Brian Platt

It’s Your Lucky Day—Here Are 3 Free St. Patrick’s Day Printable Banners You Can DIY!

by Brian Platt on March 5, 2016 No comments

You don’t need a pot of gold to throw a Pinterest-perfect St. Patrick’s Day shindig. If you’re looking to do more than don a green t-shirt on the 17th, we have three fun, free printable banners using graphics from our royalty-free library to add some luck o’ the Irish to your life.

Kristen Whitby at Ella Claire Inspired helped us put together a patterned pennant banner, a gold “Lucky” banner, and a shamrock banner (just click each one to download). You can get the full effect of what they look like in the photos below. These printables are chic and super easy to put together. They are perfect for a classroom or St. Patrick’s Day-themed birthday party, or for bringing a bit of flair to your home or office.

After printing the graphics (or bringing them to your local printer), simply lay each shape upside down, evenly spaced out in a row. Then lay a length of twine over all of them and tape or hot glue it to each one. For a more rustic feel, use a hole punch at the corners of each graphic and thread the twine through.

Of course, this is just a sample of all the wonderful St. Patrick’s day projects you can create using GraphicStock. All of our images are royalty-free, which means that you can use them for all your future St. Paddy’s crafts.

Pro Crafting Tips

Use a paper cutter to cut out all of the long straight edges of the flags. It will save you SO much time, not to mention sanity.

To amp up the color, spray each of the gold flags with a glitter spray, then use a cotton swab to gently wipe the glitter off the white letters. This will really make them sparkle!

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Interested in making your own banner design or other DIY decoration for the holiday? Take a look at all the options available on our site.

Download Unlimited St. Patrick’s Day Graphics

 

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Brian PlattIt’s Your Lucky Day—Here Are 3 Free St. Patrick’s Day Printable Banners You Can DIY!

Why Artists Love Ampersands

by Brian Platt on February 19, 2016 1 comment

Combining style with an efficiency of space, the ampersand has survived the rise and fall of empires, the passing trends of typeface design, and even the transition to digital print. As a recent article from Fast Company points out, these are just a few of the reasons that designers love the “&”—a whimsical, adventurous glyph that has always looked as though it wasn’t quite certain if it was a letter or a design flourish.

It began with the Romans

The ampersand began with the Latin word for “and,” “et”—a connection hinted at in the symbol’s swooshing construction. The ampersand’s loops and intersections blend the two letters, “E” and “t,” into a single character. First used by a cursive graffiti artist in 1st century Pompeii, the ampersand traveled with the Roman empire across the globe and has since withstood the test of time.

 

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It was originally called “and per se and”

Although the ampersand symbol dates back centuries, Fast Company notes that the name didn’t come about until very recently. In the 1800s, English schools considered “&” to be the 27th letter of the alphabet, but it was a particular type of letter known as a “per se” character. They called it this because the glyph could be interpreted as both a letter and a word. As such, when English school children learned their ABCs, they recited the final letters as “X, Y, Z, and per se and.” This phrase eventually elided into what we now know as the “ampersand.”

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Designers love it because it’s adventurous

Jonathan Hoefler—a preeminent typographer in the recent era of digital design—states that the continuing appeal of the ampersand springs from the character’s inherent whimsy. Even in the most minimal and rigid of typefaces, the ampersand introduces a certain visual softness through its intertwining curves, which Hoefler describes as both “adventurous” and imaginative.

Interest piqued? Fall in love with the ampersand yourself while exploring our curated gallery of ampersand glyphs or our library of artistic fonts—and in the words of Jonathan Hoefler, “May the ampersand never go extinct, and never be fully tamed.”

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Explore the untamed ampersand ►

(via Fast Company)

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Brian PlattWhy Artists Love Ampersands

Valentine’s Day Projects We Love

by Brian Platt on January 26, 2016 No comments

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and we’ve got heart-shaped boxes full of inspiration. From DIY wrapping paper to personalized chocolates, here are five creative ways to show your love.

To help you get started, we’ve also collected some of our most popular Valentine’s Day graphics for use with each of these projects.

Printable Valentine’s Tags and Envelopes

Valentine’s Day Projects We Love

Printable treat bags, envelopes, and tags are the perfect way to send Valentines or tasty sweets to your friends and loved ones with a unique, handmade touch. Blogger Ella Claire used our stock patterns and backgrounds to create her samples, and includes the downloadable templates in her project post—or personalize your printables with any of the prints and patterns in our GraphicStock library.

