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The Top 20 Nature Vectors for Winter-Inspired Designs

by Caroline Mercurio on December 2, 2016 No comments

With winter nature vectors, you can decorate almost any object and create your own digital projects. These snowy and festive images can help bring together your designs with winter-inspired scenery and graphics. So whether you’re hoping to create a winter snowscape scene to frame on your wall or design your very own holiday sweater, you can easily find winter nature vectors to personalize.

To help you along, we’ve curated our top 20 landscape and animal-themed winter vectors—use them to customize your winter gifts, create holiday cards, add a dramatic winter landscape to your computer desktop, develop your own social media banner, or print your own wrapping paper.

 

Landscape Nature Vectors

A landscape vector sets a scene and creates a mood for your design. Use one as a backdrop for other vector graphics or select a landscape to stand on its own. You can scale the vector to any dimension without distorting the imagery, so these vectors work well for projects as large as a billboard or as small as a mouse pad.

Beginning artists often use assets by other artists to inspire them or to add dimension to their work. Instead of creating an entire winter landscape scene from scratch, choose a pre-made landscape and add other elements as you see fit. For example, you might add galloping reindeer to a snowy hillside or add text to a simpler landscape.

You can also use landscape nature vectors as artwork for your walls. Adjust the vector as you see fit, then export the vector from Adobe Illustrator as a JPG. From there, you can scale the image to suit the dimensions you want for your artwork.

Use these landscape nature vectors to spark your imagination.

 
1.
Nature Vector

Download this seamless winter vector

 
2.
Nature Vector

Download this abstract winter birch trees vector image.

 
3.
Nature Vector

Download this bright night with moon vector image.

 
4.
Nature Vector

Download this festive pine tree landscape vector image.

 
5.
Nature Vector

Download this wintry Rocky Mountain landscape vector.

 
6.
Nature Vector

Download this winter landscape vector image.

 
7.
Nature Vector

Download this snowman in the sun vector image.

 
8.
Nature Vector

Download this multicolored winter background vector image.

 
9.
Nature Vector

Download this snowy landscape vector image.

 
10.
Nature Vector

Download this winter landscape vector.

 

Animals in Nature Vectors

Cute animals never fail to draw smiles when they’re used in artwork and other projects. Animals that often make appearances in winter nature vectors include squirrels, deer, birds, and polar bears, but you can find almost any animal in a winter-related scene.

Some animal nature vectors feature a single animal with a transparent background—you can insert these animals into any design to add visual interest. Other animal vectors feature multiple animals, often in detailed scenes—use these vectors by themselves or add other elements to make the image your own.

Animal nature vectors also work great for holiday cards, storybooks, party fliers, and other projects that you might undertake during the winter. Kids often respond well to animals, so products or gifts for children tend to feature them.

Explore some of our most popular animal nature vectors with winter themes.

 
11.
Nature Vector

Download this winter frame with birds vector image.

 
12.
Nature Vector

Download this wildlife winter vector image.

 
13.
Nature Vector

Download this winter branch with red bird vector image.

 
14.
Nature Vector

Download this snow geese in winter landscape vector image.

 
15.
Nature Vector

Download this winter background with swan vector image.

 
16.
Nature Vector

Download this wintry lovebirds vector image.

 
17.
Nature Vector

Download this reindeer with winter background vector image.

 
18.
Nature Vector

Download this cat with snowy home vector image.

 
19.
Nature Vector

Download this fox with snow mountains vector image.

 
20.
Nature Vector

Download this snowy owl vector image.

 

How to Work With Winter Nature Vector Art

When you’ve chosen your winter nature vectors, download them and open them in Adobe Illustrator or other vector editing program. You can change the vectors or combine them for whatever project you’ve chosen. Use the software’s tools to change colors, move objects to different positions, and make other adjustments. Once you’re happy with your design, save the changes so that you can always access your vector file later. You can also save the original to ensure nondestructive editing.

At this point, you can open the image in Adobe Photoshop or other image editing program to make any final edits. Some designers prefer to work exclusively in Illustrator, while others shift back and forth between Illustrator and Photoshop to take full advantage of each program’s tools.

