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ManyPixelsOct 30, 2019
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10 Awesome Graphic Design Tools in 2019

Graphic design is a large and expansive field. It can be difficult as a graphic designer to know where to start. Of course, the answer is different for everyone. There are plenty of tools used by different graphic designers that achieve awesome results.

This list focuses on 10 tools that are very helpful to almost any graphic designer. You should at least be familiar with these tools so that you can identify what works best for the work you are trying to complete.

Graphic Design Software

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is perhaps the most famous of all graphic designer programs. Even if you aren’t a graphic designer, you have surely heard of this graphics editing tool.

Photoshop is the industry standard for editing photos and creating digital art. Photoshop offers countless tools and applications to allow photo manipulation and the creation of whole new images. If you are a graphic designer and you are looking for a place to start, then Photoshop is the obvious place to start. While perhaps not the favorite of every graphic designer out there, it can’t hurt to learn the most popular program.

Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator is the appropriate next step to Photoshop. Illustrator is a vector graphics editing program and, together with Photoshop, it covers all of the design tools that many graphic designers will ever need.

Illustrator is more adept at creating images of your own. The vast amount of image creation tools and sophisticated layering techniques allow graphic designers the opportunity to create images no matter how complicated. Illustrator is simple enough for beginners to learn yet offers tools and techniques that are sophisticated enough for the most experienced graphic designers. It is no wonder it has remained the industry standard for graphics and logo design.

Procreate

Procreate is a raster graphics editor that was released in 2011. It is relatively new and has taken the graphic design industry by storm, even challenging Photoshop and Illustrator in many circles. The goal of Procreate was to replicate the natural feel of drawing with a pen (or paintbrush) and paper. It is designed to be used with a stylus for the true drawing experience. From there, choose several brushes, blend modes, masks, filters, and many other tools. It is easy to see why the intuitive experience of Procreate has challenged the Adobe Creative Suite for the graphic design software throne.

Canva

Canva is a great tool designed with simplicity in mind. If you are a beginning graphic designer or even if you aren’t a graphic designer at all, Canva is an option that is simple enough for you. It uses basic pre-made templates and simple design elements along with multiple creation tools to modify and edit your work, creating a sophisticated graphic design experience that is simple enough for beginners to use.

Graphic Design Hardware

A Good Laptop

Probably the main tool in your graphic design arsenal is your computer. Most graphic designers can’t do anything without a good computer. Even the best software is useless without one. The most popular choice seems to be the MacBook Pro but it really comes down to what you are comfortable with, not brand identity. Most types of Macs or PCs can run the major graphic design software so it is really personal preference.

Wacom Bamboo

The Wacom Bamboo is a tablet designed to replicate the experience of physically drawing with a pencil and paper on your computer. The tablet attaches to your computer and allows you to draw with the stylus, transferring the results right to your design software of choice. It takes some getting used to but the textured surface of a Wacom tablet does its best to replicate the feeling of creating a sketch with a real pen and paper.

External Hard Drive

One thing you will quickly learn about graphic design is that image and design files are huge! A good external hard drive is a must so that your computer doesn’t fill up with files in a matter of weeks. Space is more affordable than ever these days and you can get a massive sized external hard drive for cheap.

iPad + Apple Pencil

Designers have been using iPads for years now and the Apple Pencil has further revolutionized this process. The Apple Pencil is one of the most intuitive, best-reviewed styluses out there for drawing your own designs and creating visual content. It is much more responsive than almost any stylus on the market and simplifies the process of drawing your designs on a tablet in a way that no other stylus can. The lag is almost zero and the precision is extremely accurate.

DSLR Camera

If you are interested in photography and photo manipulation in your designs, then a good camera is a must. DSLR cameras take high-quality photos and are relatively affordable. When taking pictures for graphic design, the last thing you want to worry about is the quality of the photo itself. So, if you are looking to add photos to your designs, take images for websites, or even share photos on social media, a good DSLR camera supplements all these needs.

Pen and Paper!

Of course, the most basic design tool of all, the old fashioned pen and paper. A pen (or crayon) and paper is probably the first drawing tool you ever used. Graphic designers still find it useful for anything from drawing out initial sketches to creating high-quality mock-ups or even full designs. Even with all the sophisticated steps forward that graphic design has taken, the power of the pen and paper will never be lost.

Conclusion

So there you have it! The 10 tools that graphic designers everywhere use to achieve unique and amazing results. Of course, the nature of design is that it is all different so your needs will, of course, differ from the next designer; however, we think that the tools on this list are a great addition to any designer’s arsenal. Have fun designing!

