Careers: Interviews
Award-winning Graphic Designer and Expert in Adobe Illustrator CS and Adobe Creative Suite

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., has an exclusive interview with Mordy Golding.

Mordy Golding has played an active role in the design and publishing environment since 1990. He has been a production artist for both print and the web for many years.

Mordy is an Adobe Certified Expert, an Adobe Certified Print Specialist and has served as a hands-on trainer and has spoken at worldwide events and seminars including Macworld, Seybold, NAB, and PhotoshopWorld. He worked at Adobe as product manager for Adobe Illustrator 10 and Adobe Illustrator CS. He is currently an independent consultant specializing in the Adobe Creative Suite and Mac OS X migration.

Mordy has written several books including “SAMS Teach Yourself Adobe Creative Suite All in One”, “SAMS Teach Yourself Adobe Illustrator in 24 Hours” and “The Web Designer’s Guide to Color”. He has worked on numerous other publications including “Adobe Illustrator CS Creative Studio”, “The Illustrator Wow! Book”, “Adobe’s Classroom in a Book series”, “The Illustrator Bible” and “Real World Illustrator”. He has also recorded “The Complete Guide to Illustrator CS” on DVD (Software-Cinema) and “Learning Adobe CS Integration and Version Cue” (Lynda.com).

In October, 2003, in recognition of his extensive knowledge and contributions, Mordy Golding was named a Champion of Graphic Design by Graphics IQ.

Discussion: 

Q:  We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us. Thank you.

A: Thanks Stephen, I appreciate the opportunity.

Q:  You have an impressive background as graphic designer, author, speaker, and trainer. You started as a production artist for both print and the web. What initially sparked your interest in technology and design?

A:  Well, I always enjoyed expressing my creativity with drawing as a child, and like most boys, was also enamored by technology and had interests in things like the Space Shuttle and computers. When my dad brought home a computer one day (an IBM PCjr), I knew then that I was going to somehow merge computers with design.

Q:  You have successfully integrated your extensive education, knowledge, and experience in graphic design with technology and you are an acknowledged expert in various graphic design tools, including Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Creative Suite. Although software such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, etc. are important tools, they are only part of the solution. List ten components critical to good design (for print and/or web).

A: (1) Inspiration
(2) Good resources (support, instruction, advice, etc.)
(3) Good hardware
(4) Being a member of a design community (User groups, Art Directors Clubs, Design Associations, etc.)
(5) Good relationship with a printer or a web developer
(6) Willingness/desire to push the envelope – both technologically and creatively
(7) Knowledge of the production process
(8) Experimenting with new technologies (pressure sensitive pens, digital cameras, etc.)
(9) A desire to always learn more
(10) Most important – the realization that as a designer, your job is to communicate a message. True understanding of this concept means that design will never get in the way of the ultimate goal of successfully conveying a message to its intended viewer.

Q:  What aspects of your own personal experience and education did you find the most useful in your own very successful career? 

A: I had the privilege of getting a lot of on-the-job experience. No matter what you learn in a class, or in school, there’s nothing like learning on an actual real-world job. What was most useful to me was what I learned while watching other professionals work. Sometimes just listening to and watching a professional can be more valuable than anything you can learn in class.

Q:  Looking at your career to date, can share your top two “amazing” experiences.

A: As a product manager for Adobe, I had the opportunity to visit many different companies to see how they used Adobe software. While it’s hard to point to any one visit and say it was more amazing than any other, it was amazing to see how people all over the world use Adobe software to create the things we see every day in our lives, like apparel, packaging, and the like. Another amazing experience was getting to visit Apple Computer’s headquarters in Cupertino, and meeting Steve Jobs.

Q:  Describe your current work and your greatest challenges and rewards?

A:  I currently offer training, consulting, and support services for companies who are using the Adobe Creative Suite as well as those migrating to the Mac OS X operating system. Additionally, I’m writing a few books and articles for a variety of publications and I teach at NYU (New York University). My greatest challenges are being able to help large agencies and corporations think about new technology and provide them with ROI (Return On Investment) for adopting new workflows, such as moving to PDF. The rewards of my work are seeing the smiles on the faces of those I can help by offering tips and tricks, and solving the problems they run into on a daily basis.

Q: Give us a brief description of your recent book, “SAMS Teach Yourself Adobe Creative Suite All in One”. List ten reasons why you would recommend this book.

A:  SAMS Teach Yourself Adobe Creative Suite All in One covers all of the applications found in the Adobe Creative Suite – a package of design applications recently released by Adobe Systems. The book takes a unique approach to the suite, giving readers a strong understanding of how to use all of the different applications in the Suite together to complete design tasks in entirety.

(1) The book has a comfortable “easy to read” style.
(2) The book appeals to readers ranging from beginner to intermediate levels
(3) The book contains real-world examples, like creating brochures, websites, and ad campaigns
(4) The book is organized in a way that readers are introduces to basic concepts and then progresses to more in-depth details and explanations.
(5) The book is actually fun to read
(6) Because most people only focus on their own work, this book allows readers to learn about how other applications work, allowing them to experiment on their own
(7) The book focuses on the integration features across the different applications
(8) The book offers “inside tips and tricks” that can save time and make work fun
(9) The book offers design tips and advice as well as application instruction
(10) Other industry-known authors recommend the book as well.

Q: Provide five tips from the book.

