Advertising

All posts tagged Advertising

30 Vectors for Labeling Everything—Market Your Product Like a Pro

by Maddie Stearn on February 11, 2017 1 comment

Everything has a label—and small business owners understand this particularly well. From the product itself to social media campaigns, labels are everywhere. Labels also help combat brand fatigue by spicing up marketing materials. When your business has a sale for every major event in the year, labels are a godsend.

The takeaway? Your labels need to be certified fresh.

Stock vector labels are enormously useful for creating a wide variety of product labels. Not to rip off Portlandia, but name an object and we’ll say, “Put a (stock) label on it!” The possibilities are endless.

The GraphicStock library has thousands of labels that are also vectors, so they’re completely customizable. In our image above, we put our own spin on a label from a customizable template pack. You can find that label and more in our hand-picked gallery of 30 popular stock vector labels.

 

1.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

2.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

3.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

4.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

5.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

6.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

7.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

8.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

9.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

10.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

11.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

12.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

13.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

14.

stock vector labels
Download these stock labels.

 

15.

stock vector labels
Download this stock label.

 

 
Feeling inspired? Make sure to visit our royalty-free vectors library to see all 30 vector labels.

 

Download All 30 Labels

 

read more
Maddie Stearn30 Vectors for Labeling Everything—Market Your Product Like a Pro

20 Stock Photos That Will Actually “Un-Stock” Your Advertising

by Caroline Mercurio on December 7, 2016 No comments

In advertising, you need to lead first with visuals to grab your audience’s attention. Yet not every creative team has a photographer on call with an unlimited travel budget to supply a steady stream of fresh and innovative images. Instead, the majority of marketers and designers turn to stock photographs for high quality content.

Unfortunately, some of these photos can seem “stocky”—too posed, too cliched, and too unreal—for consumers to truly connect with the message. That’s why we’ve picked 20 of our favorite photos to “un-stock” your advertising, as well as explaining the four best types of photos to look for when picking fresh visual content for your advertising.

 

Authentic Portraits

Day in and day out, customers are bombarded with photographs of retouched models in highly-posed situations. Advertising that uses images of everyday people in realistic contexts can connect with audiences at a human level, resonating with consumers’ desire for authenticity.

Portraiture with subjects who develop strong and honest rapports with the camera evoke a sense of believability and earnesty. Direct and emotive gazes without false smiles are crucial for these types of advertising portraits.

 
1.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of an elderly man at work.

 
2.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a happy boy laughing.

 
3.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a woman and her husband.

 
4.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a young woman working out.

 
5.
Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a pedestrian in the city.

 

Street Photography

The city is in the zeitgeist. Because we live in a constantly connected, digital world, metropolitan imagery has begun to resonate more and more with audiences, regardless of where ever they actually are.

Aesthetically, street photography appeals to viewers because of the wide array of textures and diversity of subjects it offers, as well as the frequent contrasts between structured, urban environments and their human inhabitants.

 
6.
Stock Photos

Download this street photograph of people in a crowd.

 
7.
Stock Photos

Download this photograph of graffiti on the metro.

 
8.
Stock Photos

Download this photograph of a young skateboarder in the city.

 
9.
Stock Photos

Download this photography of a tourist photographing a Vatican street.

 
10.
Stock Photos

Download this photograph of people on a busy street.

 

Flat Lay

Although seemingly more posed and polished than many of the visual trends we’ve highlighted, flat lay photography is having a moment. The style has it’s own kind of authenticity—the illusion of two dimensional space and the style’s fusion of geometric layouts with organic shapes appeals to an innate desire for simplicity and order.

Flat lay is especially popular for food advertising, but the aesthetic lends itself to any number of objects, from tools to plastic packaging. Using flat lay photos like these will keep your advertising fresh and on trend.

 
11.
Stock Photos

Download this flat lay laptop photograph.

 
12.
Stock Photos

Download this flat lay fresh fruits in a cone photograph.

 
13.
Stock Photos

Download this pills on a plate flat lay medical photograph.

 
14.
Stock Photos

Download this ice cream packaging bags flat lay photograph.

 
15.
Stock Photos

Download this flat lay tools photograph.

 

Quirky Subjects

A sense of humor, especially one that’s just slightly off-beat and not overly cliched, can really help cut through the noise in today’s oversaturated advertising landscape. Fun, quirky subjects with visually striking compositions do this by connecting with audiences through one of the most basic languages there is—humor.

