Imagery and Text

Overviews

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Digital Collage

A digital collage is a form of graphic art that uses virtual imagery and textures from different sources pieced and layered together into one image. Collages can be made up of personally created images, stock photos, Google images (be sure they’re labelled for re-use), etc.

A digital collage combined with text is often called a “graphic essay” (see below).

Recommended Software:

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this is one of the best options for creating collages if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Adobe InDesign: Like Photoshop, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is another good alternative for creating collages if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Adobe Illustrator: Like Photoshop and InDesign, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is another good alternative for creating collages if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • CanvaThis online program has a limited free option, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a cost. Many of the functions of Canva are free, but there are certain elements available for $1. Canva files are created online and can be downloaded as PNG, JPEG, or PDF. They do not allow for collaboration in the free option. Additionally, alignment tools are there but are very limited in functionality. However, using frames of various shapes will allow for easy collage creation.

  • PiktochartThis online program has a limited free option, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a cost. Piktochart files are created online and can be downloaded as PNG files. These files are usually lower in resolution than a typical poster, but making the dimensions larger will allow for downsizing with a higher resolution. Piktochart does not allow for collaboration in the free option. Additionally, alignment tools are there but are very limited in functionality. However, using frames of various shapes will allow for easy collage creation.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via Office 365. It is also installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using OneDrive will allow for collaboration between multiple creators. The photo editing options are limited for PowerPoint, but available.

  • Google Slides: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps). It is a web-based system, so can transition easily between multiple computers regardless of operating systems. Google Slides are also very good for collaboration, as they allow multiple users to edit at one time. This software is based heavily on PowerPoint, so there are limited alignment and design tools for this software.

  • Apple Keynote: This is a proprietary software program that is available only for Apple products. It is installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout under the Mac partition. There are limited alignment tools, but the Keynote design tools are more extensive than Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides, especially with regards to photo editing.

Fliers/Event Posters

Fliers and event posters are typically used as a form of advertisement. They typically provide information about a place or event. The sizes can range from as small as a business card to as large as a billboard.

Recommended Software:

  • CanvaThis online program has a limited free option, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a cost. Many of the functions of Canva are free, but there are certain elements available for $1. Canva files are created online and can be downloaded as PNG, JPEG, or PDF. They do not allow for collaboration in the free option. Canva has plenty of poster/flier templates to get you started, although be sure to make it your own!

  • PiktochartThis online program has a limited free option, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a cost. Piktochart files are created online and can be downloaded as PNG files. These files are usually lower in resolution than a typical poster, but making the dimensions larger will allow for downsizing with a higher resolution. They do not allow for collaboration in the free option. Additionally, alignment tools are there but are very limited in functionality. Piktochart has quite a few poster/flier templates to get you started, although be sure to make it your own!

  • Adobe InDesign: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best software programs for creating fliers/posters if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Adobe Illustrator: Like InDesign, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is another good alternative for creating fliers/posters if you know or have time to learn the software.

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: Like InDesign and Illustrator, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this another good alternative for creating fliers/posters if you know or have time to learn the software.

 

  • Microsoft Word: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via Office 365. It is also installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using OneDrive will allow for collaboration between multiple creators. Office online also has starter templates to get you going.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint: Like Word, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via Office 365. It is also installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using OneDrive will allow for collaboration between multiple creators. Office online also has starter templates to get you going.

  • Google Slides: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps). It is a web-based system, so can transition easily between multiple computers regardless of operating systems. Google Slides are also very good for collaboration, as they allow multiple users to edit at one time. This software is based heavily on PowerPoint, so there are limited alignment and design tools for this software.

  • Apple Keynote: This is a proprietary software program that is available only for Apple products. It is installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout under the Mac partition. There are limited alignment tools, but the Keynote design tools are more extensive than Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides, especially with regards to photo editing.

Business Cards

Business cards are intended as a quick and easy way to distribute one’s professional contact information, as well as give a brief glimpse into the type of business at which one works or represents via logos, images, or other design features.

Recommended Software:

  • CanvaThis online program has a limited free option, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a cost. Many of the functions of Canva are free, but there are certain elements available for $1. Canva files are created online and can be downloaded as PNG, JPEG, or PDF. They do not allow for collaboration in the free option. Canva has plenty of business card templates to get you started, although be sure to make it your own!

  • Adobe InDesign: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best software programs for creating business cards if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Adobe Illustrator: Like InDesign, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is another good alternative for creating business cards if you know or have time to learn the software.