A: (1) For Photoshop: With Caps Lock turned on, Photoshop will display the cursor for the Magnetic Lasso tool as the size of the width setting, making it easier to trace over edges of color. Pressing the right or left bracket on your keyboard will increase or decrease the Width setting by one pixel. (page 134)

(2) For Illustrator: Remember that if you want to edit a 3D effect after it has been applied, don’t choose 3D from the Effect menu, but double-click on the 3D Effect in the Appearance palette. (page 336)

(3) For InDesign: If you click and hold for a few seconds before dragging, you’ll be able to see the entire image as you drag. This makes repositioning much easier. (page 418)

(4) For GoLive: Using the Site Wizard’s Browse button to navigate to the home page of an existing site works nicely, but you can also drag and drop the index page of an existing site right onto the Site Wizard’s screen to achieve the same results. (page 433)

(5) For Acrobat: To view a PDF file in Full Screen Mode, choose Full Screen View from the Window menu, or press Control-L. Pressing the key command a second time toggles between Full Screen mode and default mode. You can also press the Esc key in Full Screen mode to return to default mode. (page 516)

Q:  As well as your other accomplishments, you are also an educator and a successful speaker and author of several books. What prompted you to start writing?

A: I’ve always enjoyed writing. In college I took several creative writing classes and feel that I can express my creativity not only through design but also through words. I’ve been told that I have the ability to break down complex concepts into easy to understand examples, and writing is another way I can help educate others.

Q:  Knowing how the design is going to be used later on should influence what tools you use to create it. What are the top five mistakes when designing for print or for the web?

A: (1) Use of the wrong color mode (RGB vs. CMYK)

(2) Use of low-resolution images for print/high-resolution images for web

(3) Misuse of spot colors and process colors for print/websafe colors for web

(4) Not adding bleed for print jobs that print to the edge of a page

(5) Using the wrong design application

Q:  Adobe Creative Suite....which integrates Adobe’s graphics applications into one bundle. Is this a good thing for consumers? Give us your opinion regarding the pros and cons for this collective bundle versus individual applications.

A:  Overall, this is a good thing for consumers. First of all, there’s the price point – it’s obviously cheaper for designers to purchase the suite than each of the applications individually. Secondly, a designer who owns the Suite has all the tools he or she needs to get just about any design task done. This allows designers to have applications on their desktop that they may not ordinarily need or want to purchase separately. I think the consumer also benefits from having Adobe as a company think of their software as a single bundle, focusing on integrating all of the applications which ultimately gives designers better tool to get their work done.

Q: List the 10 best resources for graphic designers.

A: (1) www.creativepro.com
(2) www.adobe.com
(3) www.macromedia.com
(4) www.illustratorworld.com
(5) Subscription to Communications Arts
(6) Subscription to Print Magazine
(7) Subscription to How Magazine
(8) “Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines”
(9) “Deconstructing Web Graphics” by Lynda Weinman
(10) “Pocket Pal” by International Paper

Q:  What five tips can you give our audience who are considering a career in graphic design and computing? 

A:  (1) Talk to and build relationships with other design professionals

(2) Don’t be afraid of technology

(3) Don’t think that knowing how to use graphic design software makes you a designer. Being a designer and knowing how to use the necessary software are two separate – and necessary – skill sets.

(4) Ask LOTS of questions and never assume that you know everything.

(5) Never stop learning.

Q:  What future books can expect from you?

A: I’m working on an update to SAMS Teach Yourself Adobe Creative Suite All in One for the next version of the Suite as well as a book on design and prepress production. I have a few other ideas in mind, although nothing specific just yet.

Q: What kind of computer setup do you have?

A: I’m a “Mac” guy and use a 12” Powerbook, which is the best computer I’ve ever owned to date. I have a pressure-sensitive Wacom tablet as well.

Q: What drives you to do what you do? How do you keep up with all the changes?

A: I love technology and I love design. The mixture of the two and the challenges they both present is what drives me to combine them and push myself further. Keeping up with the changes isn’t easy at all – I’m constantly seeing how people use the applications and I use the applications for freelance work myself. I feel that I need to use the apps in order to really keep up with the changes. I also try and read as much about design and technology to see how I might apply solutions to my clients.

Q:  Where do you see yourself professionally in five years?  If you had to do it all over again, what changes would you make if any?

A: Well, I really enjoy teaching and training, so I see myself doing the same thing five years from now, although maybe on a different level. I find myself drawn to helping solve large problems, and being able to match the power of the creative mind and the power of today’s technology is where I want to be. If I had to do it all over again, I don’t think I’d change anything at all – it’s been a fun ride so far …

Q: If you were doing this interview, what five questions would you ask of someone in your position and what would be your answers?

A: Q1: When you’re “stuck” or need an answer for something, who do you go to?
A1: One thing I’ve been able to do over the years is amass a large group of friends. Being able to go to individuals who are professionals in their own fields for advice is a resource that has no limits. And let’s not forget my mother of course…

Q2: What’s the most challenging part of your career?
A2: I’d have to say the hardest thing to do is set aside time to spend with the family. Writing books and trying to keep up with technology is hard work and it’s all too easy to let the hours pass by. I had a friend who used to call me all the time, telling me to stop what I was doing and go play with the kids…

Q3: Do you have a particular designer or mentor in the field who you look up to?
A3: I’ve worked for many great people over the years, and I’ve learned a lot. While it’s hard to point to any one specific person, I’d have to say that Drew Rayman, of i33 Communications in NYC had the most impact on how I look at both technology and design today. As far as writing goes, my good friend Sharon Steuer, author of the Illustrator WOW! Book, is one who I owe a tremendous amount of thanks to, for helping me to get started in this industry.

Q4: What was the first book you’ve ever published?
A4: The title was “The Web Designer’s Guide to Color” and it was published as part of PANTONE’s Web Color Resource Kit. It was fun to write, and that book opened the door to many others.

Q5: How old are you?
A5: I think I’m 33 – although I’m starting to forget things…

Q: Mordy, thank you again for your time and consideration for doing this interview.

A: Thanks, this was fun – I hope your readers can learn from my experiences and continue to grow in their fields – and have fun as well!

 

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