To capture this trend, focus on images that feature off-center composition, bright or contrasting colors, and subjects that are just slightly weird or odd without being completely unrelatable. Think of a Wes Anderson film, but for advertising.

 
16.
Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a business person exercising.

 
17.
Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a grumpy middle aged woman with hair rollers.

 
18.
Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a senior cook.

 
19.
Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a thinking student in a cap.

 
20.
Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a man with a red nose.

 
Ready to start creating? Download all 20 photos and more—or, if you’re looking for even more inspiration, take a look at our guide to the Hottest Design Trends of 2016.

 

Un-stock Your Ads

 

read more
Caroline Mercurio20 Stock Photos That Will Actually “Un-Stock” Your Advertising

Tutorial: How to Create a Visually Striking Text Portrait in Photoshop

by Caroline Mercurio on September 15, 2016 4 comments

As many Adobe users know, sometimes the fastest way to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop is to teach yourself. That’s why we’ve put together this tutorial to show you an easy way to create a visually striking portrait using our royalty-free library of stock photos.

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but when you combine a picture with text, the impact can be exponential. This technique is fun and useful—whether you’re a budding graphic designer looking for inspiration for your blog or business, or are just trying to master as many tools as possible in Photoshop.

Customizing stock photos is a great way to enhance your online presence. Follow along this tutorial to see how we create this high-impact graphic using an image from our library.

 

Step 1. Choose A Portrait That Inspires Greatness

 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
You can either complete this tutorial with the fitness photo we’ve chosen or browse through our stock photo library until you find a portrait that fits your needs. The subject of this photo is well-lit and her body easily contrasts with the background. Try to look for these features in your chosen photo and open it in Photoshop.

 

Step 2. Edit the Composition of the Image

Although the image is already visually well-balanced, we need a closer crop to achieve our desired effect.

Choose the Rectangular Marquee tool (M).

Change the style to Fixed Ratio and adjust the width ratio to 1 and height to 2. This is a good ratio for Pinterest graphics since that platform favors height, but you can choose the ratio that works best for your purposes.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Drag and drop the marquee around the area you wish to keep.

Go to the Image dropdown in the Menu Bar and choose Crop.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
 

Step 3. Select the Background of Your Image

Next we will use selection to chose the background of the image. We recommend starting with the Quick Selection tool to begin selecting.

Adjust the size of your Quick Selection brush and click and drag on the background of your image.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
To add to your selection, hold down shift while selecting.

If you added too much, hold down alt while selecting in order to deselect.

If the Quick Selection tool isn’t precise enough, try making the size of the brush smaller.

Pro Tip: To quickly zoom in, out, and around your image, it’s easier to learn keyboard shortcuts. You will need to zoom in close at times to be sure your selection is precise.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Remember to use the ctrl key instead of the command key when using a PC. Here are some to get you started:

Zoom In: Command + =

Zoom Out: Command + –

Fit To Window: Command + 0

Hand Tool (to grab and drag): Spacebar, click and drag

 

Step 4. Isolate the Subject of Your Image

Now that you have the background selected, we actually want our selection to wrap around the subject and really refine the edges.

Invert the selection by typing shift + command + i or by right clicking the selection (with the Marquee tool activated) and choosing Select Inverse.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Choose the Select and Mask option.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Change the view to Overlay. The parts that aren’t selected are now shaded in red. This helps clarify the area that is selected.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Now you should be able to play around with each of the sliders. The best way to understand what each one alters is to experiment with them until you get the settings you desire.

An easy fix is to check the Smart Radius option and edit from there. We also chose to feather the radius a couple pixels.

Be sure to specify the Output Settings to New Layer with Layer Mask before clicking OK. Need more help? We cover it in greater detail in our selection tool tutorial.

 

Step 5. Create a Black Background

So now you have your original layer with the image, and a new mask layer that isolates your subject.

Create a new layer and drag it below the masked layer.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
We renamed the new layer to “Black Background.”

Fill it with black by first hitting the D key (this makes your primary color black and the secondary color white).
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Then hit the G key to select the Paint Bucket tool. If the Gradient tool shows up instead, then click and hold the Gradient Tool and drag the mouse over the Paint Bucket Tool.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
With the Paint Bucket tool selected, be sure you have the Black Background layer activated and click on the canvas to fill it.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
 

Step 6. Convert To Black and White

Select Your layer with the layer mask, and type Shift + Command + U to desaturate the image or you can go to the Image dropdown in the Menu Bar, click Adjustments, and then Black and White.

