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Top 10 Free Design Resources

Top 10 Free Design Resources

Free design resources are a great way to finalize your project whether it is for personal use or commercial use. You must always understand your legal rights when downloading “free” content. Most of the time free is only referring to the cost, and not referring to where or how you can use it. Today I will talk about my favorite top 10 free design resources that I use on a daily basis! All of these resources can be used for commercial use without attribution as long as proper research is done when in doubt.

Pixabay

Pixabay is hands down my favorite free design resource in my list of top 10 free design resources. They have over 920,000 free stock photos, vectors, illustrations, and videos. Their terms state “You can copy, modify, distribute, and use the images, even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission or giving credits to the artist. However, depicted content may still be protected by trademarks, publicity or privacy rights.” Everything on Pixabay is licensed in the same way which makes it easy on designers. All images on Pixabay are released as copyright-free. They have the best selection of high quality work in the public domain that I have seen. You can find work that I have contributed to Pixabay here.

Public Domain Pictures

Second on my list of top 10 free design resources is Public Domain Pictures. It is a must for artists in particular. They offer thousands of high quality photography and design. This website makes it easy for an artist to trace or copy a photo without having to worry about copyright infringement.

Public Domain Vectors

Public Domain Vectors feels pretty much like the vector edition of Public Domain Pictures. They offer over 40,000 vector images in the public domain. When you download the vectors they come in svg format that make it easy to edit later.

OpenClipart

Many free vector sources pull from openclipart.org. When I signed up to openclipart back in 2014 they did not have very many high quality graphics. Now however they have a good mixture of low quality images and useful vectors. They now have over 123,585 clipart images for download and are growing with about 1,500 new clipart images each month.

Google Images and Bing Images

You must be very careful with these sources and how you use their search features. In Google Images you can search for your term and go to Tools and set usage rights to labeled for reuse. Be diligent and click on the source page of the image and read carefully any terms that are stated. Often times I find images in this category that are actually Creative Commons Attribution instead of public domain. This is great if you are willing to link back credit, but not if you oversight this rule. Bing Images works very similarly. You will search for your term and then click Filter and then click on License and select which license you would like to choose. Once again, you need to be diligent and check your resources as some images are not always under the license you are searching for!

Flickr

Flickr is a good source for photos in particular. I recently discovered Flickr Commons which is an excellent resource that is easy to use. Once again, be smart. “No known copyright restrictions” means there potentially could be a copyright restriction out there. They have over 41,000 images that have no known copyright restrictions.

ColourLovers

ColourLovers has been around for some time now. In fact I would be very surprised if you are a designer and don’t know of it by now. I often use ColourLovers when I can’t figure out what colors I should use on a project. The combinations make for great design. Good color combinations are easy to find since the ColourLover community rates good palettes up and are easy to search for. There are over 9,700,000 colors and over 4,400,000 palettes. They do have a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Creative Commons license. In other words I wouldn’t use their patterns for commercial use and I would be careful not to use a full set of palette colors.

DaFont

DaFont is an excellent resource for any design for personal use. But here is my favorite secret! Just search under a theme you want. You can then click the more options button which then shows you: Public domain / GPL / OFL, 100% Free, Free for personal use, Donationware, Shareware, Demo, and Unknown. A lot of people don’t know this filter exists. Once again, be careful and read both DaFonts terms of use as well as the author’s terms. They offer over 32,000 fonts in total.

Old Books

Dust off those old books you have sitting in the closet and scan some images in! The easiest thing is to remember that if a work was published before 1923, it’s in the public domain. Work published after 1923 will have to have a little more research done about its’ copyright. Project Gutenberg has a pretty large collection of public domain books, offering over 53,000 ebooks.

Libraries

Last but not least on our list of top 10 free design resources are libraries. Just the other day I discovered the vast amount of old public domain imagery in our great library systems. There are over 708,367 digitized items in The New York Public Library alone. They feature prints, maps, manuscripts, photographs, videos, and more. The Library of Congress offers the biggest source with over 2 million documents available online, and over 18 million items available in general. Once again, make sure that the work you wish to adapt on, sell, or reference is in the public domain and is dated and stated as such.

In conclusion, this is just my small list of top 10 free design resources that I use often. There are thousands more out there. If you have one that you would like to share, please comment below! I will make a massive list of resources in the future and would love to feature them on there. For additional information on what is and isn’t in the public domain visit http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm.

Remember, free isn’t always best. When you buy work from designers like me you are helping them support their family. This in turn allows them to create more resources for people like you to enjoy! You can always contact designers directly and ask about their restrictions or if they would be willing to give you more rights to an image. My terms of use allow you to use my graphics up to 500 views or prints for commercial use as long as a link back credit is given without an extended license.

 

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Free Easter SVG Cut Files – SVG cut files free download SVG freebies

Free Easter SVG Cut Files

Free Easter SVG Cut Files are available for download in this weeks freebie! The images are released to the public domain by me. Because the words and fonts are created by others and may not be available for public domain use. Please only use the words for your personal use.

Without a doubt you will have fun decorating for Easter with these cute free easter svg cut files and images. Enjoy creating lovely Easter gifts, home decor, Christian wall art, and much more!

The lovely loose font you see is called Frosting for Breakfast and wow, is it already one of my favorites! You can find this gorgeous font here: http://leeviathan.com/portfolio-item/frosting-for-breakfast/.

In addition to Frosting for Breakfast some other fonts that were used include Alex Brush, Om Telolet Om, and Lane – Narrow.

Free Easter SVG Cut Files

Click Here to Download the
Free Easter Cut Files

In this download you will receive free easter SVG cut files, EPS cut files, and DXF cut files which are great for cutting machines. You will also receive print friendly JPGs and a print friendly PDF document. You will also get web friendly PNG files. Not only can you use these files for cutting work but also print work. In addition you can use the png files on the web!

Included:

– Basket
– Easter basket with eggs
– Easter eggs (4 colors)
– White bunny
– Bunny silhouette
– Jesus word art
– He Is Risen quote
– It’s not about the bunny it’s about the lamb quote

Free Easter SVG Cut Files – Terms of Use

Lastly, you can do whatever you want with the files easter basket, easter basket with eggs, easter eggs, white bunny, and bunny silhouette as they are released to the public domain. This means you can adapt upon, sell, share, offer freebies, or whatever else you want with these files. Please share a link back to my website when possible.

However, only use Jesus word art, He Is Risen quote, and It’s not about the bunny it’s about the lamb quote for personal use as I do not own the fonts that were used to create these files.

Happy Easter and enjoy your free easter svg cut files!

Easter Cut Files and Easter Clipart Listings

cross digital paper

Finally after releasing our free easter SVG cut files I would like to highlight all of our Easter graphics! Going back to our original collections, you can purchase our Cross Scrapbook Paper. You will get all 33 JPG cross digital paper files that are a seamless cross pattern.

Colorful Cross Clipart

Our Cross Clipart Set matches our scrapbook paper and include lots of beautiful colored crosses in PNG and JPG.

He is Risen SVG Cut Files

happy easter he is risen

Our simple He is Risen text cut file comes in PNG, SVG, EPS, and DXF. This file is perfect for Easter t-shirts, Easter wall decor, and simple designs for Easter.

Easter He Is Risen

Additionally, we also offer a He is Risen cutting file with a few more details of Jesus and Doves surrounding the He is Risen quote. This also comes in PNG, SVG, EPS, and DXF.

Easter Chick SVG Cut Files

I'm just here for the chicks

Without a doubt one of my favorite products is our new I’m just here for the Chicks listing. This features a cute baby chick vector with the “I’m just here for the chicks” quote. Perfect for your little cuties on Easter day! Comes in PNG, SVG, EPS, and DXF cutting files!

easter chick svg

At this time one of our top sellers is our easter chick vector listing. Featuring cute baby chicks in PNG, SVG, EPS, and DXF. Create adorable Easter t-shirts, Easter wall decorations, Easter invitations, and much more!

happy easter svg

Lastly, in our chick category we have our Happy Easter cut file. Featuring a cute easter chick and the words Happy Easter you will receive a PNG, SVG, and EPS cut file.

Easter Bunny SVG file and Digital Cut Files

rabbit cut files

We are particularly excited to have two sets of our easter bunny silhouettes. In our first rabbit silhouette listing you will receive 10 PNG, SVG, EPS, and DXF files.

bunny cut files

Second, our bunny silhouette listing also includes 10 PNG files to use for clipart and 10 SVG, 10 EPS, and 10 DXF cutting files.

These are best sellers because they are so easy to create personalized graphics for Easter cardmaking, Easter t-shirts, Easter decorations, and much more. Not to mention, this is a great option for Easter client work!

bunny monogram svg

Lastly, our latest Easter bunny file is our Bunny monogram listing! This adorable cut file comes in SVG, EPS, DXF, and PNG. You will receive a black bunny silhouette, bunny monogram silhouette, and Easter striped background pattern.

Christian Cross SVG Cut Files

easter cross svg

Following our bunny options we have a huge collection of beautiful and simple Cross Cut Files. In this first cross set you will receive 10 PNG, 10 SVG, 10 EPS, and 10 DXF files.

Cross cut files

In addition, our second simple cross cut files come in PNG, SVG, EPS, and DXF. You can use the PNG for clipart images or the SVG, EPS, and DXF files for your cutting machine.

Cross collection cut files

Last but not least are our more ornate cross collections. Our first ornate cross collection includes PNG, SVG, EPS, and DXF format files. Ornate cross cut files

Our last ornate cross cut files come in PNG, SVG, EPS, and DXF format as well. These detailed crosses are great for card making, clothing, and home accessories whether for Easter or Christian events and baptisms.

And there you have it! Our entire collection of Easter images and Easter cut files. Overall I hope you enjoy using them as much as I enjoyed creating them for you!

Get the Scoop!

Finally don’t forget to follow us on social media! Not only do we post weekly about new products, blog posts, and sales, but in addition you will never miss a freebie!

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Clipping Masks and Compound Paths in Adobe Illustrator

Clipping Masks and Compound Paths in Adobe Illustrator

Clipping masks in Adobe Illustrator are something that I use nearly every day. Most designers of any kind will need to be able to use a clipping mask at some point. Today I will talk about what it is, where to find the option, why you would use it, and what sort of projects it is ideal for.

