“Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong”?
St. Sebastian’s in Milwaukee might be the most beautiful old church in the area. The lighting, however, is not ideal for taking photos of wiggly elementary school students! I had my annual Honors Mass photo day at the church and school, and after adopting a few new tricks of the trade, I think I got the best results yet. I can’t share all of their smiling faces online, so you will have to take my word for it.
I used to shoot in Aperture Priority mode at St. Seb’s, but with a little more practice in days before the photo shoot, I went with Manual mode, and I am happy with outcome.
I would be remiss if I didn’t create a post about this year’s Doors Open Milwaukee! They have added sites and extended hours so that you can see even more.
If you missed this event last year, I encourage you to pick out a few locations that interest you, and learn more about Milwaukee. Don’t forget, it is totally free! There are lots of locations that will interest kids of all ages, especially some of the locations that my family visited last year!
Last year, we visited the top of the U.S. Bank building and took in the view. (I still catch myself calling it the First Wisconsin Building.) The observation deck is usually not open to the public, so this is was a great opportunity to take in a 360 degree view of the city.
We also visited the Pilot House at Discovery World and “Wisconsin’s flagship,” the Denis Sullivan. Again, this was FREE! We found ourselves mesmerized by the unusual site of multiple waterspouts on Lake Michigan. The crew of the Denis Sullivan had never seen so many waterspouts on the lake at one time. Some of them had never seen a waterspout on Lake Michigan at all. While I can’t promise waterspouts, I can promise that it is worth it put this stop on your list.
The complete list of locations for 2012 has not been disclosed yet, but check the web site: http://doorsopenmilwaukee.org/ to plan your visit! We did not have much time to visit more of the sites last year because of soccer games and other obligations, but there are several spots I hope to visit this year. Milwaukee City Hall, Milwaukee Art Museum, Great Lakes Distillery, Milwaukee Theatre, Pabst Theater, and several Milwaukee River Bridge Houses are a few destinations on my list. I love to explore old churches, and there are several on the list. Churches not your thing? How about American System-Built Home Model B-1, a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as an early prefab model? Is there a building in the downtown area that you are curious about? This might be your opportunity to learn more!
The other day, I received an email with a Microsoft Word document attached. It was from my child’s school. I was able to decipher that the document was a permission slip for an upcoming field trip, but where? When? How? The Word document looked like this when I opened it (click on the image to enlarge. Names have been removed to protect the innocent.)
To be fair, the document was part of a special project that some students were working on. The students were probably “getting fancy” and using some fonts that are not available on my computer. That being said, it is a good illustration of the problem: Word is not always the best vehicle for transferring your information to multiple recipients.
You spend time creating a document (a letter, a flyer, etc.) You take time and care to make sure that everything looks just right. You add photos, change the font, and format it until it looks perfect. You send it out to the person in the office next to you and, maybe, when they open it on their computer it still looks perfect. Keep in mind, if that person in your office opens it, most likely they have the same version of Word and the same fonts available on their computer that you do. The risk comes when you send it to people outside your office, people with different versions of Word (2007, 2010, or even Mac or Windows!) In the example above, the fonts are probably the biggest problem. When I open the file, my computer tries to find the font that was used, and when it can’t, my machine substitutes a different font. When you are dealing with PC fonts on a Mac computer, and vice versa, the substitution fails and you get gibberish. Sometimes, the substitution is semi-successful and you get a readable document, but the formatting you took great care in perfecting is messed up. Plus, you should keep in mind that when you send out a Word document, recipients can change anything they want. So what can you do?
The best solution is to convert your Word document to a PDF. PDF stand for “Portable Document Format.” It is the best way to send a document to multiple recipients so that it is most likely to arrive in the condition that you intend.
How? In my version of Word, Control or Command P brings up the Print dialog box. In the lower left corner, I have an option to PDF. I also have the option to choose Adobe PDF as my printer. (I realize that not everyone has the software.) On my other computer, under the file menu I have options to “save and send” as a PDF. Hopefully, one of these options will help you. If not, there are many places online to get help with your version of Word.
What if, as in the case of the permission slip example above, your document is meant to be used as a form that the recipient will fill out and return to you? We want to save trees! If you are trying to “go green,” what is the point of emailing a PDF that the recipient has to print so that they can fill it out? In this case, you have to go a step further and invest in the software ($45 to $130.) There are several software programs out there for making PDFs. Adobe Acrobat is the most common one. Whatever software you invest in, make sure you have the ability to “create fillable forms.” Learn how to use the software to create forms, and you are green!
Bottom line: If you are sending multiple people a file and you do not want them to edit it, PDF it.
When is comes to logos and photos for print projects, there are a lot of misconceptions. A little knowledge can go a long way, often toward more confusion. Let’s see if I can clear things up. I am not going for techno-babble here, just trying to clarify the concepts for non-designers. In the past, I have tried to explain resolution to co-workers/salespeople, clients and even a graphic design intern often with the same result: ‘too many letters… eyes glazing over… only hearing blah, blah, blah…’ I have worked hard to make this painless, and, now, I have a visual aid! Can’t go wrong with a visual aid.
Let’s limit this conversation to logos. When you need to provide a logo for a print project, the best choice is and Illustrator file (.ai or .eps) — end of story. A graphic designer can convert an Illustrator file into any size or format they need. In a perfect world, that’s all you need to know, but we live in the real world, so more information is in order.
It has happened at every design/marketing company for whom I have had the pleasure to work. A company logo is requested for a print project (an ad, a sign, a banner), and the logo that the designer receives is too small or poor quality for print. It usually comes from the company web site. Using any image off the web for a print project is almost always a bad idea. Sure, it looks great on your computer screen. It is meant to look good on screen, but once it is blown up to the right size at the right resolution for print, it won’t look so good.
