Monday, October 30, 2006

Mac Design out of the box by Andrew Shalat

I consider myself a pretty darn good computer technician, but when it comes to design, I’m like a bull in a china shop. I can fix Illustrator or Photoshop crashes, but I don’t know the first thing about a path or a bleed (is that what that knife is for--to bleed?). I was excited to learn some basic design principles from this book. More importantly, I wanted to learn them without having to buy expensive software like Quark or InDesign.

Andrew Shalat deserves quite a bit of credit for tweaking lots of performance out of the basic applications that come with most Macs. Who would of thought you could do basic design in TextEdit? He earns the title of MacGyver of the Mac Design world. While I found his writing rather cheesy (he pretends the reader is stranded on a desert island and then starts a fruit import/export business), he teaches the reader how to make basic flyers, business cards, web pages, movies , soundtracks and DVDs. The target audience for this book is the Grandma or little league coach who wants to make some basic yet professional publicity materials for their organization.

This is not a tutorial about iLIie or iWork, this book is strictly project focused. MacDesign out of the box requires no previous knowledge of any of these programs. Statler walks you through the principles step by step with great screen pictures of any confusing steps. He also explains the design principles of what you are doing, so you can apply them to your individual projects. After reading the book, I feel much more comfortable using the basic Mac software to create a nice identity for any organization--however all my designer friends will still have a job for sure.

Pros: Excellent explanation on how to use the iLife and iWork suite to create flyers, business cards, web pages, and movies. Great book for someone delegated publicity duties for any organizations.
Cons: A bit cutesy. I’d prefer a straightforward explanation than an over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek approach. Not everyone has iWork preinstalled on their Mac