Graphic Design

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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.

 

 

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

A Visual Guide to Pantone’s Spring Colors: 10 Ways to Apply the Palette

by Caroline Mercurio on January 30, 2017 No comments

Hope isn’t just a feeling this season—according to the color experts at Pantone, it’s also a palette. Based on the prominent colors used in this year’s New York Fashion Week, Pantone’s most popular colors for Spring 2017 involve a playful yet thoughtful mix of vitality and relaxation. According to Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute Leatrice Eiseman, “designers applied color in playful, yet thoughtful and precise combinations to fully capture the promises, hope, and transformation that we yearn for each Spring.”

To help encapsulate the aspirational essence these colors represent in your next designs, we’ve compiled a guide to understanding the meaning behind each color choice—and we’ve created a few designs using resources from our library of stock images to get you started.

Pantone's SpringImage courtesy of Pantone

 

1. Primrose Yellow

 
Pantone's Spring
 
This vibrant yellow is bold and unabashedly cheery—especially as it skews more towards orange-yellow than green. Reminiscent of warm, sunny days, this color can be especially impactful when you want your designs to draw instant attention.

If the brand you’re designing for is a playful one, then this color is just right—but use it with care. When paired with white text, it can be difficult to read and therefore quite inaccessible for those with limited eyesight. It’s best used sparingly as an accent color—but then again, rules are made to be broken.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 

2. Pale Dogwood

 
Pantone's Spring
 
This beautifully subtle pink is soft and relaxing. It is innocent and pure, like a softly lit spring morning, which probably explains the name. This color is so unobtrusive, it could easily be used as a neutral in your designs. Let it lead from a place of support: the background.

For a brand that is calm and feminine, this color is ideal. It makes an excellent supporting color for bold and loud colors. For a minimalist feel, pair it with grayscale photos and rich black text to let your content carry the weight of your message.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 

3. Hazelnut

 
Pantone's Spring
 
As the most neutral color of the bunch, Hazelnut truly represents the earthiness of Pantone’s collection. It’s grounding, calming, and provides roots for punchier colors to contrast with. Described as “unpretentious and with an inherent warmth,” this color eases you into the transition of the seasons, with warm days spent outdoors just on the horizon.

As a neutral, this color is another excellent supporter for pairing with others. If you’re going for an approachable, earthy look in your design, Hazelnut can be more warm and friendly than the popular light gray as a neutral.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 

4. Island Paradise

 
Pantone's Spring
 
A strikingly vibrant and appealing color, Island Paradise mimics the pristine aqua waters of islands far off. It exudes an air of paradise and inspires tropical escapes far away from the colorless cold winter.

Blue colors generally evoke a sense of calm, peace, and responsibility for brands, but this brighter and more energized aqua radiates excitement. It has a freshness that is playful and fun. For a happy and bright brand, let Island Paradise take center stage. Try a monochromatic look with varying shades of blue—like Lapis Blue and Niagara—to really dive into Bahamian waters. Or try a look that pops by pairing it with Pink Yarrow and Flame.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 

5. Greenery

 
Pantone's Spring
 
As the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year, this shade of green is all about breathing new life into the spring season and reinvigorating our passions. It’s about experimentation, exploration, and adventure. This green is fearless and borrows some of its boldness from the hints of yellow found within.

Use this color in your designs if you want to create a feeling of freshness and vibrancy. Green in branding can create a sense of balance and harmony—yet this hue is also energizing and invigorating. Pair it with a minimal and clean design that emphasizes the use of negative or white space to really nail a refreshing look and feel.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 

6. Flame

 
Pantone's Spring
 
Arguably the hottest color of the bunch, this color is also the loudest and most intense. More approachable than reds in general, orange has a friendly and energetic appeal—a common theme throughout Pantone’s collection. This shade is “gregarious and fun loving” and adds heat to the spring collection to balance out some of the more peaceful and relaxing colors.

Don’t be fearful of the bold and bright Flame color. In fact, if you’re going to give this color a shot, go all the way and flood your designs with it. With a color like this, it’s asking to make a statement. If your brand is strong and determined, this could be the color for you. Try using it in marketing pieces that have an informal voice and approach or for an intense call to action.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 

7. Pink Yarrow

 
Pantone's Spring
 
This pink is lively, whimsical, and quite the showstopper. It isn’t shy and it doesn’t mind taking center stage—which is exactly how you can utilize it. This bold, bright, and saturated hue is captivating and will immediately draw attention to wherever it is used in a design.