You can play with those sliders and presets to configure your desired look and click OK. There is no need to be too precise because we will play with this a little later.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
 

Step 7. Add a Black Layer On Top

Similar to how you added a black background, we also want to add a topmost layer filled with black, but we also want to hide it for now.

Create your new layer, make sure it is dragged to the top, and fill it with black. Hide the layer by clicking the eyeball to the left of that layer.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
We renamed the layer “Black Cover.” We will come back to that layer later.

 

Step 8. Create Dramatic Shadows With Levels

The final look we are trying to achieve is dramatic, blending our subject into the black background. Right now, she sticks out like a sore thumb, so we are going to edit the levels of this photo to achieve the striking-yet-blended look we want.

Make sure your layer with the mask is selected (but not the mask itself) and type Command + L.

The settings you choose will be a matter of personal preference, however in the screenshot below are the numbers we chose. From the left to right we entered 100, .85, and 245. Click OK.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Now the image as a more dramatic look to it and blends nicely into the background.

 

Step 9. Position and Add Text

Previously we added a black cover layer and hid it. Now we will unhide the layer so we can start adding text.

Drop the opacity of the layer down to 50% so you can see what is underneath.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
The text we will be adding is “I’m going to make you so proud -Note to self” and we chose the typeface called League Gothic, which can be downloaded with your Creative Cloud Account through Adobe Typekit.

Hit the X key to switch your primary color to white.

Then hit the T key to open the Type tool.

Type in your message and align it with the subject’s body.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Notice how we typed in each line of text on different individual type layers.

The goal is to align the majority of the text with the shape of the subjects body and/or face. In this instance, we left the face mostly free of text for readability.

When you type in one line of text such as “You So” you can then use the shortcut Command + T—which is the shortcut for the Transform tool—to drag and drop the corners of the text box to be the size you wish.

This is where it is fun to have creative freedom!

Be sure to hold shift while dragging the corners of the text box so your proportions remain true. Press enter after you resize it.

 

Step 10. Subtract from the Black Cover Layer

As you can see, we avoided covering the subject’s face with the text. Let’s adjust the Black Cover layer so it doesn’t cover the entire canvas.

Activate that layer, type Command + T, and drag the left edge of the rectangle so that it almost aligns with the text.

We chose to have the left side of the text “hang over” the edge of the box, if you will—meaning it is not perfectly aligned.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Now comes the exciting part!

With your Black Cover layer activated, hold down the Command key and the Shift key simultaneously, while clicking on the “T” on each text layer in the layer window. This will select the area of each text layer.

Keep those keys held down until each text layer has been selected. You will notice the dotted lines around your letters.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Be sure that the Black Cover layer is activated and all your text area has been selected and hit Delete on your keyboard.

Hide all of the type layers by clicking each eyeball.

Bring the opacity of the Black Cover layer back up to 100% and type Command + D to deselect the area of the text.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
It will resemble something very similar to the image above. See how close we are getting?

 

Step 11. Emphasize the Text

So, we’ve basically deleted the text we arranged from the Black Cover layer to reveal our chosen image underneath, however, we run into the issue that not all of the text is legible.

That’s OK! You’ve made it this far and your Photoshop skills have just increased exponentially. Isn’t it neat how tutorials can open up your mind to the possibilities of Adobe Photoshop? You just have to know its capabilities.

Let’s edit parts of the image underneath the Black Cover layer with the Dodge and Burn tools.

Activate the layer with the mask and select the Dodge tool (O).
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Adjust the Size of the tool to about 400px to start and adjust as needed. Change the Hardness to 0%, the Range to Shadows, the Exposure to 100% and make sure Protect Tones is checked.

You can easily adjust the size of your tool by typing either the [ key to make it smaller or ] to make it bigger.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Now with your image layer activated, start brushing over the areas you want to lighten. If you go too far, you can easily undo with Command + Z and redo with Shift + Command + Z.

Next, change the range to Midtones and repeat until you achieve your desired lightness.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
While much better, it is not quite perfect. So now I’m going to create another layer above the image itself and below the Black Cover and start playing with the Brush tool (B) with a lowered opacity white.

After some tweaking, I should get the look I am going for:
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
And there you have it!

You can create a whole series of graphics for pinterest or posters with this dynamic and engaging style. There are endless possibilities to customize the royalty-free stock photos from our library and to make them your own.

Are you ready to give it a shot? Get the image we used here or check out other inspiring portraits for inspiration.
 