First a clipping mask is a lot like what it sounds like. You would use it to “clip” around a particular area. In the end it is sort of like a layering effect that will take place. Shapes are an easy way to make use of a clipping mask. Text is also very common. Using a clipping mask is great for effects that you want to use in your project. It is also ideal for masking around exact shapes. Take the shape of a heart for instant. If I wanted to have a texture effect of an glitter image I could use a clipping mask.

Before Clipping Mask
Heart object clipart
After Clipping Mask
Heart clipping mask

Steps to Create a Clipping Mask

You will find the option to use a clipping mask under: Object > Clipping Mask > Make. You can also use the Command 7 shortcut on the Mac. I usually right click my mouse and select “Make Clipping Mask.” Make sure the image you want is behind your object. You can move the layer to the bottom or Right Click > Arrange > Send to Back. Select both the image and your object and then make a clipping mask.

make clipping masks

clipping mask

Ocassionally you may need to group your elements, unite them through the Pathfinder Tool, or outline your text before a clipping mask will work. Sometimes especially when using text or complex shapes you must make your elements a compound path first. For instance, if I outline my text my Clipping Mask no longer works (shown below). However, I can make my text a compound path by going to Object > Compound Path > Make or Command 8 on Mac. I can then create a clipping mask with no problem.

Create a Clipping Mask from Outlined Text without Making a Compound Path (RESULTS)

create outlines

clipping masks

clipping mask

As you can see, this is not the result that we wanted. So in this case we can easily release our clipping mask by right clicking and then selecting “Release Clipping Mask.”

release clipping mask

 

Create a Clipping Mask with Outlined Text by Making Text a Compound Path

make compound path

make compound path clipping mask

make clipping masks

When you would use a Clipping Mask

When or why would you use a clipping mask? Use it to create effects such as a texture or image effect. You would use it to make exact paths such as a round shape. It as also an easy way to finalize a design that may otherwise seem too dull. Use a clipping mask to keep your art from going on to another artboard. You can also use a clipping mask to create mock ups in Illustrator that would otherwise need to be done in Photoshop.

Clipping masks are ideal for creating stationary such as postcards, posters, and invitations. Wall décor or prints use clipping masks all of the time. Even branding can be done with a clipping mask if it is well thought out and done correctly. There are a ton of reasons why you would use a clipping mask.

In conclusion I hope this tutorial helped you learn how to make a clipping mask or that you learned something new about the process. The texture and font that I used to create these examples were created by me and are released to the public domain. Feel free to download them and use it for whatever you want! No credit is required, but is always appreciated. Don’t forget to join our exclusive membership down below!

 

 

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To The Point Font – Open Font License TrueType TTF Handwritten Font

To The Point Font – Open Font License TrueType TTF Handwritten Font

Download To The Point Font (TTF)

Our brand new To The Point font is now available for free!

To The Point font is a handwritten font created by pen. It is a great natural font that is not too perfect or imperfect.

This handwritten font is perfect for invitations, wall prints, home decor, branding and much more. Our Open Font License (OFL) allows crafters and designers plenty of freedom for creativity.

Feel free to share this font with others or have it available for download! You may not sell this font or any part of the font as-is. You must also include our OFL wherever you share it or have it available for download.

Credit is not required but is always appreciated. When possible, please link back to savanasdesign.com! This will allow us to create more free fonts in the future!

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Social Media Image Sizes 2017

Social Media Image Sizes 2017

Use our social media image sizes 2017 guide as a cheat sheet to reference on your next social media design. Today I will talk about the different social media image size dimensions for 2017 on each social media platform and some tips and tricks when designing for them.

There are great infographics out there similar to our social media image sizes 2017 chart that are helpful when trying to find the correct dimensions for your image. Be careful as some dimensions can be confusing or have updated since. I personally had trouble finding image size guides that were exact to one another. Although all of these should work just fine, if you find one that doesn’t please comment below and I will update this guide.

Social Media Image Sizes 2017

Download the Printable PDF

Download the JPG

Latest Social Media Image Sizes 2017 in Pixels:

 

Facebook

Profile photo: 180 x 180

Cover image: 851 x 351

Business page cover photo: 828 x 315

Highlight image: 1200 x 717

Link image: 1200 x 627

Shared image: 1200 x 630

 

Twitter

Profile photo: 400 x 400 (displays as 200 x 200)

Cover image: 1500 x 500

Shared image: 440 x 220

 

Pinterest

Profile photo: 280 x 280

Pins in feed: 238 x height scaled

Expanded pins: 600 x height scaled

Board cover: 800 x 800

Board display: 222 x 150 for large thumbnails

50 x 50 for smaller thumbnails

 

Instagram

Profile photo: 160 x 160

Photo thumbnails: 161 x 161

Photo size: 1080 x 1080

Landscape image: 1080 x 566

Portrait image: 1080 x 1350

 

Tumblr

Profile photo: 128 x 128

Shared image: 1280 x 1920

Image in feed: 500 x 750

 

Google+

Profile photo: 250 x 250

Cover image: 1080 x 608

Shared image: 497 x 373 height is scaled

 