Highlight an important call to action with Pink Yarrow—or emphasize an area where the message is particularly important. But keep in mind that this color is not the most traditional or conservative. If you use it in your designs or for branding, understand that you’ll be giving the impression of youth and a casual approach to business—think T-Mobile, which emphasizes targeting youthful and open-minded consumers.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 

8. Niagara

 
Pantone's Spring
 
Niagara was coined as speaking “to our desire for ease and relaxation.” It was awarded as the most prominent color of Spring 2017. While it’s one of the more muted colors of the collection, its strength lies in its comfort and dependability.

Used alone, the mood it elicits is one of relaxation, comfort, and dependability, which makes it an excellent partner for pairing with bright Primrose Yellow. Or if you want to keep your designs calm, it could work very well with Pale Dogwood.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 

9. Kale

 
Pantone's Spring
 
Though the actual vegetable probably reached peak trendiness back in 2014, Kale as a color is making its way into fashion and design strongly this spring. Another green in the collection to emulate the beauty of nature and the desire to get outdoors, Kale is more muted and reserved than its Greenery counterpart. It makes an excellent backdrop and could almost get away with serving as a neutral.

For a complimentary collision in hue and saturation, try pairing Kale with Pink Yarrow—it will look modern and bold, but also quite fun. For a monochromatic look, work with Greenery and Kale. Or for a sweet and inviting combination, try Kale with Pale Dogwood.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 

10. Lapis Blue

 
Pantone's Spring
 
Lapis blue is one of the more modest and traditional colors in Pantone’s collection. It radiates inner confidence and a calm, stable energy, yet it holds its own against some of the brighter colors like Primrose Yellow, Flame, or Pink Yarrow.

Paired with a heavy use of white space, Lapis Blue works well along side any of these brighter colors—especially when used in the style of Material Design for websites, web applications, or mobile apps. The heavy saturation of the color makes for an excellent contrast with white space and therefore makes a hierarchy of information easier to accomplish—a must-have for successful visual design.

Pantone's Spring

Download the GraphicStock images used in this design.

 
Want a little more in-depth analysis to color theory before you begin your designs? Check out our Color Theory 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Complementary Colors, RGB, and More.

And did you know that with Graphicstock you can search by any color for completely customized results—just by using the hex codes we provided!

 

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Caroline MercurioA Visual Guide to Pantone’s Spring Colors: 10 Ways to Apply the Palette

Top 10 Magical Realism Images: The Stock Dreams Are Made Of

by Caroline Mercurio on January 27, 2017 No comments

A great design always tells a story. Sometimes, that story takes place in a fantasy world and speaks in metaphors. These stock images are the stuff of dreams and fables—they combine real world photos and magical effects to hint at supernatural possibilities. We gathered our 10 favorites from this surreal category so that you can put your imagination to the test, and see how a touch of magic might take your projects into a whole new creative level.

Magical realism has a way of captivating audiences, be it for art or marketing. Depending on the tone of your brand or personal style, these images could help convey an inspiring, eerie, or thought-provoking message. For writers, such designs make perfect accompaniments to fictional tall tales and even children’s books.

There are no limitations when you dip into surrealism—see how far you can take your imagination with the 10 stock images below.

 
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Stock Images Magical RealismDownload this image

 
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Stock Images Magical RealismDownload this image

 
Ready to create your own fantasy world with stock? You can try your hand at this dreamscape tutorial, or dive directly into more magical realism images.

 

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Caroline MercurioTop 10 Magical Realism Images: The Stock Dreams Are Made Of

A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Adobe Illustrator Tools

by Caroline Mercurio on January 17, 2017 No comments

More than 100 tools exist in Adobe Illustrator—which can seem like an overwhelming number to master if you’re just starting out with the program. Even seasoned designers familiar with the ins and outs of Illustrator can forget what each tool does. But don’t worry, that’s why we’ve put together this quick reference for the six most essential tools—And if you’re just getting acquainted with the software, learning how these basic tools work will save you a lot of time and frustration.

So whether you’re editing customizable vector graphics or designing a project from scratch, this guide will help you find the right tool for the task. To start, you’ll find the Illustrator tools on the left side panel after you open the program. If you click on one of the icons, a submenu opens to show more tools related to the main tool.

 

Selection Tool

Shortcut Key: V

The selection tool in Illustrator lets you isolate certain pieces of a design for small, minute adjustments. You can also use the tool to order objects on top of or behind one another, group or ungroup pieces of a design, and apply effects to only one selection.
 

