Tag: Art (page 1 of 2)

5 Essential Tools Every Graphic Designer Needs

With internet usage on the rise, many businesses are transitioning from physical to digital media. Rather than publishing newspaper or direct mail ads, for example, they are publishing email ads and newsletters. With this digital evolution comes the need for graphic design services. Professional graphic designers can take advantage of this trend by using the following tools to streamline their operations.

#1) Adobe Photoshop

Every graphic designer needs software to create, edit and save his or her work. Released February 19, 1990, Adobe Photoshop is the industry’s leading graphic design software, supporting raster imaging editing, digital art creation, photo touch-ups and more. Adobe even offers several subscription-based Creative Cloud suites that include Photoshop as well as other software like Illustrator, After Effects and Adobe XD.

#2) Paper Sketchbook

A basic sketchbook with a pen or pencil can prove invaluable for graphic designers. It allows designers to quickly provide mock-ups to clients so that they can better understand the client’s vision. When a client is trying to explain their idea, the designer can draw it in a sketchbook. Once the client is happy with the sketch, the designer can fire up his or her computer to create it.

#3) Tablet Computer With Stylus

Graphic designers should also invest in a tablet computer with a stylus. As most seasoned graphic designers know, a keyboard and mouse limits creativity. Using a tablet with a stylus, such as the iPad with Apple Pencil, designers can create beautiful, hand-drawn designs that resonate with their clients.

#4) External Hard Drive

While it’s no substitution for a cloud storage service, an external hard drive is a smart investment for all graphic designers. It allows designers to back up their digital creations. If the designer’s primary computer becomes lost, stolen or damaged, he or she can retrieve their work from the external hard drive.

#5) Time-Tracking App

Finally, a time-tracking app is a smart tool that can help graphic designers meet deadlines and improve their productivity. When juggling multiple projects at once, many designers struggle to deliver projects on time. A time-tracking app like DUE, however, can keep designers on schedule by providing reminders of upcoming due dates.

These are just a few tools that can help graphic designers succeed. Designers should also explore other tools like a project management app, text editor, and monitor calibrator.

Graphic Design Trends 2018

Graphic design is one field that changes regularly, because people get tired of looking at the same things year after year. Artists are tasked with determining large trends that will dominate advertising and marketing (amongst other areas) in the coming year. This year, plenty of trends are making a comeback, while a few are just finding their footing. Let’s find out what styles will rule our screens this year.

Ultra Violet

If you’re an artist, you’ve probably heard about Pantone’s Color of the Year: Ultra Violet. This purple has deep blue undertones and, surprisingly, can actually be found in nature. You can expect to see Ultra Violet everywhere — from phone cases to fashion to ads. I am very excited to see the switch from pink to purple, and hopefully, you are too.

Negative Space

Many artists have completed a project and found that their drawings look flat. Negative space is a great way to help images pop without going too out-of-the-box. You can expect to receive positive feedback on any well-designed project with negative space utilization.

Moody Tones

The 80s and 90s are back in full-swing, as you’ll see in many artists’ palettes. Moody tones reflecting intense emotion are going to make a comeback this year, and it will be a nice change from the pastels of previous years. This trend will extend beyond graphic design; you might even see it crop up in hair salons around the country.


Everyone knows what a GIF is, and cinemagraphs are a GIF’s refined older cousin. Chances are, you’ve seen a cinemagraph around the web already. They look like static images, but there is always one element that is moving. A classic example is a candle. The background and the candle itself are static, but the flame flickers. Cinemagraphs are going to show up more frequently and will be used to highlight key aspects of an image or a brand.


Although these last few years with sans serifs have been fun, it is time to bring back some classic serif fonts! Modern serifs, reminiscent of mid-century advertisements, will appear on many mainstream websites and ads. However, each brand will carefully decide on which font reflects them best, and we will see a wide utilization of obscure or custom fonts as the year progresses.

Nearly every field has overall trends in any given year, but the trends in graphic design have the power to shape our perspective of the world. This weekend, we may have the chance to see some of these trends in action during the height of advertising: the Super Bowl. Let’s see how many of these trends we can tick off in one week.

Etsy Ideas for the Graphic Designer

Graphic design is an excellent field for the creative entrepreneur. Owning your own business and being able to pursue your passion is a dream of many, so why not find a way to combine the two? Luckily, Etsy is a marketplace that allows entrepreneurial graphic designers to sell their artwork with ease. However, knowing where to start with your Etsy shop can hold you back, so I’ve gathered ideas for you to use when opening your new Etsy store.


