Design Cuts has lots of FREE assets and FREE workshops going on now, until October 15, 2019. Workshop speakers include:
Jacob Cast-Developing a Brand Identity and Logo Melinda Livsey-Improving Your Design Portfolio Michael Janda-How to Price your Work Stefan Kunz-How to Create Stunning Lettering Layouts Teela Cunningham-Watercolor Lettering in Procreate Debi Sementelli and Laura Worthington-How to Create a Typeface Lisa Glanz-Color and Texture in Procreate Denise Love-Textures and Brushes for Photography Kris Lauren-Realistic Textures and Paint Effects in Procreate Ryan Hayward-Growing your Social Media Following Tom Ross-Making Money as a Creative Chris Do-Generalization vs. Specialization in Graphic Design
If you missed the live workshop, you can catch the replay. They also have some great prices on some of their most popular assets like the Magical Scene Creator, Vintage Collection and The Ultimate Texture and Photography Kit. Design Cuts is the only curated asset supplier on the web. It’s a great place for inspiration and learning about new tools, especially Procreate. Design Cuts
If you’re a new designer just beginning your graphic design career, it can be difficult to know what the best application is for your project. Here is a list of the industry standards. It’s not the only way to complete a project, but this is the most common use of graphic design tools.
Adobe InDesign is a page layout application. It’s used for publications, advertising, brochures, invitations, business cards, books, posters and anything else you can think of that requires a layout.
It has sensitive typography styling options and makes it easy to lay your type anywhere on the page you want it in relationship to your images. You can import the following formats: eps, ai, ps, pdf, png, jpg and tiffs, making it extremely flexible.
You can easily create repeatable headers and footers for multipage layouts and spreads. Fonts are always clear and crisp. You can output to pdf, jpg, html, EPUB and more.
Adobe Illustrator is a drawing application. You can draw in the program, or trace over your own freehand drawings from a scan and convert to vector. A vector file is drawn with points in whatever size you want to use the drawing, as opposed to being a raster file which is pixelated like Adobe Photoshop. You can import a raster file into Illustrator for placement or to trace over, but it’s not automatically a vector file, just because you placed it into Illustrator and saved it as an eps. It must be redrawn to become a vector file.
Adobe Photoshop is a photograph manipulation tool, and so much more. You can paint in it, you can lay your type in it, you can place Illustrator files in it as well as .eps, tiff, jpg, pdfs, gif and so much more. It’s extremely complex and all encompassing design tool. You can drop out backgrounds of your photos, you can compose photos from different images, you can recolor images and more and more.
I could go on for days about Photoshop, but you can see where I’m going with this. Photoshop files are large, they take a lot of memory and storage space. Photoshop is not very good at manipulating lots of type. It wouldn’t be good for a publication, but it does work well when you don’t have a lot of type to work with, for example an ad.
Adobe Acrobat is a pdf tool. If you’ve opened a pdf on the web, you probably have Acrobat Reader on your computer. Reader is a paired down version of Adobe Acrobat, just for reading. The full version of Acrobat allows you to create pdfs in different qualities. A pdf for the web is different than a pdf for printing. PDFs are used when you want to show a client your progress on a project. It puts your Photoshop or InDesign file into a format that they can see even on a PC. Most forms are now in pdf format. If you have the full version, you can fill out the form in Acrobat and even change the form. It’s a versatile cross platform application.
Lightroom Classic is a professional photographer’s tool used to organize RAW or original files out of a camera. The files are reviewed in Lightroom, you can make technical adjustments to light and color as well as image format. It’s a great way to look at a large number of images at once and zoom in on the ones you need to inspect closer. The classic version keeps all of your files local on your hard drive or external hard drive.
Lightroom CC is the same as Lightroom Classic above except that it keeps your files in the cloud as part of the Adobe Creative Suite.
I hope that you’ve found this helpful as you begin your journey into Graphic Design. It’s a very fun and rewarding profession. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.
