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Get Your Swag On: Designing Swag with Stock Graphics

by Caroline Mercurio on February 14, 2017 No comments

T-shirts, hats, mugs, bags, pens, or socks—if you can think of it, you can put your logo on it. Swag is a crucial part of your marketing strategy. If it’s wearable or useful, you can guarantee great swag will get your brand in front of new eyes and help create lasting awareness. To spark your inspiration, we’ve outlined three ways companies can use swag to show off the strengths of their business and values—whether you’re a small business owner or Mark Zuckerberg himself, these top swag tricks will help you elevate your brand to the next level.

Keep in mind, you can’t just slap your logo on a coffee mug and call it a day, not if you want to make a significant impact—you don’t want to devalue your brand with common promotional products. Push the design of your swag to the next level and incorporate stock graphics, vectors and photos to help the inner spirit of your brand shine.

Your company’s brand is more than just the logo and colors—it’s a personality and a vision. Highlight your brand’s internal values that don’t always get to shine so brightly to the world outside your office. Swag is an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also an important way to create a strong working community among coworkers and teammates.

 

#1 Swag for Facebook

Consider Facebook, for instance. They have five core values that drive their inner company workings and their hiring process. While they aren’t always advertised to the external world, it’s a huge part of their company culture and brand. As an example, we created a quick swag design encapsulating one of their values—in the words of Mark Zuckerberg, “Move fast and break things.”

 
Stock Graphics

Download the stock image of a blur speed effect used in this design.

 

#2 Swag for Google

Google is another company with strong internal values. They are innovative, creative, and they push boundaries. One of their ten core values is, “You can be serious without a suit.” They believe work should be challenging—but also fun. To reflect that playful attitude and boundary pushing mentality, we imagined a fun baseball cap that proudly boasts the value.

 
Stock Graphics

Download the stock illustration of an astronaut used in this design.

 

#3 Swag for Slack

Slack is another company with strong internal values that don’t always see the light of day. They focus on three keywords: diligence, curiosity, and empathy. Slack’s brand always portrays a fun and playful attitude—similar to Google—but with a little more youth and edginess due to their bright, saturated, and hip brand colors. We imagine that their swag should be playful and maybe even downright silly—like this bag.

 
Stock Graphics

Download the cat vector illustration used in this design.

 
There are so many possibilities when it comes to designing swag—especially when you have unlimited downloads from our library of royalty-free stock images. Try not to limit your designs to a simple logo. Think edgier, more fun, more creative. Whether the swag you’re designing is for your customers or your employees, the more unique the design, the more effective your swag will be in spreading your brand’s message and increasing awareness.

Ready to take your company’s swag to the next level? Explore our library of stock images, or check our Top 30 Favorite Label Vectors for Branding for more swag inspiration.

 

Start Designing

 

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Caroline MercurioGet Your Swag On: Designing Swag with Stock Graphics

30 Vectors for Labeling Everything—Market Your Product Like a Pro

by Maddie Stearn on February 11, 2017 1 comment

Everything has a label—and small business owners understand this particularly well. From the product itself to social media campaigns, labels are everywhere. Labels also help combat brand fatigue by spicing up marketing materials. When your business has a sale for every major event in the year, labels are a godsend.

The takeaway? Your labels need to be certified fresh.

Stock vector labels are enormously useful for creating a wide variety of product labels. Not to rip off Portlandia, but name an object and we’ll say, “Put a (stock) label on it!” The possibilities are endless.

The GraphicStock library has thousands of labels that are also vectors, so they’re completely customizable. In our image above, we put our own spin on a label from a customizable template pack. You can find that label and more in our hand-picked gallery of 30 popular stock vector labels.

 

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Feeling inspired? Make sure to visit our royalty-free vectors library to see all 30 vector labels.

 

Download All 30 Labels

 

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Maddie Stearn30 Vectors for Labeling Everything—Market Your Product Like a Pro

20 Stock Photos That Will Actually “Un-Stock” Your Advertising

by Caroline Mercurio on December 7, 2016 No comments

In advertising, you need to lead first with visuals to grab your audience’s attention. Yet not every creative team has a photographer on call with an unlimited travel budget to supply a steady stream of fresh and innovative images. Instead, the majority of marketers and designers turn to stock photographs for high quality content.