Winter nature vectors can add more variety to your digital assets and allow you to speed up the design process. Can’t decide which of these 20 winter vectors you like the most? Download them all from our royalty-free stock image library—all with unlimited downloads when you have a GraphicStock membership.

 

Discover a Winter Wonderland

 

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Caroline MercurioThe Top 20 Nature Vectors for Winter-Inspired Designs

Tutorial: Add a Vintage Grunge Effect in 5 Easy Steps with Photoshop

by Maddie Stearn on November 16, 2016 No comments

Grunge textures are one of the most popular search terms in our GraphicStock library–and for good reason! Textures are an invaluable resource to graphic designers and photographers alike. Grunge textures, in particular, can send a picture back in time, creating a dramatic, vintage effect. That’s why we’ve created this simple tutorial to show you how to quickly add grunge-styled textures using stock vectors and photos.

Whether it’s for home decor or website illustrations, the grunge effect is one of the most versatile graphic design techniques. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to add a grunge texture to an image in five easy steps. And if you’re anxious to learn more, you can also check out our tutorial on adding background textures in Photoshop.

 

Step 1. Choose an Image

You’ll want to pick an image that looks convincingly vintage when you add the grunge effect. To get you started, we put together a gallery of stock photos that would work well with this tutorial. You can also download the image we used here.

Once you’ve selected your image, go ahead and open it in Photoshop.

1

 

Step 2. Add the Grunge Texture

Select a grunge texture. To make things easy, we curated a gallery stock grunge textures from the GraphicStock library.

Drag the grunge texture file onto your Photoshop workspace. Adjust the size of the texture as needed by dragging the corners of the image.

2

 

Step 3. Choose a Blending Mode

Select a blending mode from the drop-down menu under the “Layers” panel on the right. You can experiment with blending modes until you find one that fits your project. We selected “Hard Light” for this tutorial.

3

 

Step 4. Add a Black & White Adjustment Layer

Under the “Adjustments” panel, click the “Black and White” icon. You can also go to the menu bar and select Image > Adjustments > Black & White.

4

 

Step 5. Adjust the Opacity on the Grunge Texture Layer

Select your grunge texture layer, click “Opacity,” and adjust the slider until you achieve the desired effect.

5

 

Pro-tip: Remove Unwanted Marks from the Image

If you find that the texture is just a little too grungy, you can always make more adjustments to the image. For our picture, we wanted to get rid of a few of the marks that were obscuring the girl’s face.

Select the texture layer, then go the menu bar and select Layer > Rasterize > Smart Object.

6

Once you have rasterized the texture layer, click on the “Healing Brush” icon on the left (it looks like a Band-Aid).

Before you can fix the image, you need to select a “source point.” The source point is a location on the image that you want to use to repair a damaged area. To select a source point, just Option+Click on a clean area near the damaged area. We selected a part of the girl’s cheek without any grunge marks as our source point.

Once you have selected your source point, just click and drag your mouse over the area that you want to repair. You can experiment with the length of your strokes to see what technique works best for your image.

7

 
Voila, your image is complete!

Children at the beach

 
Now go forth and create faux-vintage photos!

Check out our galleries of royalty-free stock photos and stock grunge textures to find some inspiration. You can download all of these photos, textures, and more as part of your GraphicStock subscription. Once your project is complete, share it with us in the comments, or upload it to Instagram and tag @graphicstock_.

 

Unlock More Grunge Graphics

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: Add a Vintage Grunge Effect in 5 Easy Steps with Photoshop

Tutorial: How to Make Awesome Infographics with Vector Templates in Illustrator

by Caroline Mercurio on November 10, 2016 No comments

In the digital age, we need our information to be visually striking and easy-to-understand, which is why infographics are so popular. Useful for presentations and web-based projects, infographics combine our desire for brevity and our need to visualize information. To save time, designers often use customizable vector templates as the basis of their projects.

GraphicStock has a wide variety of vector graphics that can help bring your data to life. This quick and simple tutorial will show you how to edit pre-made vector infographics with your own information using Illustrator. And if you want to give your project some extra edge, check out our pro-tips at the end of the tutorial.

