Dazzle and digital camouflage

Camouflage is the art and design of staying hidden. But there’s more to camouflage than blobs of muted green, yellow and brown – just look at the modern Marpat patterns and WW1 dazzle ship designs. Seeing patterns in things is one of the most basic instincts we have. It is a survival instinct, something that…

Print effects without ink?

How can you print without using ink, without applying some kind of colour to a surface? There are two processes that come to mind: embossing and die-cutting. They’re not generally options we get to play with as a rule, but that’s no reason not to look into the possibilities. Embossing can be done with print…

QR codes: enter the matrix!

Quick Response (QR) barcodes are more interesting than you might think, so it’s worth considering them. Just make sure they work as expected before going live… You’ve probably seen a QR code, even if you don’t know what they are or do. QR codes are basically a two-dimensional form of barcode, with data encoded in…

Preflighting: boring but important

Know more about preflighting than your software or you’ll get caught out. Grammar purists, look away now; this is all about a word that’s made its way from composite adverb to standalone verb. Preflighting is the act of going through a series of important checks before committing yourself. It originated in the flight industry (hence…

Airline safety card designs

A form of standardised international illustrated instruction? On a recent trip to Turkey I realised something: there’s one thing that you’ll find on every commercial airline flight you’ll ever take. No, not dodgy food (some flights don’t serve any, which can be a hidden blessing), I mean those airline safety instruction cards that are tucked…

Art Therapy for design block: The CD Cover game

A creative challenge for you… What do you do if you find yourself staring at an empty page, unable to get your creative juices flowing? Design block is no fun, and it happens to all of us on occasion. Fortunately, one of the best ways to shake people out of a creative slump involves a…

With resolution, size does matter

When I teach I constantly have to remind myself that things that seem simple because I learned them years ago weren’t always easy to grasp the first time around. Image resolution is a bit case in point; understanding the relationship between a bitmap image’s resolution, pixel dimensions and printed size is simple once you know…