Unfortunately, some of these photos can seem “stocky”—too posed, too cliched, and too unreal—for consumers to truly connect with the message. That’s why we’ve picked 20 of our favorite photos to “un-stock” your advertising, as well as explaining the four best types of photos to look for when picking fresh visual content for your advertising.

 

Authentic Portraits

Day in and day out, customers are bombarded with photographs of retouched models in highly-posed situations. Advertising that uses images of everyday people in realistic contexts can connect with audiences at a human level, resonating with consumers’ desire for authenticity.

Portraiture with subjects who develop strong and honest rapports with the camera evoke a sense of believability and earnesty. Direct and emotive gazes without false smiles are crucial for these types of advertising portraits.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of an elderly man at work.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a happy boy laughing.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a woman and her husband.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a young woman working out.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this lifestyle portrait of a pedestrian in the city.

 

Street Photography

The city is in the zeitgeist. Because we live in a constantly connected, digital world, metropolitan imagery has begun to resonate more and more with audiences, regardless of where ever they actually are.

Aesthetically, street photography appeals to viewers because of the wide array of textures and diversity of subjects it offers, as well as the frequent contrasts between structured, urban environments and their human inhabitants.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this street photograph of people in a crowd.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this photograph of graffiti on the metro.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this photograph of a young skateboarder in the city.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this photography of a tourist photographing a Vatican street.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this photograph of people on a busy street.

 

Flat Lay

Although seemingly more posed and polished than many of the visual trends we’ve highlighted, flat lay photography is having a moment. The style has it’s own kind of authenticity—the illusion of two dimensional space and the style’s fusion of geometric layouts with organic shapes appeals to an innate desire for simplicity and order.

Flat lay is especially popular for food advertising, but the aesthetic lends itself to any number of objects, from tools to plastic packaging. Using flat lay photos like these will keep your advertising fresh and on trend.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this flat lay laptop photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this flat lay fresh fruits in a cone photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this pills on a plate flat lay medical photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this ice cream packaging bags flat lay photograph.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this flat lay tools photograph.

 

Quirky Subjects

A sense of humor, especially one that’s just slightly off-beat and not overly cliched, can really help cut through the noise in today’s oversaturated advertising landscape. Fun, quirky subjects with visually striking compositions do this by connecting with audiences through one of the most basic languages there is—humor.

To capture this trend, focus on images that feature off-center composition, bright or contrasting colors, and subjects that are just slightly weird or odd without being completely unrelatable. Think of a Wes Anderson film, but for advertising.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a business person exercising.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a grumpy middle aged woman with hair rollers.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a senior cook.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a thinking student in a cap.

 
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Stock Photos

Download this quirky photograph of a man with a red nose.

 
Ready to start creating? Download all 20 photos and more—or, if you’re looking for even more inspiration, take a look at our guide to the Hottest Design Trends of 2016.

 

Un-stock Your Ads

 

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Caroline Mercurio20 Stock Photos That Will Actually “Un-Stock” Your Advertising

Have No Fear—These Halloween Stock Vector Projects Are Scary Easy

by Caroline Mercurio on October 7, 2016 1 comment

We love Halloween. As soon as the calendar hits October 1st, we start thinking of ways to utilize our royalty-free stock vectors for all sorts of inventive Halloween designs. Last year we created awesome printable Halloween masks, but this year we’re taking it to another level with festive posters, invitations, and pumpkin carving templates.

Our library is full of unique Halloween vectors, and the beauty of working with them is how easy they are to customize or incorporate into your larger design—even in Photoshop. Here are three fun and spooky ways you can bring your Halloween creations back from the dead this year.

 

1. An Eye-Catching Event Poster

 
Halloween Stock Vector Projects
 
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, starts the day after Halloween and brings colorful inspiration beyond orange and black. With one of the intricate sugar skull vectors in our library, we created a vibrant event poster highlighting this traditional illustration.

To recreate this poster:

1. Open a new Photoshop file with poster dimensions of 24 x 36 inches and color the background black.

2. Drop in this sugar skull vector, then select and delete the white background—you may need to rasterize the layer first.

