Category Archives: Design

First Aspect of Design: Use appropriate Software

This is for those who only use Microsoft Word or PowerPoint and get frustrated when it doesn’t do what you want. The key is to always use appropriate software! Now this doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy Illustrator or InDesign to create good marketing materials, but they are designed for doing this. Most libraries come with Microsoft Office, which includes Publisher, which is perfectly adequate for the job. And if you’re in a library that does not have Publisher there are also a few free online design software that you can use.

 I would suggest checking out some of these tutorials first. http://www.gcflearnfree.org/publisher2010

This tutorial provides screen shots and videos that will help familiarize yourself with Publisher 2010. (If you have Publisher 2007, like me, many of the features are the same)

Or if you are using Illustrator you can check out these tips. http://designrfix.com/illustrator

One of the fastest way to start understanding the software is to start by using the templates provided by the software. For Publisher, there are many templates you can use as guides and blank templates for brochures, cards, and others designs. A few things to learn how to use is the Order of elements, More Colors feature for controlling your colors, and Multiple Pages ability in the Print Setup.  If you do not have a photo editor, you can use the image tools in Publisher for cropping, coloring, and deselecting a color to cut from the image instead of using an image as is. I do recommend re-sizing and editing with a photo editor, but I understand that this may not be available. I will give examples of photo editors later when I talk about prepping your images.

 For the free online software tools check out Canva.com. They give you templates, images, type fonts, and layouts. Most are free, but their are some templates that cost, but you pay per download. It’s a great way to play with aspects of design, to learn what can be done and start to familiarizing yourself with current trends in design.

As librarians we are always teaching others how to use the best tools and resources for their needs. We need to do the same for ourselves.

Technology for scribblers

I am person who is infinitely more comfortable scribbling than typing on a computer, the NoteSlate does two things that I yearn for, allowing me the physicality of writing and the ability to easily transfer the completed files to the computer using OCR technology.

I have notebooks filled with scribbles, which I sometimes want to transfer into a text document, only to have to sit down and transcribe my writings later. I know there are digital means like using a laptop or an iPad or just texting on one’s phone, but for those of us tongue tied typing on a keyboard, the holding of pencil-like-device cures all.

Cool Book Covers

I will say I am a sucker for great design, especially when it comes to books, hence why I have three copies of Jane Eyre, including a hardcover by Penguin. Penguin Classics Deluxe have been employing current artists and illustrators to give their classic books a new design, even creating a couture line. Like the Jane Eyre with illustration by Ruben Toledo and Chris Ware’s illustration for Candide and Tom Gauld’s illustration for The Three Musketeers.


To add to these cool covers is a new line are illustrations done in embroidery by Jillian Tamaki. Her blog gives detail and overall shots of her work which is luscious.