 

Step 1. Choose the vector template that best represents your data.

 
Tutorial Infographics Vector Templates Illustrator
Download this modern infographic layout.
 

You can choose your own, or use the one we’ve downloaded for this tutorial. Whichever one you choose, make sure it will best present the data you’re working with. For numeric data, charts, and graphs are your best bet, while more text-based data is best presented using vectors like the one in this example, which groups text into small, manageable pieces.

Step 2. Remove the sample text.

 
Tutorial Infographics Vector Templates Illustrator
 

As you may know already, vector images are layers comprised of groups made of different paths, or individual objects. In Illustrator, you can bring up the list of layers, groups, and paths by pressing F7 on your keyboard. From there, you can expand each layer to reveal the groups within the layer, and then the paths that make up each group.

Double-click on the text you want to replace. In your Layers window, the group and paths that make up this text will be highlighted. Most vector images that contain text will have each individual letter as its own path.

Since each path is grouped, you can simply click the eye next to the group of text paths in the Layers window, which will make it invisible. Or, you can simply select the text in your template and press Delete.

Repeat this step for any text in the image you want to remove and/or replace. If you accidentally delete a group or path you wanted to keep and can’t find it in your Layers window, just press Command+Z to undo.

 
Tutorial Infographics Vector Templates Illustrator
 

Step 3. Add your own text.

Now that the sample text has been removed, it’s time to replace it with your own. Select the Type Tool and click on the image where you want to place your text. With this particular image, we found it helpful to type outside the blue areas, then use the Selection Tool to move the text to the pertinent area. Type your text, then highlight it and use the drop-down menus at the top to adjust your text as needed.

 
Tutorial Infographics Vector Templates Illustrator
 

To create a new text area, click the Selection tool, then re-click the Type Tool and click on a new area on the image.

Pro-tip: Change colors of elements in your infographic.

 
Tutorial Infographics Vector Templates Illustrator
 

The right colors can make or break an infographic. You’ll want to use bright, vibrant hues to grab and keep your reader’s attention. Yet, you’ll also want to ensure that the color you’ve chosen for your text doesn’t clash with the background color, or make your text unreadable. These adjustments can be time-consuming, so if you plan on changing colors with text in the foreground, do this step first before adjusting text colors.

First, select the shape or object where that you want to change. Make sure the entire shape is selected and not just part. Then, double-click the Fill square and choose your color. Click OK. Repeat as needed for each object you want to apply a color change.

In this particular template, the colored bars have a gradient effect. Make sure the Fill box also has a gradient effect or your entire bar will become a single shade of the color you choose, plus obscure your text.

Pro-tip: Insert additional graphics or a logo.

 
Tutorial Infographics Vector Templates Illustrator
 

Tutorial Infographics Vector Templates Illustrator
 

If you’re making your infographic for business purposes, you’ll want to brand your infographic with your company logo. Even without a logo, infographics are best served with additional designs—but never in a way that detracts from the main focus.

In this case, we’ll dress up our project with a couple of computer images as well as the GraphicStock logo. Adding these images to the infographic template is super easy. Simply click File, then Place, and then select the image you want to insert into your infographic—EPS, AI or SVG files work best.

You can use the Selection tool to move and adjust the size of your graphics or logo if necessary, and repeat for other graphics as needed.

And there you have it! You’ve now created an infographic using a vector image as your base that is endlessly customizable. If you want to practice on this image or on another one of our templates, here are 20 of our most popular infographic vectors. Pick your favorite or download them all.

When you’re done, share your project with us in the comments or upload it to Instagram and make sure to tag @GraphicStock_.

 

Discover More Infographics

 

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Caroline MercurioTutorial: How to Make Awesome Infographics with Vector Templates in Illustrator

Welcome to GraphicStock! Find Out What Makes Us Different with This Short Video

by Caroline Mercurio on November 1, 2016 No comments

When you become a GraphicStock member, you get unlimited access to our library of 350,000+ royalty-free photos, vectors, and illustrations. It’s the easiest way to find and download high-quality stock images. Learn more about what makes us different from all other stock sites with this quick explainer video.

