Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great References for Printers

And people who work with Printers!

 I've stumbled across half a million of these 'Top 10 Websites for Designers' or 'Best Websites for Illustrators' and so on. I want to focus this one more around good references and foundries for Printers like us [and possibly people working with printers].

Working in a print shop we receive hundreds upon hundreds of files that have outlined text, which is no longer editable, and as much as I hate admitting this... we don't know EVERY SINGLE typeface out there. [If you know someone who does, give me their name because I want to shake their hand.] Normally this is great for printing, but when we are asked to change text that is no longer editable we set out on a mission to find the correct typeface... but it's not as easy as it sounds. There are a couple simple ways to find the name of that mysterious typeface.
'Whatthefont is a fast way to find a typeface. All you need is a sample of the typeface you are trying to find, and by using the different attributes of that sample it tries to give you multiple options of what it could be. The downfall, though, is it's not always accurate. It's fast!... but not always accurate. Because this website is more automated I've gotten some pretty outlandish suggestions from this site. Whatthefont might not hold every single typeface out there, but when you're in a hurry this is a good website to try out.'
'As opposed to whatthefont, this website is member run and therefore more accurate. BUT... it takes a little longer to get a response. Again, all you need is a sample of the typeface you are trying to find, submit it and the members of the website will give you suggestions. In my experience with this website, all the people on typophile are just a huge group of type gurus who love type and love talking about type and love to help each other with type. How can you go wrong? [We've used it here at the shop and we've gotten a response in 19 minutes... not too bad, huh?] If you have some extra time I definitely suggest giving typophile a try.'
'This type search is a little different than typophile and whatthefont. When the typeface you're looking for it right on the tip of you tongue or you know what it looks like but you just can't think of the name, this is a good website to use. It let you search by part of the name, by other typefaces that sort of look like it, or even by the pictures that the typeface holds (like Wing Dings).'

Along with the millions of type foundry websites, there are also a million of stock photo websites! There are, however, a few that serve a specific purpose and a few that are *cough* better than all the other ones *cough*.
'I've never personally been a big stockphoto person, but when the occasion calls for it this is one of my favorite stock photo sites. They have photography, illustrations, audio clips, and videos.'
'Bigstock is another one that we use frequently here, and like istockphoto it doesn't require a subscription, you can pay as you go.'
'Gettyimages is another good stockphoto resource. The nifty thing about getty images is they also hold royalty-free photos [forget Google searches, getty is where it's at]. Along with the royalty-free, they also have thousands of photography, audio and video clips to choose from.'
'Shutterstock is another good stock photo site. They have photography, vector illustrations and web, sd, and hd videos. This is a good option if you are an avid stock photo downloader. Unlike istockphoto, which has each image at a certain price, shutterstock lets you pay a certain amount a month to download 25 images a day. In the end you could save a lot of money, if you have hundreds of images that you need to download.'
'Livesurface is a image template library with anything from blank signs, to bottles of all kinds, to shirts, to cars, to boxes, and more. When I was putting together my portfolio for school I found this website extremely helpful, especially since I didn't have to actually go out and take the pictures myself. If you have the design just buy an image, slap the design on and you're done! [Not to mention, they also have a couple tutorials.]'
'I'm going to throw this one in here because I think it's awesome. I've never used it, but when I get the chance I won't hesitate for a second. Nasa has all kinds of space photos available to use for the public, as long as they don't have a person's face in them (which shouldn't be TOO much of a problem since, well... they're pictures of space). We've even seen images here show up in Apple Ads!'
'Unlike most of the other stock photo sites, you can find an image on this site and the transactions are between you and the photography. This site holds photos of celebrities, people in business, arts, sports, education, science, technology and more.'
'Veer has tons of stock photos and illustrations as well as a lot of beautiful typefaces to buy. Like shutterstock you can get a subscription for when you anticipate high volume image downloading, or you can download them individually.'
'This is personally one of my favorites when it comes to designing. Youworkforthem has photography, vector art, fonts, brushes, and videos. The only fall back is that this isn't necessarily the place you would come to for stock photos of airplanes, business peoples and cute puppy dogs. Their photos are more artistic in the aspect of perhaps using them as a texture or a background for your computer, not necessarily something you would use in a brochure for a dentist's office . However, they have a sister company where they hold all of their other stock photos that are not available on youworkforthem.'
'The sister company of THIS is where they hold all their stock photos. It is kind of similar to the artistic look of youworkforthem's stock photos, but there are more options. Instead of just holding abstract photos, there are vintage photos, nature, places, outdoors, photography, etc. I personally love the photos they have on here, but (again) a lot of them are not necessarily photos you would choose for dentist office collateral materials.'

But I know sometimes when I'm designing instead of having designers block, I get color block, where I can't for the life of me figure out a color scheme. There are a couple helpful sites that I fall back on when I just can't seem to make up my mind.
'Colourlovers is a good website to go to for a little color inspiration. You can search through different catagories of color, even go so far as to purchase shirts, personalized color swatch cards, art prints, and a Color Schemer program for you computer.'
'Kuler lets you search for color schemes by theme, most popular, highest rated, newest, what have you. I personally love kuler, not just because it's extremely useful, but countless times I have lost track of time playing with their color creator.'

Here are a couple extra ones just for the fun of it.
'Neenahpaper (which is a popular paper distributor) offers different kinds of resources for designers, printers, consumers and distributor. Not only is it a good resources for... well... resources, but it also offers templates and even a glossary of terms (which is extremely helpful especially if you are working directly with a printer or designer).'
Think Ink: Color Unleashed
Think Ink is actually an app that Neenah Paper, Inc put out a couple years ago. It is similar to colourlovers and kuler where you can make different color pallets, but it also uses the scientifically validated Dewey Color System to explore the psychological meaning of hundreds of color combinations.
You can probably guess what this one is. It's a generator that sweetens up your Lorem Ipsum! If you ever need some place holder text, try out Cupcake Ipsum and see if anybody notices.

I know there are many useful type foundries, design inspiration sites, etc, but I wanted to focus more on types of reference/foundry sites we use here at MMP. We find each of these useful in their own personal way and hopefully you will, too.

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