 

  • Learn how to create and remove anchor points.
  • Find out how to create curves and straight lines.
  • Discover the different ways to manipulate anchor points.

 

Shapes Tool

Shortcut Key: M (for rectangles); L (for ellipses)

The shapes tool in Illustrator helps you create—you guessed it—shapes quickly. You can choose a rectangle, ellipse, star, flare, or another option from the menu.
 

 

  • Learn about the different shapes for the tool options and how they work.
  • Discover different ways to manipulate the sizes and proportions of shapes.
  • Find out how to use keyboard keys to change how you manipulate shapes.

 

Type Tool

Shortcut Key: T

Use the type tool to create and manipulate text in an Illustrator document. Choose fonts, font weights, glyphs, and other details to create the style you want.
 

 

  • Learn how to use the type tool and its menu alternatives.
  • Use text to fill shapes.
  • Discover ways to create stylized text for a project.

 

Eraser Tool

Shortcut Key: Shift + E

If you make a mistake in Illustrator, or if you want to remove portions of a fill or stroke, the eraser tool becomes invaluable. The eraser works just like the eraser of a pencil.
 

 

  • Find out how the eraser tool works when you select specific objects.
  • Learn how to separate one object into two objects by splitting them.
  • Watch how anchor points change after applying the eraser tool.

 

Blob Brush Tool

Shortcut Key: Shift + B

You can use the blob brush tool to create vector shapes. This tool works similarly to the pen tool—but the resulting image serves as a full vector shape.
 

 

  • Learn how to create drawings using the blob brush.
  • Discover the differences between pen and blob brush.
  • Find out how the blob brush interacts with color swatches.

 

Artboard Tool

Shortcut Key: None

Artboards allow you to work on multiple panels or canvases at the same time. You might export them to After Effects as slides in a stop-motion video or design a corporate mockup with multiple elements.
 

 

  • Learn how to create and manipulate artboards.
  • Duplicate objects among different pieces of an artboard.
  • Synchronize actions across all pieces of an artboard.

 
That’s it! With just these six tools you’re already well on your way to Illustrator mastery. Ready to test out your prowess? Download our royalty-free stock images and vectors—including awesome infographic templates and abstract designs—and start creating.

 

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Caroline MercurioA Beginner’s Guide to Essential Adobe Illustrator Tools

Color Theory 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Complementary Colors, RGB, and More

by Caroline Mercurio on January 13, 2017 5 comments

We don’t live in a black and white world. From Pantone to Pinterest, color theory impacts the way we see and feel the world around us. It can influence our purchasing decisions and affect our mood. It attracts the eye and it even tells us what to look at and what to ignore—which is why it’s important that anyone working with visual media and stock images learns to speak the language of color. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can even search by color in our GraphicStock library to find the perfect photos, vectors, and illustrations to complete your projects.

To get you started, we’ve drawn up a crash course in the basics of color theory. These essentials are important building blocks for any artistic endeavor, from graphic design to painting and photography.
 

The Basics of Color

Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we? Long, long ago, Newton began studying color theory. His color wheel laid the groundwork for later generations of scholars, most of whom lived and worked in the 19th century. These scholars provided us with modern color theory, one tenet of which is the principal that there are primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Colors

Color Theory

Primary Colors are, in their most basic definition, the colors from which any other color can be created by mixing. Not everyone agrees on what colors are true primary—but we’ll discuss that later. In traditional painting, the primary colors are red, yellow, and blue (as seen in the color wheel above).

Secondary Colors are colors that result from mixing two primary colors, such as green (yellow + blue), purple (blue + red), and orange (red + yellow)

Tertiary Colors are colors that are obtained by mixing two secondary colors or a secondary color with a primary color. For example, if yellow is a primary color, and orange (the mixture of yellow and red) is a secondary color, yellow-orange would be a tertiary color. Tertiary colors are shown on the color wheel above in parentheses.
 

The Other 10 Million Colors

Obviously, we all know that there are more than 12 colors available to you for any given project. In fact, the human eye can see approximately 7-10 million colors. So how do we make up this massive difference? With hues, shades, tints, and tones.

Hue is almost the same as color, and the words can sometimes be used interchangeably. However, there is a slight difference in that hue generally refers only to those 12 basic colors from the color wheel. They are the twelve purest and brightest colors on the spectrum.

A shade is the mixture of a color with black.

A tint is the mixture of a color with white, also known as a pastel.

Tones (also called saturation) is achieved by mixing a color with both black and white (gray) to adjust the intensity of the color.
 

