Graphics Archive

An Introduction to Working With Spot Colors

An Introduction to Working With Spot Colors

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Color has always been a popular topic on the web. We used to throw around terms like “web safe colors” a lot more than we do now simply because the computer displays back then weren’t as great as they are now. In place of these discussions, design blogs revert mostly to discussions of color theory and of course, free tools to help you build color palettes.

However, color was a hot topic long before the web was around. Once upon a time, my discussions about color revolved around printing presses and processes for applying ink. I’d wager there are plenty of readers out there who are either interested in learning about print or still work in print today so in this article I’ll teach you all about the magic of ink.

February 3rd, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Best and Worst Design: 50 University Websites From 50 States

Best and Worst Design: 50 University Websites From 50 States

If you hail from the U.S., which state are you from and how would you rate the level of design from the schools there? Today we’re going to jump into this topic by examining 50 website home pages, one from a university in each of the fifty states.

We’ve divided the schools up into the best and worst and didn’t pull any punches when it comes to calling out bad design practices. Let’s see how your state fared!

January 20th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Photoshop Reflections 101

Photoshop Reflections 101

Today we’re going to learn all about how to make convincing reflections in Photoshop. Text reflections, 3D reflections, product shot reflections, all kinds of crazy reflections. We’ll discuss everything from custom transforms to blending modes and beyond. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll probably learn a thing or two.

You might be thinking that reflections were all the rage a few years ago, but are currently losing a bit of steam, and you’d be right. However, you can still see plenty of them in practice on Apple.com and other sites. You should definitely beware of over-using them and adding to bad web 2.0 trends, but also know that once in a while they can add class to a boring item.

January 19th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Designing a Church Homepage Without the Clutter

Designing a Church Homepage Without the Clutter

Church home pages tend to suffer from many of the same problems that we recently saw with band websites. There’s so much content that gets thrown onto these pages and it all competes for attention to such a degree that most or all of it loses any intended visual significance.

Today we’ll learn how to battle that by designing a dramatically simple and attractive church homepage that still has plenty of room for various messages, announcements and more.

January 13th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Illustrator Typography: Using the Appearance Palette

Illustrator Typography: Using the Appearance Palette

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Adobe Illustrator is a fantastic app for creating complex vector typographical arrangements. The application is so big and complicated though that it can take years to figure out how to recreate some of the cool effects that you’ve seen elsewhere without coming up with complicated workarounds.

Today we’ll remove some of the mystery of working with strokes and fills by diving into the appearance palette to see not only how it works, but how to manipulate the items within to create some really cool effects.

January 5th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Designing Web Interfaces Scaled for Touchscreens

Designing Web Interfaces Scaled for Touchscreens

Gone are the days of convoluted javascript notation and countless plugins includes in your header. Layout design has taken a large step forward as we’re seeing designers creating some extravagant concepts. Touch screen devices currently hold the highest interest from a designer’s and developer’s point of view.

More people are using touchscreen enabled devices now than ever before. This includes tablet PCs and the entire list of mobile phone operating systems. These devices are all mobile and allow for access from most any remote location.

January 4th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Weekly Freebies: 10 Great Grunge Paper Textures

Weekly Freebies: 10 Great Grunge Paper Textures

You can simply never have too many grungy paper backgrounds at your disposal. Unfortunately, many roundups shoot for quantity over quality in this area so it can be difficult to track down real, usable resources. We sifted through tons of paper textures to bring you ten of the best we could find.

All textures are sourced from Flickr Creative Commons and Lost and Taken. They’re all very large and ready to use. About half require simple attribution in the form of a link while the rest are usable with no restrictions. Enjoy!

January 3rd, 2011 Posted in Graphics
The Totally Made Up Design Awards for Design Blogs

The Totally Made Up Design Awards for Design Blogs

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Once upon a time, designers discovered blogging. This changed everything for many long-time designers like me who now pretend to be writers for a living. The rapid explosion of the design blog industry has brought about an unending flow of articles that essentially use 1,200 words to tell you how you should do your job. The question we’ll answer today is, which blogs actually take their own advice?

To highlight those blogs that feature the best design, we’ll be handing out very prestigious awards in several categories that I made up on the spot. All awards are based solely on visual appeal and give no consideration whatsoever to the actual quality of the blog content. Winners can claim their trophies at any trophy store for a small fee. Let’s get started!

December 20th, 2010 Posted in Graphics
Weekly Freebies: 10 Incredible Icon Sets for Designers

Weekly Freebies: 10 Incredible Icon Sets for Designers

Tired of combing the web for high quality free icons? Your search is over. Below you’ll find literally thousands of hand crafted icons perfect for all your web design projects. Enjoy!

December 14th, 2010 Posted in Graphics
Design a Fun Baby Announcement Site in Photoshop

Design a Fun Baby Announcement Site in Photoshop

Designing a baby-centric site isn’t an easy task, especially for people like myself who usually favor masculine themes, colors and textures in their designs. Today we’ll tackle this task head on by creating a fun and unique baby announcement site that’s far from typical.

Feel free to follow along and be sure to download the PSD so you can have a look around or even use it in your own site.

December 9th, 2010 Posted in Graphics
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