Hitting Screws With Hammers

Sure, hammering screws in theory could work. More than likely you’ll end up banging your head against the wall more than actually pushing screws through a block of wood though.

You’ve probably got at least one or two awesome tools or appliances in your kitchen you are thankful for every time you tackle a dish. Personally, we love our blender. It has been the most versatile tool we’ve ever had. When you have tools like these they make your life easier, your food better, and quicker.

Granted you know how to use them.

Much like a blender that can pulverize grain into flour, make butter from nuts, and turn spinach into juice, tools like Photoshop and Illustrator can make the design process monumentally easier.

Granted you know how to use them.

But here’s the thing. Even if you don’t know how to use the right tools for the job, at least you have the right tools for the job.

When you put a screwdriver in the hands of someone who has screws they will find their way. Maybe they don’t have the perfect technique or skill to do the best job, but they are still far and away better than if they were handed a hammer.

I was helping someone with their Etsy shop the other day. They had just started their shop and were looking for critiques from a Facebook group I am in so what the heck, I took a look.

In an Etsy shop you get one large banner image space at the top of your shop page. You can think of this like your storefront. It’s what people will see when they are window shopping. Just like a physical shop it should have a couple things like inviting product displays and your logo.

Their banner contained a single product image that was unfortunately squished. It was a bit like one of those fun house mirrors that make you look like a pancake. My suggestion was just as above, add your logo and nice images that aren’t squished. She did. It looked better, but now the images were pixelated and oversharpened.

Darn.

So I suggested larger original images (pixelation is often the result of trying to increase the size of an image that is too small). This is when she mentions that she actually builds all of her graphics on her phone because she doesn’t have a computer.

There are lots of dedicated apps and online resources like Canva that could potentially help get the job done. But using a phone to build graphics for the face of your business is akin to building a chair with a hammer and screws for your mother to sit on.

Possible, yes, but would you want to? Having the right tool in hand will improve your results ten fold and prevent someone landing on their arse.

Maybe Photoshop and Illustrator are like the Vitamixes and KitchenAids of the design world. They do a fantastic job blending juice and kneading dough but the cost of entry is a little steep.

I want you to have a leg up and get as close to professional quality as you can. These tools, like Vitamix or KitchenAid or even DeWalt(if we’re thinking hardware still), have lower cost alternatives. Lucky for you, in this case we mean free.

We had a grand ol’ article on which tools works for which kind of job in, The Only 3 Design Tools You’ll Need to Conquer Earth. In this article we list the free alternatives to the big guys. I’ll save you a click if you already know what tool works for which job.

Gimp is your best bet for a free Photoshop. InkScape is your Illustrator alternative.

There’s really no reason to go around hammering screws with these exceptional free options available. The only investment is your time to learn and get a basic feel for the tool.

And believe me, it is time worth investing when it means potential sales down the road. You’re only short changing yourself if you don’t put the time in.

February 27, 2017
Posted on 
Author photo in a circle
Kyle Lincoln

Kyle is a logo crafter, avid reader, and writer. His experience expands across a wide spectrum of clients such as Nandos, Shaw Business, and Destination Canada. Growing up, it didn’t take him long to go from doodles to design. Kyle’s previous work in identities for conferences and events left him longing for something more enduring. He’s got a vested interest in helping businesses thrive and an eye for brand incongruences. In Vancouver he can be found scoping out his client’s location and/or the nearest gelateria and is always up to discuss your project or favourite flavour.

Sure, hammering screws in theory could work. More than likely you’ll end up banging your head against the wall more than actually pushing screws through a block of wood though.

You’ve probably got at least one or two awesome tools or appliances in your kitchen you are thankful for every time you tackle a dish. Personally, we love our blender. It has been the most versatile tool we’ve ever had. When you have tools like these they make your life easier, your food better, and quicker.

Granted you know how to use them.

Much like a blender that can pulverize grain into flour, make butter from nuts, and turn spinach into juice, tools like Photoshop and Illustrator can make the design process monumentally easier.

Granted you know how to use them.

But here’s the thing. Even if you don’t know how to use the right tools for the job, at least you have the right tools for the job.

When you put a screwdriver in the hands of someone who has screws they will find their way. Maybe they don’t have the perfect technique or skill to do the best job, but they are still far and away better than if they were handed a hammer.

I was helping someone with their Etsy shop the other day. They had just started their shop and were looking for critiques from a Facebook group I am in so what the heck, I took a look.

In an Etsy shop you get one large banner image space at the top of your shop page. You can think of this like your storefront. It’s what people will see when they are window shopping. Just like a physical shop it should have a couple things like inviting product displays and your logo.

Their banner contained a single product image that was unfortunately squished. It was a bit like one of those fun house mirrors that make you look like a pancake. My suggestion was just as above, add your logo and nice images that aren’t squished. She did. It looked better, but now the images were pixelated and oversharpened.

Darn.

So I suggested larger original images (pixelation is often the result of trying to increase the size of an image that is too small). This is when she mentions that she actually builds all of her graphics on her phone because she doesn’t have a computer.

There are lots of dedicated apps and online resources like Canva that could potentially help get the job done. But using a phone to build graphics for the face of your business is akin to building a chair with a hammer and screws for your mother to sit on.

Possible, yes, but would you want to? Having the right tool in hand will improve your results ten fold and prevent someone landing on their arse.

Maybe Photoshop and Illustrator are like the Vitamixes and KitchenAids of the design world. They do a fantastic job blending juice and kneading dough but the cost of entry is a little steep.

I want you to have a leg up and get as close to professional quality as you can. These tools, like Vitamix or KitchenAid or even DeWalt(if we’re thinking hardware still), have lower cost alternatives. Lucky for you, in this case we mean free.

We had a grand ol’ article on which tools works for which kind of job in, The Only 3 Design Tools You’ll Need to Conquer Earth. In this article we list the free alternatives to the big guys. I’ll save you a click if you already know what tool works for which job.

Gimp is your best bet for a free Photoshop. InkScape is your Illustrator alternative.

There’s really no reason to go around hammering screws with these exceptional free options available. The only investment is your time to learn and get a basic feel for the tool.

And believe me, it is time worth investing when it means potential sales down the road. You’re only short changing yourself if you don’t put the time in.

February 27, 2017
Posted on 
Author photo in a circle
Kyle Lincoln

Kyle is a logo crafter, avid reader, and writer. His experience expands across a wide spectrum of clients such as Nandos, Shaw Business, and Destination Canada. Growing up, it didn’t take him long to go from doodles to design. Kyle’s previous work in identities for conferences and events left him longing for something more enduring. He’s got a vested interest in helping businesses thrive and an eye for brand incongruences. In Vancouver he can be found scoping out his client’s location and/or the nearest gelateria and is always up to discuss your project or favourite flavour.

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