Graphic Design

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Trending This Week: Advertising Your Brand with Duotone Text Effect

by Alex Reffie on July 7, 2017 No comments

This summer is all about making a splash—especially with your branding. We’re talking bright, energizing colors, bold designs, and fresh graphics that take you to your perfect paradise—wherever that may be. Being able to combine hot summer designs with your personal style is the perfect way to stay on-trend—and with stock photos, you can stay on-budget as well. To give you a little seasonal inspiration, we created this eye-catching design that can easily be adapted to advertise any business, promotion, or event. Ready to get started? Our royalty-free library has stock photos that appeal to any audience and vibe.

With Adobe Photoshop, it was easy breezy to get this duotone style text design pieced together. Pairing our stock photo with a texture and style gradient gives the design an edgy look that’s sure to turn heads this summer. Take a look!
 

Stock Photos

 
Ready to make a splash this summer? You don’t have to travel across the globe for a spectacular summer view—we’ve got stock photos for every destination. Take your advertising up a notch and come discover the inspiration in our library.

 

Dive on in

 

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Alex ReffieTrending This Week: Advertising Your Brand with Duotone Text Effect

Tutorial: How to Create Pop Art in Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on July 6, 2017 No comments

If you want to give your photos some extra “POW”—or channel your inner Andy Warhol—then pop art is the way to go. Pop art’s characteristic bold colors will make any photo stand out, which makes this technique especially great for stock images.

After mastering this tutorial, your next creative project is guaranteed to attract attention. Earn a reputation for dynamic, modern artwork, all while easily staying within budget. Sound as realistic as a unicorn? We promise that this tutorial will make a believer out of you.

 

Step 1. Open the File in Photoshop

To get you started, we created a gallery of stock images that pair well with this tutorial. Select an image and open it in Photoshop.

 

Step 2. Select and Mask.

Click on the Quick Selection Tool, then click the Select and Mask button.

stock images

A new window will open. Set the transparency to 50% so that you can still see the image underneath. Make sure that the View Mode is set to Onion Skin.

Now we are going to create a selection around the woman in the image. Click and drag over the woman to create a selection.

When selecting the woman’s hair, you’ll probably end up selecting small parts of the background, too. Don’t worry if you do—this isn’t a big deal for this tutorial.

Once you’ve finished selecting the woman, make sure that the Output is set to Layer Mask. Click OK.

stock images

 

Step 3. Add a New Layer and Set the Background Color.

Add a new layer below the original and set your foreground and background colors to black and white. With the new layer selected, hit Command/Ctrl + delete on your keyboard. This will set the background color to white.

stock images

 

Step 4. Add a Black & White Adjustment Layer.

Select the original layer (Layer 0) and add a Black and White Adjustment Layer.

stock images

 

Step 5. Convert to a Smart Object.

Select all of the layers, right click, and select Convert to Smart Object. You will now have a single layer.

stock images

 

Step 6. (Optional) Rasterize the Layer.

Note: Steps 6 – 10 are optional. For this photo, we want to create more contrast around the woman’s shirt. Pop art turns out best with high contrast images.

Right click on the layer and select Rasterize Layer.

stock images

 

Step 7. Select the Shirt.

Click on the Selection Tool, then click and drag within the shirt area until the entire shirt is selected.

stock images

 

Step 8. Make a New Layer Via Copy.

With the shirt still selected, right click and select “Layer Via Copy.”

stock images

 

Step 9. Use the Burn Tool.

With the new Layer selected (Layer 1), click on the Burn Tool. This tool darkens the image wherever you drag your cursor. Use the right and left bracket keys “[ ]” to adjust the size of the Burn Tool. Click and drag across the shirt to darken the shadows and creases.

Pro tip: Hiding the bottom layer will make it easier to focus on the area of the image that you want to burn. To hide a layer, click on the eye symbol next to the layer icon.

stock images

 

Step 10. Convert to Smart Object.