 

Start Creating

 

read more
Caroline MercurioTutorial: How to Create a Visually Striking Text Portrait in Photoshop

What Exactly is Adobe Spark and Should You Be Using It?

by Caroline Mercurio on August 18, 2016 8 comments

It’s no secret that social media has taken over the world. Love it or hate it, daily communication occurs more often in pins, likes, tweets, and comments than print media or face-to-face interactions, so creators have a constant need for easy-to-use platforms that produce pro-quality images, websites, and videos. Adobe has sought to fill this need with their (free!) new mobile app and web platform, Adobe Spark.

The concept is simple: with Spark, you can create “visual stories” on any device, for any device, even without previous design/video/web development experience. It’s a one-stop shop for Adobe professionals and beginners alike.

We tested out the programs features using royalty-free photos from GraphicStock to see if Spark delivers on its promises. Here’s what we learned, and the final products of our creative experimenting.

First off, the Adobe Spark suite actually consists of three programs: Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark Video. All of these programs were previously available in some form or another as Adobe Post, Slate, and Voice, but Adobe has given them a makeover, added some cool new features, and housed them under one roof on the web with no download required. Alternatively, you can download the free app on your mobile device.

You don’t need a paid Creative Cloud subscription, although Spark does tie in with other Adobe products such as Lightroom. If you have an existing Adobe ID, it will work to sign in to the Spark homepage.

 

Spark Post

 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark
 
Spark Post is the simplest to use. When you go to “Projects” and select “Add Post,” the interface will ask you what you want to say; that is, what you want your text to read. It will then take you to a series of designer pins featuring backgrounds covered by your text.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

You can use these preset backgrounds or tab over to “Photo” to add your own image (we used this almost-too-good-to-eat macaron photo). You can upload photos from your computer or use images stored in Lighroom, Dropbox, Google Photos, or Creative Cloud.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The automatic preset shape is an Instagram-perfect square, but under the “resize” tab, you can select from a wide variety of dimensions, several of which fit the major social media platforms, as well as some standard shapes and webpage-optimized dimensions.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

Adobe also selects some suggested themes, which will create the template for how and where your text is laid out. You can select your preference under the “theme” tab, and edit the individual elements further under the “text” tab. We decided to go with a more minimalist theme than the original example Spark Post gave us.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The “palette” and “text” tabs allow you more control to customize your design by adjusting the colors, opacity, shapes, fonts, and alignment of your post, as well as several other features. Everything is laid out in a beginner-friendly format to encourage experimentation.

There are a few hidden features, including a tool in the “text” tab. This is a circular dial which, if turned, pops up more suggested text box formats.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

Once you are all set, go to “share” at the top center of the page. From there, you can create a link to your pin, title and share it for future use, and download it. This example above only took about 3 minutes in Adobe Post!

 

Spark Page

 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

See the full completed page completed page here.

If you want to quickly build a web page without needing technical knowledge like HTML, you might find Spark Page useful. Like with Post, the first page will ask you for a title and subtitle. At this point, you can also use the “themes” drop down in the top right to select from a range of designer themes.

The (+) button on the bottom center of the page allows you to select a background image for your cover page. For the example above, we used this image.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

Next, you have the choice to add either a photo, text, a button, a video, a photo grid, or a “glideshow.” We chose to open with text, followed by a static photo grid.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The photo grid can seem a little tricky, but is quite easy once you get the hang of things. Basically, when you open your first photo it looks as if that photo is filling up the entire grid space. What you need to do is click upload and pull in the rest of your images, which will then auto-populate into a grid.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

When you hover over an image, you will see icons appear. These icons allow you to edit the size and position of each individual image within your grid.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The “glideshow” option—probably the most visually interesting element that the Spark Page offers—is also one of its easiest tools. You simply select images you want to upload, use the icons that pop up to arrange the order, and click save. Once saved, Spark gives you options to add text, quotes, or images.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

When we reached the end of the glideshow, we finished the post with a (non-operational) “Book Now” button—designed with small businesses in mind. Currently, there are few edits you can apply to the button, but hopefully a future version of Spark Page will allow for more customization.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

When you finish up, click the “Share” button and Spark Page will generate a link.

Don’t forget, you can download the images used in this sample webpage here.

 

Spark Video

 
Make sure you turn your sound on to get the full effect!
 
Last but certainly not least is Spark Video, a program which allows you to create a video slideshow—complete with sound and narration. In short, this program takes the technical aspects out visual storytelling.

