Recent additions to the design bookshelf

Image of Works, Texts to 1974 by Tom Phillips.

Works, Texts to 1974 by Tom Phillips. Hansjörg Mayer

Image of Works and Texts by Tom Phillips.

Works and Texts by Tom Phillips. Thames & Hudson

Image of Cool Infographics by Randy Krum.

Cool Infographics by Randy Krum. Wiley

Image of Graphic Design School, fifth edition. By David Dabner, Sandra Stewart & Eric Zempol.

Graphic Design School, fifth edition. By David Dabner, Sandra Stewart & Eric Zempol. Thames & Hudson

image of Sixties design by Philippe Garner

Sixties design by Philippe Garner. Taschen

Posted in Art, Books, Design, Graphic Design, Infographics | Leave a comment

Postings in Digital Design Review 4 September

Interesting links and articles posted in the Digital Design Review recently include:

A London cafe with 3D printing facilities

A conversation with book cover designer Peter Mendelsund

Understanding Photoshop’s profile alerts

Updated Polyfauna  app with new music from Radiohead

Cool generative ebook covers

Jaapokki, a free font

Eye magazine on how digital is changing print

An interview with typographer Erik Spiekermann


Posted in Adobe, Design, Digital Design Review, Photoshop, Print, Publications, Publishing, Software, Typography | Leave a comment

5 ways to epublish from Adobe InDesign


Does your organisation produce lots of documentation? Are you frustrated by sending out messy, open MS Word documents? Adobe InDesign is not only the industry standard print production application but also the leading application for producing all kinds of electronic content.

Here are 5 ways you could be using InDesign to create and distribute documents electronically.

1) PDF (Portable Document Format): The PDF format was developed by Adobe so it’s not surprising that Adobe applications excel at producing PDF files. InDesign’s built in export to PDF function can turn any document into a compressed, cross-platform replica of the original which can be distributed via email, from your website and in just about any other way imaginable. Because PDFs are not meant to be editable, your readers can’t change anything and there won’t be any ugly font substitutions because font information is embedded in the document.

Benefits: Can be read on any device, easy distribution via email or direct from a web site. PDFs are searchable, printable and universally accessible.

SCreenshot of Standard PDF generated with InDesign

Standard PDF generated with InDesign

2) Interactive PDF: InDesign has the capacity to extend the functions of your document to turn it into a genuinely interactive publication. You can embed clickable buttons, hyperlinks, include audio and video content, create Flash animations and develop interactive forms. An interactive PDF will be bigger than a standard PDF depending on what kind of interactivity is included but can be distributed in all the same ways as a regular PDF.

Benefits: Dynamic interactive content, exact replica of original file, readable on most desktop platforms though mobile platforms lack support for more advanced interactivity.

Screenshot of Interactive PDF created with InDesign

Interactive PDF created with InDesign

3) ePub: Sometimes reading PDFs on small screens can be problematic as they don’t reflow to the device’s screen size. If your document has a lot of text and you want to read it on the widest variety of devices, try saving it as an ePub. ePub is the ebook standard used by the publishing industry. It can be read on most devices using applications like iBooks, Adobe Digital Editions, Calibre and many more. ePubs can be downloaded directly to most devices or can be sold through most ebook stores. To publish your ePub on Amazon you’ll need to follow a straightforward conversion process.

Benefits: Compact and flexible, same file is readable on nearly all devices.


ePub created with InDesign

4) Fixed format ePub: Standard ePub is less effective for heavily designed documents especially those with a large number of photographs or illustrations. In the recent 2014 update of InDesign, Adobe added the capacity to make a so called ‘fixed format’ ePub. This format retains the same design as the original page. Once again this can make it difficult to view on small screens but means the document can be read on many more devices. Both ePub formats can also contain multimedia and interactivity (though this may be limited by the reading application or device).

Benefits: compatibility with a wide range of devices while retaining the original design.

Screenshot of Fixed format ePub created with InDesign

Fixed format ePub created with InDesign

5) App: The most powerful and dynamic of all electronic formats is the App. InDesign can generate apps for most of the major mobile platforms including iOS, Android and Windows. Apps are best for heavily designed content, rich with photographs, illustrations and media. They can also include a variety of interactive effects and reflow content making for an exciting, immersive reading experience. Best of all, you don’t need to learn any code, you can do it all from within InDesign and using Adobe’s online Digital Publishing Suite of tools.

Benefits: Bespoke app functionality, all kinds of content supported, retains original design, no coding required.

iPad app created with InDesign

iPad app created with InDesign


For more on epublishing with InDesign  contact srps by any of the methods at the top of this page.

Posted in Adobe, apps, CC 2014 version, Design, Digital Editions, Digital publishing, ebooks, ePub, fixed format epub, InDesign, interactivity, Production, Publishing, Software | Leave a comment

Adobe Bridge, Creative Cloud’s productivity secret weapon


Adobe Bridge is often overlooked yet it is one of Creative Cloud (and Creative Suite)’s most surprising and powerful tools. If Bridge is still languishing, uninstalled, in your Creative Cloud apps list, here are ten killer features to get you using it…


  • Batch import & store images: Bridge can import images direct from your camera (or card reader) and store them in a location of your choice. It can also rename and make copies simultaneously.


