The Fast Road to Hell

Live Trace User

Live Trace User


I believe that Satan has woven himself into our lives and is preying on those who are tempted by laziness. What I am talking about here is the evil that is part of the digital world: Photoshop filters, pre-made or computer generated color palettes, and worst of all, truly a fast path to hell, live trace.

These shortcuts save time but the result is work that could be done by a house cat. I preach to young designers, "God gave you an opposable thumb so you could use it. You are not a cow with hooves. Draw the hand-drawn type!" and "If you have the use of your legs, be glad, and use them. Step away from the Aeron chair and walk somewhere to make an image, find inspiration, or just think."

I worry that an entire generation may end up designing strapped to a chair in front of the computer and pecking at the keyboard with a stick held in their mouths.

Now I don't dislike the computer, I like it just like everyone else. But off the shelf solutions minimize our gifts. Take color palettes for example. Yes, you can choose from the stock swatches in Illustrator, now your colors look like everyone else's. Or you can make your own. "Oh no!" you may be saying, "I'm scared of color." But it's actually quite easy.

The world will open up to you as a treasure chest of color. I don't want to seem melodramatic, but avoid Satan's temptations, make your own palette, or you may burn in hell.

This is how I make a palette:

1. Walk around the world and take photos of colors you like.

2. Create a photo album to house your images on your computer

3.  Create a common system for the palettes. One folder with consistent naming and documents of the same size and style.

Adobe Illustrator page: draw blank squares that will be swatches

4. Create a "Color palette template" with black squares in Adobe Illustrator.

5. Place an image you photographed.

6. Use the eye dropper tool and fill in the swatch squares on the page. Fill as many or as few swatch squares as you like.

7. Delete the image. 

8. Select all unused: delete these swatches

9. Add Used Colors

10. Save as a consistent name, e.g. Griffith Park Palette

11. Now when you need a palette on a project, add the custom one you made by selecting:

Open Swatch Library: Other Library.