LinkedIn

Profile photo: 400 x 400

Profile cover image: 1500 x 425

Company logo: 400 x 400

Career cover photo: 974 x 330

Company banner image: 646 x 220

Link image: 180 x 110

Shared image: 350 x 250

 

YouTube

Profile photo: 800 x 800

Channel cover image: 2560 x 1440

Custom video thumbnail: 1280 x 760

 

Snapchat

Geofilter: 1080 x 1920

 

Flickr

Profile photo: 400 x 400

Cover photo: 2048 x 768

 

Behance

Profile photo: 200 x 200

Thumbnail images: at least 404 x 316 (displays at 202 x 158)

Tips and Tricks

One of my favorite tricks, especially when designing on mac is to double over the dimensions so that when you post your image online they will be crisp and clear. Some of these dimensions are already sized up to be clean when uploaded, but it is never a bad idea.

If doubling makes the file too large, feel free to add 300-400 pixels on the length and width and this should do the trick.

Another key point is to always save out in PNG and make sure your images are set to RGB.

If you have to use a JPG make sure your RGB settings are correct and try to save out bigger than required. However, most of the time JPGs will look poor in quality because some platforms like Twitter, tend to compress it a lot. The artifacts are terrible especially at 72 dpi.

Additionally, think about how your image will be used. For example, if you want your image to be shared a lot, you may want to design with the platform’s sharing dimension in mind.

Creating an image to share cross-platform can be very tricky, especially if you like to share on Instagram. However, if you start with an Instagram size like 1080 x 1080 pixels it is much easier to then share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other platforms. Again, remember to double over dimensions if possible.

Adding text can allow for more artifacts, especially on Twitter so be careful and keep dimensions and the saving out format in mind. For the most part JPG format tends to be terrible with text. Provided that you are text heavy or only using a couple of colors, GIF format may actually work well.

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Valentine’s Day Box Freebie

Valentine’s Day Box Freebie

This week I am giving away a Valentine’s Day box freebie. Feel free to use them as treat boxes, gift boxes, Valentine boxes, or anything else that your heart desires! Especially ideal for school children at their Valentine’s party! Additionally this cute Valentine box features the phrase “Be My Valentine?” Perfect for adults as well, this easy to create Valentine’s Day box freebie is great to use for gift cards, jewelry, and other surprises!

Download the Template

  • Here is a JPG Version if you are unable to open the PDF file.

11 Simple Steps to Create our
Valentine’s Day Box Freebie

  1. To begin with simply print out the box template on thick paper or card stock. 8.5 in. x 11 in. sized paper will work fine.
  2. Secondly cut around the faint thick pink line or if you have the ability to have your cutting machine cut around the shape, have at it!
  3. The faint pink dashed lines are your fold lines.
  4. Fold over the middle fold line to create your front and back of the box.
  5. Now fold the thin edge fold line at the bottom of the template for easy assembly later.
  6. Then bend and fold along the curved edges (which make the sides of the box) as precise as possible.
  7. Earlier I mentioned in Step 5 about the thin edge fold line located at the bottom of the template. Once located, you can begin taping or glueing this part together as it is easiest to start with.
  8. The next step is to carefully fold the ends of the box by overlapping one side over the other and tape or glue the overlapping section together.
  9. Fill your box with delicious Valentine goodies!
  10. In addition, the rounded semi-circle box end can face outward for easy opening.
  11. Finally, you’re done!

Valentine’s Day Box Freebie Pictures!

In addition, here are some final pictures! (note: I didn’t glue my ends together yet)

Valentine's Day Box FreebieValentine's Day Box FreebieValentine's Day Box Freebie

Credit Guidelines

Luckily this project is one that can easily be done in a couple of hours for an entire classroom. But the best part of all is that this project is entirely free! Without a doubt you are guaranteed to have fun creating these adorable Valentine’s Day crafts! My only guidelines are that you do not cover up my “savanasdesign.com” text on the box and if you share it online, please link back to savanasdesign.com! Have fun and have a great Valentine’s Day!

Please copy and paste this text on your page if you use or share this Valentine’s Day Box Freebie on your website or blog:

Valentine’s Day Box Designed by <a href="https://savanasdesign.com">SavanasDesign</a>.

In conclusion these are the 11 easy to follow steps to create your own Valentine’s Day box! Comment below and show us how yours turned out! Above all we hope you enjoyed our Valentine’s Day box freebie!

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Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing only takes a few simple steps. First select your object. Then choose Object > Path > Simplify.

Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Afterward, a dialog box will appear. Here are the options that appear when you open the Simplify dialog box.

Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Next, these are the options that you will see.

  • Curve Precision: The higher the value = the more anchor points
  • Angle Threshold: Prevents some angle anchors from being smoothed
  • Straight Lines: Changes paths to straight line
  • Show Original: Shows original vector image
  • And Preview: Shows a preview of what will happen when you change the Curve Precision, Angle Threshold, and/or Straight Lines.

