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How to get Featured on Abduzeedo - 5 Things you can do

How to get Featured on Abduzeedo - 5 Things you can do

"How can I get featured on Abduzeedo" is a sentence that we have seen and heard thousands and thousands of time in the course of the last 11 years. There is nothing wrong about that sentence other than we truly like to hear about you guys. We have been building one the first design communities and we are proud of that. We have featured hundreds of designers, illustrators, artists coming from all over the Globe. So do you get featured on ABDZ? It's quite simple actually. We are sharing 5 things you can do to help you get our eyes on your portfolio/product or brand; obviously, the main reason for us is we can't see everything. We do know with certainty, there are many talented people out there and yet no one has ever seen their work or need an extra push to gain recognition from the community. I must admit, one of the best perks of being an Abduzeedo is to discover people like you from all around the World. There are no words to describe our reactions when some of you are actually featured on ABDZ. It's a really great feeling and an extraordinary reason for us to keep doing what we are doing. Stay Connected Like US on Facebook Follow Abduzeedo on Twitter Follow Abduzeedo on Instagram How to get Featured on Abduzeedo 1. Simply Click on the Banner Obviously, I wish life was that easy. Still, never give you up (Hah!) 2. Understanding the content of Abduzeedo What would describe best Abduzeedo? I personally love saying that we are one of the most sought design blogs on the web and now working independently as a digital publication. We do know that you guys love to see so you can get inspired by: Illustration, 3D, CGI, Digital Art and more. What we would love to see more on the blog are projects related UI/UX Case Studies, Motion, Tech Reviews, Learn from designers working from our industry. Once you understand what are our motivations and goals, you will know if you are a great fit or not. Artwork by Rik Oostenbroek 3. Reach Out You can always reach us by Email (Really convenient!). In all seriousness, the easiest way to reach us is through our Facebook, you can always tweet at us @Abduzeedo or using the hashtag #abduzeedo on Instagram. Generally speaking, I would say that 80% of the content is hand-picked by one of us. If we come across your work and we are somehow moved emotionally by you or the project. We will always make the effort to feature it on ABDZ. Work by Ben Johnston 4. Some Don'ts Don't send us creepy emails Don't forget to attach links in your emails Don't promote your work through comments Don't send us a DM on Instagram Work by Aurélien SALOMON 5. Arrogance will be ignored This is the part where this is "Real Talk", Fabio Sasso created Abduzeedo back in 2011 after his studio got robbed back in Brazil. Even after this unfortunate event, he will always see good in people and especially in his approach. This is also our motto as well. We truly enjoy featuring people who are creating amazing things and friends who are taking us on their journey of success. It's humble feeling that some of them started their careers here on ABDZ. On the other hand, we will never tolerate people who are genuinely looking at their own benefits when facing the "ensemble" of this whole community. If you are looking to be featured for the wrong reasons, you will be ignored. Artwork by Pawel Nolbert Not Take Rejection Personally In conclusion, rejections will occur when we see that your work or projects are not a great fit for the blog. After 11 years of publication, I truly think what kept us going is our reputation for curating high-quality content for you guys. It's a standard that we have to live by every day. It may sound harsh to some but if you can rely on my own experience, I tried many times to get myself featured on ABDZ until I had my first big break. Rejections should be part of your success in life, it's like a failure. You won't know what truly matters to you until you have tasted it.

A Few Tips for Prototyping with Atomic

A Few Tips for Prototyping with Atomic

Needless to say that there is a wide range of prototyping tools out there and I won't say which one are the best ones because there isn't one. I liked to say it all depends on your workflow and what's your purpose of this tool. That being said, I've been using this prototyping tool called Atomic and what I enjoyed the most about this tool is how fast it is and the fact you can customize with CSS is a must (for me). Here's a few tips that will make your experience with Atomic more accurate and fluid. In Atomic's Words Type To quickly and conveniently select a color within the color picker, just type the name of the color or paste the HEX code into the color selector. You can even type different shades of popular colors. Just be sure to exclude the spaces between words when you type them. For example “darkgreen” or “lightblue”. Gradients • Open a Custom CSS Gradient Generator such as this. Choose your preferred colors, angle and opacity. In the CSSmatic example, there’s quite a few settings you can play around with. Just tweak it until it feels right. • Once you’ve chosen your settings, select ‘Copy Text’ and navigate back to Atomic. With your element selected, paste the CSS into the Custom CSS field in the Atomic. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Convert • Import your image into Atomic • With the image selected, navigate to the Custom CSS window and paste in the following: border-radius:50%; Mask • Import your image and full size • Convert your image to a Container. • Resize the boundary of the Container to mask the image About Atomic Atomic is a prototyping tool and collaboration web app for designers. Originally from New Zealand, this team has been making buzz on the Web with their fast and efficient tool with awesome weekly content. For more information and get your hands on Atomic: https://atomic.io. Originally from: http://blog.atomic.io.

Useful Articles for Wordpress Development

Useful Articles for Wordpress Development

Lately I've been up to my neck in a Wordpress personal project, developing a nice website environment to be proud about and I've ran into many issues along the way, from simple things like adding classes to the body tag to more complex ones like security issues and things like that. I thought it would be nice to share with you some of best articles I've found during this time. These are some of the most useful articles I've used and saved for future reference. Some of these are quite basic, other are super complex, but I find amazing how some developers are super awesome for sharing their knowledge with the community. I hope you find use for this, because these have definitely helped me at some point. Also, if you have your own Wordpress developing bookmarks, please, share it with us! The issues you have encountered and solved might be someone else's current problem. Cheers. ;) Developing WordPress Locally With MAMP "Local development refers to the process of building a website or Web application from the comfort of a virtual server, and not needing to be connected to the Internet in order to run PHP and MySQL or even to test a contact form. One of the most annoying parts of development, at least for me, is the constant cycle of edit, save, upload and refresh, which, depending on bandwidth and traffic, can turn a menial task into a nightmare. With application platforms such as WordPress, which require a server back end to work, you would normally be constrained to develop on a live server, with the headaches that go along with that. MAMP and its Windows counterpart, WAMP, are tools that allow you to locally develop applications that require a server on the back end." -Read the article at Smashing Magazine. How to Build A WordPress Theme From Scratch Part One "So you have WordPress installed and now you are ready to install a theme to give your blog/site the look you want.For most people, this involves using a theme that was purchased or using a free theme that they found on the Internet. But these don’t have to be the only two options you have to choose from. A developer with some skill in CSS and HTML can easily create their own WordPress themes to give their site the ability to provide a unique experience for their visitors. This tutorial will walk you through the steps of creating your own theme." -Read the article at Developer Drive. Wordpress Body Class 101: Tips and Tricks for Theme Designers "Through out our experience of using WordPress, we have found that often theme designers overthink a certain functionality. They are looking for crazy WordPress filters and hooks to accomplish a task when all they need is some simple CSS. WordPress by default generates a lot of CSS classes. One of these CSS classes area ia the body class styles. In this article, we will explain the WordPress body class 101 along with sharing some useful tips and tricks for beginning theme designers." -Read the article at WPBeginner. 10 Most Common WordPress Errors (With Solutions) "If you are a WordPress user who likes to get your hands dirty with the codes, or one who just loves installing plug-ins and changing themes, you’ll understand that encountering an error is an inevitable occurrence. WordPress users (like us) know how frustrating it is to stumble into an unexpected error and not be able to find a solution for it. Most WordPress problems are solvable; If you hit an error, don’t fret because chances are, some other WordPress user had the same problem and had already gotten it solved." -Read the article at Hongkiat. 55+ Most Wanted WordPress Tips, Tricks, and Hacks "There are times when you come across a feature in a blog, and you just start thinking to yourself: How can I get this in my WordPress blog/site as well. Everybody have experienced this feeling. Sometimes you know you want it, and don’t know where to look for, or even what to look for. In this article we will be sharing some of the most wanted WordPress Tips, Tricks, and Hacks that you will definitely find useful. These tutorials are classified under various skills level. For some tutorials, you will need to know basic HTML and some WordPress Knowledge." -Read the article at WPBeginner. Widgetizing Themes Widgetizing is a pseudo word that describes the process of implementing Widgets and Widget Areas into your Theme. -Read the article at Wordpress Codex. 10 Useful WordPress Loop Hacks "The loop is a very important aspect of WordPress blogs. In fact, the loop is what allows you to get posts from your WordPress database and print them on the screen. A set of useful and user-friendly functions, the loop is incredibly powerful. With it, you can get a single post, a list of posts ordered by date, title or category, a list of posts written by a specific author and much more. In this article, we’ll show you 10 useful things you can do with the WordPress loop to make your blog even more powerful than it is right now." -Read the article at Smashing Magazine. Adding Disqus comment count links to your home page "Most websites implementing Disqus will want a way to display the comment count for each page with comments, on their home page. We offer an easy to use JavaScript code snippet which displays the number of comments for pages with Disqus embedded." -Read the article at Disqus.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

