Archive for the 'Graphic Designers' Category
Graphic design can be hectic and grueling, particularly for freelancers since they are usually involved in multiple design projects at once. Stress can become intense and could impact their creativity and their motivation as well. This can cause trouble for the designer. I’ve got a few tricks to help designers motivate themselves out of this trouble.
Step Away From Work
The first thing to do is to simply step back from what is causing your lack of motivation. In most cases, that thing is work. Of course, a vacation may not be affordable but if you can spare a day or two away to recharge can be effective. Take that time to do things you love, like a hobby or visit with friends. This can help to remove any negative energy and revitalize you.
Listen To Music
We all have thousands of songs on our Smartphones and computers, music is a great way to reduce stress, relax and boost motivation. If things get stressful, take a few minutes and crank up your favorite playlist. Or better yet, listen to upbeat music while working. Either will definitely give you an energy boost.
Visit a Gallery
Art galleries are great way to gain motivation and inspiration. Graphic designers are very artistic and sometimes revisiting old school art galleries will help you out of a rough patch. Check out any art exhibitions going on in your local area and visit them or attend art festivals. There is typically always something going on nearby.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy body helps maintain a healthy mind. This means eat healthy, participate in fun activities and get plenty of sleep. As a designer, I can’t stress the importance of sleep. If you are not getting plenty of rest (suggested 6-8 hours), you will not be able to perform at your best.
Read a Book
Those who enjoy reading find it very relaxing. Find a book that suits your taste. If you’re not sure what you’d like, visit a local book store and browse through the selection. You might even find something interesting that you could help you with your next design project.
Take a Vacation
It’s the same as stepping away from work, but this one lasts a little longer. If a long weekend isn’t enough for you, consider a longer vacation to completely take your mind of things. When you come back, you will be fully refreshed and ready to get back to work.
Finding motivation is not as hard as it might seem. As a general precaution, graphic designers should take a break after finishing a few projects. If you have extra time for yourself, by all means do it. It’s a good way to keep your brain fresh and thinking creatively.
November 4th, 2012
Editing is an important part of a designer’s daily work. Whether it’s removing text or photos, graphic designers go through the editing process multiple times a day. Thankfully there are numerous applications and software for them to do just that. You can even download applications to your smartphone to edit on the go. Here are the top apps for Android users.
1. Photo Grid
Combine single pictures together and make them into beautiful collages with PhotoGrid. It is an extremely useful and resourceful smartphone app and is very easy to use.
2. Gallery +
At a glance, it’s just another photo and video album manager. However, those who have used it would attest that it’s quite versatile and functions smoothly. Gallery+ provides a 3D image viewing experience. It allows you to manage your photos and videos without any hassle.
As you may have guessed, it’s an app for fonts. Designers can create new handwriting fonts and upload them to be used by others. It’s a very handy app!
If you are looking for photos and images on multiple pages such as Picasa, Flicker and Facebook, take a look at JustPictures! You can use this app to browse all of those platforms from one interface.
I’m sure almost every graphic designer is fascinated by outer space. If you are a big NASA fan, like me, get this app right away. You’ll see firsthand images of space. The current archives hold over 60,000 images of outer space. Each picture also includes a brief description.
Maybe I’m just picky but I can never seem to find a good image resize app for my Smartphone. That’s no longer the case. Image Resizer is a smooth functioning app that not only lets you change the size of images, but you can change the size of basic directory files.
7. Glow Paint
Neon lights have come to smartphones. By a touch of your finger, you can create images made of neon lights with Glow Paint. There are a number of predesigned templates and background to choose from which you can edit and customize as you see fit.
This is for sure one of the most popular editing apps on the web today. You can edit pictures, add multiple frames and also include almost two dozen special effects to them. This will for sure make your images stand out.
I find myself using this app a lot, especially when I have nothing to do. Designers can use this app to turn normal photographs into masterpieces. Camera Effects allows you to share your work online with others on Facebook and other social platforms.
