Quickly fill in transparent spaces in your Illustrator artwork

Here is a little tip that can save lots of time…

ShapeBuilder tool01

Filling in transparent overlapping shapes. Do this easily by following these steps.

  1. Select the artwork.
  2. Select the ShapeBuilder tool.
  3. Click in the transparent area. It will fill with black.
  4. Switch to the Direct Selection tool and reactivate the shape you just created.
  5. Click on White, or whatever color you wish in the Swatches panel.
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Upcoming UX workshops in Boston

There are a number of new UX workshops in Boston at American Graphics Institute, including sessions focused on mobile UX design as well as information architecture. session dates through the middle of next year are posted.

You can also see a list of many other upcoming workshops at AGI including courses available later this month.

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UX Training in Boston this Summer

I had a great time speaking at the UX Conference in Boston earlier this month, and over the summer there are a few UX training options in Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia. I’ll be delivering an introduction to UX Design Principles workshop at American Graphics Institute in Boston. For those interested in a longer-term UX program, I’ll also be teaching some of the courses in the UX Certificate program which is also offered in the Boston area.

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UX News

You’ll find regularly updated UX news over at American Graphics Institute’s user experience (UX) news page. AGI includes information on user experience events, UX groups, and interesting stories about user experience and how it impacts websites, apps, and daily life. I regularly contribute posts there, and there’s often more current posts from me regarding UX on the AGI site.

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UX Courses in Boston for 2015

American Graphics Institute has just published the 2015 schedule for their UX Training programs, including UX classes in Boston. The schedule includes dates for the Introduction to UX Design Principles course that I teach, along with dates for additional user experience courses such as the wireframing and prototyping classes.

The user experience courses are held just north of Boston at AGI’s location in Woburn. The course is great for individuals or small groups. For larger groups, American Graphics Institute continues to offer private UX Training which can occur on-site at your company.

All courses are focused on core UX principles which can be applied to website design or app design, regardless of the form factor. Classes are a mix of project-based work and lecture, with extensive time provided for working to apply theories, and receiving feedback on projects from the instructor and peers in the class.

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Adobe Creative Cloud Seminars in Boston

Later this month and into February General Assembly and American Graphics Institute are teaming up to present a series of three Adobe Creative Cloud seminars in Boston. These are one-day workshops are covering the most popular Adobe applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. These are designed for users with no formal training or who are interested in learning foundation skills in the latest version of the Creative Cloud applications.

You can attend any of the individual workshops, or discounts are available if attending all three. The individual workshops are: Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.

These Adobe seminars are taking place at General Assembly’s location at 51 Melcher Street, Boston which is walking distance from South Station.

I’m part of a team of instructors from American Graphics Institute that are speaking at the seminars, and will be delivering the Photoshop and Illustrator sessions. I hope to see you there!

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Photoshop seminars in Miami, FL

This February is the time to head south and learn the latest Creative Cloud tools at Adobe Photoshop seminars in Miami taking place as part of the Graphics of the Americas (GOA) exposition. The GOA exposition brings together thousands of graphics professionals from around North and South America, the Caribbean, and around the world.

The Creative Cloud seminars are held at the Miami Beach Convention Center and are led by instructors from the American Graphics Institute, and I’ll be one of the speakers. Join me and many other experts and authors as we deliver Photoshop seminars, and Illustrator workshops, and InDesign seminars in Miami. Along with the seminars cover Adobe tools, there are also workshops on essential graphic design skills such as typography. Learn more about the seminars here: http://www.goaexpo.com/photoshop.html

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Design courses for non-designers… and designers!

Hands-on design class

Hands-on projects help attendees to understand design concepts.

I recently created a one-day design fundamentals class at the request of one of our clients. It was based off a presentation that I gave at the Graphics of the Americas seminars in Florida, and in both cases it was both successful and fun. American Graphics Institute has added it to their regularly scheduled courses, so now you can take this as part of the graphic design courses offered at AGI. This class is for folks who are involved in any type of design role: marketing, UX design, print design, web design, and many other roles.

Even if you are an art school graduate, this design class offers a great refresher on history and how “modern” design of today is a product of over 100 years of influence from events and influential thinkers. It’s not all lecture – you’ll get practical tips on how design techniques and history can guide your work to help you create successful and appealing designs in your work.

In this class you’ll spend time building designs, not with software tools, but with your hands. You will have the opportunity to practice with space, proportions, typography, and color. The result is that you will discover how the organization of your layout affects information hierarchy.

Come join us for a fun and inspirational day of learning design!

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What is UX Design?

UX Design encompasses the design of all aspects of a service that impact a user of a product, system, or device. Within the realm of technology, such as apps, websites, and devices. In this context, UX Design involves all aspects of how an individual interacts with these services. The interface, graphics, design, physical interaction, and even the help system all are part of the user experience. Components of UX Design include:

Visual Design: This includes the overall aesthetics of a website, app, or device. The look and feel of the interface are often managed by a user interface designer, who has experience with graphic design or visual design. This incorporates elements such as typography, layout, and appearance.

Information Architecture: The structure and organization of information so that it supports the ability of the intended user to easily locate, find, and use the service, website, or app. The ability to easily locating and manage content is an important part of information architecture. Content strategy is an important part of information architecture as well. This incorporates organizing documents, images, and metadata.

Interaction Design: Determining what works best for the users and meets their expectations is the role of interaction design. Interaction designers are often responsible for the layout of an interface, using interaction patterns that are sensible and logical for the user, integrating user research into the design, and keeping the interface consistent.

Usability: Can the intended user achieve their intended results with the system. This is sometimes grouped into the category of functionality, asking whether a system, app, or website can perform its intended tasks. Accessibility is a key part of usability, and is defined by the ease of use and intuitive understanding of a website, app, or system. A system that doesn’t have a steep learning curve and can be used right away is considered accessible. Accessibility can also refer to the ability for users with impairments or disabilities to access a system.

If you’re interested in learning more about user experience design, the UX classes at American Graphics Institute provide an introduction to the fundamental principles of UX design.

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Rapid Prototyping for UX Design

Rapid prototyping is an important UX principle that I share in the UX courses I teach. It’s such an important topic, that I’m now teaching a dedicated rapid prototyping course. Too many people get far too invested in designing their final apps or websites before they have created a rough, sketched version of the user experience. When this happens, stakeholders tend to get committed to their ideas and designs before they have been tested.

Instead of investing time and resources in designs early in the UX process, rapid prototyping allows you to quickly and easily sketch your concepts and test scenarios. If things don’t work, you aren’t too invested and can easily start the process over, or adjust the portion of the UX that doesn’t work.

The Rapid Prototyping UX course is a one day course, and is being offered in Boston, Philadelphia, and online. It uses both analog and digital methods for creating prototypes, and is designed to help make your prototyping process faster and easier.

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