DIY Cupcake Wrappers

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Cupcake wrappers are an elegant way to transform everyday desserts into treats that are every bit as cute as they are delicious. They’re quick and easy to create and will instantly make your cupcakes look Pinterest-perfect. This tutorial from 52 Kitchen Adventures uses patterned scrapbooking paper as the source, but can also use stock graphics to create printables of your own design.

Printed Chocolates

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Chocolatier Kimberly Plank takes our stock Valentine’s Day graphics and makes them into beautiful edible art through her Etsy shop, Sweeties by Kim. Her original GraphicStock creations are available for purchase year-round, and her custom creations have been featured by Martha Stewart Weddings, Better Homes and Gardens, and Bravo TV.

*Kimberly is offering an exclusive buy one, get one free special on designer Oreos and chocolate pops, exclusively for our members using the promo code “GRAPHICSTOCK50”

DIY Wrapping Paper

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Add a personal touch to your Valentine’s Day gifts by creating your own personalized wrapping paper. Ella Claire has a simple recipe for turning our stock graphics into handcrafted tags and wrapping papers for any season.

Custom Temporary Tattoos

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Want to wear your heart on your sleeve this Valentine’s Day? Temporary tattoos are not only trendy, but have evolved in quality far beyond the vending machine variety most of us are accustomed to. Show the world how you really feel by committing to a custom two-day tattoo from Momentary Ink.

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Brian PlattValentine’s Day Projects We Love

Where Designers Learn: The Best in Tutorials, Tools, and Classes

by Brian Platt on December 29, 2015 No comments

Searching for creative inspiration—or education? We’ve got you covered with the best of the web’s design resources: thirteen of our favorite online destinations for courses, tutorials, and tools to support your inner muse (and help you get the most out of our unlimited library of stock images).

Classes and Tutorials from the Pros

Lynda
Lynda is a one-stop-shop for design and technology classes, all suited to a variety of digital skills and experience levels. Currently, it hosts more than 600 courses in design with nearly 30,000 video tutorials available. These courses range in topics from broad fundamentals like composition or how to use Adobe creative software to more specific interests like logo or typography design.

KelbyOne
For aspiring photographers, KelbyOne is the go-to site for online courses, as taught by many of the best photographers in the field. Some focus on composition fundamentals or tutorials for making the most of your camera, while others delve into learning the ins and outs of digital lightrooms and Adobe Photoshop.

Digital Arts Tutorials
If you’re looking to upgrade your Photoshop game, make sure to check out the design tutorials from British-based design magazine Digital Arts. Specializing in focused, step-by-step tutorials, Digital Arts is the perfect resource for the designer looking for tips on how to create specific effects, such as turning photos into hand-drawn “illustrations” or adding bokeh or snow effects to your images.

Creative Blogs to Inspire

PetaPixel
Featuring the latest in editing tips and tricks, expert interviews, industry news, and photographic inspiration, PetaPixel is a must-read blog for designers who regularly work with or manipulate photographs.

Brown Paper Bag
A carefully curated blog of Pinterest-worthy photos, Brown Paper Bag highlights innovative uses of design, from textured prints and watercolor tattoos, to 3D paper sculptures and laser-embossed cookie rollers.

Collate
With a minimalist layout, Collate lets imagery speak for itself by focusing on the intersection of advertising, functional design, and pop art. The result is a collection of cutting edge design pieces sure to inspire your inner Warhol or Lichtenstein.

Books and Magazines for Offline Design

Universal Principles of Design
Considered by many as the definitive, all-in-one reference book and primer for creatives, The Universal Principles of Design clearly explains 125 fundamental concepts, from The Golden Ratio to Attractiveness Bias. Written by designers William Lidwell, Jill Butler, and Kritina Holden, the book covers principles essential to all disciplines of design, from illustration and web graphics to commercial advertising and gallery curation.

Before & After: How to Design Cool Stuff Magazine
Before & After is a magazine on a mission to make graphic design concepts and techniques accessible to everyone, especially beginners. With editions available in print, PDF, or video tutorials, the magazine features a useful mix of articles on aesthetic fundamentals and “sprites” or quick tricks to make your projects visually pop.