10. Color Pop
This app is great for those who want to experiment with colors. It allows you to pull the original colors in selected areas of your black and white image. Other features includes zoom, saturation, image resizing, color correction and preview.
As you can see there is no shortage of options when it comes to photo editing apps for your Android smartphone. If you have an iPhone, you’re not left out. Apple has its own set of picture editing apps for you. What I like about the whole concept of these apps is that designers no longer have to be chained to working from a computer. Whether you’re on the train heading downtown or sitting in a coffee shop, you can use your smartphone to stay connected with design. As apps get better and better, we’ll continue to see more breathtaking applications being utilized right in the palm of our hands.
October 30th, 2012
Being creative is a must-have attribute for any graphic designer that strives to survive in this field. It won’t matter how exceptional they are with graphic design tools if they lack the ability to be creative. Mediocre designs just won’t do in today’s competitive market!
Fortunately, through hard work and dedication creativity can be strengthened. There are some very useful and successful ways for designers to bolster their creativity, improve their thought process and get better prepared for challenging design prospects. Let’s lay down the road map to creativity.
Start Off with some Brainstorming
This is my personal favorite; it has brought me huge success over the years. I highly recommend it for all designers regardless of experience. Brainstorming is a way to gather ideas by racking your brain for ideas and imagining all different concepts. Writing down everything during your brainstorming session can help a lot when designing for a new project. Every detail, sketch, shape, — really whatever comes to mind, write it down. You now have a starting point and can eliminate the ideas you’re not too keen on.
Take a Break
Every designer can get burnt out. It tends to happen when you’re so involved with a design and you may start to lose your creative edge. This is particularly true for freelancers that are involved with multiple projects at once. I have experienced it myself. One of the best ways to avoid burning out is to take a break. But, this doesn’t mean to abandon all projects. If you are in between projects, a good strategy is to take a break to allow yourself some time to get re-inspired.
Create a Piece of Art
A different kind than usual, this time use an actual pencil and even a paint brush. Graphic design tools are definitely amazing, but sometimes going old school helps to dip into new creativity. Painting is a great way to relieve stress and to improve your artistic mindset.
Look at Other Designs for Inspiration
After brainstorming, I find this to be the next thing that helps my creativity. There are a ton of designs on the Internet and I am always amazed at some of the ideas I come across. Some are so good that I make a mental note to use them for inspiration in the future.
Analyzing your client’s competitors is another way to get new perspective into a certain field quickly. But this NEVER means that a designer should copy or create derivatives from others’ work. Use the designs as inspiration and always be original.
Get Some Rest
Sleep deprivation can impact your performance. Since graphic design projects take up a lot of brain power, sleep plays a pivotal role in a designer’s success and the ability to come up with unique designs. Eight hours of sleep is typically recommended.
As a child, most of us are creative. The idea is to remain as curious and creative throughout our lives. What makes a designer stand apart is their imagination and ability to see things some people cannot. There are no quick ways to becoming creative, but these points will steer you in the right direction.
October 15th, 2012
It is so important for designers to have an online portfolio in today’s marketing. When seeking for new jobs, it’s an easy way to prove to potential clients why they should hire you over other candidates.
Why Do I Need An Online Portfolio?
1. Establishes an Online Presence – Being internet savvy is something that companies look for in a graphic designer. Having an online portfolio conveys that message loud and clear. In fact, the more prominent a designer is in online social circles, the better off he’ll be a finding opportunities.
2. Better Than a Resume – An online portfolio is ten times better than a physical portfolio. You can use these when applying for jobs and potential employers can see your work immediately. This portfolio demonstrates your abilities and speaks of your talents.
3. Show Off Your Talent – Designers love to show off their work and a resume does not provide that opportunity. On the other hand, an online portfolio instantly shows off their work. If you want to establish yourself in this industry, let your designs do the talking via your online portfolio.
