Design trends

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Trending This Week: Creating Paper Textures in Photoshop

by Caroline Mercurio on May 26, 2017 1 comment

Do you ever find a design that really catches your eye and think to yourself, “How can I make that?” Yup—we do it too. So which trend won our hearts this week? Striking paper textures that could be used in just about any form of graphic design, from posters to social media graphics. Though the Strathmore paper mockups of the Mad Men ad-age have given way to sharp digital prints, the traditional pulpy texture of parchment is here to stay.

Check our our dimensional design below. If you’re not incredibly familiar with blend modes and texture layering, the design may seem a little intimidating at first. That’s why we broke it down piece by piece using royalty-free stock photos, so you can see just how simple it is to build a similar design.

 
royalty-free stock photos

Download the royalty-free stock images used in this design.

 
We started with a strong, capital letter “I” with this paper texture masked onto it. Then we isolated the woman in this royalty-free image before adding a bold yellow circle.

We created our dripping paint effect with a few different brushes, and masked a striped paper texture on-top with the Color Burn blend mode. Finally, we added our black and white skyline, and for added depth we used a few different paper textures that added warmth and the bold creased paper effect. For the top layers, we find it works best to use the Multiply blend mode and adjust the opacities so they don’t detract too much from the design.

Ready to go? Just dig into our library and select a few key elements that make for a visually striking look—then start playing! It’s a lot like painting—adjust the composition and the various combination of textures until you feel like you’ve reached a stopping point. You add a layer and stand back. Add another layer and re-evaluate. And remember, the beauty about Photoshop is that you can always hit undo!

So now we pass the baton on to you. What designs will you create with our plethora of stock paper textures?

 

Explore Paper Textures

 

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Caroline MercurioTrending This Week: Creating Paper Textures in Photoshop

5 Summer Design Trends That Are Blowing Up Social Media

by Caroline Mercurio on May 15, 2017 1 comment

Whether you’re a Millennial or not, everyone is trying to market to them—and if you’re not, maybe you should be. From traditional mainstays like Suave shampoo to newer kids on the block like TOMS, brands the world over are tailoring their marketing creative to match the passions and tastes that define the Millennial market. More than just a buzzword, this social media savvy generation is a consumer force to be reckoned with—according to the U.S. Census Bureau, this young, vibrant demographic now outnumbers the Baby Boomers and makes up more than a quarter of America’s population.

So how do you catch the eye of that relevant, hip consumer this summer? We’ve combed social media for five of the hottest up-and-coming design trends that Millennials just can’t seem to get enough of—and we’re certain we’ll be seeing a lot of them this season. To help inspire you, we’ve outlined each of the influences behind these trends and added some examples of how to use them with our very own stock images.

 

#1 – Embrace Millennial Pink

 
stock images

Download the seamless floral vector used in this design.

 
NYMag caught onto this trend of a color that couldn’t quite be pinned down—and it’s called Millennial Pink. Millennial Pink isn’t just a single color per se. It’s range of colors that are indeed in the pink family, but the point is not what it is, but rather what it’s not. It’s not Barbie pink. Nor is it acid washed neon pink. And it certainly isn’t riddled with domesticity and gender exclusion—Millennial pink is for men, too.

More precisely, it includes a range of pinks that lack the blue tint of our beloved Barbie doll’s iconic look. It can range from a beige with only a hint of pink (think Pantone’s Pale Dogwood) all the way to a bold and decisive salmon with a strong presence of orange. It’s everywhere and let’s just say—Millennial Pink sells. This movement took a color that became a pillar of femininity—for better or worse—and stripped away its power. What can we say? Millennials have strong voices and opinions. So now pink is for everyone. And it’s here to stay.

Use it in your web design, packaging, apparel, advertisements, and more. The possibilities are nearly limitless because that’s the point of this color—stripping away limits.

 

#2 – Nature Found Patterns

 
stock images

Download the stock images used in this design.

 
As summer rolls around, it’s as if the design world remembers that greenery and nature become alive again, because every year we see a resurgence of patterns found outdoors. From palm fronds to marble slabs, the motifs of re-emerging nature comes back into play. However, let’s get a little more macro—as if you were to zoom in with a microscope.