Once you are satisfied with the contrast of the shirt, select both layers, right click, and select Convert to Smart Object.

stock images

 

Step 11. Apply the Filter.

Open the Filter Gallery by going to Filter > Filter Gallery.

stock images

Select the Halftone Pattern filter. Set the size to 2 and make sure that the Pattern Type is set to Dot. The contrast should remain at 0. Click OK.

stock images

 

Step 12. Sharpen.

Go to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen.

stock images

Experiment with the sliders until you decide that the image has enough contrast. You want a lot of contrast to make the image pop.

Once you are satisfied with the overall contrast, click OK.

stock images

 

Step 13. Set the Blending Mode.

Set the blending mode to Linear Burn. This will allow us to paint underneath the black dots.

stock images

 

Step 14. Get Coloring!

Now for the fun part! Create a new layer underneath the current one, then select the foreground color and pick a new color.

stock images

Click on the bottom layer (the one that you just created), select the Paint Bucket Tool, and click on the canvas. The entire image will turn pink, but the black outline of the woman will still be over the pink.

stock images

Click on the foreground color again and select your next color. Select the Paintbrush Tool and start painting over specific areas.

stock images

Now go crazy with color!

stock images

And WHAM, there you have it! You’re now a pop art master. Looking for more inspiration? Check out our collection of portraits and get ready to make them POP!

 

Get Poppin’ with Stock Images

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: How to Create Pop Art in Photoshop

Trending This Week: Textured Paper Text Effects

by Caitlyn Hampton on June 2, 2017 No comments

When we told you that paper textures are trending in the design world, we weren’t joking. This week we not only found another nifty paper-inspired effect, but also a tutorial to show you how to apply the technique to your own designs. Maybe it’s Google’s Material Design guidelines or maybe it’s a desire for nostalgia—but we can’t seem to get away from this real-world material making its way into the digital realm. And we’re more than okay with it.

 
Stock Images

Download the seamless floral background used in this design.

 
This week we noticed the paper trend getting away from the grungy, textured look—instead, this tried-and-true texture took on a light and airy feel reminiscent of spring and warm weather. Using the tutorial below, we created our own rendition of the design by using a floral background in place of a solid one. Check out our design using vectors from our royalty-free stock images.

 

 
Ready to create your own floral, paper-inspired designs? Make old-school new again and find your inspiration with our vast collection of floral backgrounds and patterns, paper textures, and so much more.

 

Explore Floral Patterns

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Textured Paper Text Effects

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

Trending This Week: Playful Illustrations in Label Design

by Caitlyn Hampton on May 12, 2017 No comments

According to Ernest Hemingway, the best way to overcome a creative block is to start with one true sentence. It’s an exercise in finding the essence of the creation so stubbornly locked away in your head. For designers, that same brain freeze can feel like a death sentence, especially when you’re 5 hours from a deadline. But don’t despair—Hemingway’s advice may be more applicable to design than it first appears. When you aren’t sure where to start, just stay true to the nature of whatever product you’re designing for. Which takes us to the trend we fell in love with this week: playful illustrations in label design.

When designing for beverage labels or food packaging, the goal is to convey which emotion you want associated with the product. We need to ask ourselves, what do these products truly mean to our customers? Do those crunchy, salty chips fill them with joy? Does looking forward to that after-dinner ice cream get them through the long workday? You get our point.

So what did we want to convey with our beer label design below? A playful throwback that takes you back to your nerdy, youthful days—but with an adult twist. To capture that carefree vibe, we took these spacey vectors from our library of royalty-free stock graphics and had a little fun ourselves.
 

Stock Vectors

Download the colorful flat science and technology vector icons used in this design.

 
If you’re not a pro illustrator quite yet and need a little help getting your designs together, don’t panic. This is one reason why stock vectors are so useful. We simply took the collection from the icons below and transformed them into the design on the right to make our label.

 
Stock Vectors

Download the colorful flat science and technology vector icons used in this design.