Of course, Spark Video cannot help with composition or narrative, so you’ll want to make sure you have high-quality photos and a storyline in mind. Furthermore, while Video is possibly the most advanced product in the Spark lineup, it is also the most limited for user customization.

If you have your ideas and plenty of awesome images , then Spark Video will bring your story to life.

Like with Page, Video initially asks you for your title, and then presents you with a series of templates, each with a designated “outcome.” For instance, do you want to inspire your audience? Do you want to share a memory?

Once you select the template, you are brought to the main interface, where you can choose a different theme from the right-hand scroll bar (we chose “satin”), add media, and arrange your panels.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

Each frame allows you to add photo or text, much like in Page. If you choose the “Layout” tab on the top right, you can select new formats for each slide, such as one photo, photo with caption, full-screen photo, etc.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

There is also a music tab to allow you to add sound to your video. In addition to several pre-set selection divided up into categories such as “Uplifting” and “Happy,” you also have the option to add your own audio tracks. We used this looping track. It’s literally as easy as downloading your mp3 file and clicking the “Add my music” button.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

As you add your images, click on the photo to open up more options, such as text, icons, and zoom. Word to the wise: make sure your photos are formatted and oriented the way you want before uploading them into the program, as there are few options for later adjustments.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

You can adjust the length of time one slide stays on the screen by clicking the small round button at the bottom right of each image in the play bar.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The final major tool to mention is the record button, which is located at the bottom center of each frame. This button allows you to easily record your own narration, which plays over your selected audio tracks.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The only major downside of the current platform is that you cannot embed videos. We were able to take advantage of stunning wedding video clips by using stills taken from footage in our library as well as photographs.

 

So What Did We Think?

Pros: Adobe Spark allows literally anyone—regardless of budget or experience—to create beautiful visual media that looks like it came from the hand of a designer. Its tools are simple, easy to learn, and most of all lighting-quick.

Cons: Some creatives will find Adobe Spark too confining. You are limited by the program’s built in presets and templates, which is part of why Spark works so efficiently. Another con is Spark Video’s inability to support video files within it’s animated sequences.

Want to give Spark a try? GraphicStock has over 300,000 royalty-free graphics that you can download and create with forever.

 

Tell Your Story With Stock

 
 

read more
Caroline MercurioWhat Exactly is Adobe Spark and Should You Be Using It?

GraphicStock Member Profile: Inside Woulds Design

by Brian Platt on October 4, 2015 1 comment

Creative Director Aaron Woods shares his thoughts on establishing a client base, paying your design dues, and getting the most out of stock images.

TunedLastPhoto

It’s October;  which means the air is crisp, the leaves are about to change, and during Octoberfest a love of craft beer’s is at an all time high.  Prospective clients perusing Minnesota-based Woulds Design are apt to discover several distinct takeaways: an animated logo that, alongside our other most-prized introductions, warrants watching every time it appears; a pixel-perfect pairing of typography and graphics; and Creative Director Aaron Woods’s embodiment of design “from the feet up.”

Aaron, it’s clear, is one of those right-brained folks whose success in graphic design was heavily foreshadowed by a lifelong attraction to art and design.

“As a child I was always interested in drawing and art,” says Aaron, who recalls creating graphics in MS Paint on his first computer before becoming hooked on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in high school.

Afterward, he attended art school (graduating with the honor of Best Advertising Portfolio), and took a job “paying his dues” in prepress production—which is where, he says, his education truly began.

Education (And Endurance)

Despite developing an award-winning portfolio in college, Aaron insists it took years of additional learning before he “could really be considered good at digital art.”

“The best thing a teacher ever told me was ‘I’m not here to teach you what to learn. I’m here to teach you how to learn,’” he says. “When I graduated art school, most kids did not get a job in the field at all. I got lucky and had a roommate who had a line on a job at a promotional products company, mostly putting customers’ logos on mugs . . .”

Far from adventure and excitement, he confesses, but precisely the right prescription for a budding graphic designer:

“It was exactly the kind of work I needed but didn’t know it at the time. In the graphic design world, unless you have naturally exceptional talent, you need to pay your dues. You need to learn that technical stuff that is horribly unsexy so you know why things are the way they are and what the limitations are of what you’re trying to do. I knew kids who got their first jobs at high-profile design studios and were in so over their heads that they just couldn’t make it and never got another design job after.”

His advice for aspiring designers, accordingly, is not to feel rushed. It’s tempting to go after dream jobs straight away, but the result can be creative burnout and a lot of turmoil from constant judgment.

