The Basics On What You Need To Know To Enter Nick’s PopKidNick Design Contest

Hey guys!

As you know, or may not know, Nick launched a contest to create him some new logos.

If some of you weren’t aware, I have been studying Graphic Design at the Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto, Ontario for several years now. I’m currently almost finished up my schooling so I wanted to pass on some of my knowledge to you guys (along with some research I’ve done to create this blog) because some of you seemed a little lost when looking at the information for Nick’s Design Contest. Hope this is helpful and please reach out to me on the TDS Twitter or @BackstreetGem if you had any more questions. 

px (Pixels)  🡪 A pixel is the smallest unit of a digital image or graphic that can be displayed and represented on a digital screen. For this contest you are going to need to submit a file that is 2000px by 2000px. Those numbers are the image’s…

Resolution – Resolution measures the number of pixels in a digital image or display. It is defined as width by height, or W x H, where W is the number of horizontal pixels and H is the number of vertical pixels.

DPI (Dots Per Inch) 🡪 Used interchangeably with the term “PPI” (Pixels Per Inch), DPI is a measure of spatial printing, and PPI is a measurement only relevant to digital images. Both units of measurement are used to express how many of a given unit (dots or pixels) there are per inch of document, this determines how good a Raster image (more on that below) will look. What is important to know about all the aforementioned gobbledygook is that the more dots or pixels per inch, the more detailed the image. Too few dots or pixels per inch? Your image will turn out “pixelated” when printed. The magic number for most projects and for this one is a DPI/PPI of 300.

HINT: Even though most Graphic Design programs will tell you to determine the DPI, they mean PPI. Don’t get confused if you’re creating your 2000px by 2000px image, but then the program changes its terminology and talks about DPI – doesn’t matter in this case.

Vector 🡪 Vector graphics are computer graphics images that are defined in terms of points, which are connected by lines and curves to form polygons and other shapes (no pixels are involved here). 

Vector graphics can be resized to any size and still look exactly the same; you could put a vector graphic on business card or on a billboard as big as the moon and there would be no reduction in quality. This makes vectors the method of choice for logo design because they allow the logo to be put on a ton of different stuff and not lose any quality. Common vector file formats are .EPS, .SVG or .AI (.AI is a file type that can only be created in the program Adobe Illustrator, but can be opened in other Vector-based software like Affinity Designer, CorelDraw or the free Inkscape).

Raster 🡪 A Raster image is an image file format that is defined by pixels. Raster images are commonly .BMP, .GIF, .JPEG, .PNG, and .TIFF files. Today, almost all the images you see on the Internet and images taken by a digital camera are raster images.

One of the biggest disadvantages of a raster image is the inability to resize the image without getting distortion. For example, increasing the size of a small raster image distorts the image because the image editor is resizing each pixel in the image. 

Raster programs are commonly used when designing a website, app, icon, banner ad, or any other design intended for electronic use. This contest specifies using a .PNG when creating a Raster graphic, so be sure to do that. Also make sure you create a .PNG file with a transparent background. If anyone needs to know how to do that let me know. 

Here’s an example of the Document set up in the Graphic Design program Affinity Designer, check out the specs I have listed here. These are the specs you need for your contest entry. Most Graphic Design programs have a Document Setup that looks like this. 

Extra Information

You do not need to be concerned about this too much the contest but it is still good information to have. The one thing you need to keep in mind when reading this section for your entry to use the RGB Colour Model.

Additive Colour 🡪 When working in a digital space, like on a computer, the colours we see on the screen are created with light using the additive colour method. Additive colour mixing begins with black (you can think of this as a turned off device with a black screen) and ends with white (you can think of this as the screen of a device’s colour setting cranked up to max brightness); as more colour is added, the result gets lighter and lighter. This goes back to how humans perceive colour, when all colours of the spectrum are present it appears to us as white light.

Subtractive Colour 🡪 This is what those of you who are physical artists are doing when you are mixing paint or when many things are printed using a commercial offset printer; it is a  Subtractive Colour System. This means that one begins with white (you can think of this think of this as a blank white piece of paper) and ends with black. Solid black is the theoretical result once all the colours in a Subtractive Colour System are layered on top of each other *more on that in a sec*). As more colours are added, the result gets darker and darker.

RGB Colour Model 🡪 RGB Colour is the most used Additive Colour system. The pixels on a digital device are comprised of red, green, and blue light and they are combined at varying levels to create the colour we see on our TV screens, computer monitors, and smartphones. When designing your entry, use this model.

CMYK Colour Model 🡪 CMYK stands for “Cyan Magenta Yellow Black.” These are the four basic colours used when physically printing colour images. Unlike RGB, CMYK colours are part of a Subtractive Colour System. 

Theoretically, layering equal amounts of pure cyan, magenta, and yellow should produce black (physical inks are translucent, so when one colour is added over another you still get the effect of the colour underneath somewhat); however, because of impurities in the inks true black is difficult to create by blending the colours together. The actual result is a nice poop brown colour. This is why black (K) ink is typically included with the three other colours. The letter “K” is used to avoid confusion with blue in RGB. It stands for “Key”.

In summary, both Additive and Subtractive Colour Systems are dependent on light. In an Additive Colour System you’re adding light to produce colour (the light from the red, green and blue pixels on a device) and in a Subtractive Colour System, colours are produced by taking light away when ink colours are layered on top of each other. When creating a project in a computer program, this “light” is represented by the white of a blank document. 

This is just some basic information I put together to the best of my ability so that everyone is on more of a level playing field when designing for Nick’s Design Contest.

Happy Creating!! 

(Note from Rose – Major shoutout to Gemma for putting this guest blog together as I am clueless on this stuff, but we wanted to help you guys as much as we can!)

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