We all know by now that nature is a strong advocate and supporter of geometry. The golden ratio is clear in many forms from the human form to the seashells we collect from the sandy beaches. These are the patterns that make for a summery, yet artistic feel. They can be implemented in apparel design, in contrast with more drastic and man-made linear patterns, or as an excellent backdrop to web designs.

Millennials may be hooked on social media and community connectedness, but it doesn’t mean they don’t still feel a strong connection with their surroundings.

 

#3 – Their Kind of Retro

 
stock images

Download the abstract wave element stock vector used in this design.

 
We have some scary news for you. The 70s and 80s are considered retro. (And maybe even the 90s.) Before you run away screaming in horror, keep in mind Millennials were born between the years of 1977 and 2000. So while some of them may remember the 80s, they certainly weren’t in the know of the popular graphic design styles.

What does that mean for design? Think Tron. Bold neon colors on top of dark grey and black backgrounds. The look is a powerful and punchy one. It’s nostalgia and futurism all-together in one.

 

#4 – Hygge Like A Hug

 
stock images

Download the abstract stock images used in this design.

 
Pronounced “hoo-guh,” hygge is a Danish word that cannot be directly translated to English without a full sentence, but generally describes a place or design that’s warm, cozy, and inviting—three strong emotional motivators when buying a product. Quite literally, it’s defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” So, how does a mouthful like that that translate into graphic design? And how can we replicate comfort in our pixels and JPGs?

Think gentle. Think soothing. Times are stressful lately, so how can we distill the chaos and anxiety that surrounds us into visually pleasing interpretations? Natural materials such as unbleached paper, soothing flesh-tones, and designs that recall a simpler time. Imagine browsing a selection of packaged goods down the aisles of your grocery store and feeling like you can breathe and pause once you come across a product that allows a visual sanctuary in your loud surroundings.

Allow for plenty of negative space, clear visual hierarchy, contrast for the sake of legibility, but not too much that it jolts the senses. It’s minimalism and warmth all in one that creates a sense of ultimate balance and comfort.

 

#5 – Modern Serifs

 
stock images

Download the photo of a misty countryside at sunset used in this design.

 
How long has the design world been touting future-forward and modern, sans-serif fonts—like say, Helvetica and Futura? Apparently too long. Serif fonts and typefaces have been experiencing a renaissance of sorts, but that doesn’t mean you can whip out your trusty, old Times New Roman just yet. With access to a plethora of fonts with resources like Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit, Millennial designers are putting their trust into the old-faithful fonts—but with a modern refresh.

We’re particularly fans of classics like Bookmania and Georgia, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t partial to newer renditions like a sturdy slab-serif or two. Here’s the deal though. You can’t go just go crazy into the style of lithographs and copy-heavy advertisements. Serifs are a statement. They should be used with modern and simplistic designs. They must take the center-stage and are not meant to be used in competition with other design elements. Make them bold, the H1. And allow a more subtle sans-serif to play the supporting role this time around.

The best thing about these trends is that they may already feel a little familiar to you—they’ve slowly been gaining traction on social media and in mainstream marketing over the past several months, but they’re guaranteed to be out en force this summer. And now we pass the baton on to you. With a library full of royalty-free stock graphics, the opportunities to create are limitless. How will you pass on your message?

 

Discover Modern Stock Graphics

 

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Caroline Mercurio5 Summer Design Trends That Are Blowing Up Social Media

Trending This Week: Designing With Purple

by Caroline Mercurio on March 2, 2017 No comments

Purple is one of the most interesting colors to work with, and it appears that the rest of the design world agrees. As the meeting point between warm red and cool blue, purple plays between the two tonalities to create countless colors in-between. You can mix a cool indigo by using a stronger dose of blue, or you can warm things up with a heavy dose of red. Even better, use several shades of purple together to keep your designs fresh and modern. No matter what hue you choose, this royal color always makes a bold statement.

Mustering up our courage, we decided to create our own eggplant-hued designs with stock images and an easy to achieve color overlay.

 
Stock Images

Download the stock images used in this design.

