Updated LearnKey Veteran Services Website

by Brad - Sep 17, 2014

If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that our LearnKey Veteran Services website (www.veterans.learnkey.com) has been updated since yesterday. This is more than a mere update; it is a redesign of the existing website. The goal of this new design was two-fold:

  1. Adjust the colors of the LKVS website to be more universal to all branches of the military
  2. Bring the design of the LKVS website into harmony with the recently updated LearnKey.com design

I believe we have accomplished our goal. We used the stylesheet from the new LearnKey website design, but changed the colors so as to set the LKVS site apart from the regular LearnKey website. We also moved away from the camouflage design we were using in the old design, deciding instead on a red, white, and blue color scheme to suggest the American flag.

Two new features of the redesigned LearnKey Veteran Services site are the new Student Resource Center page and the Live Chat option. The live chat option allows students the option of chatting with a VR&E counselor to get answers to time-sensitive questions, while the Student Resource Center provides information on resources available to LKVS students and advisors. This page will be updated from time to time as more resources become available.

LearnKey Veteran Services design

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Lee Wiley to Author Illustrator CC

by Brad - Jun 19, 2014

Lee Wiley

Yesterday, LearnKey temporarily welcomed back an old friend, the talented Lee Wiley. Lee is a former LearnKey employee and a rising star in the world of graphic novels. He is also the author of our upcoming Adobe Illustrator CC course, which began filming last night and is scheduled for release in August.

I first met Lee in 2009, when I was the Design Team Lead for LearnKey. He was looking for a job in his chosen field, and I was short a designer. The Fates aligned and Lee became the newest member of my team.

Over the next year, I worked closely with Lee on many LearnKey projects and he quickly became one of the most trusted members of my team. I transferred to LearnKey’s Salt Lake office in 2010, and a few months later Lee became the Lead Designer.

Apparently I had been holding the design team back. The next couple of years saw a revolution in the style of our courses, beginning with the Adobe Creative Suite 5 courses. Lee has never been afraid to take risks and challenge established methods, and the visual content of our courses reflected that. Although I will not be working directly with Lee on the Illustrator CC course, it’s good to know he is at the helm.

Lee has always been active in cutting-edge projects, the most notable of which is a five-part graphic novel series, Expiration Date. Written by scriptwriter Robert Zappia, Expiration Date is the futuristic tale of world overpopulation and a suspected conspiracy involving one government’s unique solution. Issues #1 and #2 were released in 2012 and 2013, and Issue #3 is set to debut this fall at Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo in Los Angeles.


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Understanding Image Usage Rights

by Brad - Apr 04, 2014

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are meant as a guide only, and should not be construed as expert legal advice on copyright law. Any specific questions about copyright and intellectual property rights should be referred to a lawyer with expertise in United States copyright law. Copyright laws differ slightly from country to country, so a lawyer familiar with International copyright laws may also be required.

Product or service names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. Their inclusion in this article should not be construed as an endorsement by LearnKey or its affiliates.

Imagine you are working on a project for a major client. You’ve spent days getting the design just right and now you’re looking for that perfect image to make the project complete. You search through your image library, but nothing feels right. You try image after image, but they all fail to meet your expectations.

We’ve all been there. Like most designers, you probably turn to the Internet. A quick Internet search yields the perfect image for your project. You visit the website, download the image, and turn your finished project over to the client. The client is happy, your boss is happy, and life couldn’t be better, right?

Wrong. You forgot something.

That image you downloaded and used in your project belongs to someone else. You had no legal right to use that image and now you, your company, and your client find yourselves in court for violating someone’s intellectual property rights.

But the image was on the Internet, so it’s free for anyone to use, right?

Wrong again. Unless the image is in the public domain, any image posted to the Internet is automatically protected by United States copyright law, with or without a copyright notice. Even sharing that image on your Facebook page without permission is a violation of the author’s legal rights. While some claims of copyright violation are more difficult to enforce than others, any legal trouble can mean bad news for a designer. Your company may survive a lawsuit, but your job and reputation likely will not.

So how do you avoid this type of situation?

The first thing you can do is avoid using images found in an Internet search. While some of these images are either public domain or specially licensed for commercial work, most are not. A better approach is to subscribe to a stock photo service such as iStock or Shutterstock. Services such as these allow almost unrestricted use of their photos for either a monthly fee or a per-photo fee.

If money is an issue, there are many sites which offer free photos, but the image quality and resolution is usually not the same as those found through a subscription service. Sites like morgueFile and Wikimedia Commons offer free access to thousands of photos, many of which are restriction-free or require only that you provide attribution to the photographer. Also, with the exception of government trademarks and logos, images created by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person’s official duties are not subject to copyright.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to pay attention to an image’s license. Many artists have licensed their work with a Creative Commons license, allowing others to use their photos with specific restrictions. If you can’t find an image’s license, you should probably assume it is not available for use.

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LK Designer by Day…Illustrator by Night

by Lee - Nov 15, 2011

I joined the Design Team at Learnkey in 2009, and in doing so, I like to feel that I brought a new and unique approach the team. You see, although I work as a Designer that would be a secondary definition to my artistic strengths. I am primarily an Illustrator, and even more specifically a Comic-book Illustrator.

Comic books, graphic novels, comic strips, and the like are some of the best ways to tell a story in my opinion. Comics go beyond words on a page, and in some respects go beyond some of the limitations of film-making. It is a unique and treasured storytelling medium to me and to many others! I have illustrated many small comic books as personal projects, and have been commissioned to do illustrations for clients. You can check out samples of those works here at my personal website.

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