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Hello and welcome to this website design Web Designer North Attleboro video tutorial.

I’m Owen Corso from Google.

web design tools 2018 web design for beginners

And today, we’re going to build a rich media expandable creative with video.

Let’s start by selecting file, New File.

This opens a dialog box where we will set up our ad.

First, let’s make out high of project.

We have four options– The default is Display & Video 360so we will leave that as is.

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Data Driven Templates for Display & Video 360 Ad Canvas - Google Web Designer

As part of Intuit’s core initiatives to further cultivate mobile first thinking and accelerate growth into global markets, the Intuit Small Business Group’s Design Org has shifted from a model of designing and shipping prioritized features to a model where every designer is responsible for end-to-end, cross-device experiences, which includes designing for our products and services on desktop web, mobile web, desktop client apps, and native mobile apps.

As a design lead for our ecosystem of native mobile products over the past few years, I started getting a lot of questions around guidance and principles for mobile design. I noticed many of the designers, product managers, and engineers who are new to mobile app design or don’t live and breathe mobile app development on an everyday basis didn’t fully understand the nature of designing for native platforms and device capabilities. To reinforce the notion that “cross-device” and “mobile first” isn’t just about designing for smaller screens and scaling across multiple device sizes, I collaborated with the Design Systems Team to establish a set of mobile patterns and guidelines so that designers can hit the ground running, or run even faster, with mobile design. We recently published some guidelines, tools, and resources on our internal design toolkit that I thought would be great to share some key points and takeaways with a wider audience as the documentation addresses many frequently asked questions around mobile patterns.

Firstly, I want to start off by saying that what I write here is simply for guidance. Our mantra for any kind of pattern guidelines documentation we provide is, “Give me guidance, but let me drive.” We don’t want to be prescriptive, and we don’t want to tell you how to design, but this is a good starting point to get you going on native mobile designs. Why are we calling out native mobile? As we continue to design device-agnostic, end-to-end experiences and features for products and services, we must remember not to neglect the different platforms (i.e. our mobile products are currently offered on both iOS and Android).

Overall Principles

1. Respect the platform

We documented patterns and components based on native operating systems that we have apps on: iOS and Android. When designing for native platforms, you should consistently refer to the native OS design guidelines first for maximum quality. Keep in mind that native platform guidelines constantly evolve, so it’s always good practice to stay on top of these guidelines and refresh your memory and knowledge often.

Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines: https://developer.apple.com/ios/human-interface-guidelines/

Google’s Material Design Guidelines: https://material.io/guidelines/

2. Focus on the customer benefit

Always design for the customer benefit first. No use case is the same, and many use cases have exceptions. Do not design something simply because you can reuse a pattern or component for another feature. Design patterns help ground us as a system and unify an experience across an ecosystem of products, but they should by no means be the first or last stop in the design process. Always question yourself: How will this benefit the customer?

3. Think device first

Push your thinking beyond “mobile first.” Start thinking about leveraging device capabilities first. The native mobile device has a lot to offer: touch, voice, pressure, location tracking, accelerometer, notifications, etc. You are designing around the device, the platform, the user experience. How can these device features be utilized in our products? How can the mobile device benefit users beyond the screen interface in front of them?

4. Keep scalability in mind

Growing from the previous principle, do remember that a mobile device isn’t just a phone. Scalability across devices, more specifically between a phone and tablet, is a common challenge among designers. When we think of mobile devices, we know there are tablets, phones, phablets (not small enough to be a phone, not big enough to be a tablet). Some of the recurring questions I get asked are: Should there be parity between web and tablet designs? Can we translate the phone patterns to be the same on tablets? How do we design for phablets (not small enough to be a phone, not big enough to be a tablet)? To answer these questions, we researched with users, took an in-depth look at device interfaces and screen sizes, and set some standards. While the phone and tablet share many similarities, users use them very differently.

PHONE INTERFACE

Mobile interfaces LESS THAN 7 inches width should be treated as a phone. Syntax and layout should be aligned across these devices as much as possible, but we also want to leverage native platform guidelines and capabilities first and foremost.

A fundamental design principle for mobile phones is to include only necessary information. Do not overload the user with more than they need to know or take action on. The phone is a convenient way to consume information on the go. Small business owners use a phone to complete quick actions while they are not in the office, capture data, view content, then perhaps close it out and come back to take a look later.

TABLET INTERFACE

Mobile interfaces GREATER THAN 7 inches width should be treated as a tablet. Syntax and layout should be aligned across these devices as much as possible, and by no means should they need to align exactly the same as the less than 7-inch interfaces.

Tablet designs should look and feel like desktop web, but they should function like the phone (with tap/swipe/hold gestures, transitions, etc.). Many users view the tablet as a hybrid device. We’ve encountered many small business owners that don’t own a computer, but they own a tablet, and those users treat the tablet as a reliable device they can do work on.

To scale for the future or additional digital interfaces, you should also think about non-mobile touchscreens like TV displays, interactive table displays, automobile displays, laptop displays that you can touch, etc. You want to make sure you can scale for multiple screen sizes, large and small, and not limit yourself to thinking only about the devices your products are being supported by.

Patterns and Guidelines

This list is a small subset of patterns and guidelines that I’ve found designers have been commonly asking around best practices for our mobile products.

Screen Transitions

One of the major aspects that make navigating content on native mobile platforms so delightful is the transitions between screens. Two questions I get asked a lot are: When should a push (screen pushed in leftward from the right) be used? When should a modal (screen pushed upward from the bottom) be used? We’ve established the following best practices:

A push is essentially the fundamental screen transition to view a new screen that is stacked on top of the previous screen. There is typically a Back button so user can view the last viewed screen. For screens that are primarily for viewing, such as transaction detail screens or lists, we use a push.

A modal is typically used when we are requiring the user to select, edit content, or input data. All of our transaction forms use full screen modals as it requires more user thought due to several form fields on one screen. The titles bars for these screens typically have Cancel and Save or Cancel and Done actions. Then, when you tap Save, you get a push screen because you are viewing (not editing) the saved content.

Call to Actions

This section highlights a question I often get: “Should this call to action be a button or a text link?” In both iOS’ and Android’s design guidelines, text as buttons is the norm and recommendation. However, I feel when we use text, especially with a system font against a dark or light background, we lose out on a major opportunity to incorporate brand elements, such as our ecosystem green color or line iconography. So, we’ve deliberately moved away from using text as call to actions, and instead use buttons with high contrast, which also makes it very clear that it is a call to action and not just part of the screen content.

Empty States

Our empty state screens provides a first impression to users who are new to our products. It usually consists of an illustration, a brief description, and a clear call to action. A common and current design trend is the usage of gray text on a light background. If you decide to follow that trend, make sure the text is readable and accessible by analyzing the foreground and background colors to meet the WCAG 2.0 color contrast ratio requirements.

Carets

Firstly, yes, it’s spelled caret, not carat or carrot. 🙂 Carets are used to promote discoverability. Historically, we try to use carets for every instance we want to indicate that the user should tap into the row to view more. However, in our forms, we are working toward to moving away from using carets and instead utilize the extra real estate by creating visual cues and conversational content design to indicate tap targets to view more. After some user testing with different design treatments, we’ve found that discoverability isn’t as much of an issue as we thought. Users will naturally tap on rows, whether there’s more information provided to them or not. We only want to use carets when absolutely necessary.

Action Sheets

General rule of thumb for native mobile design: Use action sheets whenever there are multiple actions associated with a single call to action (that is not a system blocker). Apple iOS guidelines calls these action sheets. Google Android calls these bottom sheets. Use action sheets/bottom sheets whenever there are multiple actions associated with a single call to action.

Cards or Tiles

A card (or tile as other teams may call it) is a component acting as a rectangular container for a certain amount of information: visual elements, instructional text, diagrams, and action triggers. There are two types of cards based on appearance and usage: action card and info card.

Dialogs

We use native system dialogs for critical alerts, permissions related alerts, system blocker alerts, etc. The key word is “alert.” Note that for actions that aren’t related to these things, we try to use action sheets.

Fonts

The general rule for native mobile design is to use system fonts as much as possible. However, we needed to incorporate our brand and voice and tone to create what we call “QuickBooks Ownable Moments.” For large headlines and sub-headlines, we use our brand fonts. For body text, we use system fonts. For fonts within buttons, we use system fonts.