The book suggestion of this week is titled Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon and it's a New York Times bestseller about tips on being creative. As the author says, it's all about being yourself. You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side. When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, col- lect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination. Buy Now

Tips and Exercises to Master Spray Paint

Tips and Exercises to Master Spray Paint

Hi guys, what's up? Hope everyone enjoyed my last tutorial about stencil art, because today we're going deep on spray can techniques. Not only we're again focusing on alternative techniques, but this time we're going to do this also thru video, check this out. So first of all, let me explain what is the main idea here: Lots of people ask me how could I achieve such interesting results using a media as spray paint. Well, it takes time and dedication, but after three years of hard work, I could come from this crap: To this: It takes time, it takes passion, but I believe that my way to here would be much easier If I had someone to show me some really basic tricks. But let me emphasize here: these are not drawing or composition tricks, these are just dinamics that will make you have a better motricity with a spray can. I already wrote many written tutorials, but this time I though that a video tutorial would be more appropriated and easier to understand than just images and pictures, so here's a brief explanation of what this is all about. Chapter #1: Understanding the Spray Can I did this diagram that exemplify the past of the spray can, as you can see, there's no big deal in here: Cap/Biqueira: This is a essential piece for spraying, it's what regulate the diameter and quantity of paint that get off the can. There're dozen of type of caps, each one with a specific use and some more generical. Donut: This is usually a circle on the top of the can that displays the color you're using. Some cheap brands don't use this piece and rather place the name or a sticker of the color, my advise: If the brand don't even use donuts on the can, don't even buy it. Air/Ar: There's air inside the can, it's actually makes it possible to spray. But there's a golden rule about it: The air should be always on top for a good spray performance, so you should try to use it on 90º degrees and never turn it upside down. Valve/Válvula: This part is responsible for getting the ink off the can, it works along the pressure that you put on the cap. As it get the ink from the bottom, I will repeat again, you will spray only air If you turn it upside down. Paint/Tinta: Most spray can use oil based paint, it sticks and cover better than acrylic. In the other hand, they're toxic as hell, so make sure to use gas mask and gloves while dealing with it. Ball/Bola: This little metallic ball is helpful for mixing properly the ink, depending on the density of the ink, there can be more than one ball (MTN 94 white color uses three metallic balls, it's almost dense as butter). Concave/Côncavo: Don't know exactly the function of the concave on the bottom, but I know for sure that every aerosol has it, just look at the bottom of your deodorant. I think is something related with the pressure dinamic. The five variables There're five variables that will influence the diameter and blurriness of your spray trace, here's a brief explanation why they are so important. 1) Cap - The cap you choose will have a big role on the trace you will get. Nowadays there are dozens of types of caps, each with a specific diameter and usability. The one I'm using in this tut is a NY fat cap, it's a really ecletic cap as he can goes from thin to thick lines easily. 2) Can Pressure - The pressure of the can is something you should look before going to the wall, there are high, medium and low pressure cans, you should check what are better suitable for you use. Low pressure cans are recommended for beginners and for those who want thinner traces. Just remember: The highest the pressure, the biggest will be the trace 3) Wall distance - The more distant from the wall, the more blurry will be the trace, the more close to the wall, more solid will be the trace. 4) Cap pressure - The strenght applied on the cap will determine how much paint will get off it, so I must say the stronger you push it, the more will get off. 5) Speed - Spray paint is also about speed, the more quickly you do your trace, it will have less chances of get blurry or drip, also it will be thinner. But If you want a thicker trace, you should spray it slowly. Chapter #2: Useful exercises for spray dexterity So guys, I cannot teach you how to draw with spray paint without teaching you techniques on handling a can. So this will be about get used to this new tool, so please don't get anxious about doing a badass artwork right now, focus on get good on this tasks. Exercise #1- Make a tiny square So, let's start by trying to draw a really small square, try to draw the smaller you can. Don't be shy, I know you probably will make a huge mess on the beginning, but we will try again this exercise later and you will see that it will be much easier. Please take this as a invitation to use the can. Exercise #2- Make three different diameters Now let's test the dynamics of distance and pressure on the cap. Try to spray three different diameters, this will take time to master trust me. Exercise #3- Make a thin and thick line Now let's test the speed and cap pressure, so try to make a thin line by spraying it fast, close to the wall and pressing softly the cap. Then, try to make a thick line by spraying it slowly, far from the wall and pressing harder the cap. Exercise #4- Make both thin and thick lines You probably already realized that you can get a blurry or solid trace, so here's a exercise you should try: Try making a blurry to solid trace by vary the distance from the wall, this is a bit hard to master. Exercise #5- Connect the dots to make straight lines The best way to learn how to do straight lines is by doing a really silly exercise: Connect the dots, yep, like we used to do on kindergarten drawing books. Draw two points, posicionate the spray over the first one, aim on the second, then connect both. Don't move only your arm, spraying on wall also needs body movements, don't be a robot so. Exercise #6- Connect the dots to make shapes Now do the same exercise, but this time try to draw simple shapes, easy huh? Exercise #7- Make tiny circles Now that you already master lines and sharp shapes, let's try something round. Try to draw the tiniest circle you, start by doing it big then go smaller as you can. Exercise #8- Make a circle, a triangle and square Now, after all this exercises, you probably got some good dexterity with the can, so let's try to draw this basic shapes and try to draw them smaller and smaller. Exercise #9- Make a square with gradients Now for a final task, I gotta say I'm not the best on it hehe let's try to use gradients to create shapes, try first to create a square using gradients. You can achieve this by inclining your spray and by aiming the cap to the side you want to make the gradient. The Video So guys, in order ot make it more visual I decided to make this self explanatory video, hope it help and answer all your doubts on this exercises. Tips and Exercises to Master Spray Paint from Marcos Torres on Vimeo. Just a brief introduction to spray paint and some pretty basic exercises to understand how it works and to get dexterity on this tool.

