Tag Archives: Art

Why Authors Need to Understand Color Blindness

13

When it comes to cover design and graphics the last thing most DIY authors will think to consider is color blindness. With almost 10% of the world having some form of color blindness, an amount nearly equal to the population of the United States, this affliction is something everyone should consider when it comes to graphic design. If you suffer from color blindness what comes next can help you create great designs too.

015

Types of Color Blindness

It’s good to know the different types of color blindness in order to appreciate what your colorblind viewers will be seeing in your designs.

Color blindness doesn’t mean that you only see in black and white; that is one form of color blindness, although it is very rare.

Color blindness is most common in reds and greens and then less commonly in blues and yellows. This is where color blindness relates to the difficulty in distinguishing between certain shades of certain colors. Some colors tend to blend into one another.

016

Some Rules for Designing

  1. Avoid the following color combinations: these color combinations are difficult for people with colorblindness: Green & Red; Green & Brown; Blue & Purple; Green & Blue; Light Green & Yellow; Blue & Grey; Green & Grey; Green & Black.
  2. Make it monochrome: Take the design you’ve made in your design platform and switch it to grayscale mode. When you are seeing it in only black and white and shades of gray, you can easily spot where colors may blend together for someone with colorblindness.
  3. Use high contrast: High contrast is something to consider in design because people affected by colorblindness can usually distinguish between colors when there is a high degree of contrast.
  4. Colors won’t signal emotion: color for most people symbols mood and evokes emotion, but it won’t for people who are color blind. Make sure you are adding good design elements beyond color to relate mood or stir emotion.
  5. Use texture instead: in maps and infographics you can try using texture in addition to color to differentiate between objects.

For designers’ it will help to see what a person who is colorblind might be seeing when they’re viewing their designs. Some of these links are also helpful to designers who suffer from colorblindness. If you are wanting to get it right, here are some links to help you do just that.

  • Colorblind Web Page Filter: here you can just type in a URL and choose which type of colorblind filter you’d like to apply. Now you can see your design in that form of colorblindness.
  • Coblis: another great colorblind simulation application.
  • Color Laboratory: this will help you choose which colors will work well together for a colorblind viewer.
  • Color Oracle: color blindness simulation for Windows, Mac and Linux users.
  • Color contrast visualizer: this will help any designer choose good color combinations.

Rainbow in watercolor

Design Help for the Colorblind

There is no reason why you can’t create great designs even if you’re colorblind. All you need to get started are some great color pallets. Below is a link to a site that will help you whether you are colorblind or not, to create pallets that will work in every single design you create.

Coolers: this sight will help you create beautiful color pallets that you can then use in your graphic design software.

Bright eyed beauty

Are You Color Blind?

Many people have some form of color blindness and aren’t aware of it. Here’s a link to a test to find out if color blindness affects you:

EyeQue

LINE BLACK copy

I want to thank my editor for reminding me that I hadn’t included this section in my cover design book! He’s the best! I recommend Dennis to all of my clients:

DDR-AD-003 copy

Thanks Dennis!

 

 

It’s Easy to Design Your Own Graphics

03

You really can design your own book covers and author graphics:

With a bit of training, you can start designing almost right away.

You can get the right software if you know what to look for.

From all my talks with indie authors I’ve had over the years, the biggest turnoff to designing for themselves is the software. Either they can’t find good software or it is too hard to learn.

I normally would tell people to leave the designing to the professionals, but not everyone has that in their budget.

Here are some basic design principles you should know:

Before you go purchase software, let me introduce you to some basic design principles. This way you can see that you will be capable enough to give it a go.

Balance

Most of us can tell what looks well balanced and what doesn’t. What you may not know is that there are different forms of balance.

05
  • The visual weight of your design elements can be evenly distributed on either side of the design in order to be symmetrical.
  • Asymmetrical balance is the balance achieved through color, scale, and contrast to achieve flow. Most of your designs will be asymmetrical.

Start looking at book covers and graphic designs and point out the flow. Notice how design elements are chosen for their color, scale, and contrast. How each element works with the others to draw the eye to focal points. The design flow will draw your eyes through the elements of the design and to those focal points.