Toggles

Toggle switches are used to trigger a binary operation (i.e. turning something on and off). It is used often to replace a web checkbox metaphor. We have a lot of checkboxes in our web products so when we design for native mobile, we want to make sure we are only looking to replace binary checkboxes that allows for things like enabling or disabling content, show/hide content or fields, turn on/off tax, track returns for customers, instead of checkboxes used for selecting multiple items.

Again, these are just a few guidelines to get you started or to accelerate your mobile first design process, especially for native mobile. You are the driver and designer with creative license to define the end-to-end user experience for your products and services. Trust your gut, follow your instincts, but always remember to respect the platforms, focus on the customer benefit, think device first, and keep scalability in mind!

Yvonne So is a Principal UX Designer @Intuit currently crafting meaningful experiences for small businesses around the world. With a passion and mission for making technology more inclusive of everyone, she regularly speaks and writes about mobile UX, accessibility, innovation, and empathic design.

North Attleboro website design

Next, we can select the type of ad.

We want to make an expandable, so we select Expandable on the left.

Next, we can set again ad’s dimensions.

We are building a 320 by 50that expands to 480 by 250.

So I will make those changes.

We then assign the North Attleboro creative a name.

I will leave my Save ToLocation as the default, and leave the talk about set to Quick.

Once I’m happy with my settings, I click OK.

Google Web Designer creates the initial pages of the ad for me with the dimensions I defined.

 

website design North Attleboro

The collapsed page already contains a Tap Area event to expand the ad and an expanded pageNorth Attleboro with a close tap area to collapse back down.

web design with html & css3

Does Going to the Dentist Make You Nervous?

web design mobile first

OWEN CORSO: Hello and welcometo this Google Web Designer video tutorial.

I'm Owen Corso from Google.

And today, we're goingto build a rich media expandable creative with video.

Let's start by selectingFile, New File.

This opens a dialog boxwhere we will set up our ad.

First, let's chooseour environment.

We have four options-- The default is Display & Video 360so we will leave that as is.

Next, we can selectthe type of ad.

We want to make anexpandable, so we select Expandable on the left.

Next, we can set upour ad's dimensions.

We are building a 320 by 50that expands to 480 by 250.

So I will make those changes.

We then assign thecreative a name.

I will leave my Save ToLocation as the default, and leave the animationmode set to Quick.

Once I'm happy with mysettings, I click OK.

Google Web Designer creates theinitial pages of the ad for me with the dimensions I defined.

The collapsed page alreadycontains a Tap Area event to expand the ad and an expandedpage with a close tap area to collapse back down.

It also has added all theinitial code needed for the ad to talk to the ad server andcollect tracking metrics.

Those metrics are builtinto the components, and we can assign uniqueidentifiers to each component as we go.

So now I can start adding thegraphic elements I've already prepared.

I drag a backgroundimage or initial ad state and drop it onto the stage,then align it to the stage, and layer it behind the taparea by sending to back.

Now, let's switch toour expanded page.

Let's add a background imageby dragging my image file to the stage.

I can also add abutton to the stage by dragging theTap Area component.

Let's make a backgroundexit tap area.

I will size, align it, and thenI will give it a unique name.

To add functionalityto the button, I will add an event using theplus button in the event's toolbar.

This brings me tomy Actions panel, where we assignall of the metrics to our ad instead ofcoding them manually.

I'm going to selectthe tap area I just named BackgroundExit from the list.

Choose Tap Area, Touch/Click as the event.

Google Ad, Exit ad.

On the Receiver panel,I select gwd-ad.

Lastly, I give it an exitidentifier and a destination URL.

For more in-depth detailson the event model, check out the Eventsand Metrics video.

Next, let's add avideo component.

You drag it to the stage,then give it a name and size it properly.

Tell it how to behave.

I want it to autoplay and start muted.

And you target thevideo file here.

This component has allof the metrics built in, so you can avoid handcoding them in the ad.

OK.

Let's preview our ad.

On page load, we seeour collapsed state.

When we click, the adexpands to our expanded page.

Our video behavesas we told it to, and clicking on the backgroundexits to our landing page.

Once the ad is built andfunctioning as you want, it is ready to publish.

Go to File, Publish.

And you're presentedwith a few options-- Publish Locally,to Google Drive, and, finally, toStudio.

Let's choose Publish Locally.

This is where you cancontrol how the ad is output.

For instance, youcan add polite load to the ad, which delays thead load until after the page content loads.

You can also set itto minify the code and add browserprefixes automatically.