4. You’re Accessible – You’ll be surprised how many more design opportunities come your way once your online portfolio is live. Having your portfolio on the Internet makes it accessible to people around the world, instantly. This even opens another opportunity to work with international companies. Potential clients from other countries are now able to access your portfolio and maybe even hire you!
5. Saves Employers Time – Employers around the world have embraced the idea of online portfolios. Take a look at it from their perspective. Employers have to search through hundreds of resumes, choose the best ones, schedule and conduct interviews. Generally they have to go through a lot of candidates before getting to see their portfolio and may realize they are or aren’t as skilled as their resume says. This is very time consuming. Having an online portfolio saves employers time and they can see design work instantly, enabling them to find the right fit for their company sooner.
Where to Create Your Online Portfolio
So we’ve outlined the benefits of the online portfolio, let’s go over putting it all together. Here are a few great platforms graphic designers can use to create an online portfolio.
So there you have it! While these aren’t the only great sites to create an online portfolio, they are best of the best.
Did we miss your favorite online portfolio website? Please, let us know!
October 1st, 2012
It’s no secret that designers absolutely love the iPad. It enables them to take their creativity anywhere, allowing them more flexibility with how they go about a design project and when. However this is not the only element that makes the iPad such a great tool to have for web designers. There are numerous cool iPad apps that designers use almost on a daily basis. Today we are sharing 10 iPad apps that are great for web designers.
1. Adobe Photoshop Touch
This one is a no brainer. Every web designer uses Adobe Photoshop whether they use a MAC or a PC. Photoshop Touch is the iPad version of Photoshop. With it designers can create and edit images, build layered designs and more. They can also share their images on Facebook using Photoshop Touch.
2. Adobe Color Lava
Choosing a great color combination is without a doubt the most challenging task for a web designer. It is mostly done by trial and error. Adobe Color Lava makes the task much easier by giving designers the capability to blend different colors ideas and schemes directly into the design draft.
3. Sketchbook Pro
This app is unique because it provides a large number of presets and symbols that can be directly embedded into the design, instead of creating them from scratch. While designing new patterns is encouraged, using pre-designed templates and symbols saves time and money. But only as long as designers use them as a building block to create something unique.
4. Zen Brush
This app enables users to draw or write using a comprehensive ink brush. This tool is particularly handy for calligraphy-style artwork. It comes with 50 different types of background style templates and a brush size adjustment slider.
Dropbox is a lifesaver. Giving users the ability to access their files from anywhere in the world makes this iPad app a must-have for the active designer. You can also share your files online with others on different social media platforms.
6. Art Rage
If you use Art Rage after using Sketch Book Pro, you will find many notable differences between the two. ArtRage is overall better software when it comes to advance digital painting and real drawing simulation. While Sketchbook Pro can do almost the same, ArtRage puts the focus on artistic painting, in order to create real-life simulation and graphics.
7. Adobe Ideas
This app is for those designers who are vector drawing fans. True, it doesn’t have that many prominent features but it allows users to draw smoothly as if they were using a pencil. Adobe Ideas allows users to save their work as PDF format and to share their image as galleries with others.
8. Web Designer Magazine
Finally, an app that keeps you up-to-date on the latest web design trends! With Web Designer Magazine (available only in the UK iTunes Store), designers get the latest developing news in the web design arena.
9. Touch Draw
Touch Draw is similar to Adobe Ideas, but with more features and functions. It is a great tool in a designer’s arsenal. From simple logos to complex floor plans, this iPad app can do it for you. Designers have the option to save their work in different formats and to share their work through Dropbox and other mediums.
10. HTML 5 Reference Guide
Why carry a 500+ page manual when you can have everything you need on your iPad? The HTML 5 Reference Guide is a free app that designers can use as reference anytime they want. It includes everything from standard attributes, tags and event attributes, basically everything a web designer might need during a project.
