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Trending This Week: Linear Vector Icons in Web Design

by Caitlyn Hampton on March 24, 2017 No comments

In web design, vector icons not only make your page look on-trend, they’re also great to convey a large amount of information in a way that’s both efficient and visually appealing—a rare combination in the world of design. Since users tend to rapidly skim pages, well-designed icons make your message easier to pinpoint by breaking up the content of a page so that viewers can quickly identify your services or products.

Take a look at our example below. This attention-grabbing homepage is noticeable for all the right reasons—with one quick glance, you get all the important details without any visual or verbal clutter.

 
Stock Vectors

Download the icons used in this website design.


 

So now you see why icons are a win-win for content and design, but the tricky thing about icons is that they can be really tough to design well. They require time and an attention to detail that can take hours or even days to get just right—even if you’re a professional designer.

The good news? We recently acquired a new collection of stock vectors for our library, including dozens of high-quality icon designs. They will take your web pages to the next level and save you hours upon hours of work. Check out some of our favorites here and if you want to see how to use icons in a resume, check out this post.

 
Stock Vectors
 
So what do you say—are you ready to take your website designs to the next level?
 

Explore New Icons

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Linear Vector Icons in Web Design

Trending This Week: Brutalist Web Design

by Caitlyn Hampton on March 9, 2017 No comments

If you thought you’d seen all the trends there could be by now, think again. There is a new design style in town—actually, it’s kind of old—and it’s making websites look bad. Known as brutalist web design, this “back to basics” trend is a reaction to the user-friendly, “too perfect” web pages that have overtaken the digital world as designers and browsers become more comfortable pushing their creative boundaries. Given the renewed popularity of brutalism, we beg the question: Can web design ever be too good?

To achieve this retro look all you have to do is forget everything you’ve ever learned about web design best practices. In brutalism, there really aren’t any rules. One of the key components is how easy it should be to code your web design in HTML. We took this as a hint to have some fun and go a little crazy with bright colors, fun stock vectors, and of course we can’t forget monospace fonts.

 
stock vectorsDownload the stock vectors used in this design.
 

The brutalist design style was originally an architecture movement from the 1950s through the 1970s, and it descended from the modernist movement. The aesthetic was about showcasing the raw concrete and not trying to gloss over how a building was actually made and structured. Brutalist web design boasts the same philosophy—don’t hide the structure of your website—or rather the HTML. It truly is web design at its core. Think Craigslist. No CSS, just functionality.

So, what do you think? Are you willing to jump on the brutalist band wagon or would you rather stick with more modern times?

While trends may come and go, if you’re looking for some amazing stock vectors for your next web design project, check out our 20 best graphics for web design.

 

Get Retro Stock Vectors

 

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Caitlyn HamptonTrending This Week: Brutalist Web Design

A Beginner’s Guide to Designing Website and Mobile App Mockups

by Caroline Mercurio on February 21, 2017 3 comments

As a designer, you’re really good at what you do. When a client comes to you with a clear vision for their business but zero idea of how their website should look or function, you know how to deliver amazing results that double or even triple their ROI. Yet sometimes your clients need a little more convincing—a little extra push—to really seal the deal. Or maybe you’ve got quite the collection of website or app designs for your portfolio, but want a flashier, more engaging way to present these designs to your future employers and clients.

Enter product mockups. By providing important visual context for your designs, mockups are key to helping your client fully grasp your collaborative vision when a simple screenshot or Photoshop file just isn’t quite cutting it.

Mockups provide context for your designs and help clients envision your final product in a real world setting. They can also help model your responsive design solutions—allowing you to showcase your ability to design for mobile screens, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Using mockups to showcase your designs is an effective way to highlight your talents. Luckily it’s easy, too—which is why we made this beginner’s guide to show you how it’s done.

For this example, we used this mockup kit along with resources from our library of stock graphics.

 
MockupsDownload the stock graphics used in these designs.

 

Step One: Download a Mockup Kit

 
Mockups
 

The internet boasts a plethora of design resources all at your fingertips—and often for free. Our suggestion? Simply google “free photoshop mockups.” You can also use well-known resources like Mockup World, which is what we used for the designs in our guide to designing swag and our Pantone spring color guide.