Print Magazine
Founded in 1940, Print’s bimonthly magazine has a long, respected history of delving deep into design culture and theory while showcasing the best of international and regional artists. You can also find many of the magazine’s articles online in addition to its daily blog, which focuses on equal parts design trade and creative inspiration.

Workshops and Conferences for Creative Communities

Creative Mornings
Think TED talks crossed with a breakfast series for imaginative and innovative minds. Creative Mornings sponsors speaker series in many urban hubs around the world—and if you can’t make one of their sessions in person, you can always listen to their podcasts online. 

Photoshop World
Hailed as the biggest and best photography and Lightroom event of the year, the annual Photoshop World conference is the perfect place for photographers and designers of all skill levels to learn new techniques and network with other design professionals.

The Photoshop Conference
Similar to Photoshop World but for less photography-oriented creatives, the Photoshop Conference focuses on learning sessions and networking events for graphic designers, production artists, illustrators, and publishers.

Royalty-Free Content with Unlimited Downloads

There’s only one place to find royalty-free stock photos, graphics, and vectors with unlimited downloads, and that’s with us here at GraphicStock. Get inspired with these creative images or explore more in our unlimited library.

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Brian PlattWhere Designers Learn: The Best in Tutorials, Tools, and Classes

See the 10 Winning Designs of the Ultimate 80s Movie Poster Contest

by Brian Platt on December 22, 2015 No comments

There’s plenty that we wish we could forget about the 80s. From Flock of Seagulls to the hideous overstuffed couch in your parents’ basement, certain atrocities should never again see the light of day. But movie posters are not among these many embarrassments. Some of our favorite films and fonts were born in the 1980s, just like us.

We indulged our nostalgia for neon colors and laser graphics with a $5000 contest for the ultimate 80s movie poster design, in partnership with Sitepoint and 99designs. The response was, to say the least, TOTALLY RIGHTEOUS. TUBULAR. RADICAL. We could go on.

Over 6,000 poster designs were submitted, but only one could take home the grand prize. A prize of $1000 for second place was also up for grabs and nine free annual subscriptions to GraphicStock for runners-up.

That left us with the near impossible task of selecting winners from the onslaught of really impressive entries. Believe us when we say we agonized and debated over the top 10 (a couple of judges still aren’t speaking to each other). We shed a tear every time an excellent design had to be disqualified for failing to follow the rules, such as using copyrighted material. We rejoiced at the versatility and skillfulness of all the four and five star entries.

After channeling the spirits of Bill and Ted, we somehow survived the greatest judging adventure of our lives and selected the winners. A huge thanks to everyone who entered—you made this decision crazy hard and we couldn’t be happier about it.

The winning design was a recreation of The Martian submitted by “ultrastjarna.” At first glance, you may not realize how complex this poster really was to create. The designer used five images from GraphicStock and masterfully combined and customized them into an authentically 80s movie poster.

The other winners also successfully embodied elements of the 80s—each taking a unique approach and transforming stock images in unexpected and artful ways.

Take a look at the final products by our winners. Can you identify the pieces that came from stock?

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Start your poster design with more than 300,000 royalty-free graphics, vectors, photos, and design elements to choose from.

Get the Graphics from the Winning Poster►
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Brian PlattSee the 10 Winning Designs of the Ultimate 80s Movie Poster Contest

Six Stocking Stuffers for Designers and Illustrators

by Brian Platt on December 12, 2015 No comments

Need some holiday stocking stuffers to accompany the cards and printables you’ve made using unlimited downloads from our library? We’ve curated some of our favorite small gifts for crafters and design enthusiasts below. (See our complete gift guide if you’re looking for larger last-minute gift ideas for designers.

Copic Classic MarkersBlendable Art Markers

Copic Classic Markers

Copic markers have a following like no other—and for good reasons: refillable ink, interchangeable nibs, and blendable inks that spread almost like watercolors. At $7.99 per marker, they’re not cheap—but they’ll last a lifetime, and we’re big fans of artistic resources that offer “unlimited” use.