3. Enter your desired text with your chosen typeface.

4. Warp the top text by clicking menu item Type>Warp Text>Style: Arc. Be sure Horizontal is checked and adjust to your desired bend.

To add a little more depth to the poster, we also added a few texture layers. Place this grunge texture image as the top layer. Resize it to the full width of the poster, change the blend mode to Multiply, and lower the opacity to 25%. Add another geometric texture above the background layer and adjust the opacity to 25%. These textures add visual interest and keep the poster from appearing too flat.

 

2. Spirited Party Invitations

 
Halloween Stock Vector Projects
 
Sometimes you’ve got to get punny, and there’s no better time than Halloween. Our library has plenty of festive and easily customized illustrations and vectors, like this owl artwork.

To recreate this invitation:

1. Open a new Photoshop file sized at 4 x 6 inches.

2. Place the owl image into the file as a smart object, resize it to 4 inches wide, and center it horizontally and vertically.

3. Rasterize the layer and fill in the remaining background by selecting the surrounding area and clicking menu item Edit>Fill>Contents: Content Aware.

4. Create new text and add in “Owl See You Oct. 31” or your own customized text. For this poster, we continued to use the Google Font, Creepster.

5. Add any additional party information below the owl.

Not much of a planner and afraid of using snail mail? Don’t worry, these graphics are also great for social media use. You can make the dimension of your artwork either square or horizontal and still achieve the same effect by posting to a Facebook event or even by sharing through email.

 

3. Spooky Pumpkin Carving Templates

 
Halloween Stock Vector Projects
 
Halloween is incomplete without an old fashioned carved pumpkin or two. While carving pumpkins maybe be a timeless tradition, you can apply some tech-savvy techniques to your artistry. We’ve gathered a few simple and spooky graphics that would make excellent templates for your pumpkins.

To create your own carving template:

1. Open the vector file in Photoshop and convert the images to a highly contrasted black and white graphic. (Image>Mode>Grayscale; Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast—and increase contrast to desired level.)

2. Print them out and stencil in the black areas after cutting them from the paper.

3. Carve the appropriate portions of each design into your pumpkin. We used these freaky teeth and added some basic eyes before printing. Or check out more vectors and illustrations we’ve used for pumpkin carving.

Halloween is about having fun and letting loose. Don’t feel like you have to play by the rules when creating your designs. You can take them to a scary, horror-inspired level or get silly and playful like we did. But start prepping soon—Halloween is just around the corner.

 

Get Spooky Designs

 
 

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Caroline MercurioHave No Fear—These Halloween Stock Vector Projects Are Scary Easy

Top 20 Vector Posters: Time-Saving Templates for Every Imaginable Purpose

by Caroline Mercurio on September 30, 2016 2 comments

No matter your industry, reaching and engaging an audience is a must. But how do you rise above the noise when people are bombarded with thousands of images and ads every single day? Never fear, because stock vector posters are here. Whether promoting an event or a product launch, these 20 top-ranked templates let you make stunning designs in minutes—allowing your work to stand out in a good way.

Vector posters are among the most versatile media you can master. They’re ideal for social channels as well as print, with minimal to no adjustments needed. Send your campaign out via email and Facebook, then print posters, brochures, and banners to really hammer the message home. Our members love these vector templates because they save hours and hours of design time, and they’re royalty-free so it’s okay to create ads with them.

From sales and inspirational office decor to theater performances and school events, there’s a vector poster to make your life easier. Try out our top 20 picks and see how much punch you can add to your next campaign.

 

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Top 20 Vector Posters

 
Having trouble picking your favorite? You don’t have to! With unlimited downloads of our royalty-free stock vectors, you can have them all. Download the whole batch here and make them your own with some clever, concise text. Because the files are EPS (Adobe Illustrator) format, customization is a breeze.

If you need more direction on getting started with Illustrator, check out our post on editing vectors in Adobe Illustrator.

Let us know what you end up creating in the comments section below!

