The Graphic Design process – FAQ’s
The Graphic Design process can be a confusing one. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions, and a bit of how we handle things. Select the category of your question below, or the search bar on the top right for a keyword!
Spot colours are specific colours which are pre-mixed instead of being made up in CMYK (see What is CMYK). The most widely used colour system is PMS: Pantone Matching System.
Pantone is a standardised colour matching system, utilising the Pantone numbering system for identifying colours. By standardising the colours, different manufacturers around the world can all reference a Pantone numbered colour, making sure colours match.
Very briefly, the resolution of an image or picture describes the detail (or information) an image holds. The higher the resolution, the more detail the image has, because there is more information. Information translates to “pixels,” which are the different coloured “dots” that make up an image. The more pixels there are, the more vivid the image is and detailed to the naked eye. If an image has very few pixels the image will appear to be “pixelated”—the pixels look like squares all joined together—but you know exactly what I’m talking about if you’ve ever printed something off the internet (and who hasn’t?).
DPI stands for “dots per square inch.” This is the measurement printing companies use to determine how sharp an image is. Photos or images used for online or web graphics can be at low resolution (72 DPI) and will look FABULOUS on a computer screen. But try to print those same pictures and they’ll look horribly pixelated. For printing purposes images should be 300 DPI or better.
High resolution example:
Low resolution example:
Unlike JPEGs, GIFs, and BMP images, vector graphics are not made up of a grid of pixels. Instead, vector graphics are comprised of paths, which are defined by a start and end point, along with other points, curves, and angles along the way. A path can be a line, a square, a triangle, or a curvy shape. These paths can be used to create simple drawings or complex diagrams. Paths are even used to define the characters of specific typefaces.
Because vector-based images are not made up of a specific number of dots, they can be scaled to a larger size and not lose any image quality. If you blow up a raster graphic, it will look blocky, or “pixelated.” When you blow up a vector graphic, the edges of each object within the graphic stay smooth and clean. This makes vector graphics ideal for logos, which can be small enough to appear on a business card, but can also be scaled to fill a billboard.
Top: vector image
Bottom: raster image
RGB is an additive, projected light colour system. All colours begin with black “darkness”, to which different colour “lights” are added to produce visible colours. RGB “maxes” at white, which is the equivalent of having all “lights” on at full brightness (red, green, blue). Screens (computer, phone, media player, television, etc are RGB – the pixels have little subpixels that just show red, green or blue.
CMYK is a subtractive, reflected light colour system. All colours start with white “paper”, to which different colour inks are added to absorb (subtract) light that is reflected. In theory, CMY are all you need to create black (applying all 3 colours at 100%). Alas, that usually results in a muddy, brownish black, so the addition of K (black) is added to the printing process. It also makes it easier to print black text (since you don’t have to register 3 separate colours). Most printers print in CMYK.
Please keep in mind, that you can’t display the exact same colors in RGB and CMYK.
IFS Logo CMYK colours:
C100, M70, Y0, K30 (Blue)
C0, M100, Y100, K10 (Red)
IFS Logo RGB colours:
R0, G66, B130 (Blue)
R0, G66,B130 (Red)
This indicates whether the artwork is in a horizontal or vertical format. Landscape means horizontal. Portrait means vertical. When giving the size of artwork is it generally accepted practise to give the height first, followed by the width.
All images from digital cameras or scanners are made up of PIXELS. The word PIXEL is a contraction of the term PIcture ELement. A pixel’s appearance can be defined as a tiny square of colour. You may find it helpful to think of it as a very small tile, such as a floor tile. If you magnified a high resolution digital image to 1,600 percent you would see the pixels (or tiles) that the image is made up of.
The ISO paper size A standard is based on each size being half of the size of the previous one, when folded parallel to the shorter lengths. This system allows for a variety of useful applications, such as the enlarging and reducing of images without any cutoff or margins, or folding to make a booklet of the next size down.
The diagrams below show the A page sizes in comparison to each other and with their sizes (click to open full-size).