Curve Precision: The higher the value = the more anchor points. This will most likely be the your most important option when Illustrator automatic path smoothing.Illustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Angle Threshold: Prevents some angle anchors from being smoothedIllustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Straight Lines: Changes paths to straight lineIllustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

Show Original: Shows original vector image in redIllustrator Automatic Path Smoothing

And Preview: Shows a preview of what will happen when you change the Curve Precision, Angle Threshold, and/or Straight Lines.

For the most part, the Simplify feature can be incredibly helpful for quick jobs, fixing a jagged vector, or producing more straight paths. Simplifying a path is meant to remove extra anchor points. Its intent is to do so without changing the shape of the path and is a form of automatic path smoothing in Adobe Illustrator. When unnecessary anchor points are deleted, your artwork will be simplified, and as a result will reduce the file size allowing for faster print and display.

Hand Drawn Lettering
Original

 

Simplify Tool
Using Simplify Option

Be Careful!

I only noticed this problem when zooming in and working on the piece later on. As can be seen, some straight edges have looped over on a few end points. Before printing or finalizing your piece for release, zoom up and check if you have the same problem.

Looped Edges

This may be able to be fixed by reducing the amount of Angle Threshold or you may have to manually fix these instances.

Using the Smooth Tool

However, if you find that this does not smooth out your paths how you desire them, the Smooth Tool will do the trick. Smooth Tool If you don’t see the tool in your Tool Panel you can click and hold on any of the other three options that you do see,

Smooth Tool Options

and then select the Smooth Tool.

  1. First select the object.
  2. Then Select the Smooth Tool  Smooth Tool
  3. Click and Drag the tool along the path that you want to smooth.
  4. Finally, continue smoothing until you are happy with the result.
  5. Furthermore, you can change the amount of smoothing by double clicking the Smooth Tool. Smooth Tool Options Dialog Box
    1. Fidelity controls the amount of points on your path. The higher the value = the smoother and less complex.
    2. Smoothness controls the amount of smoothness. The higher the value = the smoother the path.
Original Handwriting
Original

 

Smooth Tool
After Using Smooth Tool

The Smooth Tool is one of my favorites and most helpful tools that I use. For realistic vectors, the Smooth Tool will be your best friend. It can be very time consuming, but is worth it to finalize an important illustration.

Simplify VS. Smooth Tool

In conclusion, I would use the simplify feature for quick edits. It would also be a huge help if I had a lot of extra anchor points in my design that I would like deleted. If I wanted more straight lines, I would use the simplify feature and adjust the Straight Lines option. On the other hand, if my project is very design sensitive or precise, I would use the Smooth Tool. You may benefit from using both the Simplify feature and the Smooth Tool. Below are my screenshots of the Simplify Option VS. Smooth Tool

Simplify Tool
Simplify

 

Smooth Tool
Smooth Tool

Can you tell a difference? Which one do you like better? I hope you enjoyed this tutorial about Illustrator automatic path smoothing. Soon, I will be posting more tutorials about helpful design tools and techniques as I learn them myself. Stay tuned as I will be listing a Valentine’s Day freebie in my next blog post.

Below is my finalized version using both the Simplify Option and Smooth Tool. I also had to manually smooth out a few areas.

Simplify and Smooth Tool

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How to move your designs forward in 2017

How to move your designs forward in 2017

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Have you thought about how to move your designs forward in 2017? Whether you create graphic design as a personal hobby, or have been designing professionally for years, we all need a plan to move forward. This simple guide demonstrates 4 essential points on how to move your designs forward in 2017.

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Ideas

It all starts with an idea. That first thought turns into a brainstorming session. You may be stuck in a rut. Perhaps you are just burned out or have been designing under the same company’s style guidelines for years. It’s okay. There is hope. Try to brainstorm as creatively as possible. Keep your ideas simple and clear. Sketch them out to gain inspiration or to later refine on requirements. Most importantly make sure your ideas as something you want to do.

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Research

Sometimes researching is best before thinking up new ideas, but not always. Reading in general no matter what subject can help you think in a different way. The internet is full of information on any topic, but be sure to check your sources. However, resources can be factual, non-factual, or even out of the norm. Stories about aliens could help with an alien themed party or even to get in a fun mood for a corporate event. Obviously don’t have E.T. peaking out behind a table, but inspiration can be implemented. Stories and imagery are an easy way to find inspiration. Finally, among your research be sure to stay up to date. Make sure some articles that you are reading are dated 2017, and not all 1985.

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Innovate

Innovation is crucial to be a successful designer and move your designs forward in 2017 and beyond for that matter. Ask yourself these questions:

“How can I make my design(s) better?”

Extra brainstorming, more time, or creating a personal style guide may help.

“How can I be better?”

Try something new! Take an extra step or two to go beyond your next project scope.

How to move your designs forward in 2017

Create an Impact

Finally, create! Create your work for a reason. Don’t design it as a mundane task but as a pleasure. Here are some questions you should ask when you think you are finished with a project:

“Will this help my company/client/message?”
“What does my message or design say?

“Does my design speak without words?” and if so “What is it saying?”

Finally, have another set of eyes look at your work. Is the message clear?

Bring on 2017!

