All posts tagged Grunge

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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.


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.


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


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

GraphicStock Member Profile: Inside Woulds Design

by Caroline Mercurio on October 4, 2015 1 comment

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


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

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

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

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

Education (And Endurance)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom In Freelance (And Stock Vectors)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Clients (And Retro Demand)

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Inspiration (And Dual Purpose)

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

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

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

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

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

Download Some Design Labels Now►
read more
Caroline MercurioGraphicStock Member Profile: Inside Woulds Design

80’s Trends in Graphic Design

by Caroline Mercurio on June 16, 2014 2 comments

80’s Trends in Graphic Design

Everything old is new again, and in this case, not that old. Don’t look now, or should I say do look, because the trends and aesthetic of 1980’s and 1990’s graphic design have come back! You can’t keep a good design down, and what follows are insights as to why graphic trends of that era are special and appealing, and a musing on why and how they have returned circa 2014.

Styles like “Neon Noir” and “80’s Deco,” made the ’80’s distinctive. The 90’s weren’t as distinctive as the 80’s, but were arguably as singular and significant, and surely more experimental with the influence of flannel, long hair, grunge music and the “Seattle” style.

Neon Noir

neon noir

Neon Noir visually fused crime-filled streets with designer-filled wardrobes. Bright colors, dark backgrounds and scripted fonts of typography are all staples of this form. Favorite subject matter and source material included palm trees, sports cars, beautiful women and sunsets.

The films “To Live and Die in L.A.,” and “Thief,” and the hit television show “Miami Vice” sported elements of the Neon Noir design style. The movie posters for “Risky Business” and “License to Drive” were quintessential examples of the form.

80’s Deco


A full-blown art deco revival transformed graphic design in the 80’s. This modern design style is called 80’s Deco, and it made its mark not only on graphic trends but also on architecture and interior design. Earmarks of this style are overt angles and curves, and clean, sans-serif fonts.

The opening credits of “Miami Vice,” and renowned designer Razzia’s poster art of a 1936 Bugatti Atlantic automobile were prime proponents of this 80’s style art deco.

Seattle, Grunge, and Other “Subtle” Experiments of the 1990’s


The 90’s were distinguished by design movements with arguably less flash, but equal doses of singularity and distinctiveness. Grunge music burst on the scene in 1991, fueled by the band Nirvana, and the flannel, “Seattle” styles spawned by this cultural wave influenced everything from fashion to design.

The movie poster for the film “Singles,” and the film itself, visually and aesthetically covered this territory. So did Nirvana’s album designs, rave flyers and the Starbuck’s Coffee logo.

Back to the Future

So why is the current graphic design scene dotted with these visual ornaments of the recent past? Call it nostalgia, retro-thinking or just the fact that most everything is cyclical in the broad scheme of time. And if the designs stand the test of time, why not?

You can find royalty-free graphics of the 80’s and 90’s at


read more
Caroline Mercurio80’s Trends in Graphic Design

Retro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part III

by Caroline Mercurio on March 24, 2014 No comments

Retro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part III: Details and Development

Step 1: Engaging Visitors

With Part I and Part II behind us, the navigation and background are set.

The final design element for our retro photographer mockup is creating placement for text and designing an element to drive sales.

As the theme is photography, a wedding or engagement package seems apt—and a quick search through Graphic Stock’s library turns up a retro-enough save-the-date card with hand-drawn illustrations to match the stock icons transformed in Part I:

8-royalty-free-wedding-graphics (2)

Step 2: Pinks and Hues

The above stock vector illustration has some great pinks—but the black provides too much contrast for the light and whimsical look we’ve set for this project.

We can get around this by once gain sampling a shade of blue from the spectrum pattern we used throughout Part I and Part II, but we also need some type of flourish to turn this graphic from a postcard into an organic ad banner.

A search for sale turns up some nice retro emblems, and another for vintage badge turns up a great ice cream advert—whose banner should do nicely:

9-royalty-free-retro-design-labels (1) 10-royalty-free-retro-ad-design (1)

Step 3: Stitching Everything Together

Pulling pink from the engagement card and blue from the spectrum pattern brings the previous elements together quite nicely.

