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Entries in Adobe Ideas (4)

How to: Design, create and share a party invitation or business flyer

Ipad creative page layout

Pages is probably one of the most underrated iPad apps. It's much more than a Word compatible word processor, Pages is almost a fully featured desktop publishing app. I have access to some of the best page layout and design tools available on OS X, but I wanted to see how practical an iOS page layout workflow could be.

With that in mind, I decided to design, create and share a party invitation using Adobe Ideas and Apple's Pages.

Step 1 - Sketch out ideas

Pencil sketch

Every good page layout starts with a pencil sketch. You'll no doubt already have your favourite sketching app in mind, I decided to use Adobe Ideas, as I find it provides a fluid sketching experience. You can see the results of my brainstorming above, nothing too detailed, just a rough layout.

Step 2 - Gather resources

As you can't add new fonts to the iPad, by resources, I actually mean photos and illustrations. I quickly found a large photo of a bright red stage curtain on the web and I looked on my friends Flickr account for a pleasing group shot of all the family. The curtain photo was good to use as it was, but the family photo needed a little lightening in Luminance.

Step 3 - Create the page design

Background image

This is where the fun really begins. The first thing I had to do was get the red curtain to cover the entire page. The easiest way to do this is via the Document Setup page under the Tools menu (top right). Document Setup is primarily for setting the headers, footers and margins of the document, but media, tables, charts and shapes can all be added here too. The next trick with the Document Setup page is to add your sketch as a transparent layer. You do this by adding your sketch in much the same way as the background imager. The key is to make your sketch semitransparent. Do this by tapping on the sketch image then tapping on the paint brush icon. Tap Style, then tap Style Options, then Effects and set the transparency to about 30%. Now you can use your sketch as a reference as you place your text, photos and boxes in the usual manner within the main page layout view.

The real key to making your design come alive is to experiment with some of the gorgeous fonts that Apple have supplied with iOS and to get creative with transparency. If you look at my final design you'll see I've use Hoefler Text with a slight drop shadow and Bodoni Ornaments. I've used a couple of boxes with varying levels of transparency to give the design a little depth and to darken the background so that the white text stands out nicely. As you build your design you'll no doubt need to keep a close eye on how the layers are stacked in the Arrange menu. It's all too easy to assume that you've deleted an element when in actual fact it's simply under a photo or a box.

I cannot express enough how important it is to experiment with the options that Pages offer. By tastefully combining boxes, shadows and images, all with varying transparency levels, pleasing designs can be quickly created.

Step 4 - Share

By far the easiest way to share your invitation with your friends is to email them a PDF from the main document selection screen. Just tap the Edit button on the top right, tap on the preview of your invitation than tap the Share button on the top left.

Another, more traditional option, is to email the PDF to yourself and then print off the invites on your own printer or at your local print shop. The PDF files that Pages creates are of a high quality. They don't have bleed or printers crop marks and they are in the RGB not CMYK colour space, but most printers will be able to print from your PDF without much trouble.

Final thoughts

The whole process, from sketching out the idea in Abode Ideas to sending the PDF file to the printer took a little over 2 hours. Not bad for a device that so many claimed would be for content consumption only.

Why not have a go yourself? Do you have a summer garden party planned, or perhaps a family get together? With the iPad and couple of cheap apps you have all the tools you needs to create a professional looking invitation or business flyer. 

App Store Links: Pages, Adobe Ideas and Luminance

Guest Post: Sketchnotes for visual thinkers

Today we have a special Guest Post from Antoine RJ Wright, an avid fan of mobile technology and and iPad user. Antoine has recently been practicing the art of creating sketchnotes during workshops and conferences. Sketcnotes seem like a natural fit for the iPad. Over to you Antoine...

At some point last year, I decided that I would start drawing again. My canvas would be the iPad. It only happened on airplanes, and then I attended a meeting about creating story environments prompted me towards the idea of sketchnotes. I'd seen for years the work by Mike Rhode and figured that it would be a good idea. The response was positive enough that I'd try it for another conference. Then another. And then a few workshops.

I guess after three or four of them its a habit. And so now I'm getting more adventurous with sketchnotes. Whereas many are done in Moleskin notebooks and with (sweet) ink pens, mine are done using the Adobe Ideas app on the iPad and my finger. My goals are to capture the color, emotion, and flow of the discussion, and occasionally tell the story from my perspective. For example, in the sketchnote for the 3-day GCIA Conference, I eye-balled the colors of every group that presented and aimed to make them all their own social media-like icons. That sketchnote is a compilation of three days of notes, telling the overall story of the conversations, presentations, and conference itself.

I'm looking to do more of these, and probably break into doing them semi-officially for conferences and workshops. For people who think visually, they can be powerful reminders of points and experiences, using a tool that's quickly become a willing participant into our digital times.

View my gallery of completed sketchontes: http://share.ovi.com/media/ARJWright.Sketchnotes

Blog: blog.antoinerjwright.com

Twitter: @arjwright

Comic book artist and illustrator Eric Merced reminds us of the potential of vector based iPad art

Adobe Ideas isn't an app that we feature too often. We fully admit that we have all but ignored vector based drawing apps, focusing instead on bitmap tools such as Brushes and ArtRage. It's time to address this bias and we can think of no better way of shifting the balance than to highlight the gorgeous illustrations of American comic book artist and illustrator Eric Merced.

Eric was kind enough to provide us with some samples of his work and a video demonstration (we know how much you love those!) of his illustration and inking method using a Targus stylus and Adobe's Ideas app.

In addition to Eric's obvious talent for character illustration we noticed just how natural he makes the whole process seem. Apple's 'pinch to zoom' control technique has never looked quite so intuitive.

Follow Eric's creations on his blog, or why not show your appreciation for his work by following him on Twitter. Be sure to check back here for more of Eric's work.

Adobe Ideas 1.0 for iPad

Adobe have been a fundamental part of the Mac experience for most Creatives since the early 1990's. We're hoping that Adobe can bring a full creative suite to the iPad, but in the meantime, Ideas, Adobe's new vector sketch application will do very nicely thank you.