$7.99 from Copic

 

Custom Temporary Tattoos

Custom Temporary Tattoos

Temporary Tattoo from Momentary Ink

As soon as we heard about a company that made design-your-own tattoos that anyone can apply with water, we knew we’d all be wearing “stock graphic” tattoos for the holidays. Each application lasts up to ten days and is fully customizable in size, color, and design. There’s little reason not to create an entire sleeve for yourself—or your white elephant recipient—using graphics from our library.

$15 and up from Momentary Ink

Palomino Blackwing 602Palomino Pencils

The Blackwing 602

The “pencil of choice” for a long list of legendary artists, the Blackwing 602 is a cedar pencil with wax added to its core for maximum smoothness (and, reportedly, less than half the required writing pressure of traditional pencils). Prices surged to $40 per pencil after the line was discontinued in 1998, but a 2010 revival has made them an accessible luxury once again.

$21.95 for 12 from Pencils.com

 

Illustrated Peter PanIllustrated Classic Books

The Illustrated Peter Pan

Who says print is dead? Like Peter Pan, books will never grow old. Rather, design studios like MinaLima (made famous by designing the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise) are pushing the design of books further by reimagining classics like J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. This signed and unabridged edition includes imaginative illustrations and interactive pullouts such as folded maps of Neverland.

£18.99 from MinaLima

MiniDrive by NiftyPortable Storage

MiniDrive by Nifty

Thin laptops are more and more popular with designers and students thanks to increased capabilities and portability for meetings, but hard drive storage remains a limitation. The MiniDrive solves that shortage without adding extra bulk. Essentially a shaved-off SD card with an aluminum finish, it sits flush with the edge of MacBook and MacBook Air laptops and adds up to 128 GB of removable storage.

$31.99 and up from Nifty

Unlimited Downloads of Stock GraphicsUnlimited Downloads of Stock Graphics

GraphicStock

Want to give a stocking stuffer that can be used forever? A GraphicStock subscription comes with unlimited downloads of royalty-free photos, vectors, and illustrations that are yours to use and keep once downloaded—with no expiration dates.

 
 
 

Check out this DIY wrapping paper tutorial to see our designs turned into handcrafted wrapping paper that looks almost too good to tear.

http://www.ellaclaireinspired.com/chalkboard-wrapping-paper-gift-tags/

$99 for one year of unlimited downloads from GraphicStock►
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Brian PlattSix Stocking Stuffers for Designers and Illustrators

Holiday Gift Guide for Designers and Illustrators

by Brian Platt on December 10, 2015 1 comment

Not sure what to get your designer friends—or yourself—for the holidays? We’ve curated a list of our favorite tools and toys for artists of all levels. Bonus: ounce per ounce, they’re all less expensive than printer ink.

Screen Printing KitScreen Printing Kit

DIYPrintShop Table-Top Kit

With everything you need to make a mess—and make screen prints—the “classic” do-it-yourself kit includes an instructional DVD, eco-friendly ink, cleaners, squeegee, and a professional screen, plus other tools. It’s a great kit for making custom t-shirts and posters, and the company’s how-to customer support is renowned.

$129.99 from DIY Print Shop

 

Intuos Art Drawing TabletDrawing Tablet

Intuos Art, Small

Drawing tablets are must-have tools for digital artists and designers, enabling far more precision than mouse or track pad movements. Think signing your name with a pen versus a mouse—or, better yet, a pressure-sensitive digital paintbrush. Not sure if drawing tablets are right for you? Read our quick start guide to drawing tablets.

$99 from Wacom

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Scrabble Typography, 3rd Edition

Redesigned by Andrew Capener, America’s favorite word game has never looked better. The special edition board game features twelve designer fonts and a gorgeous board that, together, make the prospect of getting all vowels easier to cope with.

$49.99 from Winning Solutions

 

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Wood Prints from WoodSnap

Paper has new competition when it comes to printing art and photographs: wood. Natural grain and handcrafted wooden canvases give these prints a natural and artisanal feel—no frames necessary.

$16 and up from WoodSnap

 

 

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Prismacolor Premier Soft Core Pencils

These are not the colored pencils you grew up with, unless you grew up coloring with professional art sets. While there are many good brands of premium colored pencils, Prismacolors have developed a devoted fan base thanks to their balance of relative affordability, superior coverage, and smooth blending abilities—making them ideal for coloring both inside and outside the lines.

