How to Learn Photoshop if You’re New

Photoshop is one of those software treasures that everyone needs a little familiarity with. Whether you’re a business owner, a graphic designer, a web designer, a photographer or just a social media user, Photoshop could really upgrade your visual game. With the ever-evolving technology, designers have always wanted to create something appealing and unique to capture the attention of their followers and prospective clients. Photoshop is the tool to make that possible. It takes some bits of skill, resources, and passion to fully understand and master the basics of Photoshop. If you’re new to the world of Photoshop and you’re hoping to see what this haven has in store for you before you commit; we’ve got you covered. Read on to get started. Why should I learn Photoshop? As a beginner with limited technical skills, a decision to learn Photoshop could be met with overwhelming uncertainties. This shouldn’t, however, be the case since it’s more of a practical concept that you learn and utilize quickly – if everyone else can learn it, why not you? With Photoshop skills, you can conveniently edit your own photos for commercial and personal use without having to use ten different tools. Regardless of what types of visuals you need for your career, business, or hobby, learning Photoshop is the perfect assistant. With these skills, you can make image templates, photo collages, mood boards, website mockups, worksheets, and printables. That’s just for starters. With advanced Photoshop skills, one can create color palettes from photos, edit product images, create 3D art and make amazing animations. All these are full-mode designer options that offer more than just a career but the rarest of skills that are quite competitive in the business world. Photoshop for beginners Photoshop is a handy, pre-eminent and convenient graphic design software for Mac OS and Windows. It’s a well-rounded and universally known application that packages plenty of plug-in programs and graphic-editing capabilities. Mastering the content of Photoshop can be time-consuming and one that requires a lot of patience. But once you know the basics, you can adapt to all of its tools.     Beginners don’t need to struggle with the messy graphics templates, vector tools or 3-D transformations. All they need is to understand the basics of Photoshop and navigate through the software resources as fast...

Custom holiday cards for businesses: ideas, inspiration and how-to

Your clients are the reason for your success. The holidays are the perfect time to share your gratitude with them. And while you could go down to the nearest store and buy a box of generic cards, why not make the season bright with a custom holiday card, unique to your company? Not only will you make their day merry and bright, but you’ll keep your company top-of-mind and build positive brand sentiment. Need ideas? We’ve got 31 custom holiday cards to inspire you. Fa la la la logo-based holiday cards
— You know your logo is important, but did you know it could become the centerpiece to your custom holiday card? Get playful and use the shapes and colors of your brand in new ways. Perhaps your logo can become an ornament on a tree, or a visual element of your brand can provide the base for a unique seasonal design. One thing’s for sure: your recipients will know exactly who this card is from! Card ideas wrapped up in your industry
— A lawyer, airline pilot and Santa Claus walk into a bar… and share a round of egg nog. Ok, I need to work on that punch line, but there’s a reason this sort of joke setup works: the type of work you do and the industry you’re in comes with a certain set of expectations and imagery. Be clever, have a little fun with your business and bring a unique spin to your holiday cards. It can also be fun to focus on what’s under the tree… Design by CassielfLook in the sky! It’s a plane! A constellation! A holiday card! By Kate Pru.Line art + paper airplanes = classy and unique card for a private jet company. By designer_work (Julia).Dreaming of an [insert your location here] Christmas card
— This time of year, where you are is very important—whether that’s home snuggled up with your family in front of the fire, or getting away from it all on a tropical beach. One great way to connect with your clients this holiday season, especially if you run a business that is intrinsically tied to a specific location, is to bring a sense of place to your designs. A DC holiday card by dannymerrion.If your office or store is important to you, bring it into your card. By Jared Sc.Seasons greetings keepin’ it classic
— Sometimes you want to be unique, but don’t want to be overly clever. Create a company holiday card with classic or fun imagery, and maybe include your logo subtly. A custom Christmas card from a professional designer will...

