. I found a method of scaling so that I could make the same image print quality, 300 dpi.

Image > Image size (alter digital dimensions and dpi to 300)
Filter > Gaussian Blur (work sliders to reduce pixels and other glitches)
Filter > Smart Sharpen (I would play around with Amount and Radius on Sharpen to redefine lines).

There are a few other tricks I would use to further smooth the image lines, but the above is a starting point for print quality images.
I find I use this method to help resurrect low-resolution images that clients took with digital cameras or cell phones that they want to use in their books.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

My main design page (which sorely needs updating) http://vladimirverano.crevado.com
I’m also a member of a theatre group where I do all our poster work – click to view

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use Photoshop/ InDesign?

If you’re not using Photoshop or InDesign every day, set yourself a project.

I’ve found that it takes roughly a month for someone to lose touch with the complexity of both programs, even if they’ve taken classes.

So my advice is: set yourself a project every couple of weeks. Make a show poster; redesign a famous book cover; alter or colour your own illustrations; lay out a zine, or create promotional items like postcards. That way, you’re constantly in touch with the various menu options and effects and every time you work on a new project, you don’t spend valuable time hunting through the drop-down menu items.

6) What do you use Photoshop/InDesign for mainly?

I use Photoshop for a variety of reasons: at the Press I use it to alter images for my book & cover designs (colour correcting old photos for memoir projects, etc.). I also use Photoshop for my freelance work, which is a combination of graphic design and illustration, a succinct example is in this photo (I designed and illustrated most of the items in it): https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ00M7FFKB1/

InDesign is my primary workhorse for book & cover layout. I also build most of my promotional materials in InDesign if I can.

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:

InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw
Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

Indesign for publishers

Tips for using InDesign at work: Keara Donnachie interview

Ahead of the upcoming training course InDesign for publishers, BookMachine are running a series of interviews with industry professionals to understand how they use the tool at work. The first interview by Katie Dodson is with Keara Donnachie, Marketing and Publicity Manager at Sandstone Press.

1) How frequently do you use InDesign and when did you start using it regularly?

I use InDesign every day. We were introduced to it on my MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier, but now I couldn’t live without it.

2) What methods do you use to keep updated and improve on your skills?

YouTube tutorials, such as Terry White, are great. I’m a visual learner, so I would prefer to watch someone go through the motions, rather than try and read lengthy instructions. Tutorials formed a large part of my training, and it’s great to be able to go back to them if you haven’t tried something in a long time! I’m by no means an expert, and I’m still learning every day.

3) Would you mind sharing a top trick with us?

I see a lot of publishers on social media sharing blog tour posters that are very hard to read. It’s better to have a less busy background if possible. Sometimes less is more! If you have to use an image as your backdrop, the transparency tool is your friend.

4) Could you please share a couple of links to your work?

The banners on our home page and books page and some blog tours (click to view).

And this …

5) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to improve how they use InDesign?

First of all, don’t be scared! Like anything else, the more you use it, the more you learn. Also, start simple: don’t try creating catalogues when you haven’t managed a poster yet! Once you have a template, it can be used for different campaigns, so spend a lot of time getting it right.

6) What do you use InDesign for mainly ?

InDesign is an essential tool for creating AI sheets and press releases, which form the core of my campaigns. I also use it to create website and email banners, flyers and blog tours for social media. InDesign makes creating our rights catalogue for London and Frankfurt Book Fair much easier: when handling so much information, it’s important to be able to adjust text and images at a moment’s notice.

If you too would like to improve on how you use In Design/Photoshop at work, you can register on these courses by following the links below:
InDesign: http://bit.ly/2lD5yTw Photoshop: http://bit.ly/2m4P8Ey

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