These are just 10 of some of the most efficient and useful iPad apps for web designers. There are plenty more, but the ones mentioned above are extremely popular among the designer circles and have received the best feedback. If you are a designer by profession and own an iPad, make it designer-friendly by downloading and installing these apps. You’ll be glad you did.
August 14th, 2012
If you thought that becoming a graphic designer was hard work, wait until you have to compete daily with thousands of designers for the same projects. The competition between designers today is fierce, thus they utilize different mediums to promote themselves and make themselves more marketable. One medium is social media.
Over the last decade, social media has emerged as the go-to tool to promote any business, product or brand. Designers, like other craftsmen, use it to establish their online presence in order to appear reputable and professional. Let’s talk about a few social media mediums that are a must for any new or experienced designer.
LinkedIn – Where all the Pros hang out
This should be the first platform graphic designers turn to. Over the years, LinkedIn has become an online place where both employers and job seekers alike can interact. It has interactive features that will make your profile stand out. But that’s not all. LinkedIn also allows people to interact with other members and gives them an opportunity to contribute.
- Join LinkedIn Groups. This is where members can get involved and participate in discussions, sharing their knowledge and experience about a particular subject or query.
- There are dozens of LinkedIn Applications that can help designers gain prominence. Apps like the Creative Portfolio Display allow designers to showcase their work online.
- LinkedIn Answers is another useful tool. Go to the search bar at LinkedIn and select “Answers” from the drop down menu. This will bring you to an entire database of questions currently being asked by other members. Provide competent answers to questions being asked to help gain reputation.
Update your LinkedIn profile and customize it. Remember that LinkedIn profiles get indexed and ranked in search engines. People searching for your expertise, professional experience and services can easily come across your profile if it is properly customized. You can also ask for recommendations from clients, colleagues and bosses to post to your profile and strengthening it. This helps provide great business and career opportunities.
Twitter – Tweet like a Professional
With over 500 million subscribed users, Twitter has established itself as a popular platform to share information and interact with the world. While there are millions of tweets going out every day, many people don’t utilize Twitter’s search function to the fullest. It is one of the best places for designers to look for work, analyze existing work, and explore future opportunities.
- Personalize your Twitter profile. You can add a simple description about yourself, adding your expertise or get a little creative with words. You can also add a link to your blog, website or online portfolio to be viewed.
- Follow & be followed. Use Twitter’s search feature and look for those in your industry. Follow people you like the work or follower base of. Follow back the interesting people who follow you and invite relevant people to follow you. Remember to balance the ratio of followers and following. Don’t go overboard at once and start following 200 people while you only have <50 followers.
- Understand the dynamics of Twitter. Learn how to build a fan following before you start using this social tool instead of just spamming other people. Engage in conversations and Re-tweet often.
- Post relevant information & comment on other people’s tweets. This will help to start a discussion or ask a question. Twitter is a great way to interact with the international community in real time. You not only get to learn a lot, teach others and even get great employment opportunities.
Aside from employment opportunities, designers can use the search box to promote their work by putting themselves in the user’s place. By sharing design portfolios using a hash tag for related terms like #web design, #info graphics, #logo design. You can promote work on Twitter and establish yourself as the go-to source for graphic design.
Google+ – Socialize and Interact
Even though Google+ is a long way from its arch-rival Facebook in terms of active subscribers, it holds a distinct advantage of being the product of the leading search engine. Recent updates to the Google Search Algorithm now make the use of social signals from Google+, making it more valuable when it comes to people finding you. Apart from SEO, Google+ allows users to create social circles of varying nature. Graphic designers can use this feature to keep in touch with leading experts in the field and even previous clients.
- Add a cover photo on your profile page that features your work. It will attract followers and business contacts; it’s an easy way to show off your design skills.
- Share images and videos via Google+. Create a portfolio of your work within your profile.