 

Get the Top 20 Now

 

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Caroline MercurioTop 20 Vector Posters: Time-Saving Templates for Every Imaginable Purpose

Tutorial: How to Create a Visually Striking Text Portrait in Photoshop

by Caroline Mercurio on September 15, 2016 4 comments

As many Adobe users know, sometimes the fastest way to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop is to teach yourself. That’s why we’ve put together this tutorial to show you an easy way to create a visually striking portrait using our royalty-free library of stock photos.

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but when you combine a picture with text, the impact can be exponential. This technique is fun and useful—whether you’re a budding graphic designer looking for inspiration for your blog or business, or are just trying to master as many tools as possible in Photoshop.

Customizing stock photos is a great way to enhance your online presence. Follow along this tutorial to see how we create this high-impact graphic using an image from our library.

 

Step 1. Choose A Portrait That Inspires Greatness

 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
You can either complete this tutorial with the fitness photo we’ve chosen or browse through our stock photo library until you find a portrait that fits your needs. The subject of this photo is well-lit and her body easily contrasts with the background. Try to look for these features in your chosen photo and open it in Photoshop.

 

Step 2. Edit the Composition of the Image

Although the image is already visually well-balanced, we need a closer crop to achieve our desired effect.

Choose the Rectangular Marquee tool (M).

Change the style to Fixed Ratio and adjust the width ratio to 1 and height to 2. This is a good ratio for Pinterest graphics since that platform favors height, but you can choose the ratio that works best for your purposes.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Drag and drop the marquee around the area you wish to keep.

Go to the Image dropdown in the Menu Bar and choose Crop.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
 

Step 3. Select the Background of Your Image

Next we will use selection to chose the background of the image. We recommend starting with the Quick Selection tool to begin selecting.

Adjust the size of your Quick Selection brush and click and drag on the background of your image.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
To add to your selection, hold down shift while selecting.

If you added too much, hold down alt while selecting in order to deselect.

If the Quick Selection tool isn’t precise enough, try making the size of the brush smaller.

Pro Tip: To quickly zoom in, out, and around your image, it’s easier to learn keyboard shortcuts. You will need to zoom in close at times to be sure your selection is precise.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Remember to use the ctrl key instead of the command key when using a PC. Here are some to get you started:

Zoom In: Command + =

Zoom Out: Command + –

Fit To Window: Command + 0

Hand Tool (to grab and drag): Spacebar, click and drag

 

Step 4. Isolate the Subject of Your Image

Now that you have the background selected, we actually want our selection to wrap around the subject and really refine the edges.

Invert the selection by typing shift + command + i or by right clicking the selection (with the Marquee tool activated) and choosing Select Inverse.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Choose the Select and Mask option.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Change the view to Overlay. The parts that aren’t selected are now shaded in red. This helps clarify the area that is selected.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Now you should be able to play around with each of the sliders. The best way to understand what each one alters is to experiment with them until you get the settings you desire.

An easy fix is to check the Smart Radius option and edit from there. We also chose to feather the radius a couple pixels.

Be sure to specify the Output Settings to New Layer with Layer Mask before clicking OK. Need more help? We cover it in greater detail in our selection tool tutorial.

 

Step 5. Create a Black Background

So now you have your original layer with the image, and a new mask layer that isolates your subject.

Create a new layer and drag it below the masked layer.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
We renamed the new layer to “Black Background.”

Fill it with black by first hitting the D key (this makes your primary color black and the secondary color white).
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Then hit the G key to select the Paint Bucket tool. If the Gradient tool shows up instead, then click and hold the Gradient Tool and drag the mouse over the Paint Bucket Tool.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
With the Paint Bucket tool selected, be sure you have the Black Background layer activated and click on the canvas to fill it.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
 

Step 6. Convert To Black and White

Select Your layer with the layer mask, and type Shift + Command + U to desaturate the image or you can go to the Image dropdown in the Menu Bar, click Adjustments, and then Black and White.

You can play with those sliders and presets to configure your desired look and click OK. There is no need to be too precise because we will play with this a little later.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
 

Step 7. Add a Black Layer On Top

Similar to how you added a black background, we also want to add a topmost layer filled with black, but we also want to hide it for now.

Create your new layer, make sure it is dragged to the top, and fill it with black. Hide the layer by clicking the eyeball to the left of that layer.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
We renamed the layer “Black Cover.” We will come back to that layer later.