 

 

Ready to get started? Discover some of the graphics that our members have ranked highest, like our top 20 landscape backgrounds and most popular vector poster templates—all included with your subscription. No matter what your next creative project is, we have stock graphics to help bring your vision to life. And remember, once you download an image, it is yours to keep and use forever.

 

Explore Your Creative Library

 

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Caroline MercurioWelcome to GraphicStock! Find Out What Makes Us Different with This Short Video

25 Abstract Vectors that Stand Out—The Most Popular Picks from Our Library

by Caroline Mercurio on October 27, 2016 No comments

For centuries, abstract art has puzzled and fascinated audiences. In web and graphic design, using abstract vectors is one of the most practical ways to add flourish to any project. Stand out from the crowd with these top 25 vectors—we curated each of these designs from the most downloaded and popular stock vectors in our library.

The power of abstract visual elements lies in their ability to evoke emotion and imagination without getting bogged down in figurative representations. Abstract designs grab viewers’ attention immediately with their bold and striking compositions—which can be a major plus when designing marketing materials or branded creative.

The GraphicStock community has used them for all kinds of projects: website templates, album covers, phone backgrounds, and so much more. From bold watercolor designs to geometric patterns, our library has abstract designs to fit any creative project.

 
Here are the top 25 abstract vector graphics in our library:

 
1.
Abstract Vectors

Download this water color composition vector.

 
2.
Abstract Vectors

Download this abstract blue business background vector.

 
3.
Abstract Vectors

Download this seamless mosaic pattern vector.

 
4.
Abstract Vectors

Download this textured retro geometric background vector.

 
5.
Abstract Vectors

Download this white crumpled abstract background vector.

 
6.
Abstract Vectors

Download this colorful mosaic banner geometric background vector.

 
7.
Abstract Vectors

Download this 3D monochrome background with cube vector.

 
8.
Abstract Vectors

Download this abstract blue background vector.

 
9.
Abstract Vectors

Download this retro pattern of geometric shapes vector.

 
10.
Abstract Vectors

Download this abstract hand drawn watercolor vector.

 
11.
Abstract Vectors

Download this seamless pattern with circles in retro colors vector.

 
12.
Abstract Vectors

Download this colorful pattern with splashes vector.

 
13.
Abstract Vectors

Download this abstract summer background vector.

 
14.
Abstract Vectors

Download this old grunge paper background vector.

 
15.
Abstract Vectors

Download this abstract background vector.

 
16.
Abstract Vectors

Download this texture of rusty metal background vector.

 
17.
Abstract Vectors

Download this diagonal watercolor stripes backdrop vector.

 
18.
Abstract Vectors

Download this abstract flower seamless background vector.

 
19.
Abstract Vectors

Download this interweaving of lines textured vector.

 
20.
Abstract Vectors

Download this abstract hand drawn watercolor background vector.

 
21.
Abstract Vectors

Download this seamless glossy rainbow scale background vector.

 
22.
Abstract Vectors

Download this retro illustration with creative grungy background vector.

 
23.
Abstract Vectors

Download this blurry lights vector.

 
24.
Abstract Vectors

Download this hand painted corners vector.

 
25.
Abstract Vectors

Download this abstract geometric background vector.

 
The sky’s the limit for your next design project. Download all of these vectors and more from our library of royalty-free stock vectors to find some abstract inspiration. What will you make next?

 

Get Creative!

 

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Caroline Mercurio25 Abstract Vectors that Stand Out—The Most Popular Picks from Our Library

Beginner’s Guide to Using Vectors in Adobe Illustrator: 7 Tutorials to Get You Started

by Caroline Mercurio on October 14, 2016 No comments

It’s no secret that creating anything worthwhile is time consuming, and starting your project with stock vectors is one of the most effective ways to save time. Using vector graphics as the base of your project or as enhancements to your original work is a great way to amp up your designs. They’re also easy to download and customize with editing programs like Adobe Illustrator. Not sure where to start? We’ve collected some of the internet’s best tutorials for our beginner’s guide to working with vectors in AI.