Every business needs a logo, including your Etsy shop. Make your logo perfect, because it’ll be the first place people look to see your design skills. Once you have your logo completed, try making a few mock logos and offering a custom logo in your store. These mock logos can give people an understanding of your style and expertise. There is also a wide range of flexibility, and you can find simple logos that are more cost-effective, as well as sophisticated logos that are more expensive. Decide where you fit in and price your product accordingly. Also, make sure you create a few logos for your customer to choose from, and remind them to be specific about what they want you to include.


Creating custom fonts can be a process, but the benefit of a font is it is a one-and-done project. Once you create your font, list it for sale on your Etsy shop, and people can buy it continuously for as long as you leave it there. One piece of advice I’ll give is to make your font as perfect as it can be. There are hundreds of fonts out there, so find a way to make yours stand out. And if you create a few fonts, consider selling them in a font pack for a discounted price!

Art Prints

Gone are the days of paintings hanging in everyone’s house. Younger generations of consumers are buying art prints more often, and this is perfect for a graphic designer! The best part of art prints is you can offer them merely as a download, which your customers can print. However, to set yourself apart, consider finding a print lab that can produce high-quality prints to send to your customers. You will need to price either way accordingly, but the convenience of having a print shipped directly to them can outweigh the price difference.

Business Products

Businesses always need promotional material and packaging professionally designed. You can make a ton of money by offering these services. From brochures to labels to business cards, there are endless options for business products you can provide. Make sure to research pricing, both on Etsy and elsewhere, and try to stay competitive. However, don’t sell yourself short; if you can provide high-quality work, charge for high-quality work. Businesses will appreciate the ability to give input, so also consider the time commitment and the number of mock-ups you will need to provide before your customer approves the design.

Printables and Templates

With the rise of bullet journaling comes the rise of printables. These templates are meant to be printed and utilized for planning purposes. Search through the bullet journal community to find ideas for products you can offer. Also, if your designs are unique enough, consider printing a small batch of custom journals (on quality paper) and selling those in your shop.
On the other hand, you can also create professional templates, such as resumé templates. Neither of these products will make you a significant chunk of money, but they can be an excellent way to add some supplementary income.

There are so many ways you can create an Etsy design business, and this list is just a small portion. For those starting out in this field, I suggest giving Etsy a try. Although it may not provide enough to be a day job, it can be a great way to add professional work to your portfolio and help you earn a little extra cash.

Graphic designers beware: computer vision syndrome is worse than you think

Our eyes are a precious commodity that shouldn’t be taken advantage of, but for graphic designers, it can be difficult to avoid what’s known as computer vision syndrome.

Computer vision syndrome can cause blurred vision, water or dry eyes, headaches, and pain in shoulders, back, and neck. To avoid the symptoms, make sure to make a conscious effort to blink often, move your monitor at least 16” away from your face, take breaks as often as possible, and use larger typefaces while reading online. As a graphic designer, it’s pretty impossible to stay away from screens altogether, but it’s best to make sure you have some time each day that does not involve a screen.

Reasons to Charge Graphic Design Work by the Hour vs. by the Project

As a graphic designer, you need to decide whether you’d like to charge by the hour or by the project, and deciding between the two can be confusing.


Experienced designers will more than likely charge by the hour because they have a pretty good understanding of how long a project will take them and what the work will entail. After consulting with a client and getting a firm grasp on what they’ll need to do, these designers can give clients a pretty close estimate on how much time it will take to complete the work.


If you haven’t taken on too many large projects in your career, it’s best to charge by the project. The reason being, if you estimate how much time the work will take and you’re way off, your client may be angry that the quote was much lower than the actual bill amount.

What the Primary Colors Mean in Advertising

Everywhere we look nowadays there are advertisements. Even if you didn’t leave your house, there are ads online, on television, and logos all over your home from the cereal you eat to the soap in your bathroom. The following primary colors are effective in projecting a company’s values, and this is what they are meant to mean from the marketers that use them.


The first color of Roy G. Biv is meant to be exciting and even create a sense of urgency in the onlooker. The most iconic logos that use red are Coca-Cola, Netflix, and CNN. It will also most likely make an appearance at your favorite store, in the form of a clearance sign.


If the clearance sign isn’t red, it’s going to be yellow. That’s because yellow is meant to attract attention and energize customers.


Unlike red and yellow, blue is much more relaxing and signals productivity, dependability, and strength.

What Are the Normal Expenses Associated with Having Your Own Graphic Design Business?