In conclusion, these are the 4 simple points on how to move your designs forward in 2017. Brainstorm ideas, do your research, think innovatively, and create an impact. Simple, right? The truth is, these points demonstrate how to remain a successful designer for years to come, not just 2017. Our fast paced world is full of new technology, ideas, opinions, and a lot of different styles and trends. We may never be able to read a clients’ mind, but we can try to prepare ourselves for our ever-changing expectations.

 

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Design Gift Guide – 10 Cool Gifts for Graphic Designers and Artists

Design Gift Guide – 10 Cool Gifts for Graphic Designers and Artists

This design gift guide talks about the 10 things every designer and artist needs for Christmas. If you are a designer and anything like me then you are more than happy to put those much “needed” art products on your Christmas list. These items will hopefully inspire your creativity and improve your workflow. Here is my list of the top 10 things every designer needs for Christmas in my design gift guide. Whether you are a designer or buying for one, this is a great checklist that promises to be beneficial.

design gift guide

1. Medium of Choice

First of all, we all have a favorite medium. Even if your work is photography or digital based, we all need to sketch out ideas or get our creative juices flowing. Whether it be oil, acrylic, watercolor, graphite, charcoal, crayon, coloring pencils, markers, and so on, always having a well-trusted brand around is crucial. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to color with some cheap crayons or coloring pencils which ended up being a waste of money because the pigmentation was well below average. Invest a little more money and do your research on best-sellers of the medium that you love. Amazon is always a great source to see what medium and brand is selling well and the reviews make it easy to understand why.

Idea:
https://www.amazon.com/Prismacolor-Premier-Charcoal-Sketch-Reusable/dp/B001BYRKGG/ref=sr_1_20?ie=UTF8&qid=1481312265&sr=8-20&keywords=charcoal+sticks

cardstock paper

2. Paper

Next, paper no matter what you do is so important! Whether you are printing, need photography paper for pristine photos, create stickers, create stationary, sketch, use watercolors, or draw you need the right paper. I never understood this concept until creating graphic design for a couple of years. While working at a local print shop, I always saw the different paper stock – copy, resume, linen, cotton, glossy, matte, thick, etc. etc. etc. And yes, it absolutely matters. Here are the design gift guide’s major 3 things that matter and that you don’t hear about often when talking about paper.

  1. It determines who you are.

    First of all, if you print on cheap paper you come off as a cheap business, artist, or designer. Sometimes you really have very little choice (and you will quickly learn that when you print with big companies like Kinko’s). When possible, always spend more than the cheapest. Thick matte is always a good choice on business cards. Copy paper is never a good choice for anything unless you are printing large quantities of worksheets or something of little value.

  2. It determines how clear your designs show up or how well the pigmentation takes to your paper.

    Second, a lot of quality comes from the printer or the medium you are using, but just as important is the paper you are using. Glossy paper and photo paper are phenomenal for photography and there is a reason why! This paper absorbs the ink in a way that gives you the best quality possible. Not only will your images last longer on the right paper, but they will look a lot better and professional. Same goes for any sort of artist paper.

  3. It determines how your colors appear.

    Finally, cheap paper can leave your colors washed out while nicer paper will give you much more vibrant colors. I did a test print the other day on one of my designs. Dang! I must not have something set up right. I looked through my printing and document options and all seemed fine. After changing my low inks to brand new cartridges, I printed again. Nope, not the ink! But it’s just dark gray. So I thought maybe it was the paper. I tried my thicker but still cheap cardstock. UGH!!! Still the same saturation! So after another 30 minutes of scratching my head I tried my slightly more expensive printer paper. It is just slightly thicker than copy paper, but very bright white, and shows up colors like no other. WOW! It worked. The answer was 100% the paper.

Idea:
https://www.amazon.com/HP-Bright-Letter-Sheets-203000/dp/B00000J3LO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1481312397&sr=8-2&keywords=hp+bright+white+paper

schedule planner

3. Planner

Whether you work by a calendar, planner, or list it is so important to stay on schedule and up to date. I personally wouldn’t be anywhere right now without my calendar. Planners help your brain out and lets your head have a break so you can focus on more creativity. If you don’t work by any sort of schedule right now or you feel like yours isn’t working out I absolutely recommend a planner with separate days so you can jot down important tasks and deadlines.

Idea:
https://www.amazon.com/GLANCE-Monthly-Planner-Appointment-70-260-05/dp/B01E7686Q2/ref=zg_bs_1069456_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=KFDR59TCNGV406BQX3WE

sketchbook paper

4. Sketchbook

We all need somewhere to doodle and sketch out ideas. A sketchbook is never a bad choice as a gift and this design gift guide links you with a popular sketchbook with plenty of great reviews from Amazon. You can even use your sketchbook as an inspiration book. Some people glue in inspiring photos, quotes, or whatever else helps them think about new ideas. Sometimes when my brain is fried towards the end of the day all I have to do is reference my original sketches to get back on track.

Idea:
https://www.amazon.com/Strathmore-400-Sketch-Pads-12/dp/B0027A39PY/ref=zg_bs_12897981_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=KXEPDXP5P18H7RAE37QE

resource books

5. Resource Books

Yes, I know this may sound crazy, but even a dictionary helps me retain resources and get ideas. Your helpful resources can be completely related to what you do or very random it doesn’t matter as long as it keeps you inspired and allows you to grow. Photography, graphic design, tutorials, crafting, whatever it may be get some resource books that offer incredible help to you.