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ManyPixelsOct 30, 2019

7 Graphic Design Basics Every Designer Should Know

So, you’re looking to get into graphic design and you don’t know where to start. It’s an understandable predicament. The nature of design means that there are so many elements to consider and, though the fundamentals of graphic design are important, the only limits are your creativity. Creativity is a pretty tough thing to box in, after all. That said, there are some principles of design and basic concepts that seem to span across all areas of design. As a beginning graphic designer, these are the concepts that you need to learn about. In this article, we look at seven basic principles of graphic design that are essential to understand as you learn about theory in design school or teach yourself the elements of design. By understanding the basics, you can begin to expand your knowledge and see how these concepts fit into the broader landscape of design and art in general. 7 Graphic Design Basics Lines One of the basics of graphic design is a concept that is so simple, you might not realize how important it is. Of course, we’re talking about the line! A majority of every visual design is in some way comprised of lines. Understanding how these lines work together to form the big picture is crucial in any artists’ interpretation of design. You may find that the most basic tool of any design program is the line tool, and for good reason. Understanding how to build a design from its most basic point is the best way to get started. Shapes Shapes are a logical extension of the line. A shape is really just a combination of lines but learning to use shapes effectively is crucial for any graphic designer. Shapes can be used in everything, from minimalist designs to combining many shapes to create something quite complex. Realistically, any design - even photorealistic drawing - is just learning to draw shapes in just the right way. Learning how to use shapes is perhaps the most important thing you will learn as a graphic designer. Colors Next up is color. Color is a key weapon in the arsenal of any designer. It sounds like a simple subject, but the possibilities and combinations that can be achieved with color are endless. Whether it is a simple design that highlights a single color, or a grand, detailed tapestry, color is what permeates the entire design and makes up the overall feel. Text Text is a major part of design these days. If you are adding words to your design, a good understanding of text is crucial. Not only does it help to convey the message you are trying to say, but a good text also elevates the entire design. By choosing a font that matches the feel of your design, you increase the impact of your message. Additionally, adjusting the size, color, thickness, and shape of your text further adds its impact. Remember, the text is not as simple as the words you are trying to say. A good graphic designer uses it as an integral part of the overall design. Space Sometimes more important than what you do in design is what you don’t do. Space perfectly illustrates this concept. In design, space is the area that is left blank or is only filled with a background color. The way that a designer uses space drastically impacts how the design is perceived. A design with a lot of space is perceived as open and easy to look at which is why so many logos and websites are designed in the simplest way possible. Depending on the type of design you are going for, you should be familiar with the implications of using too much or too little space. It might be the most important aspect of the overall perception of your design at first glance. Balance This is where you can start to put all your design principles to use. From shapes, to colors, to space, balance is what really ties it all together in a completed design. Balance is the way that all the design elements are grouped and how they are spread out throughout the design. It involves combining individual elements into one cohesive whole that creates a design to achieve your goal. Well-balanced designs could be highly symmetrical, asymmetrical, designed in a circular pattern, or more. The key here is understanding the type of balance you are going for and using the tools you have to achieve that. It is a big picture strategy and you should plan for the type of balance you want before you begin your design. Hierarchy Finally, hierarchy is a principle of design which determines which elements of your design are focal points. Which do you want the viewer to focus on? Hierarchy can help you achieve great design while drawing the viewer to a certain key element. Generally, the larger something is, the more of a focal point it is; however, this can also be influenced by placement, shape, and even contrasting colors. Knowing about hierarchy is crucial in certain types of design, specifically website design where you want to accentuate key facts and pages or information pamphlets and business cards where you want to draw the reader to certain details. An understanding of hierarchy is important for functional and practical designs. Conclusion These seven design basics we highlighted are key concepts that beginners and advanced graphic designers alike should understand. Design is really only the sum of its parts and by understanding even the most basic concepts, you can create something of great complexity. These concepts also help you understand design from a practical standpoint. So much of design is about highlighting key points or creating an overall “feel”. These big-picture concepts do just that and open your toolbox to create designs that achieve what you are aiming for.... Read more
ManyPixelsOct 30, 2019