I hope you’re having a wonderful summer with your friends and family. We had a wonderful trip to San Francisco to see our son. It was very relaxing. I have also been dealing with some technical issues with my website as well as my back up hard drives.
It’s been a frustrating journey and I’m still working out the kinks in both. I moved my site from a self hosted WordPress site to Squarespace. I love the design and the themes of Squarespace, but it didn’t have the same flexibility as WordPress. I also like having access to all of my files whenever I need them by having my own space on a hosting server. So I decided to move everything back to WordPress, but since I transferred my domain, it was held hostage by Squarespace for 60 days.
Then my back up 4TB external hard drive stopped booting up to my computer while I was in the process of moving things off of my time machine hard drive onto it. It’s been 5 weeks and I’m still working with the recovery service to access all of my files. DON’T FORGET TO HAVE 2 COPIES OF ALL OF YOUR FILES. It’s costing an arm and a leg to get them back.
I learned that the Seagate I was using only has a 3-4 year lifespan and it has moving parts which often fail. My replacement was WD My Book 4TB, it booted up once and also failed. Moral of the story, only use solid state external hard drives like a Sandisk brand. It has no moving part. Why didn’t I know this? I can’t believe I was not aware of it!
Anyway, I hope this helps someone out there and that you’re all having a great summer! I’m looking forward to the change of seasons, what about you?
If you’re not familiar with Bloglovin, it’s great. You can create a feed of all the blogs you’re interested in on 1 page. It sets up the feed in visual blocks, kind of like Pinterest. I love it. check it out.
Maria Giudice is the founder of Hot Studio, which was acquired by Facebook in 2013. She talks about the ups and downs of design thinking in corporations today. She discusses the design culture and the fact that designers have to have support from the executives in order to make significant strides in design. Most significantly she spoke about the down side of design, although design can add great potential to our lives, we need to consider that some will use it for negative purposes. Here’s the link if you’d like to read more: Fast Company.
If you’re create packaging design, you might want to attend this event at the HOW conference in Chicago on May 7-10. Dieline founder Andrew Gibbs is presenting his take on who’s getting it right and what lessons we can learn from them. He discusses how designers can be part of the solution to single use plastics. Here’s the link to the article and event sign up-Sustainability.
We can all help by going back to paper straws. They are not only beautiful, but they’re biodegradable.
This Urban Color Palette was influenced by the Pantone Urban Color palette. Some colors are the same, some are substituted and I added a few more colors to round out the palette. It contains a variety of grays in both warm and cool colors as well as a few taupes and clean blues. The more saturated colors are purples, brown and a teal based blue. The darker shades of blue show professionalism, authority and sincerity as described in the article on Jen Reviews. Jen Miller wrote a great article on the psychology of color, please visit her site to read more.
The files contain and .ase file for use in all of your Adobe Applications, licensing information and low resolution .jpg of the colors for reference. The color palette file contains Pantone Plus Coated Colors only. You can download it for free here:
My new gray geometric design is now available in my Spoonflower shop.
Medium, cool, gray background with pale pink dots and soft white stripes.
This pattern is a soft subtle gray with white stripes and pink dots. It would be a great wallpaper for a baby girls room or bathroom as well as a fabric for a tablecloth, curtains, placemats or napkins in any kitchen or dining room. The gray is a medium tone cool gray making it a neutral against any main color.
My watercolor farm to table surface pattern design is now available by the yard on Spoonflower. It would make a great tablecloth, set of napkins or tea towels. It is also available as wallpaper and gift wrapping paper.
I’m so happy it’s finally May, although it feels like winter in Southern California this week! It’s the month of beautiful flowers and gardens, my favorite! It’s also a busy month for us, it’s my mom’s birthday, my son’s birthday, Mother’s Day and my son is graduating from Berkeley this month, with honors!. We couldn’t be prouder of the young man he has become.