$59 for set of 72 from Amazon

 

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Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book

One of the biggest trends in art and illustration is the rise of adult coloring. At one point this year, the two bestselling books on Amazon were adult coloring books, and “Secret Garden” continues to hold the top spot with more than two million copies in print worldwide.

$15.95 from Amazon

 

Untitled-2-minUnlimited Downloads of Stock Graphics

GraphicStock

Want to give a gift that can be used forever? A GraphicStock subscription comes with unlimited downloads of royalty-free photos, vectors, and illustrations that are yours to use and keep once downloaded—with no expiration dates.

 

 

 

Check out this DIY wrapping paper tutorial to see these designs turned into handcrafted wrapping paper that looks too good to tear.

http://www.ellaclaireinspired.com/chalkboard-wrapping-paper-gift-tags/

$99 for one year of unlimited downloads from GraphicStock►
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Brian PlattHoliday Gift Guide for Designers and Illustrators

Tutorial: How to Edit Placeholder Text in Vector Files

by Brian Platt on November 30, 2015 No comments

It’s easy to replace the “filler text” included in thousands of our stock graphics, commonly displayed as “Main Idea,” “Lorem Ipsum,” or “Sample Text.”

Many of these files are available to download as “EPS” files, a highly editable format that displays separate text layers in Adobe Illustrator. In the video below, we’ll show you how to quickly customize this text to meet your own needs.

 

 
 

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Brian PlattTutorial: How to Edit Placeholder Text in Vector Files

A Quick Guide to Photoshop Selection Tools

by Brian Platt on November 24, 2015 No comments

There are many ways to select pixels in Photoshop, but knowing the differences can save you time, frustration, and choppy edges. To help with these decisions, we’ve created a series of simple tutorials to help give beginners a firm grasp on Photoshop—and the pixels within.
 

Using the Quick Selection Tool

Living up to its name, the Quick Selection Tool allows users to grab certain areas of the canvas, well, quickly. Photoshop pros love it for its speed, but recognize this can come at the cost of accuracy, particularly for graphics without hard lines.


 

Using the Pen Tool

The Pen Tool allows users to create customizable selections and outline elements with close precision. Its ability to “connect the dots” around complex shapes sets the Pen Tool apart from other tools, but be prepared to take your time with its learning curve.


 

Using the Magic Wand Tool

The Magic Wand Tool automatically selects pixels based on color and tone. Use it to quickly select images with pixels of the same hue, regardless of where they appear on the canvas.


 

Using the Lasso Tool (and Magnetic Lasso Tool)

For those with steady hands, the lasso tool allows users to trace freehand around their selections, while its magnetic counterpart automatically “snaps” to the nearest border. It’s the most flexible tool, but also the most user-dependent.



 
Start selecting from more than 300,000 royalty-free graphics, vectors, photos, and design elements.
 

Get Unlimited Downloads from GraphicStock ►
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Brian PlattA Quick Guide to Photoshop Selection Tools

Feast Your Eyes on These Thanksgiving Stock Graphics

by Brian Platt on November 11, 2015 No comments

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to give thanks to the festive photos, graphics, and backgrounds that preserve our holiday memories forever—and since these images satisfy your eyes rather than your stomach, you can download all you want, guilt-free.

Stock Photos of Thanksgiving Food and Table Settings

Nothing says Thanksgiving like the eating—or overeating—of foods like turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Enjoy the virtual smells and beauty of the season with images of food too good to eat.

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See More Photos of Thanksgiving Food and Table Settings►

 

A Time to Give Back(grounds)

Whether you’re sending invites or putting together a project of children’s crafts, these festive backgrounds are perfect!

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See More Thanksgiving Backgrounds►

 

Family Stock Photos

As much as it is known for food, Thanksgiving is also known for spending time with family and friends. We put together an album of family-oriented photos you can use in your creative projects so you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner rather than turn it into a photo shoot.

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See More Family Stock Photos►

 

Thanksgiving Vector Graphics

These vector graphics of Thanksgiving, like pilgrim hats, pumpkins, and food baskets, are perfect for decorations around the house to bring in the festive charm.

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See More Thanksgiving Vector Graphics►

 

Truly the gift that keeps on giving—unlimited downloads are just $99 a year.

Start Downloading Now►
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Brian PlattFeast Your Eyes on These Thanksgiving Stock Graphics