Super Useful Photoshop Tips

For the next few weeks we'll be posting some of the best Photoshop tips from Photoshop Secrets. Some of these tips can greatly optimize your workflow helping you work faster and more precisely. Move Gradients, Patterns and Shadows from the Style Panel When adding gradients, patterns and shadows to a layer, you can drag your canvas to adjust the relative position of the effect. Separate compound shapes or masked bitmap layers into a new layer If you have 2 compound shapes in one layer and decide to separate them, the easiest way to do it is to select the shape (with the Path Selection Tool) then hit ⌘⇧J. This also works if you mask a bitmap layer, it cuts and duplicates it. ⌘J Will duplicate the shape or mask and leave the original intact. Open a duplicate window of your document so you can work on a detailed version When creating icons or small assets you may want to see both the 100% view and a zoomed in view so you can edit details and see the original at the same time. You can do so by clicking Window > Arrange > New Window for [doc_name]. The shortcut you see on the image I created myself by going to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. Press ⇥ while renaming a layer to rename the next layer Double click a layer name to rename it, Instead of pressing return, press ⇥ (tab) and the layer below will be selected and ready to be renamed. (CS6 only) Hide / show all effects on your document ⌥ click on effects icon to expand/collapse all effects in document (CS6 only) Change Layer opacity and fill opacity with keyboard Select a layer and press: 0 for 100% - 1 to 9 for decimals from 10 to 90. You can also type numbers in fast sequence to set specific opacity such as 25, 37 or 00 for 0%. Pressing ⇧ plus the numbers changes the Fill opacity. Make sure that you have the Move Tool (V) selected otherwise this will not work. With the Brush Tool the same shortcuts will set the opacity of the brush. And in case you don’t know, this is the difference between Opacity and Fill. Opacity changes the opacity of the entire layer including its styles, whereas Fill keeps the styles intact but knocks out the fill. Change Layer Blending Modes with your keyboard Select a layer then: ⌥⇧- Previous Blend ⌥⇧+ Next Blend ⌥⇧W Linear Dodge (Add) ⌥⇧E Difference ⌥⇧T Saturation ⌥⇧Y Luminosity ⌥⇧U Hue ⌥⇧I Dissolve ⌥⇧O Overlay ⌥⇧A Linear Burn ⌥⇧S Screen ⌥⇧D Color Dodge ⌥⇧F Soft Light ⌥⇧G Lighten ⌥⇧H Hard Light ⌥⇧J Linear Light ⌥⇧K Darken ⌥⇧L Hard Mix ⌥⇧Z Pin Light ⌥⇧X Exclude ⌥⇧C Color ⌥⇧V Vivid Light ⌥⇧B Color Burn ⌥⇧N Normal ⌥⇧M Multiply Change text size with your keyboard Select text by double clicking a text layer or manually selecting. ⌘⇧ ⌘⇧> Bigger by 2 points ⌘⌥⇧ ⌘⌥⇧> Bigger by 10 points Make your Layer Styles into Layers. Disconnect Styles from Layers by right clicking on effects and clicking “Create Layers”. This allows you to better manipulate effects, especially good for patterns, so you can morph them around a “3D” shape. You can also better adjust a drop shadow by cropping it or transforming it.

Tips And Tricks On Creating Stencils #2

Tips And Tricks On Creating Stencils #2

Tips And Tricks On Creating Stencils #2 What's up guys? Following my last tutorial, today we're going to proceed with some more techniques using stencils. Just in case you missed the part one, you can see it here. The focus of today exercise it's more complex techniques as multiple layers and color. So, I believe most of you have already done some stencils from our last tutorial, so just in case you may feel this exercises may be quite simple, remember to focus on the technique and not on the result, it's just a sample. So before we can start it out, here are some materials you may need: 1- Cardboard pieces; 2- Razor rather than a scissor (will be explained further); 3- Pencil, eraser and a little notebook; 4- Rulers; 5- A black and white printer; 6- 3 different color of aerosol spraypaint. Multiple Colours Stencils So people always ask me how could I achieve this effect on the layers, well, it's ridiculous, although it takes some care and patience to achieve. So, let's get a previous stencil we used on our last tutorial, it don't have to be the "paz" stencil, but I would like you to use a more solid stencil, you will understand later. Let's first find a surface to apply it. I decided to use a dirty and already tagged surface. I already said this on the list of material, but just to emphasize: In order to make this technique possible you should have at least four different colors of spray paint. I just made a flat base color to give more contrast to this piece, you won't need to this If you're applying on a blank surface. Let's simplify this process: you're going to fix the stencil on the surface on the same position all the time, If you take it out, you will probably lose the application site and will look like a mess, so please make sure to pin it with a duct tape or masking tape. Let's start by applying softly the first color, the trick here it's to aim to the stencil border, not on the cut-out hole itself. This way you won't get a massive amount of color, just a little gradient, don't forget that spray paint can get really blurry. Apply the second color, try to use the same technique. Apply the third color, try to use the same technique. Apply the forth color, try to use the same technique. And here it is, If you done the procedure as I told before, you should get this kind of fill, with more than one color and gradient. This a quite useful technique when trying to reach a exotic textures. Multiple Layers Stencils When I say multiple layers some of you probably got in mind Photoshop or Illustrator and I know why, because both programs work under layers logics, so If you're already keen with them, this creative process will be piece of cake for ya. Basic shapes This may look a bit boring as the output it's nothing gorgeous, but let's start by making a multiple layer stencil using the basic shapes we already worked with on our latest tutorial. Could you guys make scheme of how I got this result? Let me try to be more didactic: Let's think as Photoshop / Illustrator layers, when trying to make this simple black and white shapes you should first start with the white fill, so the first layer should have only the silhouettes. The second one will have the black stroke, but please don't forget to create the islands and bridges as I said on the last class, other wise you won't get this effect. So, this is how your stencils should look like, it's really important to make this shapes with the same width and height, the only thing that will change it's the cut-out holes. If you're going to make them digital, then print and cut it, this should be no problem. Although, If you're a willing to try it all manually, the first thing you should do it's to get two sheets of cardboard and cut them with the same width and height. Then, draw the first stencil shapes, make the cut-out holes. Now drop the first layer over the other cardboard sheet, mark the shape shapes with a pencil, almost as a stencil. Now you already have the same measures as the first layer, you just gotta make the strokes following the rules of making the islands and bridges to make the stroke shapes possible. Now just find a surface to apply, please try to find one with a texture, as one of the main things we want to test here it's the contrast, so it would be pointless to do a stencil with white base layer on a white wall, did you get it? So, apply the first stencil using a black fill, let it dry a bit. Now this step it's really important: If you haven't cut the borders of your stencils with same width and height, for sure you will have problems here on trying to aim the stroke layer on it's perfectly position. So, If you haven't done it before, now it's the time, try don't make a mess. Yep, it looked so simple when I just showed it first, but now you can see it take more time than you imagined. So I recommend to try this exercise a couple of times before you start making it with more layers. Mickey Remember that we did a Mickey? I would be really happy If you still had that stencil, as now we're going to try the same technique but with a more complex shape. You probably already noticed that the first layer it's always the simplification of all the drawing. Most of the cases, it's all about the silhouette and on this Mickey stencil it's not different. The other layer it's same we already created on our last tutorial, just in case you can't remind how we did, please visit the tutorial. Don't forget to respect the islands and brigdes rules. Do whatever technique you feel more comfortable when producing the stencil, I rather always draw the figure than just print and make the cut-out holes, but again, this is just me. After you made the cut-out holes, make sure that both stencils got the same borders width and heigth, it's the only way to make sure you will overlay them correctly. Now this is basically the same process as the exercise above: Apply the first layer, let it dry, apply the second layer, done. Four layers stencil Ok Marcos, but how about a 4 layers stencil? Well, the more layers you use, the more complex will be the output and so the process to get there. So, let's try something really easy and later you can try it with more complex shapes as you wish. If you paying attention, you probably already figured the way I created this eye figure. It's just 4 overlapping layers, I just made a scheme of how it is bellow: Simple, isn't it? So here are the cut-out holes you should create on each of the layers. You can print it on 4 sheets of paper and cut them or you can do it traditionally as I'm going to show bellow. So this is how I did it manually: First I cut 4 sheets of paper with the same width and height. On the first one I draw a big wide circle. Then just made the cut-out hole. Now I just picked another layer and placed the first one over it, then drawed a smaller circle inside of the stencil. Then just made the cut-out hole. I repeated the same procedure for the pupil stencil, so just overlay the two previous sheets and draw inside of it. Then just made the cut-out hole. The eye reflexes were a bit boring to do, as part of them are not inside the other sheet cut-out hole. So what I did was to draw part of the ellipses I knew were going to be in front of the pupil. Then I took the other layers of it and draw the rest of the circles. Ok, so you might be asking yourself "Why the hell would I create the stencil this way?" . Well, Iknow this way may seem harder, but think that this is the best way to prototype and understand how it will work later, even with you work with Illustrator and separate it on layers, you will only see If it really works when you make it more tangible. So now it's all about applying the layers on the correct order, that's why I just numbered them previously, this way you won't have the chance to make any mistake. Let's start with white fill. Do the same with the red and black layers, one thing you should be really careful it's with the drying time, every spray paint has it's own drying time and, of course, this also depends on weather and the surface. The more wet and cold the weather and the more flat and non porous the surface, the more time will take to dry. Don't know why, but more than one person already reported me that the last stencil it's the harder to apply. I think it's because not only you already built a structure and will feel afraid to make a mess in the end, but also because, at least in this case, this layer actually overlay part of the previous, so If you did not cut it exactly, you probably will fail. Well guys, hope you all got till this point, now you're ready to start making your own multi layer stencils, I would be really glad If my tips and trick work and help you. Please feel free to send me a e-mail If you have any doubts, it was a great time teaching this knowledge.