 

First we pulled our quote from one of our favorites by designer Sam Winston, “Design teaches you to study the voice rather than what to say.” Then to create this inspirational poster design, we simply downloaded our stock image of choice, added a shade of purple on top, and switched the color layer blend mode to multiply—play around with a variety of other blend modes like overlay, hue, color, etc. when creating your own design!

This season, designers are being fearlessly bold and not shying away from strong use of bright colors. We hope this post has inspired you to embrace the same level of bravery—and if you want to learn more about designing with color, check out our Color Theory 101 and our Visual Guide to Pantone’s Spring Colors.

 

Be Bold with Stock Images

 

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Caroline MercurioTrending This Week: Designing With Purple

Trending This Week: Dimensional Designs

by Caroline Mercurio on February 9, 2017 No comments

With all love for flat designs, renegade artists are starting to think outside the second dimension to rise above the noise. There are times when 3D really works–like whenever you want a futuristic, animated effect—and we have plenty of stock vectors and images that make it easy to replicate this trend. Dropshadow may be on the outs, but dimension is back in style. Take a look at a few examples from our library:

 

 

Dimensional graphics allow you to create an illusion of depth where there is none, bending space and shapes at your will. The result is trippy—in a good way—especially if you used bright, courageous colors. Pixar relies on physics within their animation technology to build life-like characters out of inanimate objects and imaginary whims—this trend allows you to take a similar approach in design. Go wild! The laws of physics should never limit your creativity.

If you make something amazing using dimension, let us know about it. We’d love to hear from you on Twitter or Instagram!

 

Download Dimensional Graphics

 

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Caroline MercurioTrending This Week: Dimensional Designs

Trending This Week: Stained Glass Meets Mid-Century Iconography

by Caroline Mercurio on February 1, 2017 No comments

Calling all designers and creatives! This is our first post in a new weekly series in which we highlight design trends and industry tips that catch our eye and inspire us to do what we do best: create cool projects with stock graphics. Our first choice to kickstart this series? A fun linear illustration reminiscent of stained glass windows—brought into the modern world. We came across designer Justin Pervorse’s label design, and instantly envisioned a twist of our own (featured below).

We won’t say linear icons are an overused trend because, frankly, we’re quite the fans. However, it’s greatly appreciated when we find new creative utilization of these bad boys, like Pervorse’s design. This stained-glass inspired trend involves a bright, bold color palette; minimal, linear icons; and mis-mashing them together in a mosaic, blocked-off fashion. Keep the icons you use on brand and on message—whether that’s funky and whimsical, or a little more polished and streamlined. We used our stock vectors to get the look.

Here’s our take on stained glass meets mid-century iconography:
 
Design Trends
 
The creative community is abundant with talent, and designers are cranking out awe-inspiring works of art left and right, week after week. As fellow creators, it’s our job to stay abreast of the hottest trends coming down the pipe, so we are constantly keeping an eye out for some amazing designs that push the envelope. So keep an eye out for our new weekly series—bringing you inspiration from the design community and the resources to make it happen.

Want to give the stained glass trend a whirl? Try downloading and experimenting with the minimal icons we used in our design.

 

 

Get Trendy Graphics

 

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Caroline MercurioTrending This Week: Stained Glass Meets Mid-Century Iconography

7 Big Graphic Design Trends to Watch for in 2017

by Caroline Mercurio on December 13, 2016 3 comments

As the wild year of 2016 wraps up—crazy, we know—it’s a good idea to start looking forward in the world of design to see what graphic design trends are coming our way. We’ve been dreaming and imagining how we can incorporate stock photos and vectors. into new and exciting design themes. While we’ve seen some great trends over the past year, 2017 is promising to take design to a fresher, bolder level.

Learn how you can incorporate these trends into your designs using stock media from our royalty-free vector and photo library.

 

Material Design

Material design may just be the biggest and boldest of design trends to really try to grasp and understand. This style guide was created by Google to try and simplify the way designers design and users interact with the Internet. The core concepts of this trend are “material as a metaphor; bold, graphic, intentional; and motion provides meaning.”

 
Graphic Design Trends

Download this Infographic Chart Template.

