Monday, December 13, 2010

In appreciation, other blogs, and rounded corners

Showing my age, here's a shout out to my son Isaiah, a gifted media graphics designer who is my first official follower!

Many of us who start out as graphic designers are not able to stay in the profession for various reasons. My graduating class included 10+ Visual Communications (or Graphic Design) students. Of those, 2 or 3 are no longer practicing designers. One is a teacher (kudos to teachers). Of the others who hung-in, two have their own design business. One worked for Northwestern University, Another had an opportunity to study design in Germany. Each one of my classmates encouraged me, challenged me, and helped me grow at Northern IL University. I'm grateful for their friendship.

Today I am especially thankful for two designers who have been a part of my life since my NIU Visual Arts building all-nighters days.

Randy Capp is a gifted designer. His talent as a designer was evident in every assignment. On graduation he could have worked anywhere in the world. And did. During his senior year his life changed. He became a Christ follower (as I am).  Randy exhibited an excitement for his new faith that I had a few years before, only intensified.  And as he learned more about Christ, his talent grew too. It was exciting for me to see his growth and maturity. He left the corporate world a few years after marriage, and has designed many projects that have helped others from different backgrounds be introduced to Christianity. More recently he's served as a consultant and mentor for designers affiliated with the United Bible Societies. His humility in service has been an example to me for how someone who calls him or herself a Christian should manage the talents they have been given.

No less gifted is Michael (Mick) Shay. Like Randy,  Mick is soft spoken and modest about his gifts. But the talent rose to the surface at NIU, and has Mick continues to prosper throughout his professional career. If you've been to a McDonald's restaurant you have seen his handiwork. In his spare time, Mick and his wife have been faithful servants at their church. I've enjoyed seeing him play with the Salvation Army Staff Band. Now if we can just get together for Sunday pizza . . . !

Sharing my appreciation for his work with Randy, Mick and myself is Gary Fox, one of our design instructors and counselors. Gary made learning graphic design fun (corporate identity programs) and helped us organize our portfolios for that all-important review. Thank you, Mr. Fox, for all you did for us.

Before things get too mushy, let's change gears.

There are a number of design blogs I follow.  As this blog develops I plan to share those that I find to be worthy of your time and inspiration.

Last but not least, a mention of the new design "fad"—rounded corners. I started seeing this in a bank logo design a few years ago. (those of us in IL know the one) Lately, it seems you can't go to a website or pick up a magazine without seeing some variation of a square or rectangle with one. This was one of the features I heard a lot about at the InDesign Conference, especially with InDesign CS5. It's cool!

But did you know if you have InDesign CS2, 3 or 4 you can make them? In Design ships with a number of scripts. One of the scripts is for rounded corners. You can specify which corners should be rounded, the radius, and so on. One you have it set to your liking you run the script, and voila! You too can make rounded corners. But like that other design favorite, drop shadows, it's best to use in moderation ("with great power comes great responsibility"—Stan Lee).

You can also make them using Quark XPress 8. The process is different but effective. It's the topic of the next blog, Rounded Corners part 2.

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