Sometimes, a high resolution jpeg or tiff is acceptable. (There are other options, but opening that can of worms is probably a bad idea.) Occasionally, the person making the request will ask for a jpeg or tiff. It is worthwhile to ask the right people, probably a marketing person, to make sure you are providing the right file type that will represent your company properly. Sometimes, there isn’t anyone else to ask. In that case, you still need more information.
Many people use the term dpi (dots per inch) to mean the same thing as ppi (pixels per inch). For the sake of what we are concerned with here, it is the same thing. If someone requests a logo at 300dpi or ppi, they are referring to the resolution of the photo file. The higher the number, the more dense the pixels (or “dots”) are in the photo. The ppi is only half the resolution story.
File size matters. If the logo is 300ppi, but the file is only 1/4 inch tall, it will still look bad when you blow it up the size you need. If I am going to print a 4″x6″ photo, the file needs to be 300ppi when it is 4″x6″, or 300ppi at “final resolution.” If you take a photo off of your digital camera, in many cases it will be 72ppi, but it is 42″x32″. So, if I change the photo to the resolution that I want, 300ppi, while constraining the proportions, the photo will be about 8″x10″. I hope I didn’t lose you. If one takes that photo off the camera and changes the size to 4×6, but leaves the ppi at 72, the resolution of that photo has been reduced. Once it is saved that way, you can’t go back.
Let’s take a look at some visuals. (Click on the photo to see it full size.) The first logo below (a) is straight off of my web site. It is a jpeg (a image format file) 72ppi (pixels per inch) at about 3″x1″. This is typical resolution for most web use.
The second logo (b) is the same logo, but I changed it to 300 ppi, constraining the proportions. Now, it is 300ppi but only about 3/4″ by 1/4 “. The third logo (c) is the same, but blown up 300%. You can see the loss of quality as the logo is blown up. If the intention is to put this logo on a big banner, it will need to be blown up twelve times or more than the original.
The last illustration is the same logo (the O in “works”) blown way up to 1200%. You can see the pixels or little square that make up the picture. The photos from your digital camera (any photo format files, e.g. jpeg, tiff, gif, etc.) are made up of the same little squares.
The two boxes on the right illustrate what happens if you try to “increase” the resolution without constraining the proportions. The fact is, you can not increase the resolution. These days lots of people have photo editing software. Many people have discovered that they can change the number in the “pixels/inch” box. The problem is that the ppi is directly linked to the picture size. (Pixels per inch and file size determine resolution.) You can not increase one without proportionately decreasing the other. If one just increases the number of pixel per inch, the result is illustrated in the box on the lower right. The number pixels increase, but it will not effect the quality. If the photo on top is 100ppi and you change the number to 400ppi, each square (pixel) will be divided into 4 squares (pixels), but the photo quality will not visually change. The picture will take up more room on the hard drive. You have made it larger, but not better.
This misconception of increasing resolution is reinforced by TV and movies like CSI. All that stuff we have seen on the crime dramas where they take a crummy photo from a surveillance camera and “sharpen it up” so you can see the bad guy’s face or a license plate number — that’s bunk. Some software will average the pixels that are next to each other and create new pixels, but it won’t be accurate information. You can’t create information where there is none. There are some tricks that can help the cause, but there is only so much that can be done.
When in doubt, it is best to send your company logo as an Illustrator file. Illustrator uses vectors, not pixels. An Illustrator file can also be converted to a Photoshop image format, if necessary, or it can be blown up without loosing quality. Illustrator files are not universally better than Photoshop files, just different file types for different purposes. When it comes to your company logo, Illustrator is my preference.
(If the designer that created your company logo did not provide an Illustrator file to you, shame on them! There are exceptions where other file types will work…can…worms…not going there.)
It is rare when I miss watching the Packers play. (I even watch the preseason.) I admit, I have watched more Brewers games this year than last year. This season, I have already watched more Badger games than I watched all of last season. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? It is more fun to watch the home team WIN. Is everyone in a good mood today because the sun is out, or because there so much winning going on?
I can not take credit for coming up with this clever logo. This is the brainchild of someone who was riding this winning wave before I was. (I would prefer to NOT be sued for using my favorite teams’ logos without permission! Hopefully the logos are altered to the correct percentage so that I can avoid that.) Still, I feel the need to display the pride! I love a clever logo almost as much as a W. The sun is shining, the leaves are changing and it is a great time to live in Wisconsin!
The “wave” continues: the Milwaukee Wave has won their 6th MISL Championship! I know the Wave doesn’t get much glory in the scheme of things, but they should! They are involved in the community and they really make games a fun experience.
MVP of the NFL = Aaron Rodgers
National League MVP = Ryan Braun (I still have faith!)
Miss America = Miss Wisconsin, Laura Kaeppeler
“DOORS OPEN MILWAUKEE will open 100 downtown sites for you to explore, some will have guides and some you will be free to explore on your own.
September 24th & 25th, 2011, you will have the opportunity to see some wonderful buildings free-of-charge to the public –buildings that hold hidden treasures and special stories – from churches to office buildings, theaters to work sites, museums to hotels, clubs to universities; all sites of historic, architectural, cultural, or commercial interest. It’s like getting a free backstage pass to areas you seldom see – from U.S. Bank’s 41st floor observation deck to Bradley Center locker rooms, from behind the curtains at the Pabst Theater to an up-close look at the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility to see how Milorganite is made. ” -from doorsopenmilwaukee.org
No one could see all there is to see in one weekend, but fear not, they are hoping to make this an annual event.