Keeping It Current
Ever since the digital revolution, there have been so many software options for design, page layout, photography, and illustration that many times it's hard to keep up with it all. If you're like me, as soon as I get an upgrade for the latest software, another one comes out and I have to learn the new 'bells and whistles' each time. How does one cope?
As we all pretty much know, Adobe has captured the market in the design and page layout category. And now, with the aquisition of Macromedia, they've become even more of a powerhouse. Not to be outdone completely, Quark has really stepped up to the plate with their page layout software and the latest version, along with their Interactive Designer, is pretty darn good. What about Corel software and the rest of the others? Does anybody really use them? Would a printer even accept files done in Corel or (gasp!) Word? I don't know, but that's a topic for another entry.
As a designer, when we do settle on the software we're going to use, there comes a time when we do need to get the upgrades and bite the bullet to pay for them. Where do we go to get current on how to use them, however? There are many resources, both for a fee and not, where we can go to get the knowledge we need - after all, it doesn't happen through osmosis. I've slept with CS3 under my pillow, and it didn't do a thing.
Anyway, I am going to list a few sites and sources where you can go and check out to see if they'll work for you:
The manufacturers' sites, like Adobe and Quark, are good, but a little biased and cumbersome when it comes to tutorials and quick sessions.
The web and graphic design area of Dev Articles is an interesting space.
The Design Talkboard is a good source for reviews and links for tutorials.
AllGraphicDesign.com offers forums, articles, and tips on all of our coveted software.
Of course, there's Lynda.com, where you can find online tutorials and DVDs on virtually every type of software you've ever wanted - or not.
Many of the online graphic and design sites, like Graphics.com (love it!), Register.com, and Photospin.com offer tips and tutorials that are good and very helpful.
PaperSpecs.com offers free and for a fee training on everything paper and printing.
Adobe has Design Matters Live, with the AIGA, is a series of speakers who talk about what they do and offer assistance on the latest and greatest.
And, a recent thing, Apple is holding their Design Remixed workshops, also with the AIGA, to get you current and also to introduce you to some of their other software (like animation and sound) that you may not be familiar with.
I know there are many, many more sources out there, and I would love you to comment and share yours with the rest of us. The graphic design world is exciting and rich with talent and resources, and by sharing, we can all become better and raise the bar on quality design. Freebies always help, though.