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Well, my dream has come true: I am now a graphic designer!  I tend to be a bit of a control freak. The one thing missing from my repertoire of experience as a cosmetic formulator was the control of my designs.  First, I had to learn how to take a decent photo.  Then I needed an easy-to-use program to manipulate my work.  Many people told me to learn Adobe Photoshop.  Many others told me Photoshop is notoriously difficult to use.  So I compromised and discovered The Print Shop.  There are two versions of The Print Shop: the original Broderbund program is designed for Windows.  The Mackiev program is essentially the same Broderbund program, but designed for Macs (I think Mackiev is an offshoot of Broderbund).  If you use Windows, you will want The Print Shop 3 which you can purchase here: http://www.broderbund.com/p-278-the-print-shop-30-professional.aspx.  If you use a Mac, the latest program is The Print Shop 2. You can purchase it here: http://www.mackiev.com/tps2_spec.html

The Print Shop is like Photoshop for Dummies.  It's very easy to use and has a remarkable amount of project templates, design backgrounds, art and graphics already built in.  But more importantly for me, it allows you to import your own work and manipulate it in many ways.  You can then export your designs in many different forms (jpeg, html, pdf, etc.) which allows you to use them in any manner imaginable.  The only thing missing from Mackiev's Print Shop 2 is the ability to design your own label dimensions.  On the Windows Print Shop 3 version, you can create your own label template with exact measurements.  The Mac version only gives you a list of Avery templates, which are not at all adequate for me.  I use Online Labels, and I use some very tiny labels, so I had to jpeg my designs and upload them into Maestro (the label printing program that comes free with Online Labels).  It works well enough, but it does add a little bit of a headache factor.  I have no experience with graphic design, so this is a great "starter" program for me.  I have been developing a new perfume for the Spring, and I really wanted a unique label for it.  This was my very first project on Print Shop 2. This is a tiny 5 ml. bottle and the label is 0.75 in. wide and 1 in. long!

And here is the little "poster" I will use at the market to help sell the product:

I am really pleased with how these came out.  The only thing missing to make these truly spectacular is a laser printer!  And that is definitely next on my "need to buy" list!

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Spectacular.  I wasn't aware, when I looked at the bottle, that it was as small as 5 ml.  Amazing detail (on the label) in a very tiny space. 

 

I am glad you shared this piece, very educational.  I may be trying out Print Shop for windows next.

I was pretty amazed that it came out so well on such a tiny label!  And that is with an inkjet, too!  The photo of the bottle above is almost twice the size of the actual bottle!  I should have put something next to it for scale.  I'm having a lot of fun with this program.  It does not have any "brushes" for painterly effects, though.  Maybe the Windows version does.  The other thing that is a tad frustrating is that it doesn't give me color gradients: it gives me a lot of colors to choose from, and will allow me to change their opacity, but it doesn't allow me to choose the perfect blend of color. For example, I could choose a rose pink or a lavender purple, and make them darker or lighter, but I can't seem to blend them to get that perfect "orchid" color.   Color gradients are pretty standard fare these days, so I'm surprised it's missing (and it's possible I just haven't tapped into it yet, but I'm pretty sure it is not there).  For the short-term it's fine, especially since it was not an expensive program ($69). But those are the two things that will cause me to upgrade some day!  The control-freak here wants ALL the colors on the spectrum and some brushes to boot!  : )

I appreciate the review, especially for an affordable product. 

 

To those that can design these types of programs - notice what the "control-freak" said? Colors of the spectrum and brushes are needed! Get busy. 

 

Looks, good, seriously, Katie.   

Thanks, Mary!

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