Among the many projects developed for Learnsoft starting in 2000 were a series of course catalog cover designs. I also designed the interior layouts but the cover artwork was the most time-consuming part of each project.
For these catalogs we decided to print in two PMS spot colors ? a blue and teal which were drawn from the new logo which had recently been designed. This was an economical choice which yielded vivid and well-branded catalog cover designs which matched the website and other web-based training modules I was developing at the same time.
A series of five catalogs covers were designed over the course of a year. Each was built on original artwork I sketched out in detailed pencil and pen and ink before starting the final work in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Quark XPress.
The galaxy design on the left was probably the most labor-intensive catalog design of this series. It required hours of careful stippling in Adobe Photoshop to develop intricate nebula, tiny stars and distant galaxies.
In contrast, the diamond cover design involved drawing and airbrushing numerous vector-based geometric shapes with the work evenly split between Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
For high-quality and precision printing I create all graphics in very high resolution. I aim for 350 and 400 dpi (dots per inch) for images as a rule, with film and printer line screen preferably closer to 200 lpi (lines per inch). Of course it does depend on the printer’s specification and capabilities, but the sharper the better. The drawback to print is that the CMYK color gamut is more limited in the total range of color that can be displayed, compared its on-screen counterparts like RGB (Red, Green and Blue) or HSB (Hue, Saturation and Brightness) which produce more realistic colors.
Pantone improved upon this by introducing the Hexachrome printing processes with two additional printing inks (orange and green) to increase the range of possible colors. Nowadays, limitations inherent with reflective inks are being remedied with RGB print processes that expose photographic paper with laser light to produce eye-popping, realistic color images. I've used this method for one of M7's trade show booth posters and the results are stunning. As far as I know, this technology is only being used on large-format print jobs like posters, billboards and trade show booths because the rendering process is slow compared to high-speed digital and offset printing.
As expected, the final catalogs printed beautifully and without a glitch. Even back in 2001 and 2002 I was a consummate printing professional and technically scrupulous graphic designer.
Although it's not part of this series, this coursebook cover design for San Diego County is included here. Tens of thousands of these were printed up for dozens of courses offered to San Diego County employees trained in a variety of computer-based tasks. It followed the Learnsoft branding it seemed to fit here.