I promise to write more, I still working as a consultant, I have a couple of small Etsy shops (Paper Gumbo and The Blue Bijoux) I spend my creative time on surface pattern design, painting and creating collections. It’s been challenging to keep up with everything, but I’ll try to get here more often. I’m more current on Instagram, you can follow me @szstudio. I know I have a large free tools audience here. I will be adding some new color palettes soon, so please don’t give up on me yet! Until next time 🙂 !
1 cotton linen canvas tea towel, measuring about 15.5 inches x 24.5 inches. My watercolor butterfly illustration is printed on a white background with Louisiana French language in a dark brown color. The fabric is beautiful, looks like 100% linen. The printing on this dish towel is bright and vibrant-a true representation of the original painting.
Washable in warm or cold water with a phosphate free cleanser. Dry low or line-dry. Iron on the back of print if necessary on medium setting. Fabric has been pre-washed but may still shrink slightly.
Makes a great gift. This tea towel will brighten up any kitchen as a decorative accessory.
1 cotton linen canvas tea towel, measuring about 15.5 inches x 24.5 inches. This vintage botanical illustration of a Southern Magnolia has been retouched and is printed on a burgundy background with the words Southern Magnolia imprinted in white. The fabric is beautiful, looks like 100% linen. The printing on this dish towel is bright and vibrant, a true representation of the original illustration.
Washable in warm or cold water with a phosphate free cleanser. Dry low or line-dry. Iron on the back of print if necessary on medium setting. Fabric has been pre-washed but may still shrink slightly.
Makes a great gift. Looks great hanging in the kitchen as a decorative towel.
$18.00 each, measuring about 15″ x 25″, these are printed on a beautiful white linen cotton canvas material. They are printed from my watercolor illustrations, the ink is bright and vibrant, and I stitch them myself! Most of these are made to order. Please allow 10-14 days for delivery.
Makes a great gift! More designs are being created. Visit my shop Paper Gumbo.
Sign up for 2 free months of Premium Membership. If you haven’t checked out Skillshare, what are you waiting for! It’s a really fun way to learn new skills like lettering, watercolor painting, drawing, graphic design, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, business, marketing and more. Each class lasts about an hour or less and has a project for you to complete. I find it totally addicting. Check it out!
I created a new Skillshare class on how to create an ad in InDesign. It contains layout, typography, Photoshop color modes, production to print or digital and output to pdf as well as packaging your files for the vendor. Here’s the link if you’re interested. It covers the basics of a few InDesign tools, geared mostly for beginning Designs, but an entrepreneur could also use it to produce a simple ad for print or digital use. Materials are provided for practice, but you could also use your own images, copy and logo to produce the ad. If create ads, you might find these charts helpful. One chart converts fractions to decimals and the other converts inches to picas to points.
For the complete article, go to GDUSA. She wrote a very interesting blog post on the GDUSA web site in regards to the act of doodling. She believed it was a form of creative meditation and necessary to arrive at ideas that otherwise may not have surfaced. Research has found that doodling can help you retain 29% of what’s going on in the meeting or conference call. Doodling can turn into these beautiful book covers shown below. To read the complete blog post go the GDUSA.
Licensing Agreement: Feel free to use for ads, web design, publication design, marketing materials, flyers, business cards, poster or other client or personal projects for back ground texture or fills. You may not resell as a digital file product, product design or use in any licensing product.
Skillshare has revised their terms. Instead of 3 months Premium Membership for $.99, you can get 1 month FREE. If you’ve been thinking about learning how to create hand lettering or watercolor, you should check it out, there’s some great content with awesome teachers. In fact it’s addictive.
Have you heard of Skillshare? It’s an education platform filled with classes. There are over 12,000 Skillshare classes available. They are comprised of short videos and each class walks you through a skill to create a finished project. The classes range from sketching, to painting and how to use Photoshop. You subscribe on a monthly basis. It’s very inexpensive for the great content you can access. There’s a very interesting class by Paula Scher, a partner at Pentagram. She teaches you about brand identity, designing logos and she walks you through her thought process for a project. She talks about her experience and how she got to where she is today. I found it fascinating when she described the Pentagram business model. What a fun place to work! How wonderful to get feedback from her on your project. I highly recommend it.