Instead, patience is a real virtue—as the years he spent working for others on design teams helped him hone not only his design sense, but the business sense that prepared him to eventually go solo.

153-1013-A0155 vintage_labels_10_ai8-1113vv-v
48-premium-quality-300-min 48-premium-quality-300-min

Freedom In Freelance (And Stock Vectors)

After years of part-time freelance, Aaron built up the clientele to go full-time with his design business. Taking the leap was “a mixed bag of terror and joy,” he says, but ultimately the sense of ownership over his designs and work hours proved irreplaceable.

Both his designs and work hours, meanwhile, have been strongly aided by his engagement with GraphicStock’s vector library:

“Most stock graphics I’ve used in my life have been images. For years it was very difficult to find vector graphics, and as one who specializes in vector, this led to issues while trying to find the exact things I wanted […] often I’d find an image but only want part of it, so I’d either have to redraw that part myself or ‘live trace’ the image and separate it, which isn’t easy.”

Since purchasing his annual membership, however, Aaron says he’s saved a great deal of time by eliminating the need to trace or start from scratch:

“My [GraphicStock] usage is almost exclusively vector based. I rarely have a need for images now. I tend to only want to use elements of designs I download, so I’ll download a few different things and pull them apart in Illustrator and recombine what I need. The people who supply the vector graphics must be very good because the files I download are usually very well made.”

(Thanks, Aaron. We’ll pass that along!)

Finding Clients (And Retro Demand)

Word of mouth and social media remain his key sources of design clients; however, Aaron will occasionally employ entrepreneurial spirit when he sees a well-matched opportunity.

A self-described “beer snob,” Aaron recalls reading about a mobile bottling business in a Minnesota trade magazineand, subsequently, noticing it didn’t have much in the way of branding:

“I contacted [the owner] and asked if he wanted some help with his graphics. He said he didn’t really want help for that mission but was thinking of starting a beer label focused on local breweries paired with local music.”

A few conversations and several GraphicStock vectors later, Aaron helped the launch of Tuned Beer with some epic retro labels:

Tuned1

612-CD-Version4-4

“Everyone wants that poppy 1960s to 1980s retro look,” says Aaron on his most frequent proposal requests. “It used to be grunge a few years ago, but you can see that style dying out.”

Specifically when it comes to craft beer, he adds, nobody wants to look too modern:

“Beer has such an old lineage, and craft brewers really want to highlight that they are the standard bearers for ‘real’ beer. It’s an ideal way to convey a certain reverence for the past while still being relevant.”

Inspiration (And Dual Purpose)

GraphicStock, explains Aaron, has become his “go-to source,” and not just for art—but for inspiration:

“There is such a breadth to the library that you can easily get inspired by just poking around. Their library has all but eliminated my need to ‘live trace’ images using Illustrator.”

This is why, of course, he never deletes any of his downloads. Storage is so cheap, he says, why get rid of them?

“I often find myself going back to files I’ve already downloaded,” he says, “so I keep all of my files on Google Drive for easy access anywhere.”

Visit Aaron’s Facebook page to see more of his awesome retro beer labels and other designs.

Download Some Design Labels Now►
read more
Brian PlattGraphicStock Member Profile: Inside Woulds Design

How To Pick Images for Facebook Ads

by Mallory on June 4, 2014 No comments

Facebook mobile is a booming business, with high conversion rates. But your success hinges on finding the right image. Here’s what to look for on GraphicStock in order to win big with Facebook mobile:

1. Bright Colors With No Text

Bright Colors from GraphicStock

Facebook itself notes in its public Q&A that a “simple, eye-catching image that is related to your ad text” is recommended. But remember, this image is going to appear on devices as small as two x four inches. What is eye-catching on an object the size of cracker? The answer is: bright colors. Reds, oranges, yellow, bold greens: these are the colors that stand out in a small space. Remember that as you design your image, and try to resist the urge to put text on the image. You can’t read the text when it is that small anyway, and Facebook doesn’t allow more than 20% of the image to contain text. 

2. The Right Shape

Content by Shape

The science on shapes and brain perception is fascinating: basically, the brain gives meanings to shapes even before it processes what the shape represents. Think of an orange circle set behind a curved line. Your brain processes that as a rising sun without even trying. Use shape perception to convey meaning in your ad. You can even search for graphic content by shape, so that you build on your brainstorming with the right creatives.