 
Feeling inspired by our playful design? Packaging design is a great way to flex your creative muscles and adopt an aesthetic you don’t usually aim for. Now it’s your turn—what’s the truth behind your next project?

 

Get Spacey with Stock Vectors

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Playful Illustrations in Label Design

Trending This Week: Colorful Patterns and Negative Space

by Caitlyn Hampton on April 28, 2017 No comments

Color and minimalism aren’t two words you generally think to pair—but in the case of this week’s trend, vibrancy and balance work together to create a fun new design aesthetic perfect for the warmer months. From magazine layouts to user interface designs, this contrasting combination has been popping up everywhere—and lucky for you, this is one trend that isn’t difficult to incorporate into your own designs.

By combining stock photos and plenty of negative space with a nice dash of a designer-friendly typeface, we can apply this technique to a variety of mediums. Check out our take on the trend below.

 
Royalty Free Stock Photos

Download the royalty free stock photo used in this design.

 
Bold color can work beautifully if it’s done tastefully, but remember—white space is your friend and smart layout design is critical for keeping everything organized. With a few simple refinements, loud colors can even work on smaller screens without being too overwhelming.

 
Royalty Free Stock Photos

Download the royalty free stock photo used in this design.

 

What’s your take on this bold design trend? Try it for yourself! We’ve got thousands of patterns and backgrounds to inspire and get you started. What will you create?

 

Explore Bold Backgrounds

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Colorful Patterns and Negative Space

Tutorial: The Simple Way to Create Low Poly Portraits in Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on April 27, 2017 No comments

Low poly portraits have become hugely popular for their minimalistic, edgy, and three-dimensional look. And while you may not recognize the term “low poly,” you’ve probably noticed these geometric portraits popping up everywhere—whether it be in advertising campaigns, illustrations, or even decorative art. Considering the popularity of low poly images, this technique is a great design hack to have under your belt, and it’s surprisingly easy to replicate.

Stock images pair perfectly with this design technique because of their versatility and color variation. Your end product will also look completely different from the original, so you save money but won’t risk running into the same image anywhere else. Our stock image library is also easy to search, so you can quickly find images that are perfectly suited to the low poly technique.

To make the process even easier, we’ve curated a gallery of stock images that work especially well as low poly portraits.

 

Step 1. Open Stock Image in Photoshop & Unlock the Background

 
We used a stock photo of a flamingo for this tutorial, but you can also check out the gallery mentioned above for even more stock images.

Open the image in Photoshop and unlock the background.

step 1 unlock

 

Step 2. Select the Entire Figure

 
Select the Polygonal Lasso Tool and start outlining the subject of your portrait. It’s totally fine if your outline is a little boxy or sharp—this will just add to the geometric effect of the final product.

step 2 outline

Be careful to include as little of the background as possible. Cutting off the edges of your subject a little bit won’t hurt and might make it easier to avoid including any background colors. You can see in the image below that I outlined the flamingo from the inside to avoid including any of the blue water from the background.

 

Step 3. Open in a New Photoshop Document

 
When you finish creating the outline, you will notice a moving dotted line surrounding your subject. This is the selection area. Cut this selection (Command/Ctrl + X) and paste into a new document.*

*If you want to keep the original background, create a new layer and paste your selection onto this new layer. This will prevent any background colors from merging with the subject when you start creating the low poly effect.

low poly

 

Step 4. Make a Triangular Selection

 
Select your subject’s layer (in this case, the flamingo layer). Make sure that the Polygonal Lasso Tool is still selected, and pick an area to draw a triangle. For each of your triangles, you want to select areas that have similar coloring.

Now, draw your triangular selection.

low poly

 

Step 5. Filter the Selection

 
With the triangular area selected (you should see the moving dotted line), select Filter > Blur > Average. This creates an average of all of the colors within your selection area.

Once the selection area is “averaged,” you can draw your next triangle. Make sure that one side of your triangle lines up with one side from the original. This will prevent any gaps between triangles.