There are many many other classes to take, you can learn how to set up a WordPress site, how to create hand lettering, drawing, how to use the Adobe Creative Suite tools and much more.
If you use this link Skillshare you can get 3 months for 99 cents a month. Yes, I said 99 cents per month for 3 months. That’s a wealth of information for very little money. If you decide to keep subscribing after 3 months the price goes to $12 per month. Still a bargain if you ask me.
Yesterday, I joined 4 fabulous women for the woman’s walk in Downtown Los Angeles. It was an amazing day! There were 750,000 men, women and children walking for equal rights, dignity and respect for all people. We parked in NoHo and got onto the Red Line subway. The station was jammed with people. It took us 1 and a half hours to be able to get onto a subway train. We were packed like sardines, it was hot because when we left our house is was in the 40’s. Everyone was so calm and cool, we all had a great time. The signs were amazing, people were so creative and clever, I was totally engrossed in the events of the day.
There were not incidents and no arrests in LA yesterday! I’ve never been prouder to be an Angeleno.
Here are few of the photos, mostly from our wait in the Subway Station. I’ll post more tomorrow.
I created and Adobe ASE palette file containing the Spring 2017 palette. It contains Pantone’s Textile Cotton colors and their coordinating PMS coated colors, RGB and CMYK colors. The kit also contains an image of all the hues with their formulas noted. You can download it from Creative Market.
I know I’m really late with these images this year, but I just couldn’t let the season go by without posting some of these beauties. As always Tiffany & Co. and Lord & Taylor have my favorite holiday window decorations. If you want to see more, go to New York Magazine. For images of years past: 2015, Anthropologie 2014, and Lord & Taylor 2014.
If you haven’t upgraded to the newest Photoshop Creative Suite 2015.5 (June 2016) version, you’re missing out on a great new masking tool it has to offer. You know how tedious and time consuming it is to outline an image to drop out the background in your photo, well Adobe Photoshop has just taken that job and simplified it tremendously. They’ve created a new workspace similar to the filter workspace with some powerful tools and adjustments for you to outline or mask out anything with a great deal of precision. Even hair! You know how difficult that is! Here’s a link to the video with directions on how to use the new tool.
I’ve recently used some high resolution images, fonts and illustrations from Creative Market. They are beautiful and the files are very high quality. I have been very impressed with the quality of tools I’ve used. I highly recommend Creative Market for any materials you might need to complete a project or to find inspiration. The artwork is top notch. Some of the watercolor illustration is amazing and the prices are very reasonable.
Free Design Tools
Creative Market also provides a bundle of 3 items (illustration, fonts, templates or images) free, every week. Sign up and get access to free goods every week.
You can now purchase an Adobe .ASE file from my shop at Creative Market. The palette contains all 10 colors in Pantone PMS Coated Colors, Pantone TCX [Textile Cotton] Colors, CMYK Formulas and RGB Formulas. The package also contains a visual chart of each color and it’s call out number or formula. A great tool for designing your fall materials.
Here is a very interesting trailer on the documentary Graphic Means. It’s about what the profession of graphic design was like before the Apple computer. I remember doing paste up with a hot waxer and using the dark room and a stat machine to set type and make negatives of type. My first experience in graphic design was in the early 80s when I was studying jewelry design and gemology at a Jr. College. I was in the work study program and was placed in the print shop. We created all the school’s printed materials as well as the school newspaper. I learned to set type on a Compugraphic Typesetting Machine. It looked very much like this:
It wasn’t wysiwyg, it was straight type on the screen, it kind of looked like a typewriter. You would choose from about 1 of 10 fonts and sizes and type it in. You didn’t really know what it looked like until you developed the print. The processor worked like photography, using the same chemicals. If it looked like what you wanted, normally it took a couple of trys before you liked what came out of the machine, then you could paste it up on a board at the light table. I loved the paste up process it was tedious, detailed work to make all of the pieces work together in the layout.