 

Step 8. Create Dramatic Shadows With Levels

The final look we are trying to achieve is dramatic, blending our subject into the black background. Right now, she sticks out like a sore thumb, so we are going to edit the levels of this photo to achieve the striking-yet-blended look we want.

Make sure your layer with the mask is selected (but not the mask itself) and type Command + L.

The settings you choose will be a matter of personal preference, however in the screenshot below are the numbers we chose. From the left to right we entered 100, .85, and 245. Click OK.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Now the image as a more dramatic look to it and blends nicely into the background.

 

Step 9. Position and Add Text

Previously we added a black cover layer and hid it. Now we will unhide the layer so we can start adding text.

Drop the opacity of the layer down to 50% so you can see what is underneath.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
The text we will be adding is “I’m going to make you so proud -Note to self” and we chose the typeface called League Gothic, which can be downloaded with your Creative Cloud Account through Adobe Typekit.

Hit the X key to switch your primary color to white.

Then hit the T key to open the Type tool.

Type in your message and align it with the subject’s body.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Notice how we typed in each line of text on different individual type layers.

The goal is to align the majority of the text with the shape of the subjects body and/or face. In this instance, we left the face mostly free of text for readability.

When you type in one line of text such as “You So” you can then use the shortcut Command + T—which is the shortcut for the Transform tool—to drag and drop the corners of the text box to be the size you wish.

This is where it is fun to have creative freedom!

Be sure to hold shift while dragging the corners of the text box so your proportions remain true. Press enter after you resize it.

 

Step 10. Subtract from the Black Cover Layer

As you can see, we avoided covering the subject’s face with the text. Let’s adjust the Black Cover layer so it doesn’t cover the entire canvas.

Activate that layer, type Command + T, and drag the left edge of the rectangle so that it almost aligns with the text.

We chose to have the left side of the text “hang over” the edge of the box, if you will—meaning it is not perfectly aligned.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Now comes the exciting part!

With your Black Cover layer activated, hold down the Command key and the Shift key simultaneously, while clicking on the “T” on each text layer in the layer window. This will select the area of each text layer.

Keep those keys held down until each text layer has been selected. You will notice the dotted lines around your letters.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Be sure that the Black Cover layer is activated and all your text area has been selected and hit Delete on your keyboard.

Hide all of the type layers by clicking each eyeball.

Bring the opacity of the Black Cover layer back up to 100% and type Command + D to deselect the area of the text.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
It will resemble something very similar to the image above. See how close we are getting?

 

Step 11. Emphasize the Text

So, we’ve basically deleted the text we arranged from the Black Cover layer to reveal our chosen image underneath, however, we run into the issue that not all of the text is legible.

That’s OK! You’ve made it this far and your Photoshop skills have just increased exponentially. Isn’t it neat how tutorials can open up your mind to the possibilities of Adobe Photoshop? You just have to know its capabilities.

Let’s edit parts of the image underneath the Black Cover layer with the Dodge and Burn tools.

Activate the layer with the mask and select the Dodge tool (O).
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Adjust the Size of the tool to about 400px to start and adjust as needed. Change the Hardness to 0%, the Range to Shadows, the Exposure to 100% and make sure Protect Tones is checked.

You can easily adjust the size of your tool by typing either the [ key to make it smaller or ] to make it bigger.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
Now with your image layer activated, start brushing over the areas you want to lighten. If you go too far, you can easily undo with Command + Z and redo with Shift + Command + Z.

Next, change the range to Midtones and repeat until you achieve your desired lightness.
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
While much better, it is not quite perfect. So now I’m going to create another layer above the image itself and below the Black Cover and start playing with the Brush tool (B) with a lowered opacity white.

After some tweaking, I should get the look I am going for:
 
Tutorial How to Create Striking Text Portrait Photoshop
 
And there you have it!

You can create a whole series of graphics for pinterest or posters with this dynamic and engaging style. There are endless possibilities to customize the royalty-free stock photos from our library and to make them your own.

Are you ready to give it a shot? Get the image we used here or check out other inspiring portraits for inspiration.
 
