Let Me Explain

June 24, 2018



I am not a graphic designer and that can be a profound hindrance on achievement.  There are issues of software, exactly how well do they work which pretty much comes down to flexibility and versatility.  Such topics are closely related to cost the more options the much less free something becomes.  The new marketing trend of “hey let them use it rather a good amount” has been helpful to be sure.  Lots of software are really intuitive not dissimilar to plug and play or point and click.  But the really helpful software is not.  It takes hours of exploring or instruction and a lot of frustration.  Worth it!  What can be done is incredible.  That did not happen in this case.  I was using 100 percent free content on free software and clunky is the word for the day. 


Then there is the issue of something having been done so many times a person might break copyright laws by accident.  A sun, waves, sailboats, lighthouses are absolutely everything a person would want in a design about the east coast of Michigan.  But that is not in keeping with the theme, “East of Expected” and they all have been seen so many times it could put someone to sleep, eyes glazing without seeing.   So how to convey “we are different” while keeping with tradition, what people can see and find familiar?


Luck and a bad rash helped a lot.  Currently somewhat disinclined to come in contact with any kind of foliage or biting insect has encouraged me to stay inside for at least a day.  Then, I started to poke around.  Look at this graphic look at another.  Think of one word and try that.  First I started to use Publisher from Word as I wanted free.  Publisher is not an image rendering software which is a decided handicap.  The upside is that I was working on our near to 10 year old computer where I have masses of byte sucking extra fonts installed from a brilliant designer in Australia.  He is a legend among font nerds and I suspect that I am his #1 groupie.  That’s right Russel Crowe you have been out gleamed by a scientist. 


Enter Canva.  It is free and does generate image files.  It is kinda free.  Lesson one, you can upload your own images as long as they are not too big.  That put limits on things.  I also learned after the fact that you can upload your own fonts but only if you pay.  This meant that there was searching, trying, uploading, down loading, futzing in Paint to get my own fonts or rather those of Mr. Lloyd, and then uploading, flipping, more flipping, and then I saw something I did not hate.  It was the right size, not complicated and might print OK in black and white if needed.


It came down to flipping and fading.   I tried the sun in one corner, then another.  I had visions of bad boob jokes coming to fruition just one nipple away.  I had one bike graphic, and then spotted a different one both free.  Originally both bikes pointed to the right.  For reasons I do not know that was not working.  Shankar Vedantam, NPR’s Hidden Brain reporter, he would figure it out, but for the day all I knew that traveling to the right was wrong.  In the end I downloaded no less than 6 graphics.  But I knew which one was right.  As soon as I plopped the right bike in front of the sun at a certain transparency for both the bike and the sun both in the right position, the switch in my brain said, yes.  Done.  Like a string of code where after 19 error messages finally it runs and runs just right. 


Make no mistake I tortured my husband by showing him all of them with all of their font variations.  But as I suspected, his opinion snapped right to the same graphic as I had.  Truth be told, I did waffle between two fonts.  The other option was not even designed by Mr. Lloyd.  But in the end, creativity held the day. 





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