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Practical Graphic Design Review by Deborah Wuehler

Melvin G. Peterman
Insight Technical Education

This is another excellent offering from Insight Technical Education. The primary author is a homeschool father and a successful graphic designer. The forward states: "Practical Graphic Design was written to open your eyes to the concepts and work that is required to produce brochures, websites, and to other graphic works. Graphic design is used in marketing and sales efforts, information, news, etc."

In our highly technologic society, we see the growing need for graphic design and that it is something not to be reserved for a few, but rather, it would serve our children well to learn it. This workbook is a start in the right direction. We are going through it with our 12 year-old son who has an interest in writing and editing. He is the editor of the children's section of our local homeschool organization's monthly newsletter, so this was a perfect fit for him. And, as an e-Newsletter editor myself, I am learning a thing or two as well!

The chapters covered in this workbook are: Characteristics of Type, Categories of Type, The Page, Design Tools, Logo Design, Design Rules, How to Design a Good Ad, Graphics in and For Electronic Publication, Glossary and Resources.

Some of the supplies required are pencils, technical pens, a drawing board, T-square, masking tape, ruler, and other easily located items in your local office supply store. If you have access to a computer, there is a list of software you should have to produce good layouts. However, you can use this book without the software.

The end of each chapter contains Design Projects and/or Important Things to Remember which is in a question/quiz format (answers are provided as well). One of the first Design Projects is to find a typeface in old magazines that evokes the feeling or flavor of certain phrases or things such as: a ransom note, a fantasy novel, a symphony, and a cartoon. They go on to projects such as making their own page borders, creating their own logo, business cards, and designing ads for a business. There are some really fun projects in here and everything is explained very well along the way.

A really informative and helpful chapter for me personally was "Graphics In and For Electronic Publications." This chapter goes over such things as websites, e-books, HTML, and Computer Graphics. I am not all that computer savvy, so this was a definite plus. The next great thing I appreciated was the Glossary at the end which gives the meaning of all those graphic and computer words and acronyms that were once a foreign language to me.

Throughout the book you will find, "The Graphic Design Police." In comic book fashion, these "ads" grab the attention of your child and draw them in to find out about common design mistakes. There are also catchy phrases and quotes throughout which my son just had to read to me each time he came across one. Before he began the chapters, he took some time and skimmed through the entire book because it was so fun to look at and to read. The ads and page layouts created here go from the thought-provoking to the hilarious and lend to the fun of the book. It is not all lighthearted though, as there is a lot of good "meat" in here to digest as well.

Why wait until your child is in college to learn great graphic design? Save time and money and start them in this course as a junior or senior high student. If you have a child that loves computer technical stuff and is interested in design, Practical Graphic Design is the perfect fit. It's fitting extremely well in our little schoolhouse!

For more information on all of these products, and to check out testimonials, visit the Insight Technical website:

-- Product Review by Deborah Wuehler, Devotional Editor, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2006