Now that you’ve already used the Average command once, you can simply hit Command + control + F (Ctrl + Alt + F on PCs) on your keyboard. This keyboard shortcut repeats whichever filter was last used.

low poly

 

Step 6. Repeat Forever (Not Really)

 
This is the time-consuming part of the tutorial. The low poly technique itself isn’t hard at all, but making all of those triangles does take a chunk of time. Settle in with a good podcast or TV show in the background and the time will quickly fly by.

low poly

 

Tip 1: Filling in the Gaps

 
You might notice gaps between some of your triangles. These are easy to fix—just draw another triangle that covers the gap. (The gaps also might not even be visible once you zoom out to look at the final product.)

low poly

 

Tip 2: Getting the Details

 
Make smaller triangles to capture the more detailed areas of the image. Luckily, you don’t have to use small triangles for the entire portrait. The low poly effect looks best with a wide range of triangle sizes.

low poly

Keep on making those triangles until you’ve covered the entire image.

low poly

 

Now give yourself a huge pat on the back (and maybe take a break from the computer screen). You’ve successfully created a low poly portrait! This is an incredibly useful technique to have in your design arsenal, so congratulate yourself on a job well done.

 

Get Geometric with More Graphics

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: The Simple Way to Create Low Poly Portraits in Photoshop

Trending This Week: Color Block Designs with Stock Graphics

by Caitlyn Hampton on April 21, 2017 No comments

Designers have many tricks up their sleeves and one of the simplest is color blocking—a technique in which large blocks of bold color are photoshopped into the background.

Following brand guidelines can be tough. Style guides are strict and limit everything from the typefaces you’re allowed to use to the colors you can apply. In short, professional design projects can leave your creativity feeling a little stifled—but don’t despair! Color blocking is a great way to spice up your designs while staying on-brand and on-trend. Using the right stock graphics combined with a bold color blocking technique, you can breathe life back into your designs.

From display ads to website heroes, color blocking allows for some freedom by providing plenty of white space in your design.

 
graphic images

Download the graphic image used in this design.

 
In our display ad examples, we chose a yellow background to provide contrast with the model’s red hat, resulting in vibrant, playful ads that encourages potential customers to take notice.

 
Graphic Images

Download the graphic image used in this design.

 
We used the golden ratio in order to determine the size of the yellow block, positioned the model to cover a portion of the split between the two sides, and maintained her shadow in the cutouts to create some depth between the model and the background.

 
Graphic Images

Download the graphic image used in this design.

 
By using color blocking, we were able to choose a loud, bold color, and play with the layout design of the ad. All our brand guidelines were met, and creativity was still able to spread its wings.

Now it’s your turn—we’ve gathered some of our favorite stock graphics for use with this technique. What will you create?

 

Get the Graphics

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Color Block Designs with Stock Graphics

Trending This Week: Impressionist Paintings in UI Design

by Caitlyn Hampton on April 7, 2017 No comments

Degas, Renoir, Monet—these are some of the greatest impressionist painters of all time, and their emotive paintings still inspire artists and designers to this day. But you probably wouldn’t expect impressionism to show up in stock images, would you? Well prepare to be surprised! In our new Future of Creativity Collection, imagination meets tech—and we’re adopting classic styles to make them something new: digital.

Impressionism is a style of immediacy and movement—of expression as much as representation. Its colors are vibrant, its brush strokes apparent. Modern artists take it to another level using heavily saturated color palettes and modern scenes.

Curious how you can use this trend in your designs? Check out how we allowed this night time cityscape to inspire our design with this music app concept.
 

Stock Images

Download the stock image used in this design.

 
Bring your designs into the modern age with sleek text treatment, heavy blurs, and less than opaque containers. Think contrast and contradiction—mix classic painting techniques with tech and let your imagination run amok. The color explosion can be contrasted with sleek design elements.

Now it’s your turn. Are you ready to let Monet and Manet back into your artist’s heart?
 

