Global Graphics for Happy Designers: Three Top Tips

Category: Global Design

It’s easy to think about how translation of copy from English to Russian will go, but when design is added to the mix, suddenly everything gets a bit more complicated. Is your text legible when displayed at the same size as on your English site? Does the flow of your graphic make sense when translated into Arabic, Farsi, or Hebrew and read from right to left?

Our recent newsletter article on global designer translation tips is full of ways to make your global design process as pain-free as possible for your talented graphic designers, but here are three quick tips to get you started:

1. Send source files whenever possible

Instead of sending the copy to be translated, send the source (“native”) design file instead. Whether the file is a .png (Fireworks), .psd (Photoshop), .ai (Illustrator) or .indd (InDesign), you’ll receive the translated versions back with the copy in context. Gone are the days where your designers had to recopy and paste foreign text into every layer of the design file. Experienced translation companies have in-house graphic specialists who ensure that your design aesthetics are maintained throughout your new languages.

2. Never underestimate the power of fonts

A graphic designer working with Roman characters can easily explain the difference between Helvetica and Comic Sans, but probably doesn’t have the same acumen for Asian character sets. With the range of serif and sans-serif fonts available for Chinese, Korean, Japanese and other Asian languages, it’s important to know what your font is communicating to your market. Is it modern or traditional? Casual or sophisticated? Using native speakers who are familiar with your English branding to select your typefaces will help you stay consistent across your markets, saving your designers time and frustration.

3. Establish consistent file-naming conventions across all languages

This may seem obvious but it’s a step that’s easy to overlook. When multiple graphic designers are building collateral, banner ads, web pages and more in multiple languages, your creative assets can get lost in an ocean of inconsistent and unpredictable titles. Establish a naming system for files, such as july_2013_banner_ad_russia.jpg, and build a process document with conventions and specifications on how to handle version updates.

Ready to dive in? A style guide that addresses format and locale-specific modifications is another way to keep your brand consistent from Singapore to Brazil and wherever else your company might go.