 

Start Creating

 

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Caroline MercurioTutorial: How to Create a Visually Striking Text Portrait in Photoshop

What Exactly is Adobe Spark and Should You Be Using It?

by Caroline Mercurio on August 18, 2016 8 comments

It’s no secret that social media has taken over the world. Love it or hate it, daily communication occurs more often in pins, likes, tweets, and comments than print media or face-to-face interactions, so creators have a constant need for easy-to-use platforms that produce pro-quality images, websites, and videos. Adobe has sought to fill this need with their (free!) new mobile app and web platform, Adobe Spark.

The concept is simple: with Spark, you can create “visual stories” on any device, for any device, even without previous design/video/web development experience. It’s a one-stop shop for Adobe professionals and beginners alike.

We tested out the programs features using royalty-free photos from GraphicStock to see if Spark delivers on its promises. Here’s what we learned, and the final products of our creative experimenting.

First off, the Adobe Spark suite actually consists of three programs: Spark Post, Spark Page, and Spark Video. All of these programs were previously available in some form or another as Adobe Post, Slate, and Voice, but Adobe has given them a makeover, added some cool new features, and housed them under one roof on the web with no download required. Alternatively, you can download the free app on your mobile device.

You don’t need a paid Creative Cloud subscription, although Spark does tie in with other Adobe products such as Lightroom. If you have an existing Adobe ID, it will work to sign in to the Spark homepage.

 

Spark Post

 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark
 
Spark Post is the simplest to use. When you go to “Projects” and select “Add Post,” the interface will ask you what you want to say; that is, what you want your text to read. It will then take you to a series of designer pins featuring backgrounds covered by your text.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

You can use these preset backgrounds or tab over to “Photo” to add your own image (we used this almost-too-good-to-eat macaron photo). You can upload photos from your computer or use images stored in Lighroom, Dropbox, Google Photos, or Creative Cloud.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The automatic preset shape is an Instagram-perfect square, but under the “resize” tab, you can select from a wide variety of dimensions, several of which fit the major social media platforms, as well as some standard shapes and webpage-optimized dimensions.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

Adobe also selects some suggested themes, which will create the template for how and where your text is laid out. You can select your preference under the “theme” tab, and edit the individual elements further under the “text” tab. We decided to go with a more minimalist theme than the original example Spark Post gave us.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The “palette” and “text” tabs allow you more control to customize your design by adjusting the colors, opacity, shapes, fonts, and alignment of your post, as well as several other features. Everything is laid out in a beginner-friendly format to encourage experimentation.

There are a few hidden features, including a tool in the “text” tab. This is a circular dial which, if turned, pops up more suggested text box formats.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

Once you are all set, go to “share” at the top center of the page. From there, you can create a link to your pin, title and share it for future use, and download it. This example above only took about 3 minutes in Adobe Post!

 

Spark Page

 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

See the full completed page completed page here.

If you want to quickly build a web page without needing technical knowledge like HTML, you might find Spark Page useful. Like with Post, the first page will ask you for a title and subtitle. At this point, you can also use the “themes” drop down in the top right to select from a range of designer themes.

The (+) button on the bottom center of the page allows you to select a background image for your cover page. For the example above, we used this image.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

Next, you have the choice to add either a photo, text, a button, a video, a photo grid, or a “glideshow.” We chose to open with text, followed by a static photo grid.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The photo grid can seem a little tricky, but is quite easy once you get the hang of things. Basically, when you open your first photo it looks as if that photo is filling up the entire grid space. What you need to do is click upload and pull in the rest of your images, which will then auto-populate into a grid.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

When you hover over an image, you will see icons appear. These icons allow you to edit the size and position of each individual image within your grid.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The “glideshow” option—probably the most visually interesting element that the Spark Page offers—is also one of its easiest tools. You simply select images you want to upload, use the icons that pop up to arrange the order, and click save. Once saved, Spark gives you options to add text, quotes, or images.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

When we reached the end of the glideshow, we finished the post with a (non-operational) “Book Now” button—designed with small businesses in mind. Currently, there are few edits you can apply to the button, but hopefully a future version of Spark Page will allow for more customization.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

When you finish up, click the “Share” button and Spark Page will generate a link.