We'll leave all thesesettings as to the default.

Click Publish, and Web Designerwill wrap up all of your files in a nice little zipfor uploading to Studio.

Now, let's testit out in Studio.

Let's make a newcreative of expanding type.

Drag the zip file to uploadour creative to Studio.

Now, let's preview our creative.

As you can see, I can expandthe unit, play the video, and trigger thebackground exit we added.

You can see these eventslogging to the output console.

And that's an overviewof Studio integration features in Google Web Designer.

Does Going to the Dentist Make You Nervous?

1. Gestures are the new clicks

We forget how hard scrolling webpages used to be. Most users would painstakingly move their mouse to the right edge of the screen, to use something ancient called a ‘scrollbar’:

As a pro, you probably used a mouse wheel, cursor keys, or trackpad, but you were way ahead of most users.

In 2015 it’s far easier to scroll than it is to click. On mobile, you can scroll wildly with your thumb. To click on a precise target is actually more difficult — the complete opposite of what we’re used to on the desktop.

As a result, we should expect more and more websites to be built around scrolling first, and clicking second. And of course, that’s exactly what we’ve seen everywhere:

There’s every reason to expect this trend to continue as mobile takes over more of the market. Modern sites have fewer things to click, and much more scrolling. We’ll see fewer links, more buttons, bigger ‘clickable’ areas, and taller pages that expect to be scrolled.

Websites which spread their articles onto multiple pages will soon learn this lesson. Expect these to turn into longer single pages or even, like TIME magazine, into infinite scrolling pages:

It’s too early to know if the web will expand itself onto devices like watches, but if it ever does, you can bet it’ll be almost entirely driven by gestures.

2. The fold really is dead this time

Now scrolling is so cheap, and devices are so varied in size, ‘the fold’ is finally becoming irrelevant.

Designers are increasingly free to not cram everything at the top of a page. This leads to a design trend popularised by Medium — full-screen image titles, with no content visible until you start scrolling:

With tall, scrolling pages, designers have the chance to do what magazines have taken for granted for years: fill their pages with big beautiful images. In 2015 expect to see more designs that take up much more space — especially vertically — and a lot of larger imagery like this.

3. Users are quicker, websites are simplifying

Today every young adult is an expert web user. And even the amateurs are acting like pros: using multiple tabs, and swiping to go back a page.

The result is that everything is faster. And we’ve all learned to become impatient. If you want to make a mild mannered person explode with annoyance, just make their Internet really slow for a minute.

Now websites are forced not just to become faster (a technical problem), but to become faster to understand. Designs which slow the user down have the same impact on their audience as these websites which don’t load at all.

Simpler designs are easier to scan, which means they’re faster to appreciate. It’s easy to see which of these two designs is newer, and it’s because it’s the one that user’s can enjoy the fastest:

This is the biggest reason for the death of skeuomorphic design: users are more perceptive, less patient, and clutter only slows them down.

Apps put most websites to shame with super-minimal, beautiful interfaces. And they’re doing this because minimal interfaces perform better.

Flat design is just the beginning. The real trend is towards simplicity and immediacy, and we expect that to go further than ever in 2015.

4. The pixel is dead

On a desktop, a pixel was a pixel. You even had an idea of how many pixels made up an average inch: 72 dpi. Nowadays very few people know what a pixel is.

With responsive design, we’ve seen a move towards grids and percentages. But one huge area remains still unchallenged: bitmap images.

Almost all of the web is built with images that have half the resolution of a modern display, and they don’t scale. With Retina displays and modern browsers, the time is right for vector images to become more popular in 2015.

We can see this trend already happening with the font-based icons and Google’s Material design. The website loads faster and scale the icons to any size without losing quality. That makes them ideal for designers and modern web browsers.

The technology exists now, but it will take time for professionals to change their habits to create for higher quality displays. Once the average desktop display becomes Retina-grade (like the new iMac), we expect designers to follow suit.

5. Animation is back

If you want to make a website look dated, cover it with animated “Under Construction” GIFs and Flash animation. But several things are coming together to make animation a rising star in modern web design.

Flat design can end up looking too consistent, boring even. Animation helps a website to stand out and to pack more information into less space.

Mobile apps have redefined what a user expects. Mobile apps use motion to convey meaning, and websites are just starting to do the same.