While crafting your own work from scratch is always gratifying, using already existing vector graphics in your project enables you to work smarter, not harder. The biggest advantage to using vectors in your projects is their scalability—that is, a vector may be resized to very small or very large sizes without losing its quality. Raster images such as photographs will pixelate upon enlargement, which creates a messy, unprofessional look.

Unlike raster images, vectors are also made of individual layers, which may be edited or removed as needed. Adobe Illustrator—a program created specifically for working with and editing vector graphics—is an essential tool for using these images in your work.

So, how can you use ready-made vectors in Illustrator? Here are seven tutorials with examples of how you can incorporate vectors in your work to create stunning final products.

 

1. Using and Applying Vector Textures in Illustrator

This tutorial shows you how to use textures as a background or as an overlay combined with another image, creating a completely different look for your finished product.

 

2. How to Convert Image into Vector Graphics with Adobe Illustrator CS6

So you’ve found the perfect image for your project, but it’s a flat raster image instead of a layered vector image? This tutorial will walk you through the conversion process so that you can work with the image as a vector, which offers many more benefits when editing images in Illustrator.

 

3. “Adobe Illustrator Tutorial Beginner: Create a Vector Tree”

Want to try your hand at creating your own vector instead of using a stock graphic? This will show you how, and as a bonus, you’ll add a versatile tree graphic to your arsenal for future projects.

 

4. Vintage Logo Tutorial for Adobe Illustrator

Nostalgia has never been more bankable right now, and any marketing designer worth their salt would do well to know how to make a vintage logo for all kinds of branding purposes. Vector packs are the perfect jumping-off point or final touch to create all kinds of logos.

 

5. Adobe Illustrator CS6 Modifying, Grouping, Saving, and Exporting AI Files

Knowing how to edit and group multiple vector images in your project as a single file is essential to managing your workflow and making your life easier for creating future edits.

 

6. How to Copy Vector Shapes from Illustrator to Photoshop

Many digital artists find having both Illustrator and Photoshop at their disposal is useful. If you’re one of those people, it’s important to understand the differences between the two programs and how to adjust a project file in one program for editing in the other.

 

7. How to Edit Text in Vector Files from GraphicStock

Many ready-made vector graphics come with sample text to help you find the best placement for words within the image. Our own tutorial will show you how to replace that sample text with your own to create a truly one-of-a-kind project.

All of these tips are not only essential for optimizing your workflow while working with stock vectors, but they can help you unlock endless creative possibilities. How will you use vectors in your next creative endeavour?

Share your next project with us in the comments, or upload it to Instagram and tag @graphicstock_.

 

Get Creative With Vector Graphics

 

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Caroline MercurioBeginner’s Guide to Using Vectors in Adobe Illustrator: 7 Tutorials to Get You Started

The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Image Sizing

by Caroline Mercurio on October 14, 2016 3 comments

First impressions are key, and nowhere is that more true than on Facebook, where compelling visuals make or break your social success. To put your best foot forward, it’s important to optimize your marketing and branded creative for the platform–there’s nothing’s worse than uploading the perfect cover photo only to realize that important elements are hidden by buttons and text. The ideal specs for Facebook imagery involve too many pieces to commit to memory, so we’ve created a master guide to image sizing and dimensions on Facebook.

Here are the six essential types of images our guide covers:

 
For each of these we’ve created visual guides as well as examples using images from our royalty-free stock graphics library.

 

A Few Things to Keep in Mind

Sizing Elements
Of course, Facebook doesn’t make anything straightforward, and it’s constantly changing how it displays images on news feeds, personal profiles, and business pages. On top of which, the information Facebook provides can often seem contradictory. That’s why we’ve broken it all down based on these three important elements.

  • Recommended Sizing – These are the sizes best optimized for display on both mobile and desktop. Use these dimensions to avoid stretching, shrinking, or distortion in your images.
  • Minimum and Maximum Sizing – Most of Facebook’s image options have minimum and/or maximum size requirements. If you choose not to use the recommended dimensions, make sure your images still fit within these guidelines.
  • Display Sizing and Aspect Ratio – The size you upload your photos as will not always be the same size as what Facebook displays. Facebook will stretch or shrink your uploaded image to fit within the display size–if you choose not to upload a photo within the recommended sizing dimensions, keep the same aspect ratio as the display sizing to avoid image distortion.

