In this fast-paced world, where we give ourselves qualifications based on YouTube tutorials it has become very apparent that being a designer is not as simple as we thought it was.

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Even if you were part of the smart group in preschool that was the first to draw a person with full ligaments instead of a stick figure, the software that is here now was probably not there then. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as people assume. It takes a lot more than watching a quick tutorial to become a certified designer these days.

Everyone is not a designer. It stings a bit to hear this, but we have to be honest with ourselves at some point.

A few years back, I was involved in a project that required us to plan an event. I had to work with an owner of a club to promote this event, and we had decided on flyers as a way to reach out. I watched this guy create a flyer in 15 minutes in  Word. OMW – he even cropped the background of our phone-shot pictures with Paint. I was so amazed, I honestly thought it was that simple to design flyers.

At that time I didn’t have the slightest clue about print. Now, I would cringe at the sight of that, because working for a printer has made me understand how soul-crushing it must have been for the person who received our 15-minute masterpiece.

Let’s be straight, programmes such as Powerpoint, Word, Excel and Publisher are not designing programmes. It pains printers to hear people say that they used Word or the aforementioned programmes, because these tend to create a lot of errors and also happen to look unprofessional.

So now that we’ve accepted reality, let’s move on to the reason why you are reading this. You know that professional design services can be quite pricey and we can’t all afford these services or use expensive and challenging programmes such as Adobe Illustrator.

When it comes to print, designing is not only about creativity and colouring outside of the lines. Designing for print means adhering to a specific set of rules that ensure you receive the expected and optimum printed version of your artwork.

This means a file that meets the following criteria:
  1. The file is supplied to size
  2. The artwork has bleed all around for cutting
  3. Images embedded and fonts converted to paths
  4. Converted to CMYK
  5. Resolution of at least 300dpi

These statements can be quite daunting for a powerpoint “designer”, but I already mentioned that we live in a fast-paced world where a solution is just a press of a button away. We’ve looked for a few websites to make designing a bit easier for you.

These websites have built-in templates that are created to standard sizes that are recognised globally. This makes it easy to create colourful, vibrant and aesthetic artwork without worrying about sizing and all that other nasty business. What even is a DPI? With websites like Lucidpress ( https://www.lucidpress.com/) and Crello ( https://crello.com/home/), Desygner ( https://desygner.com/) and Fotojet (https://www.fotojet.com/apps/?entry=design), you can skip past all the professional jargon and skip right through to being your most creative self.

No more sitting for hours trying to make a Word document look like what you had imagined in your head. Websites like BeFunky (https://www.befunky.com/create/designer/) even provide you with templates sorted into distinct categories, such as “Blogging” and “Small Businesses”, so that you know exactly what you’re getting into. When it comes to the print-ready artwork, it’s best to stick to the print-related stuff. Fotor ( https://www.fotor.com/create/design/) gives you an option to resize your art to the correct Printulu-specified sizes right off the bat when you’ve chosen your template. How easy is that?

The most popular free website for non-designers (and even some professional designers – shh), is Canva (https://www.canva.com/). This is likely the easiest site to use and one we recommend to customers often. It is user-friendly and has a large variety of templates and fun fonts. Simply choose your template, upload your logo, and start designing!

Another challenge is receiving beautiful artworks with bad quality images in them. Have you ever wondered where designers get those beautiful high-resolution images? Did they pay for a photographer? How do they then still afford to wear RayBans and drink Starbucks? The answer is simple. There are a variety of free websites that you can use to browse to find that perfect image. Simply type in a keyword, hit search, and choose your favourite one. These images are all copyright free as well, which means you can avoid a brush with the law when using them commercially.

We recommend these top websites: Unsplash | Gratisography | Morguefile | Pixabay | Stockvault | Pexels | Picjumbo | Pikwizard | Rawpixel | Reshot

Never again will you need to feel that cold shiver down your spine when you need to design art for your business, or receive that terrifying e-mail – “Artwork Problem”. Just remember: when you’ve finished your masterpiece make sure you select the print-ready PDF option when you save. You can also use https://www.rgb2cmyk.org/ to convert your artwork to CMYK. This will ensure that your hard work doesn’t go to waste, and makes its way to us in tip-top condition.

Related articles
  1. Why is graphic design useless (or is it?)
  2. 10 Design Do’s and Don’ts

  3. 5 Things Your Letterhead Design MUST Include by Law! (Everyone Forgets Number 2)

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