Explore Impressionist Art

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Impressionist Paintings in UI Design

Tutorial: Create Simple, Stunning Floral Typography with Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on April 6, 2017 No comments

Do you need seasonal, standout creative that leaves a lasting impression? Ad agency bigwigs and book publishers often rely on floral typography when they need bold, organic imagery—but with our straightforward tutorial, you too can add this advertising “secret weapon” to your arsenal.

Floral typography describes the design technique of layering text and floral images to create a multidimensional effect. Yet, the name can be a little misleading since we’re not talking about text made from flowers; the text just lives amongst the flora and fauna. The trend has even expanded beyond florals to include other foliage as well as abstract designs.

Businesses have latched onto the trend, and many spring design campaigns make use of floral typography. The technique varies widely from design to design, so businesses can easily diversify their materials. Small businesses need not cringe in fear; floral typography is pretty simple to replicate, and stock images make the entire process even smoother.

Anyone can master the floral typography trend with a little practice. Armed with this tutorial and stock images, small businesses can easily keep up with the big guns without breaking the bank.

To get started, check out our hand-curated gallery of stock floral images from the GraphicStock library.

 

Step 1. Create New Photoshop Canvas

Create a new canvas in Photoshop and paste your floral image onto the canvas (we used this stock bouquet photo). Resize as needed by clicking Command/Ctrl + T.

(For clarity, we named the layer with the flower image “Floral Layer.”)

floral typography

 

Step 2. Duplicate Layer

 

Right click on the Floral Layer and select Duplicate Layer. In this example, we named the new layer “Floral Layer copy.”

floral typography

 

Step 3. Add Layer Mask

 

Select the new layer and click the Add Vector Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

floral typography

 

Step 4. Invert Layer Mask

 

Select the layer mask (not just the layer) and click Command/Ctrl + i to invert the layer mask. The layer mask icon will turn from white to black.

floral typography

 

Step 5. Draw a Rectangle

 

This step is optional, but framing your text can add a nice touch to the design.

Select the Rectangle Tool and draw a new rectangle. Use the Properties panel to adjust the fill and line colors, as well as the line thickness.

floral typography

 

Step 6. Move Layer and Adjust Opacity

 

Select your rectangle layer in the Layers panel on the right and move the rectangle between the “Floral Layer” and “Floral Layer copy”.

With the rectangle layer still selected, lower the opacity so that you can see both the rectangle and the flowers underneath it.

floral typography

 

Step 7. Paint

 

Make sure that your foreground color is set to white and your background color is set to black. To adjust these colors, simply click on their respective boxes and select the desired color.

Select the layer mask and then click the paintbrush tool. Begin painting over the areas of the rectangle that you want to erase. If you erase too much, simply hit the X on your keyboard and paint over the area you want to correct. Hit the X again to switch back.*

The hardest part is deciding which flowers should cover the rectangle. Try to pick flowers that are in the foreground (as opposed to the fuzzier flowers in the back). This will help add dimension to your design.

(*The X command switches the foreground and background colors. You paint with white to erase and black to correct.)

floral typography

 

Step 8. Add Text

 

It’s actually more efficient to add the text when you create the rectangle, but the order doesn’t really matter. Just make sure that, when you do create the text layer(s), you place them between the “Floral Layer” and “Floral Layer copy” just like we did with the rectangle layer.

Again, adjust the opacity on the text layers so that you can see both the text and the flowers beneath.

floral typography

 

Repeat Step 7

 

Use the paintbrush to erase/repaint pieces of text to make it look like the text and flowers are overlapping. This is a little trickier than the rectangle because you don’t want entirely cover any of the letters. Try to find where the letters overlap with stems and the edges of petals.

floral typography

 

Once you are done painting, your image is complete!

floral typography

 
There you have it! You’ll be a floral typography pro in no time. It just goes to show that with a little practice, and some stock photos, your small business can have a big impact—and while you’re at it, incorporate some Spring sunshine with these stunning floral stock photos.

 

Discover More Floral Images

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: Create Simple, Stunning Floral Typography with Photoshop