We’ve also included important information such as which areas of your images will appear on desktop that may or may not be the same on mobile, as well as which zones may be covered by buttons or text.

Facebook’s Golden 20% Text Rule
For all images used in ads, Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm favors images with little to no text, and images with more than 20% text are not recommended. In fact, Facebook might reject the ad altogether if it detects a lot of text. However, it’s important to note that this does not apply to profile or cover photos.

 

Business Cover Photos

As of April 2016, profile photos now appear next to (rather than on top of) business cover photos. It’s important to note that what is visible for the desktop cover photo will not be the same as what appears on mobile (and vice versa) since they have two different display sizes–that’s why we’ve recommended the best size cover photo that works for both platforms, and have highlighted which areas are visible on each.

Facebook Image Sizing

Recommended: 828 x 315 pixels
Min/Max: 319 x 150 pixels (minimum); no maximum
Display Size and Aspect Ratio: 828 x 315 pixels (desktop) and 640 x 360 pixels (mobile); 16:9 (recommended aspect ratio)
 
Facebook Image SizingLike this adventurous snowy coast image? Download it from our library.


Facebook Image Sizing

 

Personal Cover Photos

Profile photos still load on top of personal cover photos. It’s important to know which areas of your photo will be covered by text, buttons, and your profile photo, in addition to which areas will be visible on desktop versus mobile.

Facebook Image Sizing

Recommended: 851 x 315 pixels
Min/Max: 405 x 150 pixels (minimum); no maximum
Display Size and Aspect Ratio: 851 x 315 pixels (desktop) and 563 x 315 pixels (mobile); 3:1.1
 
Facebook Image SizingLike this autumn sunrise mountain landscape? Download it from our library.

Facebook Image SizingOr download this portrait of a cheerful woman from our library.

 

Profile Photos

Profile photos are small but important. Not only will they show up on your personal or business profiles, but they will also appear as icons all over Facebook in news feeds and comment sections—this makes them the face of your brand or business and can be a perfect spot to showcase your company’s logo. Note that if your profile includes text or a vector logo, it’s best to upload the image as a PNG instead of a JPG. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out our post on top vectors for creating a fresh new logo for your company.

Facebook Image Sizing

Recommended: 800 x 800 pixels
Min/Max: 180 x 180 pixels (minimum); 800 x 800 (maximum)
Display Size and Aspect Ratio: 160 x 160 pixels; 1:1
 
Facebook Image Sizing

Like this globe icon? Download it from our library.

 

News Feed/Display Ad Photos

Promoted ads or links that appear in users’ news feeds are different from Carousel or Canvas displays ads, and each format has its own optimized image size.

Facebook Image Sizing

Recommended: 1200 x 900 pixels
Min/Max: 476 x 357 pixels (minimum); 1200 x 900 pixels (maximum)
Display Size and Aspect Ratio: Display size varies based on mobile or desktop and ad placement; 2:1.5
 
Facebook Image Sizing

Like this photograph of mountain tops in spring? Download it from our library.

 

Canvas Ad Photos

Similar to promoted link ads, canvas ads make use of the full space within users’ news feeds; however, canvas ads can also appear in the right column sidebar next to newsfeeds.

Facebook Image Sizing

Recommended: 1200 x 628 pixels
Min/Max: 467 x 249 pixels (minimum); 1200 x 628 (maximum)
Display Size and Aspect Ratio: Display size varies based on mobile or desktop and ad placement; 1.9:1
 
Facebook Image SizingLike this image of a young hiker jumping rocks? Download it from our library.

 

Carousel Ad Photos

Appearing everywhere canvas ads can, carousel ads give marketers the ability to showcase a variety of products or messaging through an ad slider.

Facebook Image Sizing

Recommended: 600 x 600 pixels
Min/Max: 476 x 476 pixels (minimum); 800 x 800 pixels (maximum)
Display Size and Aspect Ratio: Display size varies based on mobile or desktop and ad placement; 1:1
 

Like these photographs of outdoor sports? Download them from our library.