  • Batch Apply metadata: Bridge makes it easy to develop your own metadata preset (containing your choice of key information such as keywords, description, copyright information and contact details) and can apply to batches of files when you need it.

Create MetadatTemplate

  • Run the Camera Raw plugin: Many Photographers swear by Camera Raw’s unparalleled range of adjustment tools. What many people don’t realise is that Camera Raw is actually a plug-in that can be run in either Photoshop OR Bridge. Opening images in the Raw plug-in via Bridge leaves Photoshop free to do other tasks.


  • Browse files used inside InDesign documents: Designers are often frustrated by trying to locate files they imported into older InDesign documents. Bridge can browse the contents of any InDesign file and display the results just like any other search.


  • Create PDF contact sheets: Creating contact sheets is a necessary but time-consuming part of the designer and photographer’s workflow. Bridge’s output workspace can build bespoke contact sheets (with watermarks, file names, grid layouts and coloured backgrounds) and export them to PDF in seconds.


  • Smart searches: Bridge can search intelligently to find keywords, aspect ratios, colour modes, resolution and many other aspects of your files. Better still, it can save searches for rapid re-use later.


  • Place files into other apps: Having located a file within Bridge, it’s easy to drop it (or them) into your desired document by using the Place command.


  • Rating and prioritising: Rate and prioritise files using Bridge’s star ratings and colour coding system, allowing you to filter files according to your priorities. The wording of the labels is also customisable.


  • Filtering:  When browsing any directory (or search result) Bridge can filter by many different criteria including file type, aspect ratio, colour profile, keyword, rating etc making identifying the file you want fast and straightforward.



  • Preview multi-page files: Save hours by browsing the actual pages of InDesign, Illustrator and PDF files, right in Bridge’s preview pane without waiting for the original file and application to open.

BrowsePagesFor more information on using Bridge in your Adobe workflow please get in touch via any of the methods at the top of this page.

Posted in Adobe, Bridge, CC 2014 version, Creative Cloud, Creative Suite, Design, Software | Leave a comment

Postings in Digital Design Review 14 August

Recent nuggets of interest posted to the Digital Design Review include:

Johnny Abrahams’ Op-Art

The excellent Kern Your Enthusiasm series of typographical blog posts

News of David McCandless’ forthcoming new book of data visualizations, Knowledge is Beautiful

Fantastic geometric giffs by Erik Söderberg

An excellent online resource of cheatsheets for a myriad of applications

A free comic app from the British Library

An interview with Chris Ware

Details of the recent 3D update for Adobe Photoshop

News of a reprint of Paul Rand’s classic design book

and much more…

Posted in Adobe, Art, Design, Digital Design Review, Digital publishing, Link round-up, Photoshop, Publications, Publishing, Software, Typography | Leave a comment

10 keyboard efficiency tricks most people don’t know


Even after ten years as a professional trainer I’m still surprised by how many people are unaware of the efficiencies of keyboard shortcuts. They often turn out to be as useful to delegates as the applications I’m teaching. These are some I use on a more or less daily basis, how many do you know?

  1. Scroll down a page in your browser window by hitting spacebar (all browsers, all platforms)
  2. Scroll up a page in your browser window by hitting shift+spacebar (all browsers, all platforms)
  3. Take a screenshot of a selected area: cmd+shift+4, then drag to define the area (Mac only)
  4. Take a screenshot of just a single window; cmd+shift+4 then hold spacebar, click in desired window with camera icon (Mac only)
  5. Send a file or folder to the wastebasket: cmd+backspace (Mac only)
  6. Drag files into subfolders by hovering them over the target folder without releasing the mouse, the folder will open automatically (Mac only)
  7. Switch between open applications by holding cmd+tab (on Windows use alt+tab)
  8. Increase text size in web browser by hitting cmd+ or reduce cmd- (on Windows use ctrl+/ctrl-)
  9. To duplicate a file in the finder hold alt and drag the file (on Windows use ctrl)
  10. To navigate back up to the previous folder level, hold cmd+up arrow (on Windows use alt+up arrow)
Posted in Apple, Computers, OSX, srps, Tip, Windows | Leave a comment

Postings in Digital Design Review 1st August 14

Peacock – by Brian Eno, 1987

Recent goodies posted in the Digital Design Review include:

Secrets of The Guardian‘s responsive redesign

Classic covers of Ladybird books

Sanders Kleinfeld‘s Five trends signalling a bright future for ebooks

InDesign Magazine issue 64, the Music issue

Terry White‘s tips on getting started with Adobe Muse

Terry White‘s tips on getting started with Adobe Lightroom

srps‘ guide to using Lightroom in your production workflow

The Double Negative interviews Jonathan Barnbrook

A stunning new portable projector from Pico

A nice picture by Brian Eno

and lots more…





Posted in Adobe, Digital Design Review, Lightroom, Link round-up, Photoshop, Publications, Software, srps | Leave a comment

How to use Lightroom in your workflow

Many people have discovered Adobe Lightroom as part of their Creative Cloud subscription and are exploring its many powerhouse photographic adjustment features. On several recent occasions I’ve been asked how best to use Lightroom in a production workflow so I thought I’d offer some suggestions here.