I can’t wait for the documentary to come out to see all of these old tools again!
My favorite time of year. We’ve only had a % of our average non-drought rainfall, but flowers and trees are blooming like crazy. I’ve seen trees blooming, that I don’t remember blooming at this time of year.
I’ve been blessed. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with my dear friend Pamela Incardona, a costume designer, on 2 of her latest projects. Last year, I helped her with the jewelry for a character in a pilot named “Runner”, played by Adam Rodriguez. She wanted to use a very specific cross. I searched the pawn shops, eBay and the California Missions gift shops. I learned a lot about all the different type of crosses, finally I found a match. I also provided a silver ring which represented “Our Lady of Guadalupe”. It was a really fun project to work on. Unfortunately the show has not been picked up.
I had another chance to work with Pamela on the ABC show “The Family”. I created a BoHo style necklace for the character “Bridey”, played by the beautiful Floriana Lima. The show is set to air in early March of 2016. Here’s snapshot of Bridey and some close-ups of the incomplete necklace. When finished, it had more charms and beads added to it.
My favorite color is peacock, but I just painted my studio somewhere between plum and beet. What does that say about me? I’m not sure, I think I’m patient and serious, inflexible? Well I’ve been called tenacious on multiple occasions, compassionate and loyal, — I think so. Inspirational — maybe sometimes, sympathetic and empathetic, yes — of course I’d like to think I’m charming, but I know I’m not always charming, who is? “When in a bad mood you may have the tendency to see only the negative” duh, isn’t that what a bad mood is all about. What about Aubergine? What a beautiful color — and who wouldn’t want to be highly creative and intuitive!
Yes, I guess I’m most of those things, at least some of the time, how about you?
The Beautiful Colors of Crepe Myrtle Trees What I love most about the August and September is all the beautiful Crepe Myrtle trees are in bloom. Here in Southern California, the city plants them in the many of the parkways. They are so pretty when they’re all in bloom at the same time. There are many colors to choose from. I’ve seen Red, Lilac, Light Pink, Dark Pink and Purple. They originated in Asia and once established, they need very little water.
Black Tomatoes are a Great Addition to your Summer Garden!
I was lucky enough to taste a large black tomato in a salad last summer — it was absolutely delicious. So this year I planted some. Here’s what they look like on the vine. They tend to grow in small groups, kind of like a cherry tomato. I wasn’t sure how large they would get or when they were ripe. This particular strain only gets to about 4 inches in diameter at it’s largest. They start to get red or orange colored from the bottom up. I have found that when the red color is about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the tomato, it’s ready for picking. Although these are on the smaller size, they pack a whole lot of flavor.
I had no problem with any bugs or rotting on the vine. These tomatoes were very easy to grow and they look great. I would highly recommend them for your garden.
My Zinnia Garden is in full bloom and what a beautiful sight it is! I have a variety of colors and they bloom all summer. They will tolerate dry conditions and extreme heat. They can easily take full sun, even in Southern California. They grow from a small bulb and multiply from year to year. Every couple of years I divide them up, separate them and replant. They die back in the fall and winter, by late Spring the green leaves begin to return. They start blooming in early June. If you deadhead regularly, they will keep blooming through September. Zinnias require water a couple of times a week. They are an American plant of the daisy family. These would look great on your 4th of July party table!
If you would like to purchase a printable of this for $5, visit my shop Paper Gumbo on Etsy.
1. Purchase or salvage a quality piece of furniture. This is a solid wood piece of furniture, very well made with dove tailed drawers and all of it’s original hardware and it’s parts. The drawers and the front had not damage, but the top had some water damage causing the grain of the wood to be raised.I
I removed all of the hardware a soaked it in a warm soapy solution of about 1 gallon of water and 1/4 cup of Spic n Span cleaner. I then washed down the whole piece with a rag soaked in the same solution.