 

What does all that mean? The visual aesthetic communicates clearly with your user. Draw inspiration from real-world materials—particularly paper and ink—to keep your designs grounded in reality, yet lightweight and minimalistic. Paper is tactile, casts shadows, but is also incredibly flexible. Design with those principles in mind and think about how you’re weaving together the fabric of the Internet.

 
Graphic Design Trends

Download these Web Infographic-Ready Button Vectors.

 

Be bold with your colors, contrast, and typography. Don’t shy away from imposing a strong hierarchy. Your design should guide the user’s behavior. Utilize motion in your designs—literal and implied—to communicate with your users. Always be thinking: How can I influence my audience to act the way I desire? Google’s Material Design aesthetic is very similar to Flat Design 2.0, but it takes intentionality to another level.

 

Bold Photography and Sleek Text

 

Download these images of A Fit Woman Running and the Determined Female Athlete in the Bleachers.

 

This may be the year of brave designers. Bold photography in coordination with sleek text is gaining momentum as a trend. This combination is often found in advertisements for brands that embrace adventure. Some examples include activewear brands like Nike and also fashion brands like Everlane, amongst many others. (Have you seen our tutorial on how to create striking text portraits?)

This combination exudes class, yet also excitement. It communicates a clear message, but doesn’t bore the audience. “Bold and sleek” works well for an audience with a short attention span as it gets straight to the point. This combination works great for display ads, social media promotions, and graphics where a small amount of information needs to be conveyed instantly. Incorporate bold borders to better emphasize your information and draw greater attention.

 

Modernized Retro

In our recent post about the hottest trends of 2016, we coined the term “Retro Nouveau” in order to distinguish what was commonly known as retro (20s-70s) from what newer retro designs are emulating (80s-00s). However, modernized retro is a whole other ball game. Consider it as a way of simplifying and modernizing any particular graphical element that stood out from any time period of the past.

 
Graphic Design Trends

Download this Nautical Vector Illustration.

 

For example, you could focus on modernizing old product labels that utilized badges and flowy script. Or possibly choose to recreate incredibly detailed artwork and icons and choose to scrape them down to their bare essential geometry. Maybe a color palette of the past inspires you—creams, reds, and baby blues, anyone?—and revitalize those little details in your new design. Breathe fresh life into old graphic classics and make something into your own.

 

Saturated Colors

 
Graphic Design Trends

Download this saturated image of a vivid sky at sunset.

 

Pantone often leads the way with seasonal color trends. In 2017, expect vibrant and bold colors that are incredibly true to their dominant hue. This trend started to sneak its way into a variety of design elements earlier in 2016, but should really pick up speed with the new year. Look for colors found in nature and intensify them. With photography, be bold and up the saturation of your images.

 
Graphic Design Trends

Download this image of a beautiful lake landscape with long time exposure.

 

In terms of designing with color, choose loud and deep colors—not necessarily bright. Look for colors that are heavy on the hue rather than brighter in lightness. In your graphic designs, utilize contrasting colors similar to what is suggested in material design. Allow each color to fearlessly draw attention to specific areas of your design.

 

Function First

Above all of the previously mentioned trends, function is the key player for 2017. As new technologies emerge like augmented reality, it’s important for designs to be clear about the action that is desired from a user. In fact, utilizing all of the above trends can help achieve this goal.

Utilize the presence of shadows and motion to indicate clear “clickable” portions of your web designs. Bold photography combined with minimal text can help relay an important message that needs to be quickly discerned. Modernized retro can help encapsulate a distinct feeling or sense of nostalgia you wish to associate with your product. Saturated and contrasting colors will draw attention to the most prevalent portions of a design. Think function and clarity in addition to aesthetically pleasing design.

 
http://blog.graphicstock.com/graphic-design-trends/50-perfect-stock-photos-for-social-media-images/

Download this Abstract Geometric Background.

 

As technology adapts further and further, user experience is a necessity to keep in mind. As a result, many designs will have to be approached with practicality at the forefront of their concepts. Similar to how skeuomorphism helped ease the transition into smartphones and touch screens, designs for new technologies will need to be approached in a way that makes the most sense for new users—which is really all of us.

 

Magical Realism

 

 

Think you’ve seen it all? Think again. 2017 is not the year to be afraid; it’s the year to push boundaries. If you’re looking for some photos that can really set your designs apart, look no further than these magical realism photos–sure to cause a double-take.