Lightroom is an image editing and storage application, unlike Photoshop which is primarily an image adjustment application. In spite of it’s massive range of adjustment features and automation, scripting and batch processing options, Photoshop fundamentally treats every image as a standalone object and retains no information about it once it has been saved and/or closed. Lightroom, on the other hand, stores masses of information (including location, metadata and adjustments) in a text based catalogue file so it’s always available and can be modified at any time. This fundamental difference means that Lightroom  ‘remembers’ everything about an image for its entire lifespan within your workflow.

A typical production workflow based around editing images in Photoshop looks something like this:

Diagram of Standard image workflow with Photoshop

Standard image workflow with Photoshop

In this workflow, images are stored and adjusted manually and often have little in the way of identifying information (metadata) attached to them. This means it can be time consuming to locate them and troublesome to work out what has been done to them prior to deciding if they can or should be used for another project.

This kind of workflow is essentially linear as each image has to be stored and adjusted manually and separately for each different kind of output. Tracking what has been done and where images are located is done with external tools such as spreadsheets or management applications.

In a Lightroom workflow, adjustments can be applied in batches and images can be generated for multiple outputs all while being tracked automatically in Lightroom’s catalogue.

Some approaches to using Lightroom begin with making adjustments in Photoshop, then opening in Lightroom to access Lightroom’s specific set of tools, then exporting again. This can create confusion about what has been done and how many copies of the images are currently in use. By introducing an already adjusted image into a Lightroom catalogue, no record will be stored of any previous adjustments so the history of the file is incomplete. A more efficient workflow might be as follows:

Diagram of  Image workflow using Lightroom and Photoshop

Image workflow using Lightroom and Photoshop


In this approach, Lightroom is the core of the workflow, handling both storage and adjustment functions. In this workflow, no assumption is made about the final output format of the image. All images are converted into Lightroom’s own very large, proprietary colour space, allowing adjustments to be made at the highest quality without the restrictions to quality that print and other output processes impose. In this case, think of Lightroom as working with the master copy of the image. When the image has to be included in a print document or web page, Lightroom can export it straight to the desired file format or hand it off directly to Photoshop (or another image editor) for further adjustments. As these copies are generated (I like to think of them as output files or even children of the original master copy) they can also be added to the Lightroom catalogue. In this way it’s possible to see not only the history of all adjustments made in Lightroom but also record what copies were made and for what purpose. As all adjustment information is stored as text, it’s always possible to see and also change any aspects of the image, something that is not feasible with a manual, Photoshop only workflow.

Used in this way, Lightroom can become a powerful and efficient management tool for your image workflow, working alongside your other image applications and maintaining an audit trail of information about each image. Lightroom is now also available in a tablet edition. It’s free to Creative Cloud subscribers and allows you to take your image workflow on the road with you. Look out for more on Lightroom Mobile in a future post.

For further information about Adobe Lightroom contact

Posted in Adobe, Creative Cloud, Lightroom, Photography, Photoshop, Production, Software | Leave a comment

Recently added to the Digital Design Review

Articles, links and generally interesting stuff recently added to The Digital Design Review:

Adobe Fixel, a new mobile app from Adobe Labs promising to bring some of Photoshop’s Content Aware wizardry to your pics on the go.

A short video introducing Adobe’s app publishing platform,  Digital Publishing Suite and what it can be used for.

A free Aperture to Lightroom migration tool.

Affinity Designer, a free (for a limited time) alternative to Adobe Illustrator.

A new analogue watch with activity tracker from French design studio eliumstudio.

A spectacular new book on dynamic typography from Unit Editions.

It’s Nice That‘s logos and identities of the year so far.

A gallery of album covers by the brilliant French artist, Phillipe Druillet .

Posted in apps, Art, Books, Design, Link round-up, srps, Typography | Leave a comment


Screenshot of Digital_Design_Review


I recently started posting roundups of various publishing, design, tech and other links that I promote via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. I’ve now gathered these into an online magazine via the iPad app, Flipboard. It’s called the Digital_Design_Review, it’s completely free and can be viewed either online or via the Flipboard app.

Aggregating links via Flipboard has proven to be much more immediate and efficient and I can make updates as and when I find something interesting.  The Digital_Design_Review will become my primary way to save and distribute links related to the content on this blog and, this will replace my regular roundup of links.

I will continue to promote interesting topics and links via all the usual methods but you’ll be able to find the whole lot at the Digital_Design_Review.

To whet your appetite, I have recently shared links on:

Adobe’s new Ink and Slide drawing tools

Guido Henkel’s eBook, Zen of eBook formatting

An interview with the great German typographer, Erik Spiekermann

A tutorial on mastering grids in InDesign

And Adobe’s recent announcement about the Creative Cloud Market

I hope you enjoy Digital_Design_Review, please do subscribe if you like it.


Posted in Adobe, Books, Business, Design, Digital publishing, ebooks, Photography, Print, Production, Publishing, Social Media, Software, Tip, Typography | Leave a comment