Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Direction Writing

Your thoughts.....

I used to write illustrate in black and white and use a legend to tell you which bead went where. It was never an exact science since I am very likely to change up beads on different color ways. What is a crystal bi-cone in one color might be a fire polish in another color.

It would be so much easier direction wise to make each project the same and just change up the colors, but I can never seem to force myself to do that. Beading by the Bay's Aelia has three colors. The gold uses mostly crystals, but the black and grey uses pearls and metal beads in the same places.

The dilemma is that since I have already decided to go to full color in the directions, do I now have to go to 3 full color sets of directions? And when I write the words do I need three sets, one that says pick up a bi-cone and one that says pick up a pearl? I know the answer should be yes and then I look at how daunting the work is to do it that way. It should be easier with illustrator, I should be able to just replace symbol, but it doesn't always work out. Sometimes the orientation of the bead doesn't change, but more often I have replaced some of the beads but not all, so if I change all gold crystals to jet crystals, maybe half of those jet crystals are now pearls and I will manually have to change those. Sigh.....

It seems the bar has been raised very high on direction writing and I think it is a good thing, but it is very time consuming. In the past people have always worked out my kits with black and white and a legend, but that can leave a lot up to interpretation, which isn 't necessarily a bad thing. I'm always striving to improve, but where do I draw the line?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

17 comments:

Beverly Herman said...

That is a daughting question. My solution is In the legend of the beads in the instructions and the labeling of the beads in the kits. Example: Color A 3mm crystal. Color B 15/0 seed beads. I love using color illustrations when writing instructions.

The bad Liz said...

I will agree - as long as the A bead is the correct bead to put in that spot, it shouldn't matter if it's a bicone or firepolish. It should make things much easier for you.

Marcia DeCoster said...

also easier said then done.....An A is not always in the same place. If color one has 3 bi-cones and color two has 1 bi-cone and uses pearls for the next two spots, then A B and C don't correlate between projects. Now you are left with making the text specific to each one. Basically the way I design there is no easy way. S ig h

coolmoon said...

I would think that as long as you have ONE well written illustration, making note that it is the illustration for a certain colorway, then I would think beaders that have prior weaving knowledge (which most will have to have in order to do such detailed beading), will know that they can 'switch up' beads/pearls in specific spots and still have it turn out. I am one such beader.....

Mikki said...

I think the key is the index. For example if I have a design where I use three different colors for one bead in one color way and two different colors in another colorway I'd write it kind of like in knitting patterns the main colorway that is illustrated as the instructions with the variations in parentheses. Like Aa (Ab) (Ac), thenn it doesn't matter what bead or color you are using because it's in the index. And then suggest that the beader highlight the instructions for the colorway they are working on before beginning beading. Does that make sense?

Try-to-be-better said...

To avoid the pearl/bicone problem, maybe you could say in the legend e.g. "Bicone 4mm (or crystal pearl 4mm in kit b or c)
When it is possibel to exchange a bead completely, I mention this in the supply list...
Al best
Sabine

Beki said...

While there are always going to be a few folks who will get confuzzled by a change in bead (shape, style, color) from the instruction graphics, you'll drive yourself mad (not to mention take up way too much precious beading/designing time trying to make each different colorway have specific instructions. I have found that using labels on the bags and instructions that designate which bead is placed where seems to be the easiest for everyone involved.
If in colorway 1 bead A is a 4mm Crystal, and in colorway 2 bead A is a 4mm Pearl, the beader should be able to determine by that information alone what they should be using next. Also, since this is in a classroom environment, you'll have an opportunity to explain this to your class right from the start.
If it will be in a kit sold outside of the classroom, I would just make note of it in bold lettering at the beginning of the instructions. While there will always be some peeps who won't read, you'll get the info across to enough of them.
You're an attentive and considerate teacher, Marcia, which is what makes you so good. Even considering these variables shows that.

Judith said...

If each colorway is that different, then each should have it's own name & bead specific illustrations. If the construction is identical and you wouldn't substitute a 4mm for a 6mm "A" bead, then an index or seperate illustrated "key" would suffice. Remember "KISS" or you'll end up doing highly individualized kits with a cost that could well be prohibitive. Been there, done that and still have a few of those kit/instructions.

Pixiloo said...

I would agree that a legend detailing which beads are used for which colorway should be sufficient. In colorway1, the same bicone might be both the A and B beads. In colorway2, the A bead might be a bicone and the B bead might be a pearl. Since the beads are the same size, you can use the same illustration and not worry about color matching. The only thing you might have to do is make sure you differentiate between the A and B beads to accommodate colorway2 in the example above. I don't think doing so would negatively affect colorway1. Honestly, as a beader who mostly beads from patterns, I generally switch up color or type of beads when I follow a pattern. I either make a note on the pattern or color in the pattern, as Mikki suggested. I would think most beaders do the same thing.

NEDbeads said...

I really really like what Beki said - I agree so much. I haven't written many directions at all compared to you all, but I think that it's much easier to follow if things are just labeled and folks read their instructions as they should. Most beaders will want their piece to turn out fabulously, and will read through, especially if there are notes in highlighted text. :)

ellen said...

How about writing directions with color for one or 'base' version and adding a variations page with photo inserts zooming in on the change(s) made, perhaps with photo step outs, and a caption describing what was done.
To be honest, the future of instruction writing may be animation. BTW, looking forward to your classes for SJersey Bead Society.

Tycialk said...

I think the legend should be enough for everyone. But if you really want to do separate instructions, do you have a search & replace in illustrator? I know it is in MS Office & word.
Most people who would be following your pattern will be experienced beaders & will be able to switch the colors without any problem.
Thanks for caring enough to worry about this.

Phyllis said...

why not write a foot note on your directions saying something like, " for this design depending on your color palette, you will be using either a fire polish bead, pearl or crystal. When it is time to use this bead, it will be referred to as...... (what ever you want to call it - decorative bead etc)

cw whitedogjewelry said...

I too, agree with what Beki said. Your designs will be used by experienced beaders. I love using color illustrations, but also realize that you need to read between the lines and figure some things out by trial and error.

Marcia DeCoster said...

I possibly didn't make it clear, these are for actual kits that will be used as kits. However there will also need to be a generic version for the non kit people. But since the directions how say 1 size 11, or 1 3mm pearl or 1 4 mm bi-cone the people who bring there own will be fine.

pamelaric said...

I say consider your audience. I think your audience is medium to advanced beaders and not necessarily beginners. I don't think you need to baby us. I think you are over thinking this. Reduce it to the most common denominator...."pick up 4mm bead." Doesn't matter if it's a fire polish, crystal bicone or pearl. Just my two cents. :-)

Pamela
Tucson, AZ

Peapod Beads said...

Maybe for the class kits it is best to show alternatives as photos, this may appease any quibbler/non-instructions-reader in the class. So have a detail shot of the place where an exchange is made, but keep the 'main body' instructions in the 'basic' version in one colour scheme. Maybe put the alternatives as an appendix in your non-class kits and asterisk points where the substitutions occur?