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: Like InDesign and Illustrator, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this another good alternative for creating business cards if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Microsoft Word: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via Office 365. It is also installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using OneDrive will allow for collaboration between multiple creators. Office online also has starter business card templates to get you going.

Resume/CV

Resumes are text-based documents that provide a potential employer with one’s basic information, educational history, and work experience. Resumes tend to be on one sheet of paper.

A CV (or curriculum vitae) is typically used in academic contexts. Similar to a resume, it will contain basic contact information, educational experience, and work experience as well as publications, public service experience, and involvement within institutions and the larger academic community. CVs can be as long as is necessary to provide the relevant information.

Recommended Software:

  • Microsoft Word: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via Office 365. It is also installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using OneDrive will allow for collaboration between multiple creators. Office online also has starter resume and CV templates to get you going.

  • CanvaThis online program has a limited free option, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a cost. Many of the functions of Canva are free, but there are certain elements available for $1. Canva files are created online and can be downloaded as PNG, JPEG, or PDF. They do not allow for collaboration in the free option. Canva has a few resume templates to get you started, although be sure to make it your own!

  • Adobe InDesign: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best software programs for creating resumes/CVs if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Adobe Illustrator: Like InDesign, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is another good alternative for creating resumes/CVs if you know or have time to learn the software.

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: Like InDesign and Illustrator, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this another good alternative for creating fliers/posters if you know or have time to learn the software.

Logos

A logo is a a symbol or design adopted by an organization or person to identify itself/themself. They can also contain stylized text. Logos typically try to capture the essence of the organization or person they represent in a graphic form.

Recommended Software:

  • Adobe Illustrator: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best options for creating logos.

  • Adobe InDesign: Like Illustrator, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best software programs for creating logos if you know or have time to learn the software.

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: Like Illustrator and InDesign, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this another good alternative for creating logos if you know or have time to learn the software.

Comics

Comics are a genre used to express ideas through images combined with text or other visual information. Comics can take the form of a single panel or a series of juxtaposed panels of images. Text is conveyed via captions below the panel(s), or speech bubbles and onomatopoeias within the panel(s), to indicate dialogue, narration, sound effects, or other information.

Software Available*:

Comic Life Logo

  • Comic Life: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via select InfoLab machines (including those in DesignLab), but only in the labs. There is a 30 day free trial available, but afterward, individual and group purchase of the software is available through their website. This is one of the most extensive comic/storyboard creative engines out there, with lots of built-in features that are unavailable through other programs.

  • Pixton: This online program has a limited free option, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a cost. For most advanced features you can get a 7 day free trial. Educators can also purchase classroom packages at a discounted rate per student. Limited functions of Pixton are free. In order to print and download comics, you must have a subscription.

*Both Comic Life and Pixton are commercial software that must be purchased. We do not recommend using these programs because it puts students at a financial disadvantage.

Recommended Software:

  • Adobe Illustrator: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best options for creating comics if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Adobe InDesign: Like Illustrator, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best software programs for creating comics if you know or have time to learn the software.

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: Like Illustrator and InDesign, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this another good alternative for creating comics if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Microsoft PowerPoint: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via Office 365. It is also installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using OneDrive will allow for collaboration between multiple creators. Using each slide as an individual panel, will allow you to create and print simple comics.

  • Google Slides: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps). It is a web-based system, so can transition easily between multiple computers regardless of operating systems. Google Slides are also very good for collaboration, as they allow multiple users to edit at one time. This software is based heavily on PowerPoint, so there are limited alignment and design tools for this software. Using each slide as an individual panel, will allow you to create and print simple comics.

  • Apple Keynote: This is a proprietary software program that is available only for Apple products. It is installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout under the Mac partition. There are limited alignment tools, but the Keynote design tools are more extensive than Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides, especially with regards to photo editing. Using each slide as an individual panel, will allow you to create and print simple comics.

Graphic Essay

A graphic essay uses text and images to explore a specific topic. Graphic essays can look like comics, graphic novels, magazines, collages, artist books or websites. Graphic essays often first take the form of standard written essays and then have graphic elements added to enrich the reader experience.

Recommended Software:

  • Adobe InDesign: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best software programs for creating graphic essays if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Adobe Illustrator: Like InDesign, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is another good alternative for creating graphic essays if you know or have time to learn the software.

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: Like InDesign and Illustrator, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this another good alternative for creating graphic essays if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Microsoft Word: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via Office 365. It is also installed on all InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using OneDrive will allow for collaboration between multiple creators. This is probably the most commonly used software for creating graphic essays, although alignment tools in Word can cause some issues between texts and images.
Other Software Available*:

Comic Life Logo

  • Comic Life: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via select InfoLab machines (including those in DesignLab), but only in the labs. There is a 30 day free trial available, but afterward, individual and group purchase of the software is available through their website. This is one of the most extensive comic/storyboard creative engines out there, with lots of built-in features that are unavailable through other programs.