6 Reasons to Love Smaller CMS

WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal; these are perhaps the three biggest names in the world of the consumer CMS. They are known, they are loved, they are behemoths for a good reason. There’s no escaping them. We are all WordPress, now. No, but seriously, there’s almost nothing they can’t do, with the judicious application of plugins, themes, and coding knowledge. Yeah, believe it or not, I’m not here to rag on them. Kudos to their developers. I’m just going to sit over here and show some love to the smaller CMS options for a bit. If I were given to fits of poetry, I might write a sonnet about them or something. Alas, Lord Byron I am not; I am not nearly so rich, I have no desire to invade Greece, I do not own a bear. Instead, you’ll be getting this article detailing some of the wonderful things about smaller CMS, such as: 1. Clear Direction and Purpose The operating system known as Unix was designed on this principle: one program should do one thing, and do it well. This principle was hereafter adopted into other systems, such as MacOS, and has been the cornerstone of some of the best software design over the years. In many small CMS options, we can see that principle at work. That’s not to say, though, that a single-purpose CMS can’t be sophisticated or even rather complex. It’s just that dedication to a single goal encourages a form of excellence that more generalist systems struggle to achieve. Take Ghost, for example. As of its 2.0 release Ghost has become, in my opinion, one of the best platforms for a pure-blogging experience. But even though it’s a comparatively small CMS, I wouldn’t call what they’ve done with it “simple”. 2. Lightweight, Un-bloated Code Smaller CMS are just that: smaller. There’s a very direct correlation between the amount of code in the software, and how quickly it runs. When you only need a simple site, there’s no sense in having a CMS with loads of extra features that you’ll never touch. That’s just wasted server space. Even so, these small CMS can be very flexible. Here we look to Grav: its goal is to be a simple, developer-friendly, flat file CMS. Within that purpose, there is vast potential. Grav can be a blog, a knowledge base, or a simple brochure site, and compete with many of the big CMS options, while maintaining a (current) core download size of 4.8MB. 3. Uncomplicated Admin Experience (Usually) Now, I’ve expounded on how...

Defining Success as a Freelance Web Designer

In society, success is often portrayed as having pretty close to a singular definition. We think of a successful entrepreneur driving a Tesla and living in the smartest of smart homes. Or we see the opulence of a big shot executive “living the life”, as they say. But success is a very personal and subjective thing. There is no right or wrong definition because it’s a matter of what is in our hearts. My measure of success may be different than yours. But does that mean we should still take the same approach to achievement? While traits like hard work and integrity will always be shared factors, how we approach our freelance design businesses should better reflect our personal definition of success. Here are some ways to tailor your business to help you get to your happy place. The Freelance Designer Toolbox
Unlimited Downloads: 500,000+ Web Templates, Icon Sets, Themes & Design Assets
DOWNLOAD NOW Focus on the Right Types of Projects For some people, part of what defines success involves working on specific kinds of projects. Fulfillment may come in the form of designing websites for non-profit organizations or a favorite sport. Others may not care about industry so much as they care about luring projects that pay big money. The point is to figure out the types of projects that will get you to where you want to go. From there, it’s a matter of marketing yourself to whatever niche that interests you. Of course, this is much easier said than done. The realities of running your own business sometimes mean having to take on projects that aren’t necessarily aligned with your vision of success. But that’s okay – so long as you don’t get stuck with something that interferes with your long-term goals. Indeed, unless you already have industry connections, pointing your business towards a specific type of project is often a process that takes time. But once you get your foot in the door, it can open up all sorts of possibilities. Think About Where, When and How Much You Work Success can be greatly influenced by your work environment. When you think about it, this is an area that both affects and defines our success. If you’re cranking out websites from a place you don’t want to be, it’s going to be that much more difficult to do well. But it also goes well beyond just location. There are a...

