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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Unzip Files & Install Fonts on Windows Vista

In a previous blog post I discussed where you could download free fonts. In this post I'll show you the steps needed to unzip and install them on the Windows Vista operating system.

For years I used Winzip to unzip files but that changed when I could no longer use the program for free. So I had to come up with another alternative. Luckily I was able to find an Open Source option called 7-Zip. No registration or payment is required. You will need this program or one like it to unzip your font downloads. Remember Open Source applications are free. Find out more about them here: Have you considered Open Source lately?

I downloaded Minstrel Poster from FontSquirrel. 

In the 7-Zip File Manager select the Minstrel Poster zip file. 

Then click on the Extract button. 

This opens the Extract Window. 

Select where you would like the file to be extracted to.

Click Ok. 

This is followed briefly by an extracting window.

In Windows Explorer, browse to the extracted folder, which in this case would be named MinstrelPosterWHG. 

Double click to open the folder.

You should see 2 files - one will be the font and the other the font license. 

Right clicking the True Type Font file, the one with the 2 T's will reveal a menu. 

Select Install. 

This will open a User Account Control window. 

Windows will be asking your permission to make the necessary change. 

Click Continue.

To verify that the font has been installed you can either open a graphics program that will allow you to see your Font List or you can check your system's Control Panel. 

The Control Panel in Windows Vista has two views: Classic and Control Panel Home.

Classic View
Go to Start > Control Panel > Fonts

This will open a Font List that you can scroll down to search for your newly installed font. 

There you see the Minstrel Poster Font is installed.

Control Panel Home
Go to Start > Control Panel >Appearance and Personalization > Fonts

This will open a Font List that you can scroll down to search for your newly installed font. 

There you see the Minstrel Poster Font is installed.

To see how I've used downloaded fonts you can take a look at my Free Flyer Templates and check out a Flyer Tutorial or 2. 

Try downloading a few more fonts or you can just getting busy designing. 

Have fun!

Friday, August 17, 2012

10 Basic Design Principles That Teach You How To Create A Flyer

So you need to make a Flyer for your business, special event, or project and you have no idea where to start. Well first off, no one said you have to be a professional graphic designer to make a decent flyer.

You already know the information that you wish to present. Now all you need to do is stick to certain basic design principles that will give you the confidence that you need to make your flyer stand out. I can't tell you how many times I've seen flyers with serious design flaws. 

Basic Flyer Design should focus on a few key areas. I have outlined 10 for you. 

1. Flyer Title

Your Flyer's Title should always stand out from the rest of the information on your Flyer. You need people to be able to see in a split second, who or what you are talking about.

Try using a bolder looking Font. I often use Fonts like Impact, Advert and Manchester for Titles, to name a few. The Title also gives the viewer a clue as to what the Flyer is about. 

The Flyer Title is clearly
more visible than the other

You can see the Flyer Title
here but the chosen Font
does not stress its

    2. Image Size 

    Your Images should always be the right size - not too big or too small, so that they become a distraction and take away from the message of the Flyer. Remember our eyes are usually drawn to images first.

    Image is
    Too Small
    you notice that
    something is off
    here. Why is this
    Image so small?

    Image is Proportional
    You scan the
    Image and your
    eyes move on to
    another area of
    the Flyer.

    Image is
    Too Big
    The Image is so
    big it's running
    into the Title and
    other Key Text
    on the Flyer.

    3. Color

    Use colors that will both appeal to the viewer, and will look good on screen and in print format. At the end of the day, your Flyer is going to be printed, so you must consider colors that look good on screen may not appear the same when you have an actual copy in your hand. These are things that you need to test for. 

    Besides the Background Colors, remember you also have to take into consideration your Font Color and Image Color. They all have to work well together.

    No My eyes!!!
    Just try to picture
    some Text and
    Images on this
    background. Can
    you feel the pain?

    Adding Images
    and Text here,
    the viewer will
    want to read on
    to find out more.

    4. Margins

    Know where your margins are and design your flyer within them. If this is not done correctly, some of the flyer will be missing when you print or even print preview. 

    Avoid the hassle and confusion this causes. Adjust your margins before you start your design process.

    With Margin set,
    there is no problem
    on print preview
    or printing.

    Everything has to be
    readjusted. Costing
    you needed time
    and diminishing
    your patience.

    5. White Space

    Yes, it literally is white space.  But there's more to it. White space makes things stand out and your flyer much easier to read. Find the right balance. 

    Face it, no one wants to read a book when looking at a Flyer. Remember you only have that many seconds to capture your viewer's attention. White space in your friend.

      This Flyer is still
      readable, but so
      cluttered, you risk
      turning the reader off.

