Business Graphics

Tips On How To Tell Your Story With Images

A big part of any business marketing effort involves dealing with graphic images and today that means dealing with digital art. Despite all the advances made with desktop publishing technologies, the production process is not a fully automated process, and a firm understanding of some printing basics is still needed in order to obtain the very best reproduction of your art as possible.
 
The purpose of this article is to provide a quick reference of the key terms, initialisms and concepts you need to recognize to create successful business graphics. We will not overload you with details here—if you wish more in-depth information on any particular item may we suggest you consult Wikipedia.
 
After your read this business graphics tips article take a minute to read about focusing your message graphically by reading our Logo Tips article. Our tips on that page will help you design a great business logo too.
 
Business Graphics: Image Optimization
When dealing with digital art your ultimate concern will always be output, and there are two main types of output to consider: PRINT and SCREEN. In the guide table below you can see that the dynamics involved for each production path are quite different. Note that printing resolution needs change with each output device and lines per inch that are required for sharp output.
 
Digital File Art Settings
PRINT
Are you going to press?
FILE RESOLUTION
set to 300 ppi (150 line screen)
(image size at 100%)
FILE COLOR MODE
set to CMYK
FILE FORMATS
save as:
TIFF or EPS
 
SCREEN
Are you building a web site?
FILE RESOLUTION
set to 72 ppi
(image size at 100%)
FILE COLOR MODE
set to RGB
FILE FORMATS
save as:
JPEG (best for photo images)
or
GIF (best for line art/solid fills)
 
Resolution (ppi—pixel per inch) is often incorrectly referred to as "dpi" (dots per inch). But that's okay—if you say "dpi" when stating resolution your production people will know what you really mean.
 
Optimizing files for the web: Whether you are preparing a digital art file as a JPEG or GIF, keep in mind that the smaller the file size the faster the graphic loads into a browser. Adjusting file size for JPEGs is achieved by controlling the quality level of the file; for GIFs it is controlling the number of colors. In Photoshop, select "Save For Web" in the File menu to optimize your digital art files.
 
Scanning tip: think big! When scanning images to creating digital art, think in terms of going to press—set resolution to 300 ppi. Also keep in mind the physical proportions of the image as well—scan image at 100% or scale up the image to meet the size you need. From print oriented files you can always "size down" to screen oriented files and maintain quality, but not vice versa.
 
Software
Below is a list of software applications generally accepted as standards in business graphic design:
 
DESKTOP PUBLISHING: Quark, InDesign
LETTERS/SPREADSHEETS/PRESENTATIONS: Microsoft Office, Apples iLife Suite
GRAPHICS/DRAWING: Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand, Corel Draw
WEB SITE: Dreamweaver, GoLive
ANIMATION: After Effects, Flash, Motion
 
If you would like more information about building good business graphics, feel free to give us a call or drop us a line.