Typography lessons from the horror genre

When it comes to the art of horror, writers can use creeping suspense and even creepier characters, filmmakers have grotesque makeup and eerie sound design, but graphic designers have an even more chilling tool up their sleeve: typography. Okay, maybe no one has shrieked over a font since the invention of Papyrus, but typography carries a lot of weight in supporting the themes of any design project. And since horror themes are much more extreme than other genres, the typography they produce can be especially striking. Fear and dread are not the only feelings horror typography can evoke. This creepy genre is also great at expressing strength, mystery, temptation and much more. If nothing else, horror has a way of demanding our attention—even if we’re watching through the gaps in our fingers. There’s so much we can learn from the typography of the horror genre, so we’ve collected the best lessons for you here. Ghastly elegance
— The type designers of the early days of film understood that audiences were still accustomed to a night out at the theater—which meant playbills, live actors and (sadly) very little gore. This led them to gravitate towards stately serifs and scripts, typefaces that wouldn’t look out of place on a wedding invite. Their choices fit in with the demeanor of classic hollywood monsters. In the good old days, monsters were respectable gentlemen you’d be happy to bring home to mother, even if they might end up gorging on her blood later. Likewise, these typefaces made the films feel like art gallery pieces, giving audiences permission to indulge in their baser desires for shock and terror. But such well-mannered typefaces also work for edgier concepts. While there is a conventional refinement associated with these kinds of fonts, there’s also something old-world, superstitious and gothic about them. They’re a little too well put together if you ask me, and you can imagine there must be something lurking beneath the surface, especially when set in contrast to a murky background. Nightmarish newsprint
— Taking their cue from Orson Welles’s infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast, poster designers for B-movie horror films were none too shy about attention-grabbing headlines. It’s probably no coincidence that these movies are low rent and hilarious today. Since newspapers were such a key part of daily life back then (no smartphones...

The Landing Page at 15: Grown Up and Professional

Tech folklore has it that the landing page was born in late 2003, when Microsoft created the concept in response to poor online sales of Office. Realising that the buying process had to be smoother and more direct, the IT giant created a separate mini-site designed specifically for buying its flagship product. Whilst the campaign undoubtedly worked for Microsoft—we’re still stuck with Office, after all—it’s hard to believe nobody had tried the concept before, so basic is the marketing principle behind it. Surely, people had been using single, direct sales pages before 2003, even if that was their entire web presence? Either way, catchy, compelling landing pages that convert clicks into contracts are still a must-have for any online business. The problem is that, like any marketing concept, landing pages are in a constant evolutionary race with consumers. Fifteen years after Microsoft’s breakthrough, only the slickest, most original designers are winning. Many landing pages have become formulaic, and for the average business the traditional landing page may no longer be a suitable approach. The Early Years In the years following Microsoft’s discovery, landing pages proliferated. And in the true style of the early Internet, they were messy, shouty affairs. Often several different brash sales pitches competed for prominence with the obligatory glowing testimonials, all on a white background. That started to change in 2009, a year in which the landing page seemingly graduated and became professionalised. Almost overnight, a series of specialist companies sprang up and started to offer recognisably modern design. Messages became shorter, funny even. The background turned from white to hues of blue, and the photos came into focus. Along with these visual improvements, the marketing concept was refined too. By running sites in parallel—known as A/B testing—designers literally got a scientific answer as to what worked best. The ‘Rules’ of Writing a Landing Page There is a lot of advice available online regarding the writing of compelling, high-converting landing pages. It comes from experienced marketeers and it has worked very well in the past. Certain elements of this advice effectively serve to define what we understand as a landing page today: A catchy headline; a punchy intro directly addressing a core customer need or desire; and a concise ‘call to action’....

8 of the Latest 2018 Web Design Trends, all covered by Be Theme

The latest web design trends are keeping web designers busy. These trends have raised the competitive bars. They are demanding attention with their bold shapes and bright colors. So, how do web designers stay relevant and keep up to date with these trends? Without a doubt, some of you are excited. Others are anxious as they think about ways to stay relevant in the game. The good news is that there’s a WordPress theme that stays current with these creative trends. Web designers can now choose from over 380 pre-built websites. Be Theme has incorporated 8 of these trends into their pre-built websites. Now, web designers can create beautiful websites without any hassle. The examples below feature these 8 web design trends, so let’s take a look. 8 Creative Web Design Trends Illustration and Graphic Art Custom art is now creating waves in web design and has proven to be a winner. Will it vanish soon? Absolutely not – it will be around for quite a while. Web designers now have the opportunity to go all out with their creativity and be as daring as they want. The use of custom watercolor illustrations is very popular. Check those two examples below. BeSalmon
BeTea2
These illustrations are nostalgic because they remind us of good old times. No wonder they are so popular. To get the full impact from these designs, use bold fonts. This will help you to attract attention without detracting from the image. You can use bold typography and serifs in your headline – they are back in trend. Light, Shadow, and Smoke Playing with light, shadow, and smoke produces some dynamic and delicate result. This design trend is also very popular and web designers are not hesitant to use it to their advantage. When smoke is added to a design it takes on a completely new stunning look. And this observation is quite evident in the music industry. You will feel different emotions and different vibes when light, shadow, and smoke is added to the mix. You can get a soft, and delicate look… BeMusician
Or you can make a dynamic statement or a dynamic observation… BeHipHop
How about having that classy and sultry feeling? BePole
Using Gradients Last year bold electric colors could be seen everywhere – not any longer. Gradients, which are hotter than bold colors, have taken their place in 2018. Gradients work well with other...