2. I bought a quart of Sherwin Williams paint at Lowe’s in Splendor Blue, it is an interior flat paint. I used the Lowe’s recipe for homemade chalk paint.
CHALK-FINISH PAINT RECIPE (LOWES)
Mix your own chalk-finish paint using the following supplies: Valspar flat latex paint Plastic paint buckets (#40008) Plaster of Paris (#41323) Stir sticks Plastic measuring cups (do not reuse for food) Water (cool, not warm) Paste wax (#45898) Mix 1/3 cup of plaster of Paris and 1/3 cup of cool water; stir until completely smooth. Mix that with 1 cup of latex paint and stir thoroughly. This will make enough chalk-finish paint for one coat on a six-drawer dresser. Chalk-finish paint should not be stored and reused. If you have a smaller project, mix smaller amounts of plaster, paint, and water in the same proportions.
I then sanded the top of the dresser to smooth out the grain. You really don’t need to sand before using chalk paint, but I wanted to make the top really smooth. It took 2 coats of paint to get good coverage to my satisfaction. I didn’t want any of the brown stain to show from the original paint job.
3. Once that dried completely, (about 4 hours), I glazed it with a Valspar Water Based Glaze, the color is Bonbon. I brushed on the glaze and let it set for about a minute before I started to wipe it off. I don’t like to let it dry on the paint. I would say it’s sort of semi dry. I work in small areas. You can wipe off as much or as little as you like. I like to leave the corners and crevices dark. That’s what gives the piece definition.
4. Gold accents were created with Antique Gold Rub N’Buff. I put it a small amount on my finger and rub it onto the high points. For more details see my Bronze It post.
4. Finally I let that dry at least overnight. I then brushed an oil based varnish on top of it. I like to use Cabot’s. It does have a slight yellow tint to it, but I like the warmth the yellow brings to the piece. I painted 2 coats of varnish on the whole thing, except for the top. Remember I wanted it to be smooth, so I sanded it a couple of times between about 4 coats of varnish.
I’m really happy with the results. Let me know what you think.
This is an image of a bi-color, (purple & gold) bearded iris in my garden. It is surrounded by daisys and lush green all around. We were lucky enough to get a generous amount of rain this winter, which made everything, including the weeds spring a foot high. Spring is the most beautiful time of year for a gardner. It’s another chance to see what will grow and thrive for the coming season. The colors are amazing and the scents are delicious.
We are very excited here, our son is coming home from Berkeley tomorrow for Spring break. While cleaning up and getting ready to entertain friends tomorrow night, I looked at my studio and realized I had multiple projects going on as usual. I’m making 2 floral wreaths, 1 for me and 1 for a gift. I’m in the middle of refinishing a mirror I bought at a yard sale and replacing some drapery panels on my french doors, which need sewing. At the same time I’m working as a consultant 3-5 days a week and helping my friend who’s a costume designer source some jewelry and learn 3D design, while participating in my HOA which has it’s annual meeting next week. —As usual, I take on too much! It’s not that I can’t say no, I can and I have. I want to do all of these things.
But one thing I realized is that I live a creative lifestyle. I have to create, it’s in my DNA. No matter what else is going on in my life, I must create something every day. It’s either cooking, gardening, drawing, painting or creating something digital at my computer. I will be posting more info on my projects, how I create them and what products I use.
Hi, Here is the second version of a double truck ad. This one leaves no gutter allowance for the typography. I know the design is using the typography to create a texture in the background of the ad, but I think I still would have allowed for the gutter, because you can still read the words even though they are screened back. If the production artist had left 1/8 inch allowance on each side of the gutter (or even 1/32 inch) it would have made all of the words legible. What do you think? Does it matter since the type is being used as a texture? Do you think the designer wants us to read the type? or not?
A double truck ad is an ad that spreads across the gutter to both pages -usually with a bleed, but not always. When producing a double truck ad, you should make allowances for the type to cross the gutter. A beautifully produced ad will leave the reader unaware that there is a gutter. In the first image below, you can