Maintaining Your Mac

So I hear all you new Belhaven University freshmen have to shell out a large wad of cash for a shiny new MacBook Pro! I love my MBP and I assure you, you will too and it’s worth every penny!

Now, how can you make the most of your investment? Being a good steward of your assets is a Biblical principle that we need to take note of. Macs are expensive (I like to think it’s because they have the pretty factor inside and out), but they are very upgradable and if you take good care of it, you can keep it around and kicking way past your Apple Care 3 year warranty!

“Skin Deep”

The first part of Mac maintenance is “skin” deep. Your new mac is so shiny and pretty and you should do what you can to keep it that way! I clean mine with the microfiber cloth that came with it at least weekly. Dirt and oils from your skin and fingers can take a toll on the Mac’s keyboard, trackpad, screen and outer case so regular cleaning of your mac will help extend the life of your hardware and keep it looking new which increases resell value should you want to upgrade later. Also investing in a good case/bag to carry it in is a good idea. If you feel the need, you can get one of those snap on hard cases. I personally don’t like them as they add bulk and reduce the “pretty” factor of my mac. Incase and Speck are good lines to start with as they are made for Mac! If you are a notorious drinker/eater while you work and are nervous about the possibility of a spill on your keyboard, you can get a keyboard protector. I keep one around for when I’m with my 2 year old niece, or when I’m doing more eating and drinking around my laptop.

Battery Maintenance

Another part of your computer that is important to maintain is your battery. They loose capacity over time are expensive to replace and if you properly calibrate it about every 30 days you can extend the life and a higher capacity. The process is simple and basically involves draining your battery down until it goes to sleep and then letting it sit uncharged for several hours (overnight works well) to completely deplete the battery. Then you plug it in and charge it completely and let it rest for a couple hours in a fully charged state. A nifty little app you can use to help you go through this process and keep more accurate tabs on your battery called Watts. Learn more about it here.

A Clean Mac is a Happy Mac

It’s also important to periodically clean out your cashes, repair permissions, check for extra languages taking up space on your hard drive. Periodically doing these things will keep your mac fast and peppy! You can do these things for free by running scripts in the terminal, but I like handy little apps that make my life easier. One is Cocktail and another that includes many, MANY more features is MacKeeper. Another way to keep your mac happy and your sanity is to limit the number of files you keep on your desktop and to have a file management system. I keep 2-3 folders on the desktop and use a simple, but organized file system. Every file has it’s place and gets put in a folder somewhere. Folders are your friends! This is especially important for designers who have many versions of the same file. It will make your life easier if you name them properly. Also, it’s a good idea to NOT use spaces in file names as it can cause problems (not usually, but better be safe than sorry). Rather use an underscore and capitals like this:

Backup, Backup, Backup

I can’t stress the importance of backups enough. It’s important to backup, and have redundant backups and update them at least weekly. It’s also a good idea to have a backup drive that’s not in the same place where you keep your computer and update that monthly because you never know… I’ll be writing more on this subject in another post later on!

If you have any questions about any of this, feel free to ask! This isn’t a comprehensive post, but just a few of the things I do on a regular basis to keep my mac pretty, happy and clean.

Working with an Art Director – The Process

Kris asked me to do a walk through of the process that goes into a project for my internship. Since we just finalized and sent this booklet-mailer to print today I thought I’d post about it!

Project Background: This is a 16 page booklet that is going to be mailed to about 40,000 addresses. The booklet is a promotion for the ministry’s (Global Awakening) largest event of the year coming up in October. We needed to stay within the branding that had been created for the event, but create a fresh and exciting mailer.

The Process: It started with a meeting with my Art Director. We talked about what we wanted to accomplish with this piece and he showed me some inspiration for ideas. These images sparked a brainstorming session where we came up with the basic idea for design elements and style. Check out the inspiration page in the gallery below.

After we had come up with our look and feel, we had to decide the layout of all the pages and information. For this step we did quick sketches and used sticky notes to play with page order. This is also where we decided the initial layout of each page and it’s design elements.

Once I had the first draft done my art director and I went through it and talked about things that needed to be changed, added and how to maximize the layout of each page. Once we had everything in place where we wanted it, it was time for the piece to go under the dreaded proofing phase. This phase is where we have to defend our design choices and compromise when necessary to make sure the piece fit the need of the department head who was requesting the design. Once important thing I’ve learned is that even if you have an amazingly creative and artistic layout, if it does not fit the client’s needs, you have not done your job as a designer. Graphic Design isn’t just art, it’s also functional and needs to serve both in order to make it a good design.

So after many proofs and many small edits and changes, walking away for the weekend and looking at it with fresh eyes, making more edits and changes we finally have a finished product! Here it is…click on each image for the full picture and a description. If you have any questions about this process feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to write you back!

This is the summer intern signing off for now!

Summer Senior Internship

Hello! My name is Emily Mabry and I’m one of the upper level graphic design majors here at Belhaven. I’m not your average traditional student as I spent two years out of high school at Belhaven, took four years off and got married, worked in the real world, started my own business and went to ministry school. Now I’m back in the saddle to finish my degree and learn some things to further my freelance graphic design business.

I have the opportunity this summer to do an internship as an in-house junior graphic designer with a large ministry. The job is pretty familiar to me as I used to work this very job last year when we lived in PA. This internship is different in that I’m working remotely more like a freelance contractor than an employee. I work under an art director and my major responsibilities are to modify designs for recurring events and conferences that have already been created and (my favorite) to create new designs for other marketing materials for events, and other departments that are under the umbrella of the ministry.

I think what I love most about the internship is being able to have freedom to develop new ideas and designs under an art director. Working with someone else creatively is very rewarding when you can be proud of the final product.

Stay tuned for a walk-through of one of my recent projects!