Additive and Subtractive Color

Now that you understand how colors are created, it’s time to fill you in on why people disagree on what colors are primary. It all comes down to how you are creating your colors, for what purpose, and with what medium. Are you working on a digital screen? With oil paints? For print? All of these things make a difference because how we see color is determined by one very elusive property: light.
 
CMYK
CMYK is a subtractive color model whose primaries are cyan, magenta, and yellow (the CMY in CMYK). In simple terms, that means that when all three primary colors are combined, the result is black (K). Removing one of the colors will result in red, green, or blue. Removal of all of the colors results in white. This is the most common color model used for printing—just think of your color printer ink cartridges.

Color Theory
 
RGB
The RGB color model is an additive color model whose primaries are red, green, and blue. An additive color model means that if you combine all three primary colors you get white instead of black. This works the same way light waves do, which is perfect for systems that emit light, such as electronics like monitors. Because of this, RGB is used for computers, phones, and other digital displays including web graphics.

Color Theory

The computer code for black on an RGB model would be B=0. Each primary is 255 (R=255 ; G=255 ; B=255) and all the colors in-between will have a corresponding code somewhere between those values. If you are looking to create a color on a web-based platform, many will only give you the option to use RGB values or a HEX code, so this system is hugely important for web designers in particular. It’s worth noting, however, that most computer and non-web-based systems will allow you to use either RGB or CMYK numbers to find the color you are looking for.

Note: color HEXcode is a letter and number value beginning with a # sign, which is used in HTML, CSS, SVG, and other computing applications to represent colors.
 
RYB
“But wait,” you say. “I thought the primary colors were red, yellow, and blue—not red, green, and blue or cyan, magenta, and yellow.”

RYB is still the oldest (some date it as early as the 16th century) and simplest color model and is the one taught in most fine arts institutions today. It is primarily used for painting but does not take light into account as much as the other models do.
 

Colors in Action

Creating Color Schemes

Now that you know the basics of color theory, we can get down to the nitty-gritty of actually applying everything you’ve learned. What makes some color combinations “clash” while other combinations work well together?

One—sometimes aggravating—exercise many art students are forced to undertake in color theory classes is to place the same color next to two other colors in order to make the original color appear different in each instance. In the example below, the blue tile in the middle of each larger square is the same exact color. It only looks different in comparison because the colors surrounding it have changed.

Color Theory

The way we perceive color is directly related to the way it reacts to its environment. The color doesn’t change, but our perception of it does. Some of this is intuitive, particularly when it comes to contrast—you wouldn’t put a dark green text on a black background because you wouldn’t be able to see anything! You intuitively know that contrast makes foreground items more visible. Whether or not you should use orange and green on the same web page is a trickier problem. Luckily, there are several different models for approaching color schemes to help you out.

 
Monochromatic Color Schemes are color schemes which use only one hue, such as blue, and individual shades, tones, and tints are used for contrast.

Color TheoryDownload this peaceful winter landscape.

 
Analogous Color Schemes use colors that are next to one another on the color wheel, such as blue, blue-green, and green.

Color Theory

Download this flatlay of asparagus and salt.

 
Triadic Color Schemes use colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel, such as green, purple, and orange.

Color TheoryDownload this whimsical orange lantern.

 
Complementary Color Schemes are color schemes which use colors on opposite sides of the color wheel, such as red and green.

Color TheoryDownload this photo of a Chinese red rose blossom.

 
Split Complementary Color Schemes are a variation of the complementary color scheme. It uses one base color and the two colors next to that color’s complement (the color directly opposite it on the color wheel). For example, since yellow’s complement is violet, it’s split complementaries would be blue-violet and red-violet.

Color TheoryDownload this vintage-style photo of a yellow rose bush

 
These are not the only color schemes, but they are the most basic and popular. Play with colors within each scheme (and outside of them) to learn for yourself how colors interact!
 

Color and Emotion

There’s a reason spa’s are usually decorated in shades of pale blue, sage, lavender, and white. And there is a reason that the Russian Constructivists creating state posters and propaganda chose red and black for their media and posters. Color is emotional. You can create a basic ad, but the colors you choose will impact the message your audience receives as much as the text and design do.

This can seem intimidating, but it’s actually great! It’s a powerful weapon in your arsenal—which is exactly why you need to understand some basics about color psychology. Color and emotion is a very complex subject, but in general:

Cool colors like blue, lavender, and teal are associated with feelings of tranquility and loyalty. They make viewers feel secure, trusting, and peaceful. They are (usually) not flashy colors, and so they convey a sense of sophistication and elegance. Tints of blue are also often associated with young boys. Negatively, these shades can also be used to convey coldness and fear.

