You can do it!

It’s always nice to see my work out there in the big bad world, struggling to make it on its own, and sometimes succeeding.  Yesterday my wife, Julie, spotted my new cover for the Undergraduate Journal of Musicology at UWO on the Faculty of Music home page.  The journal’s new editor, Aaron James, wanted a “new, cleaner and more consistent look”, preferably with a color that could be changed from issue to issue.  This is what I came up with.

Nota Bene Cover

Vector matters.

Aaron requested that the Nota Bene logo used on a previous cover design be kept.  He sent me a small jpeg graphic, presumably a scan of some wonderful hand-drawn script of the letters NB on a musical staff.

Nota Bene Logo

Since the graphic was fairly lo-res, I decided to convert it to a vector image.

A vector is a graphic that is drawn using anchor points and curves that are calculated mathematically, as opposed using pixels like a jpeg or bitmap image.  The benefit of a vector graphic over a pixelized (or raster) graphic is that it can be resized infinitely with out a loss in image quality.  Any quality logo should be designed as a vector graphic.Raster VS Vector

Unfortunately, converting a jpeg into a vector graphic is not just as easy as a click of a button.  Adobe Illustrator does have some great “tracing” features, but the result is an approximation at best.  In this instance, arriving at the final graphic involved a couple of steps.  First I took the original into Photoshop, blew it up, and traced over it with the brush tool, cleaning up some edges and curves as I went, to give me a larger, clearer graphic to work with.  Then I took it into Illustrator and traced it by hand using the pen tool.