Web Design Difficulties – 5 Ways to Get Inspiration

Posted on February 19, 2018 in Uncategorized

Every Web Designer has experienced it on more than one occasion – the lack of inspiration for that next stunning design.  Whether you are swamped with projects and simply cannot focus, or you just have not designed in so long that you have lost motivation, these tips will work for you.

1. Take a break – When you are trying to create a new design for a client, there really is no point to staring at the computer screen watching your mouse draw boxes on the Photoshop canvas.  Take a break: exit out of Photoshop completely and do something else for a bit that allows your mind to open up.  Try going for a jog (or maybe a walk if you are not the running-inclined), or even playing a video game or watching television. The key here is to take your mind off of the fact that you are having a hard time coming up with a design.  Then, when you return to your favorite image editing program (do make sure to return), you will have a fresh mind.  Or, better yet, an idea will have already hit you when you were on the break!

2. Colors – Color is a big part of design.  So, instead of just sitting there, go find something colorful to look at.  It can be something physical like a painting or sculpture, or it can be something digital such as color sharing websites (like and  A nice thing about the latter is that those kind of websites usually allow you to download a pallet for Photoshop so you can quickly jump in and start playing around with the colors.  If you don’t like a certain pallet, just switch to another one – easy.

3. Start somewhere different – Instead of starting where you usually start, try something different.  If you usually start creating the logo first, begin by designing the general structure of the website.  Use different shapes to give you inspiration – try different rounded borders radii, try not using rounded borders.  If you usually start at the opposite end of the spectrum, try creating the logo first.  Start out with some basic text – maybe the website name or URL.  Then spice it up… would that ampersand look better as a different font?  Maybe you should use different colors separating different parts of the title?  Play with font styles and sizes.

4. Get new fonts/brushes – No designer can have enough fonts & Photoshop brushes. Go searching for new ones – download a whole directory of fonts and brushes and play around with them in Photoshop.  Brushes are a great way to give inspiration: pick a good brush at a decent size and start splatting it on the canvas.  You may be able to actually fit what you make into a design, but if you don’t you might find a good color contrast or an interesting effect.

5. Use other designers to your advantage – Web designers can be of great inspiration to each other, either directly or indirectly.  Go out and talk to other web designers on IM, in person, on the phone, on social networking websites, etc.  Let them know of your designer block – they will probably share similar experiences with you and how they overcame theirs.  If you are not feeling so socially inclined you can also go out and look at other website templates for motivation – but be careful, you don’t want to rip anybody off.

So use these tips to your advantage.  Let’s start with the first one – take a break!  Good luck.

6 Tips for Business Card Design Inspiration

Posted on February 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

If you do not have experience in graphic design, it may be a difficult to think up a design that is unique for your business card. What’s more, a unique design may not be enough. You will need a design that is memorable to your customers.

Even for a seasoned designer, it can be difficult to come up with a fresh and innovative design for a specific business or industry. In this case, it is good practice to draw inspiration from existing business card designs, websites, advertising to give you ideas and to get your creative juices flowing.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Tip 1

If you are a traditional artist or just love the look of oil paintings or watercolour on paper you can achieve the same effects with brushes in Photoshop. You can even go beyond paint effects with the brushes and apply the paper textures as well to simulate traditional art.

Tip 2

For a design that is retro or indie, you may want to try using a photo calling cards. If you have a Polaroid camera, you can take some nice photos and print your name and contact details on it to be used as a business card. You can even achieve the same Polaroid photo effect in Photoshop.

Tip 3

If possible, you should invest in a die-cut contact card. Die-cut cards are guaranteed to stand out from a pile of business cards that are all rectangular. Start out with your favourite shape and start designing around that concept.

Tip 4

Try using caricatures on your visiting card. If you don’t know how to draw, you can hire a freelance illustrator to draw a caricature of you and incorporate in your final calling card design. This kind of business cards is ideal for illustrators, graphic designers, or even stand-up comedians.

