8

I need help solving some graphic-design problem with software. What do I have to keep in mind to help the community to help me and get useful answers?

This is a FAQ intended to be linked in the help centre or in comments left to new users. Everybody is invited to contribute.

7

Be specific about what you want

We can’t help you if we do not know what you want to achieve. The following can help us:

  • Show us what you got so far and tell us what you want to be different.
  • Sketch what you want.
  • Show an example that achieved what you want. If your example graphic features multiple techniques (which is very likely), specify which ones you are interested in.
  • Describe what you want with words, both in your title and post. In many cases, this is the most difficult one and you fare better with using visual examples.

Use a specific title

Your title is crucial for your question to be found by those who can answer it as well as future users having the same problem. Therefore, please avoid generic titles such as:

How do I make something like this?
Need help recreating this effect …
Photoshop problem

Instead, try to use a few words to describe:

  • the desired result,
  • the tools (within the software) you are working with,
  • the problem you encountered.

Tell us what software you are using

If you want to achieve your goal with a specific software, tell us which one it is. The vast majority of softwares have a dedicated tag that makes your question visible to the right audience; use it.

If you do not have a specific software in mind, specify your constraints. What operating system do you want to use? Are you only interested in free software?

Show us what you already tried

If you did not already do it, try to solve the problem yourself. Describe what you already did, show us the results, and tell us why you are not satisfied with them. This has several advantages:

  • You get a better idea of what your problem is and how to describe it.
  • We know where to start explaining.
  • We get an idea on which level you are.
  • We do not waste time on explaining something that you already know.
  • We get a better idea of your goal.
  • You may solve your problem yourself.

Ask about one aspect at a time

Please focus on one aspect per question, and rather ask separate questions.

If you can imagine that two (or more) answers do not overlap but solve your problem in combination, try to split your question accordingly. If you don’t, one answer may solve one part of your problem better, while another may be best for another part. Therefore answers may not be directly comparable anymore, which is a central paradigm of this site. Also, questions that ask for huge tutorials are of little use to other users since it is more difficult for them to find the right question and then to find that part of the answers that is relevant to them.

Remember that we are a community of graphic designers

Before you post your question, ask yourself: If you could only ask a single person, who would it be?

If the answer is not the first, your question will be likely better received on the respective Stack Exchange sites linked above.

Examples

Here are some examples of well asked how-to questions that may inspire you to improve yours:

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .