Why Designers Should Also Be Architects Or: Guide Twice, Design Once

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal known as the Adobe Creative Cloud. It was the first Adobe program I ever used and I still use it a lot for various projects. The more I used it, the more I learn how to maximize my efficiency in the program. If you want to do your best job in Photoshop (or any design program) with minimal frustrations, do as much prep as possible.

Presets are your friends.

I touched upon this when I took you behind what I did to produce 100 design related videos. Whether you are designing for web, print, or video, Photoshop has the settings that can aide you in your journey. If there are particular dimensions you need to work within, set those up for your document. However, before you dive into working, save that preset so you will only have to set this up once. For example, whenever I want to post something to my Dribbble, I already have the 800×600 (72 dpi for web) saved as a Preset. Those extra seconds you save add up over time.

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Follow your guides.

Guides in any design program help you with structure. The architecture of your visuals and text are very important to the overall flow. When I was preparing promotional graphics for the 2015 National Convention, I used guides in my Photoshop files so I could lock in the format. When working within set dimensions, you may not want text to run off the page or the central visual to be off center. Guides help, in this regard.

Each issue of The Podium, the official national publication of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma, is produced in Adobe InDesign. There are guides galore to make sure text columns are properly aligned and pages are structured. In multiple part/page projects, guides help you establish consistency and help with readability.

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Guides are also important in video production. If you are producing a graphic for video in Photoshop and select the correct preset, you will see guides already established in the blank you open. The innermost guide is there to act as a text border. Don’t write any text that bleeds over outside of that parameter. The second guide outside of that refers to where any important image should not cross over.

Design is not just about aesthetics. Design is also about architecture. Knowing the general direction and general placement of your visuals and text will give you the edge.

~b.