3. The Setting of the Ad

Blank White Road Sign Isolated on White

Go take a look at where the ad will run in Facebook. Look at Facebook’s own design and color palette: blue, white, grey, squares, more squares, red circles for notices. Make sure your content doesn’t look like that. Too many people focus on getting their ad just right in terms of reflecting the brand, the image, and the message of their organization; they completely forget where the ad is going to go! If you put an ad on a billboard in Siberia, you wouldn’t use all white images. Remember that the virtual setting has real color and shape values to it.

With these three tips, you should easily be able to wisely select some useful images on Graphicstock to help you max your Facebook ad potential. Take your time, test your design, and don’t hesitate to change things up if it doesn’t work well right away. That’s the fun of experimenting in these innovative tools and techniques!

Want to use these images in your ads? Pick them up from free at GraphicStock.com.

read more
MalloryHow To Pick Images for Facebook Ads

Graphic Stock Announce: We Have Photoshop Files

by Brian Platt on April 9, 2014 1 comment

Graphic Stock is proud to announce our files are downloadable in a Photoshop format.

EPS and PDF files are vector formats. These images can be scaled to any size without losing quality. They also contain layers (just like Photoshop.) However, these files must be opened with vector editing software in order to be scaled and retain layers.

PNG and JPEG are raster formats cannot be scaled beyond their original size without losing quality (becoming pixelated or grainy). PNGs are able to contain transparency, when an image is created in such a way. Both PNGs and JPEGs are flat images, meaning that by their nature they have no layers.

If our users don’t have the appropriate software, they can’t edit graphics and retain their layers. Based on survey data the majority of our customers use Photoshop, so this is why we’ve created PSDs. PSD files contain layers but are raster images.

PSD files are made specifically for Photoshop. They contain a varying number of layers (anywhere from 5 to over 1,000) depending on how the original EPS files were organized.

Now, you can edit our images in Photoshop with more control than ever before. You can delete elements you don’t want, change how items overlap, and easily edit elements without needing to manually selecting items.

As Graphic Stock, we’re super happy to give you an insane amount of seriously amazing and useful files. We hope this makes you, our beloved customers, happy too.

To find PSD files in our library, refine your search on the left hand side of the screen under “Download Format,” and then click, “Update Search,” as you can see here:

PSDDESKTOP

Check out this little preview of our total offering of PSD files. Get a subscription and head to our library for more!

vector-set-of-calligraphic-design-elements-913-1941 white-paper-numbered-banners-913-2094 64-1013-A0066 232-1013-A0234 vector-set-of--isolated-photo-frames-913-1931 yellow-notice-papers-with-elements-for-attaching-paper-913-2133 100-1013-A0102153-1013-A0155

 

read more
Brian PlattGraphic Stock Announce: We Have Photoshop Files

Eco-Friendly Vector Graphics Gallery

by Brian Platt on April 2, 2014 No comments

Eco-Friendly Vector Graphics Gallery

Celebrate being green in style! These eco-friendly images look amazing on the computer screen, no need to print them out! Colorful inspiration for cards, websites, 70-480 exam or any professional presentation. Download these eco-chic vectors with your GraphicStock account to customize the colors, text, font, and layers to match your graphic designs! To view all these go-green design elements and more, check out this Shareable Lightbox. Don’t have A GraphicStock account? Get started with a free trial and get started downloading today. Get them today and watch as your friends turn green with envy!
[portfolio_slideshow id=1059]
Eco-Friendly Vector Graphics Gallery

read more
Brian PlattEco-Friendly Vector Graphics Gallery

Never Underestimate the Power of Design: Engaging Reluctant Readers

by Brian Platt on April 1, 2014 No comments

Audiences excel at ignoring our words. To earn their readership, we have to weigh design as much as we weigh writing.

As someone who studied writing at three universities—and subsequently taught writing at three universities—it pains me to say this, but there’s no denying people will go to great lengths to avoid text.

Segments of my former students avoided it by means of SparkNotes. Others, by means of simply sleeping in or praying for snow. I wish I could say I only observed such literary allergies among students confirmed to be “academically at-risk,” but I can’t.

While the students who went on to complete graduate work in the Ivy Leagues might not have avoided reading altogether, they certainly worked to minimize it (sometimes out of necessity, sometimes for reasons less admirable). What eventually becomes of these students? They go to work, they realize they now have even less reading time than they had in undergrad, and they spend the next twenty years being marketed to as the prized 25-45 demographic (while the good folks doing the marketing wonder why messages so often go ignored).