Tips and Tricks on Creating Stencils

Tips and Tricks on Creating Stencils

Hi everyone, today we're going to go back in time and continue a series of Quick Tips more focused on techniques and less on results. We already featured wheatpaste and spray paint techniques, so today I though about teaching you some cool tips and tricks on making stencils.I hope you guys join us on this exercise, even though most of you are more keen to do digital work please take a look at this as a way expand your graphic abilities and to recognize new ways of thinking.So, what are we going to learn today?Stencils are basically any sheet of material with cut-out holes that are applied pigment instruments, most commonly spray paint. The cut-out holes work as a template for previous designed graphics be placed on a underlying surface. More malleable materials as paper, cardboard, plastic are better to use on this technique, but depending on the number of times you might want to use it, a stronger material such as wood and metal sheets may be more handy. This may sound as a really complex explanation, so I decided to make this more visual and posted some artists that use and abuse of this technique: C215 Blek Le Rat BanksySo before we can start it out, here are some materials you may need: 1- Cardboard pieces;2- Razor rather than a scissor (will be explained further);3- Pencil, eraser and a little notebook;4- Rulers;5- A black and white printer;Parts of the stencil: Safety BorderI call it safety border because it's minimum distance you should have from the cut-out hole and the border, this it's not specific in terms of measure, it's more about a distance you should calculate in order to avoid any leak outside of the cut-out hole. IslandAs the name already says, Islands are independent parts inside of a cut-out hole, as you may notice shapes can't float, so that's why they need bridges. BridgeThis are the ligatures that make the island possible to exist on the cut-out hole, knowing where to make this connection may seen a bit hard at the beginning. Cut-out holeThis is the place where we place the pigment, it should be stretched and pushed hard against the wall or surface to avoid leaks and blurs.How to make a basic stencil:So,now your probably wondering how to make your first stencil. Let's start by designing some simple and solid shapes, I decided to make some sketches of the basic shapes (triangle, square and ellipse). Notice that I did solid shapes, only silhouettes, this might be boring, but before you get the practice of making cut-out holes, you will rather do this kind of stencil. Let's say this is "Level 1". Now with your razor and a ruler, make the cut-out holes on the shapes you designed. Try not to use a scissor, as they are not precise for this kind of work and you probably may have to cut outside the design, what will screw everything.How to make lines using stencils:After praticing some other basic shapes you probably will get bored of it at some point, it's time to go to "Level 2". So, do you remember the stencil parts I explained before? More specifically the bridge and the islands, this will be necessary in order to create more complex shapes. So, how would you do the basic shapes with only lines? The answer would be probably this: As you probably notice, in order to make the line just transform the inside of the shapes in big islands, this can vary depending on the size of the outline you want to get.Making letters:The same logic goes for making letters, you can make more solid and square shapes in the beginning like the sample bellow: With time and patient, you will understand how to apply the bridge/island technique on the letters too, it's like rendering but on paper.Applying the stencils:I supposed most of you guys never used spray paint, so here some tips before getting your hands dirty:First of all: don't get your hands dirty, you can use gloves as you will have to use one of your hands to stretch and push the stencil. Just a glimpse of how your hand will look like If you don't use any gloves. I also advise you to use a 3M gas mask with a niosh filter (with a black stripe) as spray paint always have some toxic fumes that can't be prevented with regular paper masks. Please take care of your health, you will thank me later. Talking about spray brands: My two favorites brands are Spanish Montana (the MTN 94 line more specifically) and Ironlak. These are paint created specially for aerosol art, so they have a really good drying, coverage and pressure. Both these cans are middle/low pressure, what I think it's better when dealing with stencils. A New York Fat Cap it's the most recommended spray cap for this technique, as it can range from thin to thick lines. Also the coverage of this cap is quite uniform, the one displayed on the picture is a Ironlak New York Fat Cap. Now this is really important: Your spray trace is determined by factors as type of cap, distance from the wall, pressure applied on the cap and speed of the spray. So here's a example that show the most common traces:1- This usually happens when you put your spray can too close to the wall, please notice that it makes a solid trace without any blurring. This kind of trace is good when you're making a Graffiti piece trying to fill letters, but it's not that good for stencils, as If you cross the trace on the same point more than one time, you will probably make it drip and that's not cool.2- This one is actually what I think it's the best for using stencils, not too solid and not too blurry. With a low pressure spray can you can do it without much hurry and worries about drips.3- You should avoid this one, unless you're working with gradients as on a realist painting. This trace happens when you put your can far from the wall, even If you push the cap harder you will see that it takes more time to fuel the circular trace. Not recommended for stencils as they usually blur outside the safety border. This is actually what I think is the best distance to get the second type of trace, don't forget to measure the strenght you put on the cap as it's one of the factor that will influence on making a stencil. Now for some instruction on placing the stencil: you can't just grab it with your fingers and try to fill thru the holes, this way you will only get some really blurred shapes, even If you spray correctly. You should stretch and push it against the wall, try to minimize at maximum the space between the stencil and the wall.Patterns:Lot of artists use stencil for creating patterns on their paintings, it's actually the best way when it comes to traditional methods as you can reuse the stencil many times. At first I would recommend you to create a more geometric stencil, as it's easier to create and have a good result. I decided to do this arrows as used on some street signs. Now just apply the spray, there's not great deal about it, just make sure you're not spraying over where you already made the stencil.But Marcos, I don't know how to draw - Making stencil with photos and drawings:That's funny but most person who create stencils are not virtuose artists, most of them don't even know how to draw actually. So here's some tricks you can do If you're one this persons. First grab a magazine cover with a picture on the front. Using a Sharpie or other atomic pen, mark all the shade of the figure. Later just cut the shades you marked, you will notice that they will give a volume to your stencil. Another way is to get a drawing on the internet, open it on Photoshop and turn it to black and white (command + shift + U / ctrl + shift + U). I decided to get this classic Mickey and cut only the head, as we should start with a simple shape. Later, with help of a white brush, I created the bridges for a future stencil. This is quite easy, later I just had to print and to cut the black areas with the razor. Or....you also can draw it, the Mickey head is basically three circles (one for the head and two for the ears). This is quite logic for anyone who already have experience in drawing characters. Don't matter If you drawed it or printed it, the important it's to define the parts you're going to make the cut-out holes. And here it is: ConclusionI hope you guys had a great time on experimenting these simple stencil techniques. On the next tutorial we will explore some more complex tricks involving this technique, that's it folks!