Color TheoryDownload this photo of a blue sailboat on a clear day.

 
Red is usually the most saturated and dominant color on the spectrum. Because it always stands out, it’s associated with very strong feelings and always relays a sense of confidence. Red is the color of love and passion, but also of power, desire, and fire. Red is also associated with speed—there is a reason red cars are rumored to get pulled over more frequently than cars of other colors.

Conversely, red can convey danger, warning, and anger. It’s softer cousin, pink, is symbolic of love and femininity. Pink is a sensitive, romantic color that can also come across as saccharine and childish. It almost goes without saying that pink is generally associated with women and young girls.

Color TheoryDownload this photo of pink and red tulips.

 
Orange, like red, is associated with motivation, strength, and courage, but also has a reputation as friendly, cheerful color. Be wary, however, as it can come off as cheap. If you work in the restaurant biz, it’s good to know that orange is thought to stimulate the appetite (as does placing it’s primary colors—red and yellow—side by side. You’ll see this at play in the color schemes for many fast food chains).

Color TheoryDownload this abstract landscape photo of a tree growing before a mountain.

 
Yellow is the color of joy, sunshine, and optimism. It is the easiest color to see, and always stands out—but its brightness can make it difficult to see clearly against many background colors, and like orange, it can seem cheap. Yellow can also make viewers feel anxious because of its overwhelming brightness.

Color TheoryDownload this vintage yellow concrete wall background.

 
Jewel Tones such as deep blue, purple, green, and garnet have a feeling of luxury and wealth. This may be ingrained in our psychology because of these color’s histories. Deep red and blue were among the most expensive pigments artists could purchase, and so were reserved for the most luxurious and ornate paintings, often alongside gold leaf. Purple, another outrageously expensive pigment in earlier times, was a color only the richest could afford to wear and was even reserved for royalty under Elizabeth I.

Color TheoryDownload this lavender flowers background.

 
Green and Brown are shades closely identified with nature and the outdoors. They remind us of the environment, longevity, fertility, new life, peace, and of the warmer seasons. Green can also be associated with money and wealth, along with all of money’s negative connotations—envy, jealousy, and greed.

Color TheoryDownload this red-eye frog in nature.

 
Finally, shades of Gray range from the luxurious, high-tech platinum to the solid reliability (or conservative gloominess) of charcoal. Black, the eternal classic, can exude classic elegance and formality, or can be the dark harbinger of mystery and death. Pure white imparts a feeling of cleanliness and purity, but can also come off sterile and cold.

Color TheoryDownload this serene photo of an iceberg reflected under a grey sky.

 
Finally, when you are thinking about your color schemes, consider where your creation will be displayed—for example, Facebook is predominantly blue. If you want to get noticed, you need to ask yourself which colors will pop against your intended backdrop.

 
The meanings of colors can vary widely based on the perception of each individual viewer. You aren’t a mind reader, but you can manipulate these colors according to your needs by thinking carefully about how you will combine colors to create a color palette that will appeal to your ideal audience. If you wanted to attract a high-end clientele for a jewelry business, you would probably consider palettes consisting of precious metals, jewel tones, or soft blues and whites (a la Tiffany & Co). If you were designing a movie poster for a film about vigilante justice and war—think V for Vendetta or Gladiator—the same color scheme would be completely out of place.
 

A Few Notes in Closing

Now that you’re fully briefed on the basics of color theory and color psychology, experiment to find the color palettes that work best for you! A few more takeaways to remember:

  • Trust your instincts—you intuitively know more of this than you may realize.
  • Keep consistency of color throughout your design, be it a poster, home color scheme or a multi-page site. If each room or page is in a totally different color palette, it can create an inharmonious experience and confuse people as to your personal brand.
  • Explore free web-based color tools, such as Adobe Color and Illustrator Color Guide. These programs have preset color palettes and can be a good place to start.
  • Always test colors on your audience, and on the platforms you use most. See what works well and what doesn’t.
  • Once you’ve established your color palette, save time and money by finding royalty-free graphics, photos, and vectors that fit your scheme. With Graphicstock, you can search by any color for completely customized results.