Girl Asleep On Her Notebook Computer

The result leads us—or those of us seeking attention by means other than irrelevant swimsuit models and covert product placements—to a crossroads. Do we roll over and accept the low conversion rates facilitated by reluctant readership? Or do we heed the signs the newspaper industry largely ignored—and start modernizing our words with strong design?

(Strong) Design Is Everyone’s Friend

When the going got tough, the Chicago Sun-Times (among others) opted to spend less money on graphics. A lot less money. While I can sympathize with their budgetary challenges, I’m not so sure I’d have bet on reducing visual design as a means of rekindling an audience that’s increasingly favoring more vibrant multimedia.

There are enough studies confirming the affects of graphics in marketing as to make citing them redundant. However, there’s far less content focused on the quality of these graphics. Creating epic content by way of strong writing is important (it’s how I earn a living)—but even the best content can’t undo the effects of poor graphic design and visuals that essentially say “don’t read me.”

Good design isn’t everything, and it certainly doesn’t negate the need to create strong wording. However, bad design can negate even the strongest wording in its entirety.

social-network_110003543-012814-int

Are your images amateur and pixelated? You might as well include a caption broadcasting a habit of cutting corners in sacrifice of quality.

Are your headlines painfully bright and designed using unsightly capitals? Making reading more challenging probably isn’t the invite your audience has been waiting for.

Are your design methods scattered and inconsistent? Why should prospects assume the nature of your product or service will be any different?

Strong words and concepts will keep people reading, but only if strong design convinces them to start in the first place. In the aggregate, an allocated design budget plays as much a role in your marketing campaign’s success as does your budget for content.

An investment in one without the other is an investment unlikely to yield returns.

*This post originally appeared in Fast Company and is reposted courtesy of Matt Siegel.

read more
Brian PlattNever Underestimate the Power of Design: Engaging Reluctant Readers

Graphic Stock New Feature Announce: How To Create Lightboxes

by Brian Platt on March 28, 2014 No comments

Graphic Stock’s new lightbox feature makes organizing images and vector graphics for a project really easy! You can also use the feature to create and curate collections.

Use lightboxes to consolidate and label clips right inside the Graphic Stock interface. Add images to a lightbox, name it, and download from your lightbox to more easily keep track of your favorites.

All it takes is a Graphic Stock username, login and password. Get started with a 7 day free trial subscription.

After logging in, begin browsing the enormous library to build your first lightbox.

Search for textures, backgrounds, icons, infographic templates and much more by selecting from the drop down menus on the left, or by entering a key word that relates to the type of clip you’re looking for.

image 1

Here you can roll over an image, see a larger version of it, and add it to a lightbox by clicking “Add to Lightbox.”

image 2

Next a pop-up will allow you to add the clip to a lightbox you’ve already created, or it will allow you to create and name a new one.  Name the lightbox something that relates to what you’re working on, or give it a title that will help you easily recall where you’ve stored certain clips. After typing a name, click “Add a new Lightbox” to finish.

image 3

You can also click on a specific clip and then add it to a lightbox, or create a lightbox by clicking on the grey “Save Now” button.

image 4

You can refer to the lightboxes you’ve created and favorites you’ve saved by selecting the “All Lightboxes” button in the upper right corner.

image 5

Click anywhere on a lightbox or lightbox title to open it. Share your project bins via email or social media using the link provided at the top in blue text.

image 6

If you are using lightboxes for a project currently and want to get secure feedback from client, upgrade now to a Premium Subscription.

Have fun searching for additional vectors and images. You can add them to any of the bins you’ve created or keep creating new ones. It’s that easy!

Here’s a sample of a lightbox we created including 20 staff favorites.

135-1013-A0137vintage-web-design-bubbles-913-2046 (1)big-vector-set-of-premium-quality-labels-913-29748-1013-A0050

To really enhance your lightboxes, focus on a specific theme or topic when clip hunting. If you get distracted or find inspiration elsewhere, that’s ok too because you can just as easily create a separate lightbox to organize what you find.

It also helps to be selective about which images you add so the collections are all curated to your liking.

If you have any questions about lightboxes, or anything else on the Graphic Stock site, feel free to reach out to support@videoblocks.com. If you have a collection that you’re really excited about or proud of, share it with us at social@videoblocks.com or tweet to @GraphicStock_ and we’d be happy to share your collection!

read more
Brian PlattGraphic Stock New Feature Announce: How To Create Lightboxes