In a matter of seconds, you can decern the mood, the genre, and the theme of the design, hear its message visually. In those few seconds, a reader will decide whether or not you’ve piqued their interest.

Proximity

Proximity creates a relationship between similar or related elements. These elements are visually connected by way of font, color, size, etc. Basically, the things that are related should be nearer to each other.

07

Proximity can create relationships between the visual elements in a composition. It can create relevance, hierarchy, organization, and structure. Or, there can also be no relationship between elements, by breaking organization and structure.

Alignment

You will want to be sure that the elements of your design are in alignment. You might center all the text to the centerfold of the design. You might zigzag the flow by centering the top and bottom text, but then staggering a blurb that you want to stand out. You can align elements across a design or diagonally. Watch for different types of alignment and what appeals to you.

Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is important because it can help lead the viewer through the message of the design. The viewer’s eye will follow this visual hierarchy.

Each element of your design will carry more or less visual weight. More important elements are given extra visual weight to move them up the hierarchy. You can use larger or bolder fonts to highlight the title, etc. What color you use can determine hierarchy. Large to small, bold to soft, bright to dark, top to bottom, left to right, etc., these all are part of a visual hierarchy.

08 copy

Repetition

A large part of graphic design is branding. As an author, you will be developing your own visual brand too. Repetition in design is fundamental, but essential when it comes to branding.

Repetition creates a rhythm, it ties together the consistent elements and strengthens the overall design. There are certain elements that will make viewers instantly recognize your brand. These design elements include your color palette, fonts, and your logo.

pwc 05 copy

cropped-mmi-header-20-copy2.jpg

Contrast

The contrast will guide the viewer to key design elements. Two opposing design elements create contrast:

  • dark vs. light
  • contemporary vs. old-fashioned
  • large vs. small, etc.

Organization and a hierarchy can be established with contrast. Using contrast is useful in creating visual interest too.

09

Color

Color is basic in design and is also used within other principles of design. Color expresses mood so what palette you choose is very important. As a graphic designer, it’s always helpful to have a basic knowledge of color theory, take the time to do a little research. This will pay off hugely in the long run. Do yourself a favor and get yourself a color wheel for easy reference.

Amazon.com: Cox 133343 Color Wheel 9-1/4"-

Negative Space

The space that is left blank in your design is called negative space. And just like dark matter in space, it’s an area that contains nothing flashy, or no design elements. No design elements except for maybe some background color. If used creatively, negative space can help create a shape and highlight the important components of your design.

10

by Brian Caldwell

Typography

Typography is a key element in graphic design. It can speak volumes. Typography can set the mood, establish it’s own hierarchy, and even express genre. It’s important not to use overly used fonts in graphic design. Overly used fonts are most of the font’s that come with your common word software. You are better off purchasing your fonts.

11

Rules

The only real rule in graphic design is to not use true black or white in your designs, they won’t transfer correctly in printing or on the web. Other than that you are free to design in your own style, whatever that may be.

These principles are your guide to creating great graphics and building a solid brand.

Now to get your software:

LINE ORANGE copy

04

Before you continue to the next section, you should know that I am NOT affiliated with the software listed below. I won’t earn anything if you purchase one of them from any of the links posted.

LINE ORANGE copy

Here are the top graphic design platforms:

Affinity Designer: You can get this platform for a one-time payment of $24.99. (2020)

This is awesome software for the price. It will give you all the tools you need to create great graphics and is easy to learn. This platform is smaller in size than others and won’t bog down your computer. You will have access to free updates and Affinity Designer also runs very smoothly and quickly, even on older machines. Here is the link to the tutorials.

Adobe Photoshop: You can get this platform for $20.99 per month. (2020)

I use Photoshop, I like that you can use it for photo editing and compositing, digital painting, and graphic design. It works for all of my design needs when it comes to creating book covers. Photoshop is an excellent program used for creating images, photo editing, and graphics design or to add special effects to images. Vector graphics are not used in photoshop because it is pixel-based software. Here’s the link to their tutorials.

Gravit Designer: This platform is a free full-featured vector graphic design app.

