Everyone Is A Graphic Artist Including You
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“Every child is an Artist” I think that was Pablo Picasso that said that some years ago. However I do believe that if personal computers, google and tumblr had been invented at that time he would have probably added “…And Everyone is A Graphic Artist Too.” Here’s why:
Back in the days you needed a college degree, a couple of expensive softwares and an ultra-sleek very expensive computer before you could be regarded as a graphic artist. But now-a-days all you need is a cheap personal computer, personal time and personal imagination to become a graphic artist. Most of the programs that used to be expensive are now
illegally affordable. And the internet aka google through its robust search engine allows us to find awesome graphic designs that can serve as sources of information for our designs.
Every child is an artist and when they grow up, they become graphic artists. ~Okechukwu Ofili
Now I am not saying that you would be able to quit your day job to start graphic designing and neither am I trying to belittle the usefulness of a degree in graphic design. What I am saying is that if you put in the time and use the free tips I am about to share with you, you would be able to make simple but yet professional looking minimalist designs for a wide range of items, such as a book cover.
Let’s assume you are a writer (like me), who can’t afford a graphic designer (just like me) and have no big publishing company (just like me) to back you…but need to design a quality book cover. Here’s what you do:
Simply go on the internet and search for book cover designs, you will find a lot of options. Now let’s assume that for some reason, you fall in love with the book cover design for Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller OUTLIERS and decide to replicate something similar for your book…here what’s you do…
BONUS: The best site hands down to find inspiration for graphic designs and fonts usage is none other than tumblr, check out some samples here.
You study the design and notice the 2 key elements to the book cover design. The first are the marbles (images) and the second are the writing (fonts). To create the marble imagery or something similar, you would need to
take pictures of marbles source for images of marbles on the internet.These can be gotten from any good stock photo site, I would recommend istockphotos or shutterstock, the latter is what I prefer to use. However, both options cost money…about $5 per picture depending on the payment plan you pick. Fortunately there is a free option that has served me greatly for years, it is microsoft office’s image gallery. What I really love about this option aside from the fact that it is FREE…is the high quality of the pictures, the down side is that you do not have as many options as the first 2. However this is still beneficial in grabbing some good quality images from the internet.
NOTE: You don’t necessarily need to use marbles, you can find some other image that fits your book title. If you are writing about cakes, look for cakes.
So let’s assume you have found the right image. What would be needed next is really the most important aspect of graphic design…the font! We would need to figure out the fonts aka typography used. At a glance I would say the cover design artist used either Times New Roman or Garamond, both serif fonts. But to be sure I will go to an awesome site called identifont. Basically if you stumble across a font but are not sure of the name of the font, you can by simply answering a few questions about the font on the identifont site get suggestions for what the font is. I have used this tool to find many fonts, including the one I used in my book How Laziness Saved My Life which I stole off Hugh Macleod’s book Ignore Everybody. Remember it is ok to steal from people.
Sadly, fonts are expensive, they can cost anywhere from $25 to $150 per package. But if you know anything about me., you would that I like free free free stuff! Therefore I found another resource called dafont.com, which allows you get quality fonts for free. I still don’t know how this site makes money or why their fonts are free, all I know is that they have a large collection of awesome fonts for free!
Now that you have your fonts, your imagery…the next step will be to combine them utilizing the OUTLIERS book layout design as a guide.
To do this I use a revolutionary program known simply as microsoft word. I know you are shocked, but MSWORD is what I have used for years to design everything from fliers to my two book covers. I use MSWORD, because frankly the other programs out there are too expensive or are too complicated.
The process of using MSWORD is really simple drap, cut, paste and drop…but I would only go into it if enough people are interested in learning about it (do let me know below).
For now I hope you are able to at least have enough resources to begin designing simple cover designs. I would recommend that you start by replicating simple designs using the methods above and then progress to more complex designs. You can start off with Baratunde’s simple but effective book cover design for How To Be Black or Chad Kultgen’s The Lie.
NOTE: No graphic artists jobs were harmed in the writing of this blog post…I hope…
Ofili is an award winning
graphic designer motivational speaker, author, success coach and karate kid entrepreneur who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on twitter , facebook or subscribe to his blog for more success TIPS!” To bring Ofili to your school or organization as a speaker simply go here. He has written two books, How Laziness Saved My Life and the best-selling How Stupidity Saved My Life, to find out how they both saved his life visit ofilispeaks.com
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