Review - Before & After: Graphic Design Techniques

Review - Before & After: Graphic Design Techniques
I have been a fan of the Before & After website,, for many years. I find John McWade's method of teaching the concepts of design the best way for me to learn. Recently I watched McWade's Before & After: Graphic Design Techniques course on Lynda.comR.

Before & After: Graphic Design Techniques

  • McWade begins by redesigning a typeset project from a boring list of museum staff names into a classic design. He discusses his choice of font, color and layout.

  • In the next lesson, McWade discusses the adjustments needed to a design, such as word and line spacing, when the text is greatly enlarged or reduced.

  • I really liked this lesson about designing without graphics. McWade discusses the importance of white space.

  • For this next project, a bank's marketing material, McWade discusses text alignment, choice of font and color for the project.

  • In the next lesson, McWade discusses how to redesign the project so that the graphics match the text content.

  • When discussing a Coca-Cola banner, McWade discusses how to use extreme photo cropping.

  • Next, McWade discusses several examples of how to use a photo cutout to add realism to the project.

  • One problem that I encounter a lot is how to layout the MUSED magazine cover using a thin vertical photo. I found McWade's suggestions very helpful.

  • McWade demonstrates how to use an invisible grid of squares to design business cards.

  • For the next project, McWade demonstrates how to continue a design style from the cover to the inside of marketing material.

  • What to do when you have a less than great photo for your project is this topic.

  • Next, McWade discusses the power of empty space.

  • In the next lesson, McWade demonstrates how to design a logo quickly.

  • Next, McWade discusses how to decide if you need a logo or a second logo.

  • In the last lesson, McWade takes you through the development and decision process for a logo design.

John McWade is a senior staff author at and specializes in printing and publication design. He demonstrates his firm background in typography throughout this course.

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this article. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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