With this platform, you can design from anywhere on any machine. You won’t have the versatility of Affinity or Adobe, but you can make graphics on the fly for blogposts. Gravit is mostly vector-based software, but has image manipulation and editing, and is a good cheap alternative to Affinity. Here is the link to their tutorials. This would be the software I would use if I couldn’t afford Photoshop and Adobe Suites.

Inkscape: This software is free and is a great substitute for Photoshop.

Inkscape is a free open source vector-based software because it does not take the resources of RAM nevertheless you are under MS Windows or Linux Distribution like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE, RedHat, etc. Inkscape is better because it has own plugins for bevel and emboss, image manipulations, some times it behaves like photoshop. Here is the link to Inkscapes tutorials.

LINE ORANGE copy

These basics will get you started and headed in the right direction. Just remember that learning how to create great designs is a process. You will improve over time. But there’s no reason you can’t create some pretty great graphics right out of the gate.

Good Luck!

 

 

This Cover Designer Will Be One to Watch

I’m Your Cover Designer…

I know it’s been a while, and I’m so excited to be back.

I have the use of my right arm again, the maker of art, finally!

I’m back to designing book covers and recently finished illustrating another children’s book. And here I am, writing again. Thanks to my followers for sticking around for the best is yet to come, seriously. I have so missed being a part of the conversation, discussing your posts and what you are up to. Catching up is going to be the highlight of my days.

…Or Hope to Be

Thanks to all you new folks for stopping by. I’ve been busy designing book covers for indie authors and writing or working at writing, since 2012 on WordPress. These have been some of the best times of my life, I’ve met some amazingly talented people over the years.

You should subscribe or follow me for all these reasons:

      • This is going to be a great year for writer’s and their teams.
      • I love to promote your work.
      • You can guest blog with me.
      • I have tons of info that I know you will find useful.
      • I’m an artist, so there will be pretty pictures.
      • I have contests and give away free custom-designed graphics.

What am I so excited about?

Well, everything!

Because of the world’s current events, many of us are getting some time to get back to what we love. For me, it’s getting back to work with all of you, diving deep into my art, and writing again. So, here’s a list of what I have planned so far!

Coming this year:

      • First of all, lots of catching up with what you are all up to!
      • I have ten new articles planned to write from the gate. Tons of cool topics!
      • I will be announcing the first FREE CUSTOM GRAPHICS contest with a winner announced in April!
      • I want to work harder to help you authors get noticed! Talk to me, what can I do!
      • Lots of new cover designs to share!
      • Publishing my new book!
          • Setting up my launch team – goals, prizes, and tons of fun!
      • Illustrating a new children’s book!
      • Celebrating my newfound voice and your talented voices as well!

Let’s chat!

Hey, if you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to leave them below. Better yet, leave me a link to your blog so I can come exploring!

Don’t forget to subscribe!

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Michelle Rene

Some Recent Illustration Work

SELECT PICS TO ENLARGE

Children’s Book Illustration

Guitar Case Commission

One Just for Fun

Thought I’d go ahead and share some projects I’ve been working on recently. I’d love to hear your comments 🙂

Illustrating a Children’s Book

I Started illustrating a new children’s book recently. This is the story of Bug & Teddy. They get up to all kinds of adventure and I’m finding it fun to create these illustrations. This is the first of many beautiful images that you will find in my upcoming children’s book “Bug & Teddy’s Adventure”, based on the antics of my very own daughter and her best friend Teddy.

Bug and Teddy were inseparable growing up. They went everywhere together and got into all kinds of mischief. She loved him dearly and still has that bond even though she is grown and off to college. I raised my daughter as a single mom so Teddy took on the responsibility of looking out for us. He died when he met the business end of an angry dog and we have missed him ever since. So this is a book, and possibly a series of books, done as a tribute to Teddy and a gift to my daughter. This way, Teddy will always be with her.

Although I have illustrated children’s books in the past, this will be the first one that I have attempted. I will share each new illustration as I create them if you’re interested in watching my progress.

001 copy small

If you are interested in commissioning me for your children’s book illustration, I’d love to hear about your book and discuss your project with you. Have a look at my services and illustration examples and then contact me and I can create a custom quote just for you.

CBIb copy