Facebook Image Sizing

 
Ready to start designing your marketing creative for Facebook? GraphicStock has over 300,000 royalty-free stock images, including editable vectors, high-resolution photographs, essential design elements, and more that you can download and use forever.

 

Find Your Next Cover Photo

 

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Caroline MercurioThe Ultimate Guide to Facebook Image Sizing

5 Hottest Graphic Design Trends of 2016

by Caroline Mercurio on September 23, 2016 1 comment

Some trends last for ages while others are cyclical, but whether classic or fleeting, design trends are both inspiring and incredibly useful when it comes to your graphics work. So what’s been hot in 2016? The five styles that have dominated the year so far are outlined here to help you develop eye-catching and relevant concepts, while still staying true your unique creative vision.

We rounded up visual examples of each design trend using royalty-free stock graphics, which you can easily incorporate into your own projects. Here’s the breakdown:

 

1. Flat 2.0

 

 

Flat lay took the design world by storm back in 2013 with the release of Apple’s iOS 7. It was introduced as a way to draw focus to content, functionality, and clarity, and came about as a minimalist reaction to the previous trend of “skeuomorphism”—a more complicated and ornamental design concept of making items represented resemble their real-world counterparts such as wooden textures on a bookshelf and heavy use of gradients for an exaggerated 3D realistic look.

Early flat design consisted of bright and bold colors, intentional negative space, and simple typography combined with a complete lack of depth—hence the term, flat. Despite the intentions of its creators, one of the biggest complaints and drawbacks of Flat Design was the lack of clarity. Flat 2.0 is an updated, even clearer version. Though still simple in nature and bright and bold, the 2.0 design style hints at depth with subtle gradients and flat drop shadows to make interfaces more user friendly.

To utilize this trend in your designs, choose bright colors, minimal typefaces, simple shapes, and heavy uses of negative space—but don’t shy away from using subtle gradients to portray depth and light within your design. Incorporating motion into your designs can also help provide meaning and clarity for users.

 

2. Geometric Shapes

 

 

There is something about geometry that’s appealing to the human eye. Perhaps it’s because strong geometric lines indicate that the design is manmade. Or it could be because geometry occurs in nature everywhere. All we know is that strong geometric shapes and patterns are having a moment and it’s likely to last. Geometric patterns create bold and often dynamic designs that draw a user in. They portray heft and weight, yet still somehow indicate motion.

We’ve seen geometry in package design, branding, backgrounds, graphic elements, and more recently in web and user experience design. Geometric patterns are some of our most popular pieces in our stock graphics library and we’re expecting these to dominate the world of digital design shortly. To utilize this trend in your designs you can incorporate low-poly patterns, like this retro mosaic vector, as the background or hero image of a web page. Or consider balancing their heft with generous use of white space.

Geometric shapes also do well in logos, social media graphics, or brand collateral. Depending on the color palette you choose, you can convey playfulness or even a more serious tone with muted colors and strong use of black. Don’t be afraid of being bold—but balance is key!

 

3. Retro Nouveau

 

 

While a new or modern take on retro may seem like a paradox, just imagine art deco designs from the 20s or Bauhaus-inspired posters from the 60s. Nowadays, retro looks are drawing their inspiration from the late 70s through the 90s, which is why it’s important to note that this is a new kind of retro. Think nerdy nostalgia, pixelation, and colors on colors on colors.

This trend is playful, open-ended, and evokes fond memories. To imitate this trend, dig deep into your memory bank. Take something from your childhood and imagine how you can bring new life to it. Were video games your thing? Try your hand at a pixelated graphics. Was Fresh Prince of Bel-Air one of your all-time favorite shows? Incorporate funky and bold patterns into your branding. You can even do your best to encapsulate a specific feeling you associate with from one of those eras. Freedom. Rebellion. Free-spiritedness. You can revitalize your memories in modern ways to make old art feel fresh again.

Much like clothing from the 80s, many popular patterns with this Retro Nouveau twist are heavily saturated, shamelessly geometric, and warm. After all, trends tend to recycle, so it was only a matter of time before the 70s, 80s, and 90s made a comeback.