New technologies like CSS animation make it easy to enhance designs without plugins, speed or compatibility issues. And Web Components (#6, below) will only accelerate this.

GIF animation is back, and surprisingly effective. You’ll notice this article makes extensive use of GIF animation (if it doesn’t, you should view this version), which has never been easier to create or share.

6. Components are the new frameworks

Web technology continues to get more complicated, and less semantic. Designers must embed messy code onto their pages for simple tasks, like including Google Analytics or a Facebook Like button. It would be a lot easier if we could just write something like this instead:

<google-analytics key=”UA-12345–678">

And we can with Web Components, which aren’t quite ready to be used by most designers yet. 2015 is looking like their year.

Google’s Material design is here, and it may just be what gets this movement started. Powered by Polymer, and supported by all modern browsers, it provides the rich animation and interaction components from Android apps, with simple tags like these:

If that takes hold, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more component based frameworks appear in 2015. Perhaps Bootstrap 4.0?

7. Social saturation and the rise of direct email

Social media has been a huge success for consumers, but many content producers aren’t so happy.

The problem is saturation. With billions of posts every day, Facebook learns the posts that users are most likely to enjoy and shows only those. Unfortunately that means over time, what you post is increasingly seen by a smaller percentage of your followers. (A problem you can solve, conveniently, by paying Facebook).

Social isn’t going away, but in 2014 we’ve seen a lot of prominent bloggers like Tim Ferriss move their focus away from social and into good old fashioned email lists. They’ve realised that email has one significant advantage over social: a much higher percentage of people will see what you send them.

I expect this post-social trend to continue into 2015, with the under-appreciated trend of Web Notifications (which work much like notifications in a mobile app).

Bonus non-prediction: CSS shapes

This cool technology won’t get noticed, except by designers. CSS shapes allow you to flow layout into shapes, like circles:

It’s incredibly cool, but until browser support is guaranteed, this is likely to be too risky to put time and effort into it you’d need almost two complete designs, for old and new browsers. And outside of designers, we don’t think many users would notice.

It is really cool though.

What to expect in 2015

In 2014 we saw mobile use overtake desktop, but the general public hasn’t caught up. Most organisations still commission a website to look good on their computer first and work on mobile second.

In 2015 that strategy is likely to look out of touch and unprofessional. As the mobile becomes the main device for browsing the web, “mobile-first” will become less of a buzzword and more of a requirement.

Flat design may be everywhere, but when you look beyond ghost buttons the real trend is that simpler sites are faster at gratifying users.

Simplicity is not just a fashion: it’s the future. Expect it to only continue.

It will become more and more common to embed animation into blog posts, and for motion to signify both premium quality (for those who can afford it) and to support the user experience.

Pixels and the fold will slowly be set aside making more room for scrolling and click-second experiences. Web Components will make it easier to deliver app-like experiences in our websites.

Right now you see the best of mobile app design appearing in web design. With enough time, the difference between an app and a website might almost entirely disappear.

web design tips

Sketch was made for screen-based design.
Websites, app interfaces, icons… these objects of design exist within a world of pixel measurements, RGB colors, and presentation on digital screens. Unlike many of the Adobe creative tools which include 10,000 features and the kitchen sink, Sketch is laser-focused in its purpose—and consequently works far better (and more efficiently) for what it does do.

Sketch was not made for print-based design.
Business cards, brochures, posters… these exist within a physical world of inch/centimeter/point/pica measurements, CMYK or Pantone colors, and presentation on a variety of papers and materials. Adobe Illustrator and InDesign are two of the most popular tools in this arena.

If you’re like me, you’re far more efficient working in Sketch.

And when a print design project rolls around, you might find yourself yearning to continue using the same tool you’ve become so adept at using for web/UI design. I want you to know that it’s possible. Here’s how I do it:

(full disclosure: Adobe Illustrator is required)

The Magic Number 72

Dating back to the craft of setting lead type for a printing press, the primary units of measurement were points (72 per inch) and picas (12 per inch). Lead type (pictured here) is measured in points, and is produced in pica or half-pica increments such as 12, 18, 24, 36, and 72 points. Those numbers should sound familiar to you, as they became standard digital font sizes with the Macintosh. The first Macs used screens where every inch contained 72 pixels, resulting in 12pt text that looked practically the same size onscreen as in print. The evolution of pixels per inch (PPI) is too extensive for this article (especially since the advent of retina displays), although it’s important to know a bit about the origins of this 72:1 ratio.