Idea:
https://www.amazon.com/Illustration-School-Lets-Happy-People/dp/1592536468/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&qid=1481313017&sr=8-15&keywords=how+to+draw+people

digital design resources

6. Needed Programs or Primary Use of Programs

If you are a studio artist this may not relate as much to you. You can still use these programs to touch up your gallery images, make promotional material, or just learn! Programs like Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Maya are huge industry standards but can be terrible news for your budget. If this is something that is doable as a Christmas present however, definitely invest in whatever program you will use! There is always something more affordable. Sketch is very affordable and is one of the industry standard programs for UI and UX designers. Do your research and see if more affordable programs have everything that you will need. There is plenty of free software out there as well that are fine for simple design and touch ups. Make sure to update the software that you use often to stay current and keep learning.

Idea:
https://www.artrage.com

design resources

7. Helpful Resources

If you are a graphic designer you may find purchased textures, fonts, and other resources in which you can use for your client(s) extremely valuable. Of course you must understand the licenses involved. All it takes is a great resource at a reasonable price and you could be set for numerous future projects. There are a lot of resources out there and plenty of bundled goods. Just make sure you understand what the license allows you to do. You may buy a font that will only allow you to use it for one client. You may buy a texture that allows you to use it an unlimited amount of times. Either way these resources have proved tremendously valuable for me. Studio artists may find helpful resources through online tutorials, YouTube videos, or subscriptions.

Idea:
https://creativemarket.com

hand tracing

8. Tracing Box

An item that is on my personal Christmas list is a light box. Some designers may not use it at all. Some could really get some great use out of a tracing box. My design process usually looks something like this: idea > brainstorm > rough sketch > more detailed sketch > resketch / cleanup. I could go from rough sketch to finalized a lot quicker using a tracing box for my designs. Artists and watercolorists would find it a fantastic source for tracing onto thin canvas, watercolor paper, or drawing paper.

Idea:
https://www.amazon.com/Tracing-Artcraft-Artists-Sketching-Animation/dp/B00YA9GP0G/ref=zg_bs_12896801_1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=MJEPBWJAZXVNQHJYY5XQ

calligraphy handwriting

9. Water Brush Pens / Something New to You

I want to try my hand at calligraphy with water brush pens. I’ve seen great drawings and cartoons designed from them as well. If that’s not your thing, then try something a little out of the box for you! Try a new medium, subject, canvas, or craft! Ever want to try oil painting and only have painted with acrylics? Use the holiday and new year as a reason to try it out.

Idea:
https://www.amazon.com/Pentel-Aquash-Water-Assorted-FRHBFMBP3/dp/B00AX31TZO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1481313391&sr=8-3&keywords=water+brush

adult coloring

10. Adult Coloring Books

Last on our design gift guide, we recommend a fun and non work related gift of adult coloring books. Not only are they packed full of inspiration, but they offer a relaxing and stress-free activity to wind down with at the end of the day. I bought the coloring book linked below at a store for $10 and it’s the best $10 I’ve ever spent on a coloring book. Absolutely stunning images.

Idea:
https://www.amazon.com/Creative-Therapy-Anti-Stress-Coloring-Book/dp/076245881X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481313609&sr=8-1&keywords=color+therapy+creative

 

In conclusion this is just a small design gift guide of many creative choices for the holidays. If you are buying for an artist or designer, this list is an excellent source. You really can’t go wrong with these items in particular:

  1. Design resources, books, or magazine subscriptions.
  2. Sketchbook on nice paper.
  3. Adult coloring books – depending on how artsy they are!

Let me know what is on your design Christmas list this year and if you added anything new from this design gift guide!

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Christmas Freebies

christmas freebies

Christmas Freebies

We are most definitely in the Christmas spirit here at SavanasDesign. One way that we like to spread Christmas cheer is through Christmas freebies! We hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving full of happiness, family, and food! Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone let’s bust out those lights, turn on a Christmas song, and get crafting! Our shop has you covered on all of the Christmas goodies you need. But first let’s make sure you get to the highly anticipated Christmas freebies!

Today marks the last freebie of the year. It also marks the last official monthly freebie. WHAT!?!? I know. I know. But don’t worry because we will certainly be posting freebies on occasion. SavanasDesign plans on making a full 2017 monthly calendar available early next year. Our schedule has just become too hectic to juggle in order to keep up with monthly freebies. Sales have been picking up as our shop grows. That means that constant planning, creating, and listing are priorities for us right now. Our work will be featured on many new platforms in 2017. My work will also be featured in the book Bézier | The Best Vector Artists Worldwide Vol 1. I will also be a blog contributor which is great news for you! I will be writing about helpful insights in the design world and helpful How-to’s! Now, on to those Christmas freebies!