Public Question: Dealing with Creative Block

This post is part of our new series of articles in which we will be answering questions related to design, inspiration and creative process sent by our readers via email. If you have any questions, let us know. Send them via email to abduzeedo@abduzeedo.com with Public Questions as subject. Question What is your top recommendation for avoiding uninspiration in graphic design as a job? Amanda Macedo Avoid having days too rigidly planned. I hate routine and try to steer from it as much as I can. Of course that's not always a realistic goal, but I think it's important to dedicate some time whenever possible to doing nothing and letting your mind wander. You'll come to find that often times that's when creativity flows best and you'll be most inspired. I get hit with the best ideas when I'm in the shower. Try it. Be active in the design community. Sharing links and discussing ideas is vital to being constantly inspired. Load up your Twitter feed with designers and bloggers and engage them in conversation. If not that, then simply listen to what they have to say and the interesting things they share. You're connected to so many people on the Internet; take advantage of it. Subscribe to RSS feeds. This is probably your best bet to avoid being uninspired. I often start off my day with a cup of coffee, a poptart, and a solid hour going through my Google reader. These mornings make all the difference because they get my creative juices flowing. Also: use Feedly (thanks, boyfriend). Surround yourself with passionate creative people. My social circle once consisted of people with a wide range of interests and hobbies. While this in part is great because it opens you to different things and new ideas, it can also at times be a little discouraging because you have no one to fuel your passion or talk design over coffee with. Get out and meet new people! (Keep your old friends too. Nobody likes a fickle friend…) Fabiano Meneghetti I believe it's really important to have good design briefing about what will have to be done, either for a client's project or personal. If we can get as much details as possible about the project and expectations it will be easier to achieve the goals and the best result. Besides that a good search for references for inspiration, sketches on paper, which is faster and easier to make some ideas come true, and experimentation will definitely help you to overcome the lack of inspiration. Another thing I believe is really important is a good workspace, with nice music playing and that you feel comfortable, that definitely makes a lot of difference because makes you want to stay in there working and will help you get inspired :) Fabio Sasso I talked a little bit about that in my last post in wich I share my thoughs on creativity and design process. In my opinion the most important thing before starting anything is talk with the client, ask as many questions as possible about the project and the target audience. That will give you the clues to search for inspiration. The same goes for personal projects, ask yourself what you want to do and have a clear idea in your mind, then stick to it otherwise you will be having cool ideas all the time and none of them will turn into real results, you will get frustrated and that's not good. I also believe that we need to have a good set of skills and visual references so we can automatically start brainstorming ideas. That comes from art and design books, magazines, movies and the web. Inspiration is everywhere, as cheesy as it might sound it is totally true, the secret is how to find the right now. Image inspired by the movie Clash of the Titans Another thing I do when after a few hours working on a project and not getting satisfied with the results is stop everything and go to the GYM or to run a few miles. That really helps me to freshen up my mind and ideas. Most of the times I will get some answers or new ideas. Paulo Gabriel I think one must avoid all preconceived notions on the subject you're designing for. You must be set free of these strings, so that your design is not tendentious. Along with that, it's important to learn the subject and see it as an insider. Your answer We really want to hear from you as well and we believe that sharing opinions and knowledge is the best way to evolve not only as individuals but the whole industry, so please, leave a comment with your answer for the question above. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