They make an excellent backdrop for graphic posters, social media, and event promotions–really any project that you’d like to feel magical and inspiring. Want to add another touch of mysticism to these works of art? Try adding a grunge texture overlay to roughen them up a bit.

 

Social Media Madness

 
Graphic Design Trends

Download this image of Dramatic Sunbeams in the Sea.

 

Instagram and Snapchat took over in 2016 and new social media apps are keeping the momentum going into the new year. However, one thing is for sure: social media is more powerful than ever for business. And it’s really not as simple as it seems.

It can be hard to nail down what sort of content will perform successfully. Your social media posts are worthless without captivating graphics. Stock media can provide the perfect backdrop for any variety of social media content. One of our favorite combos? A stunning landscape with a motivational quote to accompany high-performing hashtags such as #motivationmonday, #thursdaythoughts, and #fridayfeeling. Need some help finding your perfect image? Explore our 50 favorite picks for social.

 
Are you ready for 2017? Try your hand at designing with these trends using stock vectors and photos. What better way to start the year than with a new creative project?

 

Download Trending Graphics

 

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Caroline Mercurio7 Big Graphic Design Trends to Watch for in 2017

A Visual Guide to Pantone’s Summer Palette: 4 Organic Color Trends

by Caroline Mercurio on June 8, 2016 No comments

“We are moving beyond 
the visual, to see it as part
of a total experience. We don’t just look at color now, we experience and feel color.” – Pantone Spring/Summer 2016 Color Guide
 
The ever-chic style and design trendsetters at Pantone have spoken, and this summer’s colors are vibrant, earthy, and full of organic texture and light. Rather than picking just one or two shades to focus on, they’re celebrating a whole spectrum of bright hues inspired by the natural world. To help you create your own Pantone-worthy design projects, we’ve outlined the four most important themes from this season’s color guide.

 

1. Natural Colors

Pantone emphasizes colors that are both sensory and tactile, rather than flat tones on a screen. They reflect this aesthetic in the theme of the Pantone summer guide—“Eat.” With names like “ocean depths,” “melon,” “orchid haze,” and “apricot buff,” the palettes are as felt and tasted as they are seen.

To capture the look, avoid designs that are neon or artificial, focusing instead on the the wide array of color seen in food, plant life, and the natural world.

Download these ornamental decorative cabbage and assortment of cream soups stock images.
 

 

2. Strong Textures

Branching out beyond two-dimensional palettes, Pantone also points out important visual aesthetics—like these strong textures—as part of their color design. From rough fabrics to gritty stonework, textures make colors pop, prompting viewers to not just see but to feel them, which is why they are fundamental to this season’s trends.

Download these jeans fabric and old brick wall stock images.
 

 

3. Rough Design

Over-polished and over-produced aesthetics have been and continue to be less fashionable than the minimalist, no-frills appeal of handmade designs. There is something honest and imaginative to creative projects that are asymmetrical and a bit rough around the edges—it speaks to the human element in both the artists and their audiences. Pantone highlights the importance of messy, analog designs, which closely echo the natural themes underlying its color guide.

Download these colorful pastel art and orange grunge watercolor stock images.
 

 

4. Dynamic Light

The interplay between light and color is also a key theme for Pantone. “Metallic surfaces, pearlescent finishes, and sheen all affect how we interpret color and respond,” notes the guide. This applies as much to photographs that use light to illuminate textures and palettes as it does to design elements that create a more sensory experience through tone, shading, and sheens. Ultimately, the interplay between light and shadow makes colors more vibrant and real, bringing them to life.

Download these royal golden background and Keila waterfall stock images.
 
 
 

Search for Graphics by Pantone Color

Feeling inspired by Pantone’s summer trends? You can use the advanced search function on GraphicStock to find images that perfectly match Pantone’s palettes. Watch the video below to get the search tips, or start browsing our library of delicious photos, vectors, and illustrations.

 
 

Bite into Pantone’s Summer Colors

 

 

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Caroline MercurioA Visual Guide to Pantone’s Summer Palette: 4 Organic Color Trends