  • Pixton: This online program has a limited free option, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a cost. For most advanced features you can get a 7 day free trial. Educators can also purchase classroom packages at a discounted rate per student. Limited functions of Pixton are free. In order to print and download comics, you must have a subscription.

*Both Comic Life and Pixton are commercial software that must be purchased. We do not recommend using these programs because it puts students at a financial disadvantage.

Graphic Novel

Graphic novels are often considered the longer form of comics. Like comics, they are a genre used to express ideas through images combined with text or other visual information. Graphic novels are a series of juxtaposed panels of images. Text is conveyed via sentences or captions below the panels, or speech bubbles and onomatopoeias within the panels, to indicate dialogue, narration, sound effects, or other information.

Recommended Software:

  • Adobe InDesign: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best software programs for creating graphic novels if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Adobe Illustrator: Like InDesign, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is another good alternative for creating graphic novels if you know or have time to learn the software.

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: Like InDesign and Illustrator, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this another good alternative for creating graphic novels if you know or have time to learn the software.
Other Software Available*:

Comic Life Logo

  • Comic Life: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via select InfoLab machines (including those in DesignLab), but only in the labs. There is a 30 day free trial available, but afterward, individual and group purchase of the software is available through their website. This is one of the most extensive comic/storyboard creative engines out there, with lots of built-in features that are unavailable through other programs.

  • Pixton: This online program has a limited free option, as well as monthly and annual subscriptions at a cost. For most advanced features you can get a 7 day free trial. Educators can also purchase classroom packages at a discounted rate per student. Limited functions of Pixton are free. In order to print and download comics, you must have a subscription.

*Both Comic Life and Pixton are commercial software that must be purchased. We do not recommend using these programs because it puts students at a financial disadvantage.

Digital Photography

Digital photography is the capturing of a single moment in time via a digital camera. Digital photos can be manipulated using programs such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to create distinctive and captivating images.

A series of images can also be used to create a moving image, or short animation, called a GIF.

Recommended Software:

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this is the best program for manipulating digital photography and is the industry standard.

*There are many other minor editing programs available such as Google Photos, Instagram, and the like. Given its versatility and availability on campus, we recommend Photoshop.

Digital Illustration

“Digital illustration” is a catch-all term for other non-photographic images that are created digitally. Digital illustrations can be in the form of a digital drawing, painting, texture, pattern, architectural model, etc. Digital illustrations can be in 2D or 3D and can use a variety of different software.

Recommended Software:

  • Adobe Illustrator: This software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is one of the best options for creating digital illustrations if you know or have time to learn the software.

Adobe Photoshop Logo

  • Adobe Photoshop: Like Illustrator, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, as well as plenty of photo editing capabilities, this another good alternative for creating digital illustrations if you know or have time to learn the software.

  • Adobe InDesign: Like Illustrator and Photoshop, this software is available to UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff via InfoLab machines, both in the labs and for checkout. Using a Creative Cloud account will allow for easy transition from one computer to another. With layers and alignment tools, this is another good alternative for creating comics if you know or have time to learn the software.

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Working on something different?

The above options are just a few examples of imagery- and/or text-based projects. Want help with something not listed here? Make an appointment with a DesignLab consultant to discuss how we can help!

Examples

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Digital Collage

Fliers/Event Posters

Business Cards

Resume/CV

Logos

Comics

Graphic Essay

Graphic Essay: May It Please the Court by Maira Kalman’s Blog “And The Pursuit of Happiness”

Graphic Novel

Video: Learning Graphic Novel Storyboarding by Ben Bishop

Digital Photography

Digital Illustrations

Imagery & Text Icon

Software Support

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Adobe Illustrator

Adobe InDesign

Adobe Photoshop

Microsoft Word

Canva

Canva LogoFrom Lynda.com:
From Canva:
From Software Training for Students:

Piktochart

From Lynda.com:
From Piktochart:
From Software Training for Students:

Comic Life

From Comic Life:Comic Life Logo
From Software Training for Students:

Pixton

From Pixton:Pixton Logo
  • Help Center (Click on the “Help” button at the bottom right of the screen)
From Software Training for Students:

and more...

Are we missing a program or software that you would recommend to others? Email us at designlab@wisc.edu and we’ll do our best to add it here!