Owning your own business can be not only a stressful venture, but it’s also an expensive one. It may seem that if you already own a computer and have experience in graphic design, there won’t be many expenses in the future, but the following expenses are ones that freelance graphic designers have to plan on having.


Although you may own a brick and mortar business, some clients will still expect you to come to them for a consultation. Meeting at your local Starbucks isn’t a huge expense, but once you start traveling outside of your area, it can take a chunk out of your income.


You may be the best graphic designer in your area, but unless you’re able to market yourself and your business successfully, you’re going to need to rely on some advertising. Also included in this is the cost to have your website live.

Health Insurance

Unless you are still planning to work full-time at another job, you’re going to need to cover your health insurance.

3 Online Resources for Graphic Design Students

Being a student can be difficult. Being a student in the art field can be even harder. When it comes to pulling together projects and looking for inspiration, it’s best to have a repertoire of resources up your sleeve.

Fonts in Use

Are you a self-proclaimed Typophile? Or, are you just looking for the perfect font to use on your project? Organized by format, typeface, and industry, Fonts in Use is a user-friendly archive of typography.


Do you ever see something that inspires you, but forget to write it down? Niice is an online platform that allows you to gather images that inspire you all in one place. The site has an extensive library of images for you to peruse at your leisure and collect them on your boards. You can even download the boards you create so you have them available offline.

Digital Arts: Tutorials

Although you’re already in school for graphic design, there’s always room for improvement and always more skills to acquire. Digital Arts Tutorials provides free in-depth information on mastering techniques and design software.

FAQs About Freelance Graphic Designing

Freelance graphic design doesn’t have a manual, but many new graphic designers have similar questions about this kind of work. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about graphic design freelance.

How do I earn enough as a freelance graphic designer?

Earning “enough” is completely subjective and based off of your needs and wants. However, one way you can break this down is by creating a budget for yourself. Once you know how much you need to make, you can get an idea of how many hours you should be working and at what price. Accepting jobs below the price you want is often part of freelancing, which means you may work longer hours than you hope. However, applying for as many relevant jobs as you can will give you the best chance for earning enough money to survive.

What resources are out there to find jobs?

There are tons of websites you can use to find graphic design freelance jobs. Here’s a short list of some of the more popular ones:



People Per Hour



Should I get a second job?

Most likely, yes. At least at first, graphic design will likely not make you enough money alone to support you. You may have to work one or two other jobs at first just to provide for yourself, and graphic design on the side. If you’re hoping to be a full-time freelance designer, I suggest saving as much money as you can now, so that making the transition is less of a risk. It is also important to note that you should be marketing yourself and actively taking freelance jobs before you make the switch, as it can be a long process to get your name out there.

Is freelancing worth it, or should I try to join a graphic design company?

This is entirely up to you and your personal situation. However, there are positives and negatives to both freelancing and working a steady 9-5. Freelancing is a good idea for people who have an unusual schedule or don’t adhere to a set schedule well. It is also good for those who want to have the authority to pick and choose which projects they work on. If you’re looking to brand yourself in a niche, freelancing is the way to do so.

On the other hand, working for a company has many benefits, such as stable income and insurance benefits. You’ll likely also get paid time off, which is never the case as a freelancer. At the same time, working for a company means you’ll have to do what the company thinks is best, which may not always be what you think is best. You’ll also have a set schedule and may work in an office environment that is not as comfortable as working at home. However, you’ll have the support of others in the company, which can be a huge foundation for a new graphic artist.

For more information on graphic design, please visit JuliaSotnykova.org

Feel your creativity burning out? Here’s how to spark your passion again!

Creatives usually go in usual cycles of creativity. Sometimes, they wake up at 3:30AM and have a stroke of genius. Other times, they sleep for twelve hours, wake up groggy, and find nothing to fill their blank pages/canvases with. Creatives are also usually hard on themselves. They see someone else’s masterpiece and think, “I could never do that. They are lucky they have such creative passion and skills.” The truth is, however, every creative experiences this type of burn out at some point or another. Here are two signs you may be burnt out:

Celebrating someone’ creativity and supporting their beautiful work becomes annoying, as your jealousy boils beneath the surface.

The work that once brought you a passion for life has now become a burden to complete.

If you are feeling a creativity burnout, make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep per night; break down large creative projects into exceedingly small, bite-size tasks to help you move through your work one step at a time with low stress; and lean on others who have experienced the same to find comfort and ideas on how to overcome the impending, creative doom you may feel.