Printable Christmas Freebies

Our Christmas freebies this month include our landscape December 2016 calendar and our portrait December 2016 calendar. Both are instant download calendars that are easy to print. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a little treat so included is a gift tag freebie! Featuring good ole Saint Nick (a.k.a. Santa Claus) and a snowman, these downloadable Christmas gift tags are sure to add a personal touch. These 2-sided printable tags include easy to follow printing instructions. Check out our set of 6 Christmas Gift Tags for more fun! Terms of use are very relaxed, but link backs are required.

christmas freebies
December 2016 Calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download Landscape December 2016 Calendar

 

 

Christmas freebies
Portrait December 2016 Calendar

 

Download Portrait December 2016 Calendar

 

 

Snowman Gift Tag Christmas Freebie
Snowman Gift Tag
Gift Tag Christmas Freebie
Christmas Light Back Tag
Santa Gift Tag Christmas Freebie
Vintage Santa Gift Tag
Gift Tag Christmas Freebie
Christmas Tree Back Tag

 

 

Download the Free Printable Christmas Gift Tag Set

Christmas Design Goodies for Sale

Finally onto our brand new Christmas listings!

  1. Christmas Clipart Set – Enjoy 11 cute Christmas clipart pieces. Perfect for decoration, classroom activities, and card design. Our set features candy cane clipart, stocking clipart, present clipart, santa hat clipart, holly clipart, merry Christmas clipart, Christmas light clipart, snowflake clipart, ornament clipart, Christmas tree clipart, and teddy bear clipart.
  2. Christmas Tree Set – 9 beautiful Christmas Tree clipart pieces. Create stunning Christmas theme graphic design, planner stickers, and crafts.
  3. Ornament Set – Set of 10 rainbow Christmas ornaments that are perfect for crafters and designers. Set includes gold tone metal and silver tone metal options that make Christmas promotional design a piece of cake in this easy to use set.
  4. Snowflake Set – Stunning set of 50 snowflakes! This clipart set is a must for designers, planners, crafters, and teachers!
  5. Winter Scene – The winter scene is created with the designer in mind. Featuring a beautiful snowy scene with a snowman, stars, snow-covered mountains, snow-covered trees, cabin, and santa on his sleigh, this set is a must for designers that need elegance. The AI and SVG options allow designers to separate needed elements and create their own design.
  6. Winter Christmas Card – Our winter scene was just too cute to not create a print ready Christmas card! Featuring “Happy Holidays” on the front, our card is blank inside allowing for your own special words. Files come as an easy download that is ready to print!
  7. Holly Clipart – This clipart features 5 different holly options. Many people also use this as mistletoe. Perfect to create a quick and easy holiday card, tags, decoration, games, and much more.
  8. Christmas Light Clipart – This set is my personal favorite. Featuring 8 different options, you are sure to find one that is perfect for your project. From straight lined to loose, our Christmas lights are perfect for Christmas cards, Christmas promotions, and Christmas printables!
  9. Gift Tags – Our gift tags include 6 front and back designs that are suited for all Designs include Christmas tree, Merry Christmas, snowflake, candy cane, teddy bear, and red and green retro design. Back of the gift tags say “To:” and “From:” with Christmas elements that will undoubtedly add a beautiful personal touch to your gifts. Easy to follow printing instructions are included.
  10. Snowflake Cut Files – 50 set of snowflakes have been created into easy to use SVG and EPS files that any cutting machine will love. Stickers, planners, cards, confetti, games, decals, iron-ons, you name it!
  11. Merry Christmas Cut Files – Our Merry Christmas cut files include a beautiful design with Christmas lights. Another fun included option is to layer between different cut options!
  12. Happy Holidays Cut Files – This cut file includes the phrase “Happy Holidays” with two cute snowflakes. Also included is a layering option. This is perfect for creating that perfect holiday gift!

Christmas Design Coming Soon:

  1. Christmas Scrapbooking Paper – Christmas scrapbooking paper will soon be released! Santa, Christmas lights, Christmas trees, and snowflakes are only a few elements that you will see! Our 10 pack will include fun patterns for all ages. Whether you need a more elegant design or a fun design, this one pack will have you covered. This set is easy to print your own scrapbooking paper or use as digital scrapbook paper.
  2. Christmas Borders – Christmas borders are a perfect way to create easy festive design. Whether you are creating a promotion or crafting, our Christmas borders will be perfect for any project. We will have straight options as well as framing options!
  3. Snowman Coloring Sheet – Our snowman coloring sheet is as adorable as can be! He is perfect for holiday activities in the classroom. He is also so fun to color with the family and hang up when done!
  4. Santa Claus Coloring Sheet – Our Santa Claus coloring sheet features good ole Saint Nick. Featured in a more vintage design, he is perfect for both children and adults. This zentangle coloring page features fun designs to color in and his most well-known phrase “Ho Ho Ho!”
  5. Nativity Scene – This design is one that I am most proud of. I will probably be featuring this one in the book that I mentioned earlier, Bézier | The Best Vector Artists Worldwide Vol 1. This Nativitiy Scene clipart set features 13 characters. Our characters include: 3 wise men, Mary, Joseph, The Shepherd, Angel, and of course little baby Jesus! Animals in this set include a cow, donkey, sparrow, sheep, and baby lamb. Also included in this kit is the starry night sky, sandy ground, hay bed manger, stable, moon, and north star. Whether you use this as laid out or create your own scene with this set, you are certain to get many compliments!

We hope our designs help you get in the Christmas spirit just a little more!

 
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