- Create a write-up for the about section. Promote yourself by providing links to your website, blog or online portfolio. Market yourself but be sure to not boast untruthfully or sell yourself short. Add your expertise, milestones and reach out to other people. Participate in discussions and comment honestly on other people’s posts.
Google+ is great to help you rank in the searches. This is another platform other than LinkedIn that you can use to promote yourself, find recognition and career opportunities.
Pinterest – Pin what interests you!
One of the most exciting trends to unfold during the last few years is the amazing success of Pinterest, a highly innovative and unique way of sharing content. The last year has been extremely successful for the company and in a recent survey, it overtook Facebook as the most preferred and likable social platform in 2012.
- Create your own set of pin boards and categorize them accordingly. This is a great place to find inspiration and see other creative artwork.
- Pin stuff you like for inspiration so you can come back to view it later. You can even create a board to act as your own portfolio.
- Re-pin items from other people’s boards and follow people or specific boards of interest.
- Link your Pinterest account to your Facebook or Twitter page. This is great if you have a strong profile and would like to show-off your work on other platforms.
Pinterest is different from other platforms in the sense that it puts images and visuals in the spotlight, instead of written content. This is a win-win scenario for graphic designers and a perfect opportunity to show off their portfolio. If you are not on Pinterest now, you should be!
Remember a graphic designer’s success in today’s world depends not only on skill, but on how reachable he/she is. Social media platforms are a great way for designers to promote themselves. With more and more people now looking to the internet to reach others, it is absolutely necessary for graphic designers to ensure they a have rock solid web presence.
August 1st, 2012
Graphic designers and graphic design projects have one thing in common; both are in abundant supply. Graphic designers are always in the search for projects that are both lucrative and demanding enough to push their creative limits. The idea is to stay involved in new projects but to still keep oneself reachable and marketable to others at the same time.
Today’s we will uncover some secrets that will help make designers more marketable and ensure that new projects keep coming in.
Stay Active In Your Professional Network
One of the first things to consider is your current professional network. The number one benefit of maintaining an active professional network is that you are able to stay informed of any new development, trends and opportunities in the graphic design industry. It is great starting point to look for new work and to get valuable information about rewarding design projects. Stay active in your professional network whether it is on a community platform or a social media site. Engage in conversations; let people know you are there.
Let Everyone Know That You Know Your Stuff
Blogging is a great platform to establish yourself as a reputable professional. Many designers maintain an active graphic design blog where they share their professional work experience and offer practical advice. However, maintaining your blog shouldn’t be the only thing you do. Visit graphic design forums to get involved in discussions and help others. Establish yourself as a credible go-to person when it comes to design advice.
Showcase Your Design Work
In addition to sharing your experience and offering advice, show the viewers something they will never be able to resist, a glimpse of your actual work (provided it is allowed in your contract). Employers are particularly keen about seeing design drafts because it gives them a good idea of how capable you are and what kind of work you have done. Maintain an active online portfolio, either on a design website or your own blog. This is the best place for designers to show off their talent to thousands of potential employers instantly.
Utilize Social Media To Your Advantage
Social media has had a powerful impact on the success of graphic designers. A good designer is reachable through social media platforms like Facebook and Google+ and they are excellent platforms to take advantage of. Both allow users to include a banner on their personal page which designers can use to include some of their most artistic and appealing work. It helps give the page a designer’s touch and speaks volumes about your skills.
Advertize Yourself Smartly
In the end, that’s the main goal behind designers making themselves so reachable, to better advertize their services. There are many ways to go about that, both paid and unpaid. Guest posting on other design blogs is a great way to advertize yourself. Not only will it get you noticed in the design community, it gets you mentioned too. Write tutorials for your design community and actively participate in online discussions.
In case you haven’t noticed, the above tips are primarily geared towards establishing yourself as a reputable, professional graphic designer. These practices will make you the go-to source for graphic design and when you get to this point, new and exciting projects will start coming in.
The hard working designers look for design projects, the smart ones let design opportunities come to them.
July 27th, 2012