Is My WordPress Theme Hurting My SEO? 

A properly configured and designed WordPress site can be awesome for SEO. As a matter of fact, WordPress is one of the leading CMS options for both experienced and inexperienced website developers and administrators because it’s so user-friendly and SEO-ready. It has virtually all you would need your website to possess for SEO purposes and integrates well with any external system you might want to use for your search engine optimization efforts. However, there is a hidden problem that often surfaces for most WordPress users. Usually, this red flag is something you’ll run into during the auditing of a new website and it’s an issue that must be fixed in order for you to experience the results of your SEO efforts: Not All WordPress Themes are Supportive to Your SEO One of the great selling points of the WordPress platform is the enormous variety of themes ready for you to pick from. These templates or skins allow DIY owners of businesses and new Web designers to develop professional, beautiful looking sites in just a few hours. Unfortunately, some of these themes do not lend themselves to acceptable SEO techniques. In fact, even some themes tagged as “SEO friendly” are actually below the standard for acceptable optimization. In a lot of cases the label “SEO friendly ” is the only place that SEO was accounted for at all. It might put a damper on some of the themes you love visually, but the hard truth is that a lot of the WordPress themes were made with no comprehension of SEO. Not only are these themes not properly structured to increase SEO rankings, but often they hurt your site’s performance as well. You’ll find that when an in-depth audit is done on the existing web presence of a WordPress site, the theme is usually found to be blamed for a lot of the challenges of the site’s SEO performativity. Though the mistakes that these themes create can vary so much that it’s difficult to generalize, here are two main problems that are quite popular: Poor Use of Headline Tags One of the standard rules for the optimization of each page is the inclusion of unique and single heading. This shows what every page is about and it aids search engines to understand the content of a page. It also has a role to play in the ranking of a page on a search engine for specific keywords – if you put a desired keyword in the heading tag,...

20 Freshest Web Designs, October 2018

Fall is truly upon us in the Northern hemisphere, and Spring is in bloom in the Southern hemisphere. Bright colors, uplifting gradients, and bold color blocking have been evident through much of 2018, and October’s ramping it up another notch. This month you’ll find luxury goods, ethical concerns, large scale images and videos, and designers playing with the grid. Enjoy! Myro Some products are easy to sell, and some are not. Myro is the latter, a refillable deodorant. This site does an exceptional job of putting an aspirational spin on a product that many of us simply use and forget about. Satellites There are hundreds of thousands of objects orbiting the earth, from natural debris to parts of rockets from past space missions. Satellites is an absorbing ambient visualization of them all. El Salado Following in the long tradition of art tackling big issues, El Salado is a graphic novel themed around social problems in provincial Columbia. The site tells the story behind the novel, and you can even download the novel. Manolo Blahnik Manolo Blahnik’s minimal site presents its wares on a minimal white background. It may seem like any other minimal fashion site, but the shoes are presented outside of the grid, at angles. This simple approach feels free and emphasizes the luxury on offer. Green Party of Ireland The Green Party of Ireland is the sister party of many Green parties across Europe, seeking to build a sustainable future for everyone. Their site is an exemplary example of how a non-profit can promote itself well online. Le Grand Courtage A site selling wine to women, Le Grand Courtage features some tres chic typography, glamorous photography, and subtle pastel tones that reflect the color of the wines on offer. Mistretta Coiffure Mistretta Coiffure is a fabulous site for a hair dresser. A bold grid matches a bold color palette and the home page features a really attention-grabbing liquid effect. Monograno Who knew that the highest quality pasta comes from 1km above sea-level… Monograno’s site features beautiful imagery and typography to sell its vision of the world’s best pasta, direct from the Italian alps. Mailchimp Mailchimp’s redesign has been everywhere this month. The bold new color, coupled with incredible original illustrations is a brave approach to take and fits the personality of the company perfectly. Resident Resident is a...

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08 Dec 2018