Website News | October 2011

It's hard to strike the right balance when sending out newsletters - and I wouldn't blame the readers of for feeling a little neglected... but as promised in my sign-up message, I only send out newsletters when I have something important and useful to share... and I believe that today is such a day.

One of the single most popular requests from the readers of GDE is for articles about building websites, written in a similar style to my existing graphic design articles, and aimed at graphic designers rather than programmers. My problem with this has been that GDE is about graphic design for print - not website design... so instead of adding website design articles, I have created a brand new website dedicated to using Dreamweaver.

And the web address? Read more below.

Thanks for all your feedback - it keeps me motivated!


Nick B Davies
Find me on Twitter: @GraphicDesignCV

The Big News

Web Design Articles for Graphic Designers:

Seeing a ridiculously large project through to its conclusion is hard. Simple as that. I set out to write a couple of tutorials demonstrating how a print-based graphic designer might make the transition to designing for the internet. One year later, I've finally finished phase one of the project - what started as a couple of articles for GDE turned into a new website.

The site you'll see on screen ( is exactly what the reader is taught how to create - and it covers everything needed to recreate the website:

  • Initial planning of the website
  • Usability considerations
  • Photoshop visuals and slicing
  • Template creation
  • HTML basics
  • CSS basics
  • Editable regions
  • And lots more

It was my intention to get even more onto the website, but after a year of work (!) I felt that once the main articles were finished, it was time to go live - which we did yesterday! More will follow. I hope you find the new site useful - and, as ever, please send me your feedback!

Find me on Twitter: @GraphicDesignCV

GDE Reader Enquiries

Design Recruitment Questions
I am currently recruiting for a graphic designer for our workplace and need to provide them with a list of technical based questions to do with design, print, software etc for them to fill in on the day. Any ideas?

Will the work be mainly print based? If so, I would deem it necessary that the candidates are not just familiar with, but skilled in the use of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, and (if preferably) Quark XPress. The latter is not essential - it's just that if they are knowledgeable in Quark as well as the others, it'll show that they're more versatile and probably have more experience. If they answer "I'm still learning" any of these (except Quark) then they are too inexperienced, unless you are looking for a ground-level junior designer / apprentice.

Other questions to ask (to which the answers should be YES) are:

  • Do you know the difference between spot colour and process printing? If so, what is it?
  • Are you familiar with Style Sheets (in Quark XPress) and/or Character and Paragraph styles in InDesign?
  • Do you know what formats to save images for press, and to what resolution?
  • Do you know how to interpret proofreaders marks?
  • Do you know what format to use when creating a press-ready PDF file?

If all answered competently, you'll be on the right track.

InDesign as an Illustration Tool
I was in hopes of getting instruction on how to create a vector logo in Adobe InDesign. If not, is there a Mac compatible graphics program to create logos (for under $25)?

If you have InDesign (and not Illustrator which would be ideal, but is a lot more that $25), then you should be able to create a perfectly useable vector-based logo. The pen tools are pretty much the same as in Illustrator, and you can export an InDesign document as an EPS file suitable for import back into InDesign or any other layout program, like Quark.

For accuracy you can turn on the grid in InDesign and get the vector points to snap to it if you like. InDesign wouldn't be my first choice for an illustration tool, but if it was all I had, I wouldn't spend more money on a cheap illustration tool when the tools you need are already built in.

A Common Interview Question
Just wondering what not to say when you are asked 'what qualities differentiate you from any other candidate?'?

This has always struck me as a trick question, but it's one which interviewers like to ask because:

a) They want to see how you react to an ambiguous question to which you couldn't possibly know the answer, or b) They've run out of sensible questions to ask

The problem with this question is that you have no idea what differentiates you from other candidates because you don't know the other candidates and what they have to offer. The best thing you can do is answer truthfully and candidly. When they ask this question, it's my guess that they have already made up their minds about whether or not they like you for the job, so all you need to do is keep your head and react calmly.

Say something along these lines:

"I'm afraid I can't say what the other candidates have to offer, but my own strengths are: xxx, xxx, xxx. I believe I will bring xxxx to the role... etc"

It's possible that the interviewer is genuinely waiting for some hugely inciteful answer, but ultimately (if they get one) it won't do them any good because 9 times out of 10 it won't be true. Better to be honest.

Apply Styles to Text Boxes
How to select all the text in my document when it's in many DIFFERENT TEXT BOXES... I want to change all the text into magenta and have a zillion different text boxes - I layout a newspaper. How do I do that?

The way to apply a style to text in lots of different text boxes (in InDesign) is to select all the text boxes with the black pointer tool (Selection Tool), and then click on the style in the Paragraph Styles Palette that you would like to have applied to the text contained within the selected boxes. All the text will then change accordingly.

New Articles

I've added a stack of new material since the last newsletter, but my favourites are the hair cutout tutorials (including video tutorials!):

Hair cutouts #1 - How to do a Hair Cutout in Photoshop Without Using Paths
Read Article

Hair cutouts #2 - Cut Out Hair using Replace Color, Levels and Blending Options
Read Article

Hair cutouts #3 - Cutting Out Hair in Photoshop Using Channels
Read Article

Hair cutouts #4 - Remove Background from Image using Fluid Mask and Photoshop
Read Article

Using Dreamweaver - Website Design Tutorials for Graphic Designers
Read Article

Page Zephyr - A Quark InDesign Text Search & Extract Tool
Read Article

Gimp vs Photoshop - How to Install Gimp on a Mac and Some First Impressions
Read Article

© Nick B Davies 2011
Find me on Twitter: @GraphicDesignCV
training, advice, resources, confidence building
website design training for graphic designers