Noble Nnaemeka

Noble Nnaemeka

Nnameka is a Graphic Artist Leadership Newspaper & a visiting Consultant Graphic Artist

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The goal of this post is to help designers and clients understand the importance of good type skills, while avoiding some of the common mistakes. Please keep in mind that most of these mistakes are subjective and can be changed varying on the project, goals or circumstances.Below is a list of 10 common mistakes used in type design/layout that can make a large impact in the effectiveness and appearance of your designs, in addition to saving you time and money when dealing with printers.

1. Not enough leading

Leading/linespacing can improve the overall readability of large blocks of text on a page, making it easier on readers to follow lines of text without losing their place. Too little can cause a cramped feeling. It’s important to remember that different fonts need different linespacing. Varying heights in letterforms may demand more or less.

2. Not enough tracking

Tracking/letterspacing is applied to a group of letters. It prevents letters from running into each other, especially during print. It’s similar to leading in which it can improve or hinder readability, flow of text and the density/weight of a block of text.

3. Getting tracking confused with kerning

While tracking is applied to a group of characters, kerning is the adjustment of space between two letter pairs. Effective for use with headlines, text with ALL CAPS and logo treatments (it helps with readability at various sizes). Don’t fall into the trap of letting your design software set this by default; it’s character specific. Same applies to the above, #1 & 2.

4. Lengthy lines of text

Reading many long lines of type causes eye fatigue. Readers are forced to moves their heads and eyes more often from one line to the next. Various sources I’ve researched state to keep lines of text under 50 – 60 characters long.

5. Mixing too many typefaces and weights

Too many typefaces on one page can become distracting and disconnecting (lacking unity). Try keeping your fonts choices to three or less per project. Too many weights can cause a reader to be unclear where important elements are on a page. This creates the possibility of the reader missing something important.

6. Not using serifs for lengthy-text material

For example, try printing a medium blue text on top of a medium brown box. Not only is it unappealing, but it makes it hard on the eyes. Also creates a muddy effect.

7. Printing similar values of color on top of each other

For example, try printing a medium blue text on top of a medium brown box. Not only is it unappealing, but it makes it hard on the eyes. Also creates a muddy effect.

8. Reversed out text on less than 50% tints

Much like the above, this also increases eye strain and hinders readability. The words get lost in the background and typically prints less visible than seen on screen. This will save you time, money and Asprin for your printing headaches.

9. Overusing centered text

Using centered text creates a jagged and broken appearance to text — very disconnecting! Can be viewed as amateurish in most instances. Save it for those wedding invitations.

Normally, designers and non-designers (and yes, I did it too!) will immediately use a 12 point font for body copy. Smaller (even slightly smaller) fonts sizes creates a more professional, modern look. Large body copy can be clunky — think about the font size of a children’s book. Clunky right?… unless it’s the look your going for.

10. Large body copy

It’s also important to note that viewing text on a computer monitor is much different than printing it. In most instances, type on a screen appears smaller and less crisp. Also, most printers will advise you not to use font sizes under 7 points. May result in readability issues.

Thursday, 19 April 2012 08:25

Tips to save your (battery) life

So many people depend on Smartphones as an integral part of their daily lives, it seems silly trying to explain to the younger generation that telephones were once tethered to a wall with a cord and all you could do with them was talk. Nowadays, the power of a small computer constantly at everyone’s fingertips allows people to be constantly connected with the virtual world.

Between texts, emails, scheduling, streaming, apps and the occasional conversation via voice, Smartphones juggle a lot of jobs. Even if you don't use your Smartphone too often, it’s easy for a Smartphone to get battery burnout before you’re ready to recharge.

Try these tips to keep the energy up in your Smartphone, so you don’t have to revert to being tethered to a wall like in the old days:

Turn off the vibrate function. It takes more power to make a Smartphone shake than sing. Turn the ringer on and vibrate off to conserve energy.

Dim the screen. Besides saving battery power, reducing the brightness of your phone’s screen will save your eyes as well.

Time out sooner. You can reduce the time period of inactivity before your Smartphone goes to sleep, so your Smartphone can time out and start saving energy sooner. (Your Smartphone needs naps too.)

Power down sometimes. It’s important to give your phone a break and totally turn it off. Go ahead and kill the connection while you’re sleeping, in meetings, or watching a movie.

Drain the battery. Don’t keep charging a phone that still has power. Tech trend website explains why: “The battery capacity in NiCd batteries are reduced every time you recharge them.”

Close unused apps. Facebook, Angry Birds, Pandora and other apps are fun to play with, but leave them running, and they will suck the life out of your Smartphone fast.

Turn off GPS. According to PCWorld, a “GPS unit is a little radio that sends and receives signals to and from satellites to triangulate your phone's location on the Earth's surface.” Stop apps from trying to find you by opting out when you install it and are asked about permission to use your location. Just say no.

Stop searching. If you’re not using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or 3G/4G, then turn off your wireless. Otherwise your Smartphone will expend unnecessary energy as it keeps trying to find a signal.

Filter notifications. Every incoming notification uses energy. Set your notifications options so that only important messages go to your notifications area.

Keep it cool. Not too hot, not too cold. Keep your Smartphone steady at a comfortable room temperature if you want the battery to last longer. Leaving it in a hot car or carrying it in a purse on a cold winter day are both ways to kill the battery quickly.

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