What I have learned after almost 4 years of Abduzeedo

It’s been almost 4 years since I started Abduzeedo and my life has changed in ways I could never imagine. In particular when it comes to meeting new people and learning new things. Because of the blog and its visibility around the world, I have been invited to talk at many universities and conferences worldwide. I'll be the first to admit that I am far from being a good public speaker, but to get an opportunity like that is really cool. I'm always learning from these experiences, and that in itself is awesome enough. When I ask people what they want me to talk about at these events they always say, "Talk about how you made the blog popular", or "Talk about how you make money from the blog". That leads me to think that all everybody wants is fame and money. Well… what else might you want? I can tell you one thing, if you do something just because of the money and the fame it’s pretty hard to get both because your decisions are made based on this logic and by this logic we sometimes close doors to greater good. There's this really good book by Malcolm Gladwell called Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. It talks about this: Gladwell's conclusion, after studying how people make instant decisions in a wide range of fields from psychology to police work, is that we can make better instant judgments by training our mind and senses to focus on the most relevant facts—and that less input (as long as it's the right input) is better than more. Perhaps the most stunning example he gives of this counterintuitive truth is the most expensive war game ever conducted by the Pentagon, in which a wily marine officer, playing "a rogue military commander" in the Persian Gulf and unencumbered by hierarchy, bureaucracy and too much technology, humiliated American forces whose chiefs were bogged down in matrixes, systems for decision making and information overload. But if one sets aside Gladwell's dazzle, some questions and apparent inconsistencies emerge. If doctors are given an algorithm, or formula, in which only four facts are needed to determine if a patient is having a heart attack, is that really educating the doctor's decision-making ability—or is it taking the decision out of the doctor's hands altogether and handing it over to the algorithm? Still, each case study is satisfying, and Gladwell imparts his own evident pleasure in delving into a wide range of fields and seeking an underlying truth. Why do I bring this up? I have some examples in my life that might enlighten you further. The Robbery In 2006 I was just a graphic and web designer doing my best to deliver good quality work. I noticed that the blogosphere was getting bigger and that this social media thing was the future. But I always had some excuse to not get into it…usually external factors such as, I don’t have time for such a thing, or nobody will pay attention to what I say, or there are guys much better than I. My brother had a blog back in those days and he kept asking me why I didn’t and that I should start one. I was very stubborn until something happened. Towards the end of November 2006 my office was robbed and with that I lost my laptop and backup disks. That was a key factor that led me to start Abduzeedo. This whole thing made me forget those excuses and simply do something…which is exactly what I did. First logo I learned that sometimes we have to think less and do more, because when we have too much information it’s pretty hard to make a decision. And also, this information might suffer the influence of other people’s opinions as well. Doing what I love helped me improve my skills Because of the blog some great opportunities started appearing. One in particular helped me to evolve a lot: writing for PSDTUTS. When Collis invited me I accepted on the spot and was pretty happy about it, but when I talked to some friends they always asked, "You're going to write tutorials for a competitor?" Well, I didn’t even think about it that way. I just wanted a motivator to push me to explore and learn more about Photoshop. Plus, they were also paying me for those tutorials, so that was amazing. I learned Photoshop so much in those days and it was so much fun. I loved writing those tutorials especially trying to simplify effects and share with the community. Writing for PSDTUTS turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done for Abduzeedo. After the few months I wrote for them the traffic on Abduzeedo grew considerably and besides that, more people got to know me. As a result, I was invited to write for magazines and other publications as well. Digital Arts Tutorial Traveling Well this is something that doesn’t make much sense at first, so let me explain. In 2008 I decided that I would go to the US for the summer. I told my business partner, Fabiano Meneghetti and he understood and totally supported me. However some people thought I was crazy simply leaving my company here and going out there. Even though I thought it was the right thing to do, those bad comments got me thinking and sometimes made me a bit unsure and insecure about my decision. Nevertheless, I went. After those 3 months in the US I got the chance to meet so many people, and even got a job which ended up paying for all my traveling expenses. But the most important thing was that I learned so much from that experience. I also was able to improve a little bit of my english with the help of my amazing cousin Amanda Macedo AKA @amlight. The same happened in my other trips, and in the last one it was no different. I had just gotten back to Brazil when some guys invited me to join them in this new venture: an american startup with a mobile platform project. So, we went to San Francisco. While planning the trip I was kind of scared after looking at rent prices. Nevertheless, I went…again. And thank God I did. Going to San Francisco was incredible and once again the experience I had was gold. If I had stayed here and done the right thing in terms of logic, I never would have visited Adobe and talked about my work to the Photoshop engineers or shaken hands with Russ Brown. I never would have met Trey Ratcliff and seen him speak at Google, or hang out with Vitor Lourenço one of the mighty designers behind Twitter. Rodrigo Mazzilli (wellknown.as), Vitor Lourenço (Twitter) and I at Twitter HQ With Bert Monroy, the master of the masters :) As you can see a lot happens when you make a decision. Of course there’s always a downside. Nothing after-all is perfect. Life would be boring otherwise. Also, everything takes time. It’s sort of like planting…you'll never get results right away, because you need to get experience, learn and be prepared. We have to persist if we believe in what we’re doing. At least it was like that with Abduzeedo. It took over one year for the results to start appearing. I believe the most important thing in life is to do what you like and make decisions based on your own opinion and not based on what other people think. I know that's pretty much what Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech at Stanford and it makes so much sense. Or perhaps it makes more sense now after these almost 4 years of blogging, because that is the most important thing I have learned. In other words, put yourself out there, have passion, confidence, and persistence. Recommended reading Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose Rework Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Tips on How to Become a Better Designer

I've been working and, you could say, living as a designer for over 12 years now. Throughout these years a lot has happened, all of which caused me to grow as a designer and learn new things. In the beginning I had a vague idea of what was necessary to get better and succeed in the design industry, but it took me quite a few years to discover some basic concepts that really made me become a better designer. I will share some with you today. Promote your work "Put yourself out there, being awesome is long tail" - Allan Branch In the beginning I was naive. I thought if you were good enough people would find you. I was never promoting my work until my office got robbed. Then I decided to create Abduzeedo and put my work out there. I made a Flickr account, DeviantArt, Behance... you name it. These services are much more important in promoting yourself than an own site can be. If you use the right tags and produce good work, these sites will make you more visible to the community. Tips Start posting your work on sites like Flickr, DeviantArt, Behance, Carbonmade. Participate in groups on sites such as Flickr. It's an easy and simple way to get your work out there. Eventually create a separate portfolio site as well. It will give you more credibility. Illustration tag on Behance Smashing Network is selecting good blogs to be part of their network, when it comes to Smashing Magazine, we cannot expect anything less than let's say smashing ;) Experiment Your best work is your expression of yourself. Now you may not be the greatest at it, but when you do it, you’re the only expert - Frank Gehry I think one of the main things that I really learned, is that personal projects are the best way to evolve when it comes to techniques and aesthetics. Being our own client and consumer, gives us the freedom and time to do what we want. Every time I see a nice effect in movies, posters, magazines, books, etc., I make a mental note to myself and then go home and try and recreate that effect. Doing that has really increased my arsenal of skills. It gives me more confidence when I have to start a new work for a client. Another great thing about experimenting is that it makes your portfolio bigger, better, and more versatile. Tips Try to recreate effects you see and like just to learn the technique. Experiment with new trends that way you will be able to absorb those details that characterize the trend and apply them to future projects if necessary. "Chocolatopia" - Personal illustration, that I worked on during 2008 in my lazy spare time. with some longer breaks... Basically it's a photo montage, with some strong retouch / paint work and some 3d additions. - Pawel Nolbert Personal project inspired by a scene from the Ironman movie This is a Personal Project to launch my nw website to middle of November. A little preview of the new image and brand of PLAYFUL. A lot of fluorescent colors, shapes, geometries, typography and tones of LOVE. - Pablo Alfieri Encourage Feedback Feedback is really important for designers. Sometimes you might get a lot of criticism, but that's okay, it's part of the game. The secret is to use the criticism as a motivator to evolve and not as a reason to get angry. You might even get some useful tips and advices. Sometimes we get so used to what we're doing that we become oblivious to some details in our work that is pretty clear to everybody else, it's important that we let other designers or really just anybody to take a look at our work. The small details are what will make your work better and unique. Tips Ask questions when posting your work. Respond to the comments and post versions of the images with the suggested adjustments. Never argue or get extremely upset with the criticism, it not only won't help you but it might also ward off others from commenting. Signalnoise Live Broadcast is a great example from James White on how to interact and get feedback from the community Give Feedback “It looks good” is the worst feedback you can get - Whitney Hess When it comes to design, giving feedback is as important as receiving it. Participate in the community expressing your opinion when people ask. Try not to be rude or cocky. The idea is to help, get help, and evolve. The clash of ideas and point of views will really broaden your design skills. Comment on posts and sites where images are shared. Help others by giving valuable tips and ideas. Share The easiest way to promote yourself as a designer is by sharing your skills. Before Abduzeedo, I used to experiment in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc but I used to keep them to myself. Then my office was robbed and I lost everything. So I started Abduzeedo and with it, the tutorials. At first the tutorials were just a way for me to backup my files and have a quick overview of my techniques, but some became really popular which made me realize how important it is to share what we know. I get a lot of emails with people asking me what the point is in making these tutorials and giving the source files away. Well, my answer is simple. I can show someone how to create a light effect or how to use Photoshop filters, but I can't show them how to come up with the idea themselves. The tutorials are about how I use the apps to make the ideas come true. Tips Write quick tutorials showing some techniques you think might be useful to others. Write guest posts for other sites sharing your experiences and thoughts. Reader tutorial by Chanito You can even make money by sharing your skills. Sites like PSDTUTS pay you to write for them Pursue Simplicity “Design is so simple, that’s why it’s so complicated” -Paul Rand Less is more. That was one of the Bauhaus mottos almost 100 years ago and it's still new and true, even more now in the internet age where we live with an overflow of information. It's important to be simple and efficient. Everything that is good is simple, but not everything that is simple is good. Making something simple and good isn't easy. It requires a deep understanding of what we have to do and whom we're doing it for, so we can simplify things. I believe simplicity is all about being confident in the thought that less is more and making decisions to remove unnecessary features and elements. "Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent". — Joe Sparano Like I said, it took me more than 10 years to fully understand these things. I can call it experience because most of them I learned through my own mistakes. Now it's up to you to see if it'll be worthwhile for you. These aren't exactly rules, just thoughts and suggestions. I would love to hear your take on becoming better designers. Magazine cover for Super Interessante based on a tutorial that the client saw and liked.