 

4. Motion

 
 

 

Motion in graphic design can be very useful for communicating a desired action from a user, but motion also has other uses and isn’t always indicated by dashed lines or swooshes—it can also be straightforward with actual movement. With recent boosts in technology, we experience greater capability in websites that support larger file sizes required by the movement

Digital designs can now host any number of different motion elements, including animated vectors (HTML5 is super powerful), visually striking cinemagraphs, and GIFs. With just a flicker of motion, users become more engaged without losing focus on content.

If you want to draw attention to a specific portion of your website, try adding animated vectors or SVG’s. Cinemagraphs as a hero image on your site can be a great way to capture the attention of visitors and influence them to continue scrolling or even draw greater attention an important piece of content. Small and subtle animations peak a user’s interest, without overwhelming the content.

 

5. Abstract Swiss

 

 

Many of the trends we’ve covered can be blended together—geometric shapes play well with retro nouveau, while Flat 2.0 and motion often go hand-in-hand in user interface design—but Abstract Swiss stands apart from these trends. Especially popular in web design and product collateral, Abstract Swiss involves the heavy use of white space, deconstructed layouts that break the rules, and a minimal color palette. It looks less structured and more abstract.

When designing in this style, harness your inner-rebel. Avoid aligning all of your design elements in a typical grid-fashion. Create intentional breaks and embrace an almost uncomfortable amount of white space. Refine your color palette to a minimal, monochromatic look and add moments of bold and black graphical elements.

Feeling inspired? Stealing like an artist is part of the process and copying design trends can help build your artistic muscles. Not entirely comfortable working with vectors? Check out our guide, try making these into your own, and exercise your creative voice.

If you’re looking for more trend-inspired creative assets, explore the royalty-free vectors and design elements in our stock graphics library.

 

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Caroline Mercurio5 Hottest Graphic Design Trends of 2016

A Quick Start Guide to Adobe XD: 8 Essential Tutorials for Experience Design CC

by Caitlyn Hampton on August 31, 2016 1 comment

It’s the most in-demand skill in Silicon Valley, so why not add a user experience (UX) program to the Adobe suite? Graphic designers are rapidly morphing into UX designers—learning to create web and mobile interfaces through self-taught and “on the job” education. It sounds tricky, but you can pick it up pretty easily if you have basic knowledge of Photoshop or other Adobe applications. We’ve gathered the best quickstart tutorials on the Internet for Adobe Experience Design CC, also know as Adobe XD, to help you get acquainted with this new program.

 
These videos cover all the essentials of Adobe XD—from how to design for multiple devices to using stock vectors as interactive elements. Watch them from top to bottom, and you’ll be ready to start learning valuable UX design skills.

 

1. How to Use Adobe Experience Design CC

Terry White’s 30 minute introduction to Adobe XD covers all the basic tools and functions of the program, providing a foundational understanding for new users.
 

 

2. What’s New in Adobe XD

In this video, the lead designer of XD discusses new features and gives a demo of how they all work.
 

 

3. Adobe XD: Some Cool Features

Pieter Dorst teaches users how to add another screen to a flow and complete some user tests.
 

 

4. Adobe XD Basics: Experience Design Tutorial

ATB takes you quickly through the structure and components of Experience Design.
 

 

5. Learn How to Design a Carousel Slider in Adobe XD

Dansky gives an easy overview of building carousel sliders with stock photos.
 

 

6. How to Import SVG (Illustrator and Sketch) in Adobe XD

Straight from Adobe, this tutorial teaches you how import your illustration files.
 

 

7. Adobe Experience Design: Playing With Vectors

Tom Green shows you how to edit vectors and illustrations directly in Adobe XD.
 

 

8. How to Create Prototypes (wires) in Adobe XD

Demian Borba, a Product Manager at Adobe Experience Design, gives an overview of prototyping using wires and animation settings.
 

 
Ready to give XD a whirl? Get all the royalty-free photos, vectors, and icons you need to create a dynamic user experience for your portfolio or client.

 
 

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Caitlyn HamptonA Quick Start Guide to Adobe XD: 8 Essential Tutorials for Experience Design CC