Once you’ve chosen your desired mockup, simply download the file, unzip it, and open it in Photoshop. Most photoshop files for mockups have highly organized groups and layers, and should be easy to decipher. Take a moment to understand the layers of your chosen mockup kit—a good kit will name its layers clearly.

 

Step Two: Insert Design

 
Mockups
 

Most kits will name the layers you want to edit something obvious like “Put Your Screen Here” or “Edit This Layer.” The editable layer will be a linked smart object, so double click it and it will open another Photoshop file.

 
Mockups
 

After you create your design and export it as a jpeg or png, simply drag and drop it into this photoshop file, resize it as needed, save it, and then it will automatically populate the the original composition.

 

Step Three: Save and Export

Now you simply save the composition to whatever file type and size you desire. It really is that easy to elevate your designs so that your clients or future employers will be that much more impressed.

 
MockupsDownload the stock graphics used in these designs.
 

Need new stock graphics to inspire and amp up your next designs? Check out our top 20 graphics for web design.

 

Start Designing with Stock Graphics

 

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Caroline MercurioA Beginner’s Guide to Designing Website and Mobile App Mockups

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

 
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Stock Images Magical RealismDownload this image

 
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Stock Images Magical Realism

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Stock Images Magical Realism

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Stock Images Magical RealismDownload this image

 
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Stock Images Magical RealismDownload this image

 
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Stock Images Magical RealismDownload this image

 
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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.

 

Make Design Magic

 

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

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

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

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?

Free Minimalistic Vector Icons That Will Elevate Any Design Project

by Maddie Stearn on November 4, 2015 No comments

Minimalistic icons were growing in popularity even before Apple released iOS 7, but the trend really took off once Apple was on board. Apple’s departure from beveled icons with glossy finishes caused app designers to follow suit, sparking a surge in app redesigns to fit Apple’s new minimalist standards. Since then, graphic and web designers have continued to pursue flat, linear icons.

But just because Apple gives its stamp of approval doesn’t mean we should all follow, right? If Apple jumped off a bridge, would you jump? (Don’t answer that.) Luckily, this doesn’t seem to be a bridge-jumping situation. The move toward minimalist designs generally makes sense, especially in the world of web design. Minimalism makes websites and apps easier to navigate, increasing efficiency and overall user-happiness.

minimalist icons-min

Whether you’re designing a website, app, or even an ad, stock minimalistic icons will help get your message across. Start creating by checking out all of the flat icons that went into the graphic featured above.

Check Out More Minimalist Icons
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Maddie StearnFree Minimalistic Vector Icons That Will Elevate Any Design Project

Design Science: Why Pantone Chose Orchid As Color of the Year

by Caroline Mercurio on February 19, 2014 No comments

Design Science: Why Pantone Chose Orchid As Color of the Year

Pantone clearly put a lot of thought into naming “Radiant OrchidColor of the Year for 2014, and they also put a lot of thought into describing the trending the color.

Pink orchid    Pink orchid

But is it really accurate to call it a bloom of “magical warmth” that represents creativity, embracement, love, and health—or is it just another pretty blend of purple and fuchsia?

magical-night-1013tm-bkg-139      love_110002521-012814-int

Color theorists often describe purple hues as “royal,” stemming from the use of Tyrian Purple dye among the senators of ancient Rome, and our preliminary research confirms this theme has carried on at least through 1984. However, a lot has changed in the past thirty years . . .

1662-vintage      vintage luxury armchair and frame

We can now satisfy our creativity by way of (purple) search engines.

Hallmark is helping people share embraces on Facebook via (purple) virtual greetings.

Our office is preparing to fall in love with the new (fuchsia) Girl Scout cookies.

And doctors are now keeping patients healthy while wearing (fuchsia) gloves.

Meanwhile, new research has confirmed that of the five principle color hues, purple is most tied to positive emotions.

It appears Pantone was right and congratulations are in order. Would it be tacky to send a purple card with an orchid colored ribbon? Or should we just send the flowers?

floral_2008003864-1113int-floral     sheet-paper-and-red-ribbon-with-gift-bow-913-1516     Orchid Blooms     Orchid Flower

Created any Radiant-Orchid-colored designs lately? Send them to social@videoblocks.com to be featured in a future blog post!

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Caroline MercurioDesign Science: Why Pantone Chose Orchid As Color of the Year