Adventures “InDesign”: Creating a Promotional Booklet

InDesign CS5 copy

“A limitation is a limitation only because you’ve done nothing to move beyond it.” — S. Drowym

It’s been a while since my last blog and this time I want to write about my latest design adventure.

Last week, I was offered the opportunity to design a promotional booklet and gladly I accepted the job not realising that the best software to create said booklet would be Adobe InDesign. There was a rush on the project and the client would need to have it within three days. Now usually I’m always apprehensive about taking on these rushed jobs, but I jumped at the chance.

So back to Adobe InDesign, it’s stellar software and what it can create in terms of materials for print is beyond amazing. I knew that little fact, but I didn’t know the software. In the past I had attempted to use it, especially because I used Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop so often to create flyers, posters, programs, invitations, and such for clients.

What do you do when you’ve just accepted a job to design an 18-page promotional booklet, but you don’t know the software to execute that project? You tell yourself you can learn the software in 24 hours of course!! That’s the attitude I took, but half of the time I knew I was lying to myself to keep a steady head. Thankfully there are innumerous readings and tutorials online to get pointers and lessons from. I think my favourite might have said something about “InDesign 101” and “11 steps to learning InDesign”; not quoting them verbatim, but you get the idea.

To make a long story short, I decided my best approach would be to learn basic tips, study the commands of the software and make as many mistakes as I could. Ye olde “trial and error” (mostly the latter) never fails. I was able to teach myself how to use InDesign and successfully so, thus creating a really class act design for the promotional booklet. The design only took a mere 28 hours of my life. With so many moving parts, it’s no wonder the software is such a great tool to have. The best part is I just expanded my skill sets and can now take on design projects like creating ebooks, booklets, magazines, and newsletters.

Here’s one tutorial I’ll leave with you if you’ve been thinking about learning the basics of Adobe InDesign. It’s only 11 minutes long, but will impart a lot of good directions: Creating and Applying Master Pages in Adobe InDesign

Until we meet again! Keep designing!

From First Shipped to Mega-hit: The Adobe Illustrator Story.

It’s amazing to see how this software was developed by such visionaries that include co-founder, John Warnock. Nearly 27 years later, Adobe Illustrator has completely revolusionised the creative and publishing industries.

Enjoy and appreciate the history lesson. It’s 20 minutes well spent.

How to Think like a Child and Be Successful as an Adult

My drawing of Carl Fredricksen from Up (2009 film).
My drawing of Carl Fredricksen from Up (2009 film).

There’s a saying I came across once, but never forgot — “you get to be a child once, but you can be childish forever”.

How many of you saw the Disney/Pixar animated film Up? The plot follows a retired balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, 78-years-young, who dusts off an old childhood dream he once shared with his now deceased wife (Ellie) to explore a specific scenic vista in South America. Carl sets off on his adventure in a floating house attached to close to 20,000 balloons (give or take a few)!

I sometimes forget how much I wanted to go work for Disney Studios and become an animator and voice-over.

I sometimes forget how great it felt to sit down quietly and spend hours sketching, drawing, colouring and inking cartoon characters like the one I did above.

When we’re kids we seem so fearless. We conjured up the biggest dreams with our wild and overly-active imaginations. Where does it all go when we hit adulthood? Such a mystery.

These last few months I’ve taken time to try and get back to my roots. I was drawing once I could actually hold a pencil properly (age 3) and nearly 29 years later I still have that love affair.

No matter how advance technology gets with software such as Adobe Illustrator, there’s no substitution for the basics. Evolution is important in self-development, but not at the cost of losing the original model; yourself as a child.

Spend some time reflecting on what drove you as a child and try to bring that ambition into your current space. There’s absolutely any we can’t dream big! After all, the only one who can tell you what you can and cannot accomplish, is yourself.

How Your Creative Skill Can Result in an Extraordinary ‘Goal’!

The Breds – Treasure Beach Foundation has embarked on the creation of a sports park in the very picturesque south-west community of Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth. The sports park has gone through several phases of development over the last year and now boast football (soccer to some) pitches, cricket square, a tennis court, multipurpose court for basketball and netball, children’s play area with a bright red pirate ship set atop one of the most magnificent landscape you can find on the south coast of Jamaica.

A friend who is an integral and active part of the organisation asked me last year (late 2011) to create a site plan of the existing completed phases of the sports park and illustrate the features that were to follow. I was unsure of how to even approach a project like this as I had never attempted anything like this with the aid of Adobe Illustrator® aka “Ai” but knowing my persona, I was not going to refuse the challenge. More importantly I understood what it would mean for the organisation and the community as a whole. It was a noteworthy project and I accepted the job and immediately started to play around with mock-ups after doing a lot of research on the final presentation of other site designs.

Site layout for the Breds Treasure Beach Sports Park and Academy.

I wanted to ensure the integrity of the design through an accurate depiction of what was already on the ground and therefore enlisted the assistance of a good friend and colleague who is an expert in using Geographic Information System (GIS) to solve this issue as it digitally creates and manipulates spatial areas.

My colleague and I made the trek from Mandeville to Treasure Beach on a Saturday and spent over 5 hours under the blazing sun capturing each and every feature within the sports park in between excessive cloud cover that affected the satellite signal to the hand-held global positioning system (GPS) unit to the unit having its own glitches while simultaneously I took photographs, wrote notes and sketched specific features throughout the space for my own visual reference that would be used later. Our efforts were supported by the assistance of members of Breds and staff of the sports park who laid out pegs to earmark unaccounted for features not yet delineated.

The process was “simple” – my colleague would create a map via GIS and I would then translate this map into a site layout in a visually compelling way that would be at the highest possible standard. As I anticipated, it was a difficult project and I was forced as always to push what I always think are the boundaries of my creativity. After messing around with a number of effects (thanks to Ai’s capabilities), the design was finally complete.

It was well received by Breds and that for me was the greatest compliment as I knew exactly how this design was going to do a lot for the community in being a part of what was going to be a brochure and marketing tool to attract international football (again, soccer if you like) teams to the area to use the facilities in the Breds Treasure Beach Sports Park and Academy and also to attract more funding opportunities to further promote the development of sports tourism.

I had a lot fun on this project and learned some very important lessons one of which was… always bring a hat when working outdoors!