      There's enough
      White Space here,
      that each area of
      this Flyer can get
      the attention it

    6. Information

    Your Flyer must have certain information to get your message across to the viewer - Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Omit some of these and it will only leave your viewer with more questions. Follow through with everything your Flyer needs to present in order for it to be effective. 

    If you're having a special event, like a birthday party or a special sale and you give your address (Where), but no time (When), do you see the predicament? Will the viewer be able to find this out on their own and will they even care to do so?

    This could be an
    important event to
    some people.
    However, there is
    no contact info,
    time, date, phone
    number. Leaving
    the viewer with 2
    choices - become a
    detective or toss
    the Flyer.

    Flyer provides
    enough information
    to answer any
    questions that
    may arise.

    7. Text Formatting & Fonts

    Don't use too many types of Text Formats in your Flyer, like Bold, Italic, Underline, Highlight, etc. Not only is this distracting, it can become confusing. You don't want to take the focus off your Flyer's message.

    A Flyer with a
    clear message.

    A Flyer with so
    much going on, the
    viewer is distracted.

    8. Concept

    Gear the information on the Flyer around your images and or background. I always work on the Flyer's background, title and images before placing the remaining text details.

    It's easier to place these on the Flyer and then figure out where to put Text. I can't imagine it the other way round, putting Text on my Flyer first and then trying to tuck in an Image, Title or Background in this space or that.

    Easy to see available
    space to place Text.

    Don't even know 
    where to begin.

    9. Perception

    Will your Flyer catch someone's interest from 5 or 10 feet away? Zoom out of the flyer while you are creating it so that you can see what it would look like from a distance. What catches your eye? Should your image be made bigger? 

    It's a little trick that I use repeatedly during the design process. It really helps me to determine what works and what doesn't. 

    10. Errors

    Proofread your Flyer repeatedly (ok a couple times) to make sure that there's no words spelt incorrectly and or poor grammar, since these can be a turn off for the viewer.

    When you're done that, give it to someone else so that they too can glance over it for you, perhaps catching an error that you may have missed. 

    Ready to Design? 

    Stick to these principles to create great flyers with clear messages. 

    I hope that you have found these tips helpful. 

    Now it's time to Dabble in Design.

    Are there any other design flaws that you can come up with? Leave a comment below!

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    Free Stock Photography! Really?

    Lilac's and Peruvian Lilies
    by Sharee Basinger
    You see the term Stock Photography and you immediately think, it's not free. I mean why should it be? They're only High Resolution, High Quality Photos captured by Professional Photographers using Expensive Cameras, right?

    As it turns out, there are thousands of stock photography images available in the public domain. These photos can be used freely for personal and commercial use without any attribution to author or creator.

    PublicDomainPictures offers thousands of high quality Royalty Free Public Domain Images for commercial and personal use. I have used this site consistently for years now. For easy navigation you can search their database or browse through categories like Food, Nature and Landscapes. Users can also upload their own images to the database. Image statistics like size, description and camera information are also provided. License details are available for each image.

    Since my Free Fyer Templates are redistributed online, I verify the license for each image before I download and place a link giving credit to the author and website which is mandatory. If you're looking for a great site with awesome photos for your personal projects, business flyers, and more then you should take a closer look.

    I recently discovered Pixabay which hosts thousands of High Quality Public Domain Images. Besides photos, they offer free Clip Art. You can find some really nice images. View my blog post for more great resources on Copyright Free Vector Clip Art.

    Flowers Meadow Yellow
    Blutenmeer Bloom

    by PixelAnarchy
    You have the option of downloading or uploading photos or clipart. Sign up for free access to images. If you choose not to be a member then you'll have to submit a Captcha for every image you'd like to download. If you're not familiar with the term, a Captcha is that annoying text code that you have to type in to verify you are not a computer. So to avoid this hassle become a member.

    No categories but lots of beautiful images to choose from and there is a Search feature. If you use Pixabay images on a website, linking back to them is not required, although it is always nice to give credit where it is due.

    Public Domain Images has over 20,000 High Quality Royalty Free Photos for both personal and commercial use. I actually did my first 1st Flyer Tutorial on Digital Photography years ago with photos from this site. 

    Aerial Photography of
    National Reserve Lakes
    by Hillebrand Steve, 
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
    They have over 20 main categories that are further divided into subcategories. I especially love the images from the Nature Landscapes category. You can also do keyword searches in the image database. 

    Statistics are provided for each image and a link back is not required for image use on websites, however it would be nice to credit the image source and or creator. 

    These sites keep me busy and are a great resource for teachers, students, and businesses alike. Do you know of any other sites that host public domain images that you would strongly recommend?