 

Discover a World of Color

 

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Caroline MercurioColor Theory 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Complementary Colors, RGB, and More

Tutorial: Create Custom Seamless Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

by Maddie Stearn on January 3, 2017 No comments

Let’s talk patterns—sometimes it’s good to repeat yourself. From paisley medallions to bricklay to interlocking geometrics, there’s no end to repeating designs to choose from when looking for the right background or texture. And there are certainly plenty of stock seamless patterns out there—but what if you have a specific design in mind? In those cases, it’s helpful to know how to create your own custom seamless patterns.

Adobe Illustrator’s pattern tool makes creating seamless patterns incredibly easy–so easy, in fact, that the hardest part is deciding what to put in your design. Luckily, our library of stock vectors can help with that part of the process. We’ve even curated a gallery of vectors to help spark some creative inspiration.

To get started, pick a shape or design that you want to use in your pattern. It’s also easy to pick and choose elements from existing patterns or preset design elements. For this tutorial, we used these stock owl vectors and stock animal vectors.

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Step 1. Open the Files in Illustrator

Open all of the files that you’ll be using to make your custom design.

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Step 2. Select Objects

Use the group selection tool to select the first object for your design. If you select more objects than you intended, just Shift+Click on the elements that you don’t want to include in your final design.

Once selected, copy the element and open a new file (of any size) in Illustrator. Paste the element into the new file. Continue to copy all of your desired elements and paste them into the same Illustrator file.

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Step 3. Create a Custom Design

Experiment with the placement and colors of the objects until you’re satisfied (this is the difficult part).

Here is the design that we created and the hexadecimal codes for each color:

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Step 4. Add a Background (optional)

If you’d like to add a background, draw a rectangle that covers the entire canvas. Expand the Layers tab and find the rectangle layer. Double click on the empty space just to the right of the eye icon. A lock icon should now appear in that space. Locking the rectangle layer will ensure that you will be able to select your design elements without the rectangle getting in the way.

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Step 5. Use the Pattern Tool

Select your entire design and click Object > Pattern > Make. Click “OK” on the box that pops up.

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Step 6. Experiment with Placement and Spacing

The pattern tool has some great functions, so we recommend that you do some experimenting. In the images below, we highlight some quick and easy changes you can make to your pattern to achieve the desired placement and spacing.

Tile Type
This function allows you to change the alignment of each “brick” in your pattern, In this case, we decided that we liked the “Brick by Row” option best for our owl pattern.

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Brick Offset
This function is only available for the Brick by Row and Brick by Column tile types. The Brick Offset button determines the location on the canvas where each row of the pattern starts. Click through the different options to get a feel for how this tool works.

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Width and Height
This option allows you to change the width and height of the spaces between each brick in your pattern.

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Copies
This function allows you to see what your pattern would look like with different dimensions. Each option measures your pattern by bricks, so for our current example, the 7×7 option will show 7 owls x 7 owls.

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Dim
The “Dim” option has no effect on your final pattern, but you might find it useful as you experiment with the size and spacing of the bricks. The lower the percentage, the dimmer the rest of the pattern becomes while the highlighted brick retains its original luminosity.

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Step 7. Click “Done”

Once you are happy with the spacing and placement of your pattern, click “Done.”

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Step 8. Put Your Pattern to Use and Start Creating!

This is where we get to test out our custom pattern. Select the rectangle tool, then select the last swatch under “Swatches.” This swatch is the new pattern that we’ve just made.

Once the swatch is selected, simply draw a rectangle. If you adjust the size of your rectangle, the pattern will automatically fill the entire area.

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But how can we tell that this is a seamless pattern? Simply copy and paste the rectangle you just made. Align the rectangles and you’ll see that the pattern lines up seamlessly!

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There you have it—your pattern is complete!

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Now you can let your creativity run wild and create your own seamless patterns. There’s no need to feel limited by existing designs—just pick and choose what you like to create something completely new. To get you started, you can check out our hand-picked gallery of stock vectors, all royalty-free with unlimited downloads when you’re a GraphicStock member.

 

Go Seamless with Stock

 

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Maddie StearnTutorial: Create Custom Seamless Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

50 Best Photoshop Tutorials of 2016 — The Year’s Top Graphic Design Tips and Tricks

by Maddie Stearn on December 28, 2016 No comments

2016 has been on point in the world of Photoshop tutorials. With dozens of new and unique tips and tricks for Adobe’s most popular design program, Photoshop has only gotten better with age. From trendy effects like double exposure and text portraits to evergreen favorites like added grunge textures, there’s always more to learn. Even better, it’s never too late to start since there are always new and updated tutorials to help you along the way.