This article will mostly use inch measurements, as used for print design in the US. If you are familiar with a centimeter workflow, I’d love to hear from you!

Sketch measures everything in pixel units, so we need a way to convert our design to the physical world of inches. By now you may have guessed where this is going: 72 pixels in Sketch converts to 1 inch in an exported PDF.

  • An 8.5" × 11" piece of paper (US Letter) converts to a 612px × 792px artboard.
  • A typical 3.5" × 2" business card converts to a 252px × 144px artboard.
  • When adding a new artboard, Sketch 3 gives you a few “Paper Sizes” presets. Speed things up by adding your own custom artboard presets!

The pixel dimensions of a 72 PPI layout may be far smaller than you are used to when working on websites or user interfaces. Remember that the clarity of your print project is dictated by the print method you use—Sketch’s “Show Pixels” function is of no use here!

Tips for Designing Your Layout

  • For elements in your design, try to use measurements that make sense in inches. 1px = 1pt for lines and font-sizes. I’ll often use 1/8 inch (9px) or 1/16 inch (4.5px) increments for layout elements.
  • You can use Sketch’s Grid feature to make these inch-appropriate positions or measurements easier. I suggest a grid with a 9px (1/8 inch) block size and thick lines every 8 blocks (1 inch). Show/hide the grid with ⌃G on your keyboard.
  • You can turn off “Pixel Fitting” in Preferences. There’s no need to be a stickler for pixel alignment as you would be for screen-based design.

Margins & Bleeds

Professional print shops often require your artwork to have extra space on all sides, extending any parts of your design that “bleed” out to the edge (see example below). This compensates for the slight, yet inevitable, variance in where the edges are cut on your final print. My printer asks for a 1/8 inch bleed, and I often add this to my Sketch layout (9px extra on all sides). If your design has elements that bleed, I suggest you do the same—if not, you can easily add these extra margins later when saving a PDF from Illustrator. Printers will also recommend that any text is at least 1/8 inch inside the trim lines (a “safe zone” or “critical print area”), as in the business card below.

The “Trim Lines” indicate what the final card will look like. Because trimming is rarely 100% accurate, any parts of the design that extend to the very edge should continue out to a “Bleed”. Shown here, the bleed extends to 1/8 inch outside the artwork.

Preparing the File for Print

99% of print shops are strict about the specifications of your “artwork” files. The following process will help you give printers the files they want! If your layout relies heavily on images, gradients, or shadows, skip to the next section!

When you have finished your design in Sketch, export it as a PDF at 1x scale. Many programs, such as Preview or Adobe Illustrator will automatically interpret the file at 72 PPI. You can view the PDF’s dimensions in inches in Preview (Tools > Show Inspector, ⌘I), or in pixels using Finder’s Get Info window (under “More Info”). If you save your PDF through Illustrator, pixel and inch dimensions will be automatically included in the file.

There are 2 other things we need to change about Sketch’s exported PDF:

  1. Text needs to be “Converted to Outlines”.
  2. The colors need to be CMYK values instead of RGB.
  3. Any images in the design need to be embeded as CMYK images.

Converting Text to Outlines

To ensure that your design is printed exactly how you see it on your computer, it is important to convert the text objects in the PDF to actual vector shapes, or “outlines”. This makes the text look exactly the same on any program on any computer, regardless of the fonts you’ve used in the design, and regardless of whether or not those fonts are installed on the printer’s computer.

You can convert text to outlines in Sketch (more about that here), although if your design has more than a few lines of text, Sketch will slow down dramatically. If you want a guaranteed way to crash Sketch, try selecting a dozen text objects and converting them to outlines all at once! Fortunately, Adobe Illustrator excels in this department, so we’ll use that instead.

  • Open the PDF in Illustrator and navigate to Select > All (⌘A), from the menu bar.
  • Also in the menu bar, navigate to Type > Convert Text to Outlines (⌘⇧O). Easy as that!

Converting to CMYK Colors

After opening your PDF in Illustrator, navigate to File > Document Color Mode > CMYK Color. This converts the entire document to a CMYK colorspace from RGB. That’s the easy step. Now we have to change the colors in our design to actual CMYK values.