Tip 5

Have a professional photographer take a photograph of you and put that image on your visiting card. This is great for those who are focused on self-branding, such as real estate agents.

Tip 6

You do not have to always go for a crazy design to have a noticeable contact card. Often times, less is more, and if you get rid of the clutter and have your name or business name be the focal point of the card, a minimal design can also stand out with its simplicity.

Whichever tip you decide to go with, remember that these tips are merely idea-starters. Feel free to add something or tweak it, to make the design uniquely yours.


Graphic Design Books For Photoshop Users

Posted on February 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

It is true that some of the most evocative designs come out unexpectedly. Sometimes the best designs are a product of what seems to be a mistake. As the saying goes, designers should just let the art take them wherever it needs to go. But if that’s the case, what is the need for Photoshop tutorials?

Nobody is born a designer. It’s a skill developed through constant practice and experience whether from your own or from other people. There are several tutorials available on the internet for free but some of them couldn’t seem to tap on the fundamental and the technical. Books written on Photoshop and graphic design in general cover what was left behind by these articles. Here are a few that caught our attention.

Photoshop CS4 Quicksteps by Carole Matthews. This step-by-step instruction manual must be in every Photoshop user’s bookshelf. The compilation encompasses almost all that you really need to learn to create wonderful manipulation and designs. It showcases full-color illustrations that make it easier for novice users to appreciate the text. It is the ultimate reference book you need to have within reach while experimenting on Photoshop CS4.

The book shows us how to use the latest version of Photoshop in a quick and easily understood manner. One chapter teaches you how to edit and retouch photos while another explains how to use drawing and painting tools to their full potentials. These Photoshop tutorials are applicable to both beginner and intermediate users. Some of the tips found in the book are too basic that most advanced graphic designers tend to ignore them.

Practical instructions are always accompanied by screenshots to better explain the steps as you see them on the computer screen.

Photoshop Elements 2 Solutions. This concise book offers clear instructions and relevant examples that are useful to every graphic designer. It covers a considerable range of topics that are cross-referenced to other famous graphic design books and Photoshop tutorials.

Photoshop Studio with Bert Monroy. The author himself is the selling factor of the book. This famous graphic designer shares to us his own techniques in creating photo-realistic digital arts in Photoshop 7. Despite being a graphic design rockstar, Bert wrote the book in a comfortable and reassuring manner by employing a conversational tone from cover to cover. Even if the pages are filled with spectacular illustrations, readers aren’t intimidated. Instead, they are motivated and inspired to practice more. However, what the book lacks are step-by-step Photoshop tutorials but it sure did a great job by explaining to us graphic design concepts and principles.

Non-Designers Type Book by Robin Williams. Compared to the other three books we have already mentioned, this one tackles a more specialized concern every graphic designer has. In fact, the book is not just written for designers but for everyone who needs to deal with typesetting on a regular basis. The book explains well the basics of typography on layman’s terms by incorporating text with real-life examples. It defines the principles that govern type. It tries to explain the logic behind which type is readable and which does not seem to work. The instructions did a great job by balancing function and artistry in dealing with typography. The best thing about the book is its non-platform specific approach which means that what you get aren’t merely Photoshop tutorials. The techniques are applicable to any other graphic design software.

Photoshop Color Correct by Michael Kieran. This book also tackles a more specific technique in Photoshop. It discusses the theory behind color correction and how it should be applied in different types of photo editing tasks. The concepts are very comprehensive and well thought-out. It covers everything from using Levels and Curves to contrast and channel mixing. This book, however, is very technical and is not suitable for novice users. For intermediate graphic designers, this is yet another book worthy of your time.

The virtue of graphic design can be found on how you can control the medium you have chosen. Oil painters who want to learn watercolor must first unlearn oil. The same maxim governs digital art. One photo editing platform is a completely different skill from the other. Each has to be learned and unlearned so to speak.