We’ve curated our 50 favorite Photoshop tutorials from 2016 for designers of all skill levels. Stock photos and graphics are also a great resource for testing these tutorials—check out our library to help you get started.

Tutorial Categories

Beginners
Text
Illustrations
Vintage
Small Businesses
Special FX & Fantasy

 

Beginners

It’s never too late to learn Photoshop, especially since every year brings a wealth of new tutorials. Whether you’re learning for the first time or looking for a refresher, these are some of the best beginner-level Photoshop tutorials from 2016.
1. How to Add Textures in Photoshop

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2. This Game Will Help You Conquer Your Fear of the Adobe Pen Tool

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3. How to Change Colors in Photoshop

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4. How to Add Bokeh Overlays in Photoshop

happy childredn outdoor
5. How to Create a Dazzling Holiday Card with Your Annual Family Photo

Holiday Card Photoshop Tutorial
6. How to Easily and Accurately Select Image Areas

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7. How to Use the Lasso Tool in Photoshop


8. Create Animated GIFs in Photoshop


9. Color Luminosity and How to Change It


10. The Channel Mixer Adjustment and Creative Coloring


11. Photoshop Tip: What to Do If Your JPEG Image Won’t Open


12. How To Use The Content Aware Crop In Photoshop

 

Text

Fonts and lettering have surged in popularity in recent years, so it’s no surprise that 2016 really pushed text to the limit.
13. How to Create a Visually Striking Text Portrait in Photoshop 

Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
14. Hand Lettering Tutorial for Beginners


15. Create a Realistic Fire Text Effect in Photoshop

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16. Create a Long Shadow Text Effect in Photoshop Using Layer Styles

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17. Create a Multi-Stroke Text Effect Using Photoshop’s New Layer Style Functionality

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18. Banksy Style Stencil Graffiti Effect in Photoshop

 

Illustrations

Illustrations can be one of the most important and versatile assets for a design project. Luckily, 2016 provided us with plenty of Photoshop tutorials to keep our illustration skills sharp (regardless of drawing ability).
19. How to Color Illustrations in Photoshop

How to Color Illustrations in Photoshop
20. How to Create a Realistic Pencil Sketch Effect in Photoshop

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21. Photoshop Tutorial: Low Poly Portrait


22. How to Create a Blueprint Effect in Adobe Photoshop


23. How to Create an Abstract Polyscape in Adobe Photoshop

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24. Create Digital Collages Without Using Filters

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25. Using Patterns in Digital Art

 

Vintage

No matter how close we are to a robot-controlled world, we hope that vintage design will always have its appeal. At the very least, vintage Photoshop tutorials were still hugely popular in 2016, so we’ve collected a few of our favorites.
26. Add a Vintage Grunge Effect in 5 Easy Steps with Photoshop

Vintage Grunge Effect Photoshop
27. How to Create a Distorted VHS Effect in Photoshop

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28. Re-Color a Black-and-White Photo

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29. Creating a Film Noir “Light Coming Through the Blinds” Look in Photoshop

 

Small Businesses

Knowledge of Photoshop can make a significant difference for small business owners, and these tutorials from 2016 will help you stay ahead of the game. We also recommend checking out these stock photos for social media images, stock vectors for creating logos, and stock graphics for website optimization.
30. The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Image Sizing

Facebook Image Sizing
31. How to Make Social Media Banners in Photoshop

Make Social Media Banners in Photoshop
32. Learn How to Design a Profile UI in Adobe Photoshop


33. How To Create a Watermark

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34. How to Create a T-shirt Mockup

 

Special Effects & Fantasy

These tutorials give us a glimpse at Photoshop’s incredible power, supernatural or otherwise. From fireworks and surreal photo composites to mesmerizing smoke and shattered glass effects, these tutorials will take your projects to an unreal level.

 

Special FX:

35. 7 Easy Steps for Adding Fireworks Using Photo Composites

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial 7 Easy Steps for Adding Fireworks Using Photo Composites
36. Adobe Photoshop Tutorial: How to Add Light Beams to Images

Adobe Photoshop Tutorial How to Add Light Beams to Images
37. Create a Shattered Glass Portrait

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38. Cutout Paper Style in Photoshop CC


39. Smoke Effect


40. How to Photoshop a Tattoo on Someone

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41. Dispersion Effect: Photoshop Tutorial


42. Photoshop Tutorial | Fire Portrait Manipulation


43. Create Sun Rays in Photoshop


44. Glass Window Reflection Effect in Photoshop


45. How to Create Realistic Jedi Levitation Portraits

 