Spelling and Grammar are crucial for a professional brand. Here is a list to check against:
- Make sure that the body copy and headings of the document have been spell checked
- Ensure that all job titles are correct and spelt correctly
- Check the spelling of countries, cities and place names (including site names) mentioned
- Verify the correct spelling of people’s names, especially with other languages
- Do not format your document with fonts, colours and other style features like bold and italics
- If information remains to be inserted at the last minute, highlight the omission prominently so that it is not forgotten
- Do not use “&” in the body copy of a formal document, use “and” as it is more professional
- Are the correct words capitalised? (Names, places, months, weekdays). Are there words that have been unnecessarily capitalised?
- Spell out numerals at the beginning of sentences (e.g. Eleven years ago). After that, spell out one through nine and use numbers for 10 or above
- Use abbreviations sparingly, make sure your audience knows what your abbreviation means. Do not abbreviate words like thank you (thanx), document (doc), technical (tech). Countries must be written out in full eg. Mozambique not Moz, South Africa not SA
- Make sure employee names are updated with correct job descriptions. Contact details are correct (telephone number, cellphone number, address, email)
- Has someone else proof read your document? If the body copy is in a language other than English, please make sure the copy has been read by someone else who is fluent in that language
- If you have used numbering, please make sure that the correct numbers follow each other and the numbering is consistent
- Do not enter two letter spaces between sentences
- Make sure your sentences are not too long
- Make sure there is consistency e.g. full stops after bullet points
- Avoid using the world ‘very’ too often
- Use exclamation marks sparingly
- Don’t use commas that are not necessary
- The term i.e. means “that is”; e.g. means “for example.” And a comma follows both of them.
We keep timesheets of all our projects, which can be supplied if there is a query. We use an online application which allows us to generate reports on demand. We can also set time alerts, so you will always be aware if a project is experiencing time scope creep. We will advise you as soon as it reaches a pre-determined time milestone.
Our system prompts us if we leave the timer running, so you can rest assured you aren’t being charged for time that is not being spent on your job.
We have a double-checking system in our studio in an effort to make sure that your work is as problem free as possible. Although Halo Media will do our best to ensure that your work is error free, the final responsibility is yours to ensure that correct spelling, grammar and contact details appearing on your final work is checked and approved prior to Halo releasing your artwork. If we are not brokering print, then the onus is on you to ensure that your printer runs proofs and they are signed off prior to printing to avoid print errors.
What you need to check:
- Please check all content and copy thoroughly before final sign-off, as we cannot be held liable for any errors
- Pay special attention to names, technical terms and contact details
- Colour displayed on screen is never 100% accurate against printed colour. It is for this reason we ask you to sign off all printed proofs at the printer
- With web projects, be aware that different screens have different colour calibrations so may vary according
- Check your images are high resolution and do not have any copyright restrictions.
How to supply content to our design agency
We require all content in digital format unless agreed otherwise.
We require text supplied in Microsoft Word or email. Please ensure that it is your final version and is free from spelling and grammatical mistakes as Halo Media will not be held responsible for mistakes. Furthermore, content changes may incur extra costs (see how to avoid scope creep) and increase the likelihood of errors. If there are other people involved in the project, please obtain their approval prior to sending content through.
IMAGES & LOGOS:
All images supplied in high resolution (excluding website imagery) and logos as vector based artwork or high resolution jpegs. If we need to redraw logos and graphics, this may incur an extra fee. Should you not have imagery, we can source images for you from our standard image libraries at an additional fee, or assist with assigning a photographer (to be billed separately).
Note: You need to ensure that you have copyright compliant imagery and content. This means you cannot take the pictures from Google, or copy the content from another website. Halo will deem all supplied imagery and text to be copyright compliant and will not check for plagiarism or piracy. If you are unsure, please check with your Halo contact to discuss this further.
If you have an existing brand, please supply us with your marketing material and/or brand guidelines so that we can keep the brand continuity
Revision of estimate: Occasionally, we have to revise your estimate based on the content requirements. These include:
- Complex charts/graphs/diagrams
- Logos etc. which require redrawing
- Photos which require intense photo retouching