Don’t forget, you can download the images used in this sample webpage here.

 

Spark Video

 
Make sure you turn your sound on to get the full effect!
 
Last but certainly not least is Spark Video, a program which allows you to create a video slideshow—complete with sound and narration. In short, this program takes the technical aspects out visual storytelling.

Of course, Spark Video cannot help with composition or narrative, so you’ll want to make sure you have high-quality photos and a storyline in mind. Furthermore, while Video is possibly the most advanced product in the Spark lineup, it is also the most limited for user customization.

If you have your ideas and plenty of awesome images , then Spark Video will bring your story to life.

Like with Page, Video initially asks you for your title, and then presents you with a series of templates, each with a designated “outcome.” For instance, do you want to inspire your audience? Do you want to share a memory?

Once you select the template, you are brought to the main interface, where you can choose a different theme from the right-hand scroll bar (we chose “satin”), add media, and arrange your panels.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

Each frame allows you to add photo or text, much like in Page. If you choose the “Layout” tab on the top right, you can select new formats for each slide, such as one photo, photo with caption, full-screen photo, etc.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

There is also a music tab to allow you to add sound to your video. In addition to several pre-set selection divided up into categories such as “Uplifting” and “Happy,” you also have the option to add your own audio tracks. We used this looping track. It’s literally as easy as downloading your mp3 file and clicking the “Add my music” button.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

As you add your images, click on the photo to open up more options, such as text, icons, and zoom. Word to the wise: make sure your photos are formatted and oriented the way you want before uploading them into the program, as there are few options for later adjustments.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

You can adjust the length of time one slide stays on the screen by clicking the small round button at the bottom right of each image in the play bar.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The final major tool to mention is the record button, which is located at the bottom center of each frame. This button allows you to easily record your own narration, which plays over your selected audio tracks.
 
Everything You Need To Know About Adobe Spark

The only major downside of the current platform is that you cannot embed videos. We were able to take advantage of stunning wedding video clips by using stills taken from footage in our library as well as photographs.

 

So What Did We Think?

Pros: Adobe Spark allows literally anyone—regardless of budget or experience—to create beautiful visual media that looks like it came from the hand of a designer. Its tools are simple, easy to learn, and most of all lighting-quick.

Cons: Some creatives will find Adobe Spark too confining. You are limited by the program’s built in presets and templates, which is part of why Spark works so efficiently. Another con is Spark Video’s inability to support video files within it’s animated sequences.

Want to give Spark a try? GraphicStock has over 300,000 royalty-free graphics that you can download and create with forever.

 

Tell Your Story With Stock

 
 

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Caroline MercurioWhat Exactly is Adobe Spark and Should You Be Using It?

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

by Caroline Mercurio on June 8, 2016 No comments

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

 

1. Natural Colors

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

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

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

 

2. Strong Textures

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

Download these jeans fabric and old brick wall stock images.
 

 

3. Rough Design

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

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

 

4. Dynamic Light

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

Download these royal golden background and Keila waterfall stock images.
 
 
 

Search for Graphics by Pantone Color

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

 
 

Bite into Pantone’s Summer Colors

 

 

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

Designing A Yoga Poster Part III

by Mallory on May 16, 2014 1 comment

Designing A Yoga Poster Part III: Silhouettes and Sans-Serif

Part II brought a lot of progress on our “Yoga in the Park” poster, but we’re not quite finished.

The original stock image we used as our base included a nice silhouette, but Graphic Stock’s selection of fitness silhouettes is pretty deep, allowing us to replace it with a yoga silhouette that’s a few degrees closer to our motif of relaxation—simply by using an image of someone sitting instead of standing.

yoga7

And some text and throw in a yoga mat by either creating it in Photoshop or grabbing it here, and the poster is ready for print.

yoga8

Here’s the original beside our final version:

yoga1 yoga8

 

Click Here for Part I of this Tutorial.
Click Here for Part II of this Tutorial.

Ready to make your own poster? Head to GraphicStock.com to beef up your library of vector images, clip art and textures! 
Designing A Yoga Poster Part III

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MalloryDesigning A Yoga Poster Part III