4 Graphic Design Ideas to Impress Your Clients

Perhaps you have gone into graphic design thinking it’s all about creative freedom and the romantic notion of putting together the perfect designs to match your tastes. While that’s part of it, another main part of being a graphic designer is client relations. Working with clients quickly shows you that there is much more to being a graphic designer than making designs. As a graphic designer, impressing your clients is perhaps the most important thing you can do to grow your business. Identifying and responding to a client’s needs is crucial to make sure that they are satisfied with your work. This article focuses on four important ideas that you can use to impress your clients and have them coming back for more (or giving you those all-important referrals). So let’s get started: Identify the Client’s Needs Impressing a client is all about appealing to their needs. As a graphic designer, your first and biggest priority should be delivering what your clients want. To do this, you must first properly assess their needs. This starts by sitting down with the client and finding out what they are looking for. This initial meeting could be the most important part of the entire design process. Find out what it is that they want you to design and then discuss their goals with their branding and imagery. You need to ask many questions and get a complete picture of the branding design they’re looking for. It is very important to establish these benchmarks at the very beginning of the process. This way, you have something to use as a frame of reference and both you and your client have all the details out on the table. You will find it is much easier to work with someone when they have clearly outlined what they want. It holds you both accountable for creating the perfect design. Be Up Front As we mentioned, it is very important fora client to outline everything they want from the design process; however, as a graphic designer, this burden ultimately falls on you. You have to let the client know exactly what they can expect. Some things you should let prospective clients know upfront are how much they can expect to pay, how much time you expect everything to take, and a little about how they should expect the process to go. These are realistic expectations and it is better to just get them out of the way than to have it catch them by surprise. You need to be sure not to overpromise. You might find that people are a lot more understanding when designers let them know what to expect whereas if you promise something and don’t deliver, conflicts arise. If you know your process, it is very easy to simply lay it all out at the outset. Don’t create problems where they don’t need to exist. Create a Product That They Really Want Of course, you want to create a design based on what you discussed with the client at the initial meeting. You want to meet their needs and you absolutely should do your best to give them what they want. That said, as a graphic designer, a major part of your job is also adding your own expertise and skill set to the job. You are the design professional, after all, so you need to take the ideas and aesthetic clients are looking for and apply your own expertise, skill, and talent. This includes doing research on the company and its competitors to create something that is in line with their industry and reflects current design trends. It is all about finding that delicate balance between what your client wants and how to add your own expertise and professionalism. After all, if they could do it themselves, they wouldn’t have hired you after all. The best practice is generally just to keep your client in the loop whenever possible. Let them know how your work is progressing and be open about the process. Follow Up A huge part of graphic design (or any client-facing role, really) is in the follow-up. You want to deliver something that your client is truly happy with but know that your job doesn’t end there. Once you have successfully delivered a design, you should always follow up to make sure they are happy with what you have done and to keep up to date with their business in general. This can be something as simple as wishing them a happy birthday, remember, you’re just trying to stay on the top of their mind. That way, if they ever need further graphic design services or if a friend asks them for a referral, your name is at the top of the list! Follow up is a technique that is lost on so many people in customer service roles. Once the job is over, your work as a graphic designer is not! Follow up is a great (and very easy!) way to lock down repeat business and referrals. Conclusion As you can see, your job as a graphic designer goes well beyond making designs and you really have to be great at managing clients for your business to succeed. The most important thing is perhaps to manage expectations. Keep your client in the loop the entire time and be sure that what you are creating matches up with their needs. Remember, they hired you to do a job for them which means it’s up to you to make sure that their needs are met. They brought you on board because you have skills that they don’t so adding your talent, expertise, and skillset is a crucial factor as well. Finding this balance can be a difficult task but with openness and communication, you can really nail it and give your clients exactly what they are looking for!... Read more
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June 2019 Design Ideas

Each month, we're doing a small round up with design trends and ideas for your next requests. Here are 7 ideas for what you can request in June. 1. Blog post illustrations The currency of internet is content. Great content will help you get ranked on search engine, but also educate customers. One way to make your content more interesting and engaging is by creating blog post headers / illustrations. Here's a simple blog post header by Alex: Blog post header Another request idea is to request multiple blog post headers at once. This is useful if you want to plan this along your content calendar: Here's an example done by Alex: Blog post header 2. Custom illustrations Another popular request is custom illustrations. You can use them for practically anything you want! Custom illustrations Custom illustrations 2 3. Landing page illustrations Another request you can make is landing page illustrations. They will capture the visitor attention and reduce bounce rate. And as an added bonus: This makes your branding more unique! Landing page illustrations Here is another example done by our team: Landing page illustrations 4. Pinterest image design Another great source of leads for your business is Pinterest. Here is an example of design made by our team: Pinterest image design 5. Logo and brand guide One of our most popular type of request is logo and brand guides. Here is one our team made for a fin tech startup. Finin 6. Banner design Banners are a great way to catch the attention. Whether they are to display on your website (to ask customers to download an ebook for example) or for advertising, having a well-designed banner will improve conversions. Banner design 7. Display ads Another popular request you can order is display ads. Whether it is for Google or Facebook, you can make one request and ask them to have them designed for multiple platforms. Here are some examples designed by our team: DisplayAds DisplayAds2 DisplayAds3 ... Read more