Designers, Sticking Together…

Last week, I was stuck in the middle of a design project because I wasn’t sure what tool and method to use for what I was envisioning. I was pressed for deadline and didn’t have much time to figure out how to create what I wanted on my own. At that point I thought to myself, this is the 21st century! Surely I should be able to find out how to do this online. So my search began to learn this trick. In less than 3 mins, my problem was solved. Although I didn’t end up using this in my final design, I was grateful for the knowledge I gained. Also, I felt a sense of togetherness and “having each other’s back” kind of feeling. Well all know that there is NO way for each of us to know everything there is to know about our design programs. As a matter of fact, I learn something new almost all the time when I explore in my design programs and sometimes even when I don’t explore. So the sharing of information is useful, to everyone.

So thank you fellow designers for sharing your knowledge through tutorials and articles online. It was refreshing to know that the exact information I needed was out there. So, for that, I am creating a tutorial myself that I soon will share in hopes to “give back” to the design community some how.

Here are some links that I found that have tutorials using various design tools:

Lynda Tutorials 

Computer Arts

Abduzeedo

YouTube-Flare Affect

YouTube-Sunburst Illustrator 

YouTube-Flare Tool

The Innovative and Creative Photoshop Brush…

I use Photoshop for many reasons throughout my regular workday. But recently I’ve stumbled upon a new innovative use of the brush tool that I can’t help but share. I was working on a logo for an event coming up and the client requested a very unique background image that I wasn’t able to recreate easily or find through stock photos. Luckily, I found a free Photoshop brush to download which made the logo design on A LOT easier.

The Photoshop brush is one kind of plug-in which you can be used as an add-on. However, you will find yourself limited when choosing from the default selection. If you, like myself, desire to be more innovative and creative then consider searching online for a Photoshop brush download. Some are free and some are for purchase. I’ve included some visuals of some designs that can be created when using this tool.


Here are some links that offer FREE Photoshop brushes for download:

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/50-free-photoshop-brushes-you-should-bookmark/

http://www.brushlovers.com

http://melsbrushes.wordpress.com/page/3/

http://arbent.net/blog/over-550-brush-packs-free-for-commercial-use

A REAL Fresh Beginning…

Ahhh, and finally it is a brand new year! A chance to go out with the old and come in with the new. Typically at any given point in time, we as people can make changes in our lives from day to day. But for some reason, it is the beginning of a new year when we feel changes are much more REAL and profound. A REAL fresh beginning.

Having said that, I have chosen not to blog about something design specific, but about something that overall shapes my drive to become better at my profession every single day and that is inspiration. My inspiration comes from a very wide variety of outlets. Advice and the success of others being two of the more apparent outlets. I am sharing some advice that I’ve taken in for the new year of 2013.

Hopefully you can gain something from this and make tomorrow better than today.

Here is a link to a blog I found that I stayed on for hours listening to noteworthy advice from business professionals, mentors, and teachers of all sorts. There are some great suggestions here for changes in your life and and things that might spark some thoughts! Thanks TED for this post!

Ted Blog-New Year Resolutions

Tis’ the Season for Christmas Card Designs

This is by far my favorite time of the year! I absolutely love the Christmas holiday. I do my fair share of designing Christmas cards around this time of the year as well. And because it is the season of giving, I usually don’t charge for any of my designs.  If I am not too slammed with work, it is actually a nice outlet and allows me to have some fun! Here are a few designs I used as inspiration this year!

Tip: During the Christmas holiday is always a great time to catch up with clients. Thank them for their business, and remind them that you’re still available in the year to come. Make cards to compliment your business, add a message inside, and for a professional touch, your logo on the reverse.

Merry Christmas Everyone! &  Happy New Year!

THE Site for Designers

As a designer, we want feedback to our work. To both improve and grow. Online communities help designer, developers and creative types showcase their work, gain thoughtful feedback and most importantly help expand networking possibilities.trans – 10 Essential Sites for Designers – designer design inspiration design angel ceballos

One that has most recently caught my eye is Dribbble.

 

Dribbble is a online community for designers who feature their work or work in-progress as screenshots and get feedback. Dribbble is currently an invite-only and has become a great  place for inspiration due to the quality work.

People who aren’t a part of the community can still sign up as a spectator and follow your favorite designers.

You can also add yourself to the Dribble Prospects directory to get a chance to get an invite. There are also sites that show you ways for obtaining an invite. So far, overall a great place to get some feedback from experienced designers.

Work. Life. Balance.

Designers, particularly freelancers, wear many hats. Isn’t that so exciting?….Sure, but the reality is that it’s tiring and impacts your health. Isn’t that always how people say it goes, when your life is suffering, you’re doing well at work, and vice versa?

Well, there few tips that I found help me while I find myself on the edge of the cliff with stress. Managing work, life and family is a struggle.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to stay on top of your game, keep your energy levels high and remain productive:

1. Take a minute to breathe.

If you’re like most hard-working humans, you rarely take time to focus on nothing but breathing deeply.

That’s unfortunate because breathing exercises can stimulate your mind and body into a state of relaxation and recovery.

2. Set a balanced sleep schedule.

I’m sure you know that if you get better sleep, you’ll be more rested and will work more effectively.

It is very easy to let time slip away and suddenly you’re working into the wee hours of the night…….or morning.

Research has shown that if you maintain a consistent sleep schedule, then you will not only be more energetic throughout the day, you’ll actually sleep better.

Give your body the rest it needs.

3. Work in a healthy environment.

Are you slumped over on your couch with your laptop and a bag of Doritos nearby? Yeaaaa…. that’s probably not the best work environment.

Set up a work environment with good lighting and a nice desk chair that supports your back. Make sure you put yourself in a position to do good work for the entire day.

4. Work based on energy, not time.

Time is a standard. We can’t speed it up or slow it down. But energy can be managed.

You should typically work for about 90 minutes and then take a break. Then go for 90 more minutes and take another break. This block-scheduling will help maintain your energy throughout the day.

Source: http://www.freelanceswitch.com