If you’re used to screen-based design and appreciate great colors, I feel obligated to tell you that CMYK may disappoint you. Due to the nature of combining those 4 colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) in ink, many bright and saturated colors are difficult or impossible to recreate. Without diving into color theory or the pros/cons of various print methods, I will simply suggest that for any color that is important to your design you see a sample of that exact color value from a similar printer on a similar material. To do this I recommend choosing a close match on a Pantone swatchbook (a bit pricey, but a great investment), or ask your printer for a printed sample of a variety of colors printed on the paper you’ll use (they probably already have these, and can give you each color’s CMYK value).

Once you’ve chosen great CMYK values for all your colors, it’s time to replace the color value for each of the elements in your design. This sounds tedious—and to a certain extent it is—but I’ve discovered a few shortcuts to help you!

  • First off, you will need to select the elements whose colors you want to change. If you aren’t familiar with Illustrator, know that a layer is only selected when you click the small circle to the right of it. Simply clicking on the layer’s name will not do anything!
  • If your design has many elements with the same color (say, all green text), they can be selected all at once by first selecting one instance of the element then clicking the “Select Similar Objects” button on the right of the toolbar. If this toolbar or button isn’t available, try navigating to Select > Same in the menu bar.
  • When your elements are selected, hold down the Shift key when you click on the fill color in the toolbar (fill color to the left, stroke/border color to the right). Even elements that are pure black need to be converted to CMYK black, for which there is a little swatch below the color sliders.

Last Step!

When all of your text has been converted to outlines and all of your colors are CMYK, it’s time to save a separate PDF (I add “-print” as a suffix to the new filename). By using File > Save As, you get a trillion options for the PDF. The single option I ever use is to add a bleed margin (my printer likes 1/8 inch) on all sides of the artwork. To do this, go to the “Marks and Bleeds” section on the left and uncheck “Use Document Bleed Settings”, as shown below.

You’re all done! Trust me, next time this process will take you half as long!

Is Your Design Image-Heavy?

If your Sketch design includes bitmap images (non-vector images), they will be automatically converted from RGB to CMYK when you change the Document Color Mode. Upon importing the PDF to Illustrator, any shadows in your design will be converted to bitmap images and any gradients will become un-editable “Non-Native Art”. Because of this, if images, shadows, or gradients are important to your design, I strongly suggest you instead save the entire Sketch layout as a PNG and convert it to a CMYK file in Photoshop using the following steps.

  1. Export the Sketch artboard as a PNG at 4.166x scale, which gives you the amount of pixels you’ll need for a 300 PPI print-ready file. Printers rarely accept bitmap images less than this resolution. Make sure your artboard includes the necessary bleed margins (described above) before export.
  2. Open the PNG in Photoshop and navigate to Image > Image Size, in the menu bar. Uncheck the “Resample” checkbox and type in either the artwork’s dimensions in inches or the “Pixels/Inch” you used when exporting from Sketch (again, this is often 300 PPI). Click “OK”.
  3. In the menu bar, navigate to Image > Mode > CMYK Color. This will alert you that Photoshop is converting the file to a default CMYK color profile. This step may visibly change the colors of your design. Rest assured that your computer screen is not an accurate representation of colors in print, although you should also not expect the same bright or saturated colors capable with RGB (as described above).
  4. Adjust the colors slightly if you desire, then Save As a .psd or .tif file. Be sure to tell the printer what bleed margins you included in the artwork!

Of course you can use this process in conjunction with the PDF + Illustrator workflow above, by embedding the Photoshopped images into your Illustrator document. But most of the time I stick to one process or the other.

Is This Workflow Right for You?

If you’re fast at designing in Sketch, feel more at ease or more creative using it, or aren’t very familiar with Illustrator/InDesign, this may be good for you. This may also be a useful workflow if you have existing designs from Sketch (an interface, icon, logo) that you want to prepare for professional printing. I can’t read the future, but with Bohemian Coding’s small team and success focusing on screen-based design, I don’t advise you to hold your breath for print features. It’s a huge can of worms!

Examples of projects made with this workflow. From packaging, to letterpressed business cards, to laser-engraved signage. This work for Juice Shop recently won the Type Directors Club’s prestigious annual design competition.

I’ve written this article to share my workflow for print design projects, but also to learn of ways that I might improve this workflow in the future. If you have any suggestions, especially related to Illustrator or the print process, feel free to share them!

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