Creating a Graphic Portfolio Without a Client

The main problem designers face while beginning their careers is to find a client without having a portfolio to show. It’s hard to find a client to trust you to design him something without having any quality previous work to show him that you can make it. Here you will see and learn many ways that you can find to create a good quality portfolio without having that first client. Creating a portfolio without a client doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do any work. This is not going to be easy and quick; this will take a lot of work and time but it all pays off at the end. Be Organized Organization is the key for saving time and being more productive. If you willing to put time and effort to work on creating a portfolio that can set your freelancing career you will have to organize your self and make a schedule in order to be able to produce more. Organize your work space and set working hours, that’s the only way you going to get yourself to produce something. For more time and organization tips read: How To Find Time For… Everything! Work for Yourself Work on personal projects that can further help promote your work. Designing something for yourself will be your first task, the good thing about working for yourself is that you have total freedom on the design but remember that is very important to set deadlines based on the time you have to work the same way you would if the work was for a client. Design Wallpapers Start working on a set of wallpapers, 3 to 5 wallpapers based on a theme, also make sure to transform them into iphone wallpapers as well. When you done creating your portfolio this will help promote your work. Wallpapers by Pablo Alfieri Design Posters Designing Posters and printing them can give you an extra edge to your portfolio and give a future client the feeling that you have good knowlegde of what you doing both in designing and printing. The same way you worked on a set of wallpapers work on a set of posters based on a theme, that can help you create a series of posters related to each other which can be a rich set on your portfolio. In the future you can giveaway a couple prints of your posters to help promote your work. Typography Posters by Stefano Joker Lionetti Design a Calendar Designing a nice and creative calendar can show a lot of your creativity and print solutions, this is a chance to make something inovative to show your future clients what you capable of creating. In the future you can giveaway a couple calendars and also promote your work. Design a Picture Book Select a few of your own photos and make a nice picture book, mix it with some good typography and have a one of a kind piece in your portfolio. This can also bring the interest of your friends and family to getting one too, it all ads up on your portfolio. Composition and Content by Andre' Wright Jr Design for Contests Designing for good contest can put a nice piece on your portfolio and also carry a name to it. Such designs contests like HugoCreate give you the opportunity to work on your own for a big brand. You don't have to win the contest, just by making a good piece to later display on your portfolio is already a win. Hugo Create work by goshaptichka Collab Work Do a collab work with other designers that are in the same situation as yours. It's a great way to expand your work and learn more about working in group. Look for people that are hungry for work just as much as you are and invite them for a private project, trade ideas and built a design concept, at the end it's all going to your portfolio. Collab work from Matt W. Moore and Magomed Dovjenko Brand Yourself Now that you already got some decent and creative pieces on your portfolio it's time to move on and get your self a nice logo and a website, that's another way to improve your portfolio within your own work. Every client that goes in your website will analyze it as well as your portfolio because it's also part of it. Here is a great article on The Art of Branding Yourself and Your Freelancing Business Design a Logo Your first identity client can be you, design a nice logo for yourself to show as reference on your portfolio. Make sure to read Vital Tips For Effective Logo Design Logo for his own studio by Hoang Rabbit Design a Website Designing your own website can be a challenge but at the end it you can say you did, get help from web designers if you need. There is a lot of services that convert PSD to HTML in case coding is a problem. Remember to stay away from templates in order to remain original. Design a Business Card Now that you got a nice portfolio with a website to display them, it's always good to have a nice business car that you can give away everywhere you go, remember that the business card will represent you and your work when you not there. Here are some great samples and good finish options to print it: 5 Finishing Options to Print a Business Card Each worker got their own business card at ID Branding Conclusion If you follow through you will get the experience of designing different projects for different medias and learn a lot on your own with your own mistakes. Building a portfolio on your own without clients is very difficult, very difficult to stay focus on something that doesn't pay off right the way. Make sure to set deadlines to every project and work on it as if it was worth a million dollars, it all pays off in the end. Now all you need is a client, with a nice portfolio it will be like a lot easier than before. "Everybody makes mistakes at first; and if a painter never learns what his mistakes are he will never correct them. Therefore test your work; and if you have made mistakes correct them; and don't make the same mistakes again." Leonardo Da Vinci Good Luck!