Fantasy:

46. Create a Fantasy Seascape with Stock Photo Composites

Photoshop Tutorial Create Fantasy Seascape Stock Photo Composites
47. How to Create a Game of Thrones-Inspired Crest in Photoshop

How to Create a Game of Thrones inspired Crest in Photoshop
48. How to Create Double Exposure Effects in Photoshop

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49. Create a Lightbulb Composition

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50. How To Create a Surreal Hollow Face Portrait in Photoshop

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With all of these awesome tutorials, it’s hard not to feel inspired. Get your creativity flowing and take these how-tos for a test drive using royalty-free stock photos from our library—all with unlimited downloads for our members.

 

Discover Creative Stock Photos

 

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Maddie Stearn50 Best Photoshop Tutorials of 2016 — The Year’s Top Graphic Design Tips and Tricks

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

50 Perfect Stock Photos For All Your Social Media Images

by Caroline Mercurio on December 2, 2016 No comments

Imagery is your most powerful tool on social media. Whether you are new to social branding or a seasoned Instagrammer, stock photos can help establish your online identity. On Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or any other channel, engaging graphics appeal to your audience and increase engagement—which means more clicks, shares, favorites, and—ultimately—sales. In short, better social images mean better business.

But how do you create compelling images efficiently? To make sure you won’t get slapped with a copyright violation or end up with a low-quality graphic, the answer is simple: use stock graphics. It’s something professional graphic designers have been doing for ages.

To make it easy for you, we’ve curated 50 fan-favorite photos for social media designs. Take a look at our top 10 and then click the button at the bottom of the post to download the entire collection!

 
1. Backgrounds
Sometimes you want an image to speak for itself—but other times you need an eye-catching background for your message. That’s where photos like this come into play.

Stock PhotosDownload this Mosaic Background stock photo

 
2. Landscapes
Can you even look at this without feeling a sense of calm? From gorgeous seascapes to snowy mountaintops and everything in between, landscapes are perfect for any number of social media projects.

Stock PhotosDownload this Vintage Apple Orchard stock photo

 
3. Travel
Anyone up for a little #TravelTuesday? Help your readers escape their desk for a few minutes and travel the world with stunning photos of monuments around the world.

Stock PhotosDownload this Statue of Liberty stock photo

 
4. Business
We all have to make a living somehow, so it makes sense that stock photos depicting common business themes are popular on social media. Besides, who wouldn’t want their desk space to look this zen?

Stock PhotosDownload this Laptop stock photo

 
5. Fitness
Fitness is a multi-billion dollar industry—it’s no wonder that photos inspiring us to hit the weights make up a huge number of the images we see online every day (#fitspo). Stand out from the pack with visually interesting shots that look beyond the abs.

Stock PhotosDownload this Kettle Ball Workout stock photo

 
6. R&R
In this day and age, we all need to stop and catch our breath sometimes. Steal a few minutes of zen with calm-inducing photos like this one.

Stock PhotosDownload this Hot Stone Treatment stock photo

 
7. Flower Power
What is it about close-ups of flowers? The compositions are eye-catching and incredibly beautiful. So go ahead—stop and smell the roses.

Stock PhotosDownload this Monarch Butterfly and Flower stock photo

 
8. Holidays & Celebrations
Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Fourth of July, New Year’s Eve, or any of the hundreds of other holidays people around the world celebrate each year, these popular photographs take full advantage of the season.

Stock PhotosDownload this Holiday Beverage stock photo

 
9. Cute & Cuddly
It’s just a fact—cat’s rule the Internet. But don’t forget about dogs, and owls, and alpacas. Yes, we said alpacas. They’re really cute, okay? Give your audiences something they’ll love with these heartwarming images.

stock photosDownload this Cat in Sunglasses stock photo

 
10. Food
There’s a reason that Instagram food blogging is a thing. We’re obsessed with food. It can be anything—even brussels sprouts. If it’s well plated and lit perfectly, we want to eat it, and show it to our friends so that they can fantasize about eating it too.

Stock PhotosDownload this Cherries on a Wooden Background stock photo

There is no end to what you can create and share with our top 50 stock images for social. If you are looking for a little more guidance on formatting your social images, check out our post on Facebook Image Sizing.

Feeling inspired? You can download the entire curated collection as part of your GraphicStock subscription.

 

Explore our Top 50 Social Images

 

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Caroline Mercurio50 Perfect Stock Photos For All Your Social Media Images

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