To tie things together further—while also mimicking the perforated effect of coupons to further highlight our sales element—the stroke path function adds some alluring lines to the sale and engagement banners by tracing a path and playing with the spacing.

The final result—first by itself and then overlaid atop a stock digital display template:

11-retro-photography-web-design (1) 12 retro-photography-design-template (1)

*All graphics sourced from the Graphic Stock library
**All design work courtesy of DiGuiseppi Studios


Matt Siegel writes about design, leadership, branding, and pop culture for Video Blocks and Graphic Stock. Follow his coverage @MattSiegelMedia.

Retro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part III

read more
Caroline MercurioRetro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part III

Retro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part II

by Caroline Mercurio on March 20, 2014 No comments

Retro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part II: We’re Going to Need Some Bokeh

Step 1: Blurring Backgrounds

Similar in some respects to lens flare, bokeh is a Japanese term used to describe the blur quality of out-of-focus photography elements.

YouTube has some great tutorials on adding and creating bokeh in Photoshop, but you can also download pre-fab royalty-free versions available via Graphic Stock:


Why bokeh?

a) It’s as coveted among photographers as is retro design—if not more so.

b) It lends itself to associations with professional-level photos and videos, as good bokeh requires the large apertures (and aperture control) that often come only with higher-end cameras and lenses.

c) Its being, by definition, out of focus means it eliminates distraction and retrains focus upon the forefront. This is precisely why it’s so useful in photography—to make in-focus subjects pop against blurred backgrounds—and the same holds true for general design.

Step 2: Returning to Roots

Remember all that work we did in Part I to lighten the palette more toward white than brown?

It’s probably best not to undo all of that by using such a dominantly dark (in areas) background image. There are many ways to get around this (including just doing another image search), but this is a great photo worth some quick strategic adjustment.

All that’s required, really, is a little transparent overlay (based on, perhaps, the off-white from Part I) to draw the eye toward the brighter areas and help the icons pop:


Step 3: Knowing Your Surroundings

Playing around with design—particularly that involving the light and dark contrasts covered above—can be tricky when focusing too closely on your existing content and not enough on its destination.

This is why it’s always a good idea to anticipate the end result.

Now if only there were a quick and easy way to achieve this:


Expert tip: the use of stock templates like that above is as useful in the client approval process as it is in the design process. Think the content created so far looks better overlaid across a digital display? Your client probably will too . . .

Check back for Part III: Details and Development

*All graphics sourced from the Graphic Stock library
**All design work courtesy of DiGuiseppi Studios


Matt Siegel writes about design, leadership, branding, and pop culture for Video Blocks and Graphic Stock. Follow his coverage @MattSiegelMedia.


read more
Caroline MercurioRetro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part II

Retro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part I

by Caroline Mercurio on March 19, 2014 1 comment

Retro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part I: Retro & Photographer Go Together Like Caffeine & Creatives

Retro design is in heightened demand right now—partially driven, it seems, by design cues revived by retro photography vanguards like Instagram and VSCO.

At the same time, the shrinking cost barriers to affordable photo and video equipment coupled with the rise of affordable website solutions like Squarespace and PhotoShelter have driven a surge of photography upstarts.

The stars have aligned, it seems, for a tutorial on using stock graphics to design a retro photography website . . .

Step 1: Finding Retro Inspiration

The first step in any design project is drawing inspiration. Aside from filling your office space with inspiring music like Mozart sonatas or Run DMC’s Christmas in Hollis, an image search is always a good start.

Searching through images marked retro in GraphicStock’s library reveals some epic vector patterns as well as some great retro icons suited perfectly for photography:

1-colorful-stock-vector-pattern 2-royalty-free-retro-icons

Retro television, calculator, and microphone illustrations, of course, don’t normally fall under the roof of photography icons—but some creative changes can spin them into great navigation buttons.

Step 2: Applying Color Theory

The inspiring vibrancy of the pattern above, unfortunately, stands to be dampened by all of the dark browns in the icon illustrations. Meanwhile, the images should be more complementary overall if they’re going to come together for a website design.

To remedy this, the off-white border of the stock Polaroid graphic makes a much softer replacement for all of the dark browns—together with some silver inspired by the included paperclip.

Meanwhile, the empty canvases of aqua in the camera and television as well as the gray/brown in the Polaroid and microphone are prime targets for thematic tie-ins.