Becoming a Professional Creative

If you are considering on becoming a creative professional, you should make an important decision: whether you will admire it or do it. The difference? I always admired great footballers all over the world. But to be a professional soccer player would have meant committing to that lifestyle, including intense training, enduring difficult challenges, and challenging myself physically and mentally. But I decided not to and I'm ok with that. I'm a big fan. I read about it. I follow it. I love to coach my kids and watch lots of games. I don't do it. I admire it. Decide whether you will be a hobbyist or a professional. Here's a good example. My wife makes amazing cakes. My grandmother gave her a family recipe and some awesome secret methods that result in beautiful and scrumptious cakes. Every time she makes a cake for some event, she's asked to make another one. Inevitably, people comment, "You should go into business!." However, making cakes isn't her passion. It's a hobby that she loves. And if she made it into a business, she'd probably end up hating it. Instead, she takes the comment as a compliment and keeps making cakes for fun. Remember that you have you are faced with deciding whether it's something you love to do (leisure) or something you will do to pay the bills (work). Be mindful of whether you want to turn your hobby into a career. If your answers are "admire it" or "hobbyist," then enjoy it as such. If your answers are "do it" and "professional", please read on. 1. Know what it takes. What is good design? What are the principles? Who is a good designer? Why are they good? What is good code? What are the standards? 2. Start from scratch. A good cook starts from scratch. So does a good website designer. Learn at least a basic working knowledge of html, css, typography, and grid-system design. 3. Give yourself assignments. You are at an awesome time in your career where you can do anything. So do it. Build a website for someone who needs it and tell them you need a guinea pig. Tell them you'll do it for free as long as you have zero restrictions. Non-profits are usually great for this sort of thing. Then, pretend they are your best client. Blow them out of the water with brilliant ideas. Use illustration, stop-motion, ink in liquid, paper or hand puppets to execute and solve their problems. 4. Get out of your comfort zone. In order to be inspired, I have purchased books, dvds, and downloads from Japan, the UK, Italy, and other places around the globe. I've covered a wide span of subjects, including architecture, interior design, urban art, fabric, and fashion. It's important to also find non-computer methods to solve problems. 5. Politely bow to the greats, but don't worship them. These great designers are your peers. Read about their methods. Respect their work. Then go create your own unique style. There's no problem with establishing a network of colleagues -- follow them on Flickr, stalk them on Twitter -- whatever. But there's way too many people right now who worship people on the web, steal their ideas, copy their work, and devalue the industry. 6. Be great at something. You've heard the old saying, "It's better to be great at one thing than good at a lot of things." It's true. At the beginning, you'd be smart to learn a little about everything. But eventually, be great at something. Design or front-end development, back-end development, or user interface design. It took me 8 years, but I finally figured out I was pulled in too many directions. Now, I focus a majority of my time on interactive design and brand management. 7. Ignore trends. It's fine to check out nice sites every once in a while, especially to recognize standards and user interaction. But the longer you look at other sites, the more likely that your sites will look a lot like them. Take them for what they are, then throw them out before you design. Someone, somewhere started that trend by doing it different than everyone else. (See #5) 8. Remember to solve the problem. It's usually not "just a website" for most. Often times, people are sinking a lot of money into the investment and would like to see some kind of return. So they push their own goals, needs and desires onto the project. But remember to solve the problem for which real people are using the website. A good solution gracefully balances all aspects. 9. Avoid templates. Most of them are not good. They'll give you bad habits and more headaches than you would've imagined. 10. Give great attention to detail. I can't tell you how many times I've huddled around a computer talking about whether a pixel or an extra click matters. If you want to make great websites, it does. 11. Take advantage of content management systems. BUT understand what they do first. A CMS is a great way to get tools that you couldn't program yourself. But don't think for a minute that you've solved the client's problem simply by installing one. (See #8) 12. Build your own portfolio site. This is your personal place to experiment. Don't feel like you have to represent yourself as a "company" or show a bunch of sites. But this is one place where you can blog, install things you wouldn't want to try out on other people's sites, and try out new visual concepts. So now what do you think? Is becoming a full-time creative the right path for you? When you're making the decision, remember that becoming a creative requires a lot of effort, so you shouldn't make the decision lightly. This isn't like deciding whether or not to mow your own yard. See you online.

The Importance of Being Offline

Designers tend to stay online for a long time during the day, sometimes more than a third of the day, and that can get us really, really tired. Not only that, but our productivity will fall like a meteor. The solution may be outside the office... it may be offline! Taking a time off during your day is something really important to recharge your batteries after a long and sometimes stressfull work process. There are plenty things for you to do that will refresh your mind for the day. Perhaps catching a movie in your local movie theater. Watching a cool movie will definetely pump your brain juices and give you some sweet ideas for designs. For example, after watching Iron Man, Fabio wrote an awesome tutorial on how to do Iron Man's View Interface. That was only one tutorial made by one person after watching a single movie. Could you guys imagine what could be done if many designers started working after a cool movie? Also you could go to the theaters and watching a cool play. There are really fantastic plays out there waiting for you to assist. Comedies, tragedies, and all kinds of cool stuff. For instance, watching Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet might inspire you to do a cool Valentine's day piece. Music is good way to inspire you. Go to concerts! Depending where you live, big music stars might visit your city and deliver great concerts. You should really catch those. If they don't go to your city, there gotta be local bands that will do just the trick. The important thing is being in touch with music and all the visual appeals like the light setups, the scenario, and all that. Muse Another good place to go are museums. You don't have to be in another city to go to the museum... many times there are good ones in our own cities which we've never visited. Look for all the cool ones, like technology, arts and archeologic ones. These are great sources of inspiration, because in someway you get a "retro" feeling, of what was cool centuries ago. And don't forget, retro is cool! ;p And also, a good walk outside might just do the trick. Getting fresh air into your lungs and getting in touch with people is a good way to get the daily stress out of your system. Go for a run, for a walk in the park. There, you might catch some cool sightings such as the sunset, birds flying, and more. Enjoy the nature! Also, pay attention to details, such as your city's architecture. I've said that before, but inspiration is everywhere. Actually, I really think that inspiration is not an external thing, but something that lies inside us, waiting for something to trigger its way out. And virtually anything can trigger this escape... a movie, a play, a walk in the park. It's up to you how you'll get your batteries charged! And now a little quote for you guys: "Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Design Tips: Educating Clients to say Yes

Design is all about providing the best solution for a problem to a target audience. That's at least the simple way to describe what we do right? Well, some times it can't be harder to make people (and for that I mean clients) understand that and approve a design based in goals and not in a personal opinion based on taste. Even though we can manage to make the client approve a design, the worst thing is when after they approved they decide that the design is not good anymore and it will be necessary to change a little thing or to add that other thing, and in the end what we got was a Frankenstein design. So what can we do? Paul Boag, a famous web designer and host of one of the coolest web design podcasts out there, Boagworld, did a great presentation on that subject on the last Future of Web Design Conference and he has some tips for us on how to make clients understand our work. The keynote was called "Educating Clients to Say Yes", and he talks about how to make clients understand what we do, and some tips on how can we make they approve our work. I highly recommend you to check that out right now. Also Paul Boag is behind a nice web service called GetSignOff that is exactly about that, getting your design approved. You may present your site designs, manage feedback and also organize multiple versions of your designs in a clear way: Do you struggle to get design sign off? You may produce the best website designs ever, but getting sign off is always painful. Presenting designs to distant clients and managing their feedback is challenging. GetSignOff provides a mechanism for presenting your site designs, managing feedback and organizing multiple versions of a design. The service is really nice and simple, you create a client and upload your design with the explanation of your approach to it, also you can add notes directly to the design. Then you send to the client a link to a page where he can see that and leave comments. Once you have the client's feedback you can revise the design and send it a new version. For more information visit the GetSignOff website, they have really good videos showing how it works and give it a try. I think the best way to make clients understand what you do and respect you is showing that you are really professional. You have a very organized system to present and deliver your work, and the most important: you have documentation of the work you have done. Sneak Peak at GetSignOff.com from Paul Boag on Vimeo.

All About Photoshop

What's up, guys? This weekend we had an awesome article brought by Fabiano, with lots of great links, inspiration and all that. And to start the week very well, what about some Photoshop articles and videos to get you all set up? ;) 101 Photoshop Tips in 5 Minutes This got to be a World Record. Deke managed to teach us 101 photoshop tips in just 5 minutes... It's true that he can get a little bit cheesy in this video, but still it's really great to see his joy doing this. Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts Everyone loves to save time, and here's about every existing Photoshop keyboard shortcut. I knew a lot of those, but I didn't know that there were so many friggin' shortcuts. I gotta memorize those! :D Photoshop Battle What about a little chat about Photoshop? Well, during the FOWD in London, we got to see some cool presentations, and this cool Photoshop Battle between men and women. Lots of fun and inspiration. :) Photoshop Battle - FOWD London 2008 from Future of Web Design on Vimeo.

How to Make Good Design Decisions

When it comes to design, working a piece itself is not the complete process. There are lots of planning, researching and a little bit more planning. And it's always good to know what other people say about that process. Dan Saffer found a good way to go. About a year and a half ago, when I first started thinking about the material that would eventually become UX Intensive: Interaction Design, I wondered what it was that helped designers make those leaps of faith, the great guesses, that we have to make on projects. So I came up with this talk, How to Make Good Design Decisions. -Dan Saffer | View | Upload your own