Tag: artist

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.

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.

4 Tips on Making a Living as a Graphic Designer

Graphic designers, like many people in the arts, are constantly questioned about how they can make a living in their field. With cutthroat competition, it can seem nearly impossible to live your dreams and make enough money. Today, I’m here to calm your fears and let you know that it is possible to make money as a graphic designer, as long as you follow some advice.

Tip 1: Create a Brand

Creating an identity for yourself in your field is necessary, whether you’re a graphic designer or not. However, it’s doubly as important when you’re a freelance artist because there is such fierce competition. Projecting yourself as an expert in one niche of graphic design is an excellent way to show that you’re the best at what you do. It may be tempting to take every job possible, but if you can afford to market yourself in one area and only accept relevant jobs, it will give the impression that you are concentrated on doing the best work in your area.

Tip 2: Sell Designs as Passive Income

If you create fonts, texture packs, or even website templates, you can make money licensing them out for years down the line. Build a store on your professional website where you can list every product you’ve created. Companies are constantly looking for fresh designs, so creating new graphic elements in your free time will pay off in the long run.

Tip 3: Education

Although it is important to earn your degree, it is also a good idea to create learning materials for the next generation of graphic designers. You can earn some hefty cash from writing textbooks about graphic design or teaching design classes locally or via the internet. Teachers may not make the best salary, but if you market yourself as enough of an expert (and have the experience to back it up), you can charge a decent amount of money. The plus is, if you’re teaching privately, you can factor in how much time it will take you to teach, including prep, and charge a reasonable amount.

Tip 4: Continue Developing Your Skills

As an artist, it is important to continue to learn and hone your skills. There is always more you can learn. However, some of the most important skills to learn are not inherently artistic. Learning how to run a business, best marketing practices, and even a second language can give you a huge career boost. The more skills you bring to the table, the wider your audience becomes. A quick way to find other areas for learning is through Coursera, where you can earn certifications for completing college-level courses. These are documents you can show to prospective employers, which may help you land a job at a design company.

Graphic design can be a challenging career, but the journey is worth the effort. Take the time to pursue these avenues, and you will see the work pay off in full. It may seem difficult to accomplish, but living your dream is possible.