Step 3: Dividing and Merging

Employing the color dropper tool to select and mirror tones followed by divide and merge functions to punch out the aforementioned targets results in a logo and icons that are far more organic and fitting to the theme than their original stock vector files:

3-royalty-free-photography-logo 4-royalty-free-photography-icons

Sampling the blue font color from the spectrum pattern, finally, completes the design and edges us still closer to light and inspiring than dark and industrial.

Check back for Part II: We’re Going to Need Some Bokeh

*All graphics sourced from the Graphic Stock library
**All design work courtesy of DiGuiseppi Studios


Matt Siegel writes about design, leadership, branding, and pop culture for Video Blocks and Graphic Stock. Follow his coverage @MattSiegelMedia.

Retro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part I

read more
Caroline MercurioRetro Design Hacks: A Photographer’s Tutorial Part I

Top 10 Hottest Downloaded Design Elements

by Caroline Mercurio on March 18, 2014 No comments

Top 10 Hottest Downloaded Design Elements

Do you have a business, idea, or event to promote? Chances are that you do if you think about it! Chances are there is something important in your life or the lives of those around you that you want to treat in a special way, and we are here to help. Here are some beautiful graphics to provide colorful inspiration for cards, websites, or any professional presentation. Download these vectors with your Graphic Stock account to customize the colors, text, font, and layers to match your graphic designs! To View the Top 20 Hottest Downloaded Design Elements Check Out This Shareable Lightbox Happy Downloading!

[portfolio_slideshow id=935]
Top 10 Hottest Downloaded Design Elements

read more
Caroline MercurioTop 10 Hottest Downloaded Design Elements

Retro, Hipster, Moustache Gallery

by Caroline Mercurio on February 25, 2014 No comments

Retro, Hipster, Moustache Gallery

Colorful inspiration for cards, websites, or any presentation background. Download these vectors with your GraphicStock account to customize the colors, text, font, and layers to match your designs! To take a look at “The Meteoric Rise of Mustaches” for a full case study about mustaches and their trends throughout the years. Start a trial at GraphicStock to download from over 250,000+ Graphics, Vectors, Icons, Buttons, Images and more! Happy downloading- and mustache growing for that matter!
[portfolio_slideshow id=787]

Image Details

  • Format: Vector
  • Categories: Textures, Presentation, Graphic Design, Creative Projects, Retro, Hipster, Moustache, Vectors


Retro, Hipster, Moustache Gallery

read more
Caroline MercurioRetro, Hipster, Moustache Gallery

Update Your Design Style Using Retro Graphics

by TJ Leonard on December 19, 2013 No comments

With so many designs in the creative world today, “inspirational pieces” can become boring and redundant. So what do you do?

Use inspired retro graphics to create distinct, attention grabbing designs.

With artists such as Shepard Fairey, whose streetwise graffiti evolved into the ubiquitous Obama “Change” poster that represented his 2008 campaign, and the phantom artist Banksy, with his retro abstract style and grunge stenciling techniques, underground street-art has come to the forefront. These bold artists have given way for an entirely new contemporary movement of bringing back older looks to create bold modern statements.

So what do the look entail? What is Retro, anyway?

Retro is all about paying tribute to styles that have worked in the past, but resurrecting them in a whole new light. With the rise in popularity of events like Movember, retro concepts are popping up across every portion of modern pop culture.  This type of design incorporates a simplistic combination of old-timey stencil-style, vintage notions, and pop art. Recently, retro art has incorporated more of a grunge edge as well. It’s the 90’s all over again, folks, just with a more professional, polished aesthetic.

Check out these retro-style graphics for inspiration you can use to really take your ideas to the next level.

collection-web-icons-in-disc-dials-of-old-retro-phone-913-503 retro-set1-01-111413-2122.eps
retro-style-cloud-computing-concept-913-1399 textured-retro-geometric-background-913-1666

Use retro graphics to update a wide range of your designs

  • Modernize the look of your website (it’s time…)
  • Print cooler t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc
  • Create media icons to jazz up your music library
  • Form a powerful message using simple imagery

Is it time to update your designs with a dose of retro cool?

read more
TJ LeonardUpdate Your Design Style Using Retro Graphics