How Photoshop Saved My Life on September 11

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Sept 11th sticks out in my mind because it was on that day that I was starting, for me, a "new life" artistic speaking. I worked for years as a freelance artist doing illustration "the old fashioned way" by hand at my drawing board working for hours. I grew accustomed to working that way because it was what I was taught, what I'd always done, and it worked. I began to notice that I had my head stuck in my drawing board so long that the world had changed and now EVERYONE was doing stuff on computers using programs like Photoshop, and Illustrator.

I swallowed by pride and encompassed in an 8 week course that would bring me up to speed and make me competitive in the marketplace. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. Gorgeous BLUE sky, and Cloudless. It was the perfect backdrop for a new beginning, and as I got off the bus in Boro Park, I was waiting patiently for my connecting bus.

I looked up into the sky and noticed something specific. Seemingly out of "No Where" I saw what looked like, at first glance, confetti falling to the ground. It reminded me of a ticker tape parade Mayor Giuliani would throw each year for the Yankees after winning the World Series. As the paper hit the ground and became more visible I could see that they were 8X11 pieces of paper Seconds later ,. a man ran up to me holding a sheet, exclaiming, "look at this!" I examined it and saw that it was a page from a larger business document, but how did it get HERE?

I looked to my left, and that's when I saw it. Thick black smoke in the sky coming from the direction of the World Trade Center. I did not know WHAT to think as I boarded my connecting bus and when to my school.

When I arrived the TV set was on, and that's when I knew that we were under attack. I watched the broadcast in shock along with my teacher and other classmates not knowing what to do, and lacking words … NO ONE knew what to say … Incredibly my instructor broke the silence. "Let's go ahead and have class," he said, so we all sat down at our computers as he gave us our first Photoshop lesson.

I am now very proficient in Photoshop and would be lost without it in my daily work. I do not even REMEMBER the instructor's name that taught me, but will always remember him having the insight and the BRAVERY for going on with the class in the face of this tragedy. For a few brief hours we all were made to forget what happening outside as we focused on the lesson, and for ME at least, it helped to focus me for what I would be facing that day.

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Source by Elgin Bolling

Twenty20 Joins the Envato Family

We’re excited today to announce that stock photo subscription service Twenty20 is joining the Envato ecosystem!

For seven years, the team at Twenty20 have been helping leading brands and agencies get a fresh, authentic alternative to traditional stock photos. The library of millions of images is by turns, beautiful, bold, candid, raw, and natural. That’s why creatives from companies like Google, Hulu, Vice, and more have been regular clients of Twenty20 for many years.

Later in 2019, we’ll be making the Twenty20 subscription a part of our market-leading Envato Elements creative subscription – an offering that has just passed 1,000,000 templates, project files, and stock media. Supplementing our signature Envato Elements photo collection with the Twenty20 authentic media library will give Elements subscribers even more ways to get their creative projects done.

Ready to see some photos? Head over to Twenty20’s Discover to explore hundreds of collections of amazing images.

Curated collections are at the heart of Twenty20’s offering.

 

A sampling of the authentic stock photos available as part of the current Spring collection
A sampling of the authentic stock photos available as part of the current Spring collection

Introducing Twenty20 to Envato’s ecosystem also means we’ll be welcoming a whole new cohort of creative photographers to our community. Many of Twenty20’s photographers have joined through their Instagram presence, are users of the Twenty20 iOS app, and shoot both royalty free and editorial photography.

We have an immediate earnings boost for Twenty20 photographers and the prospect of much more to come as they join the cohort of creatives earning from Elements’ subscriber-share revenue model.

“At SmarterTravel we have loved our experience with Twenty20 as one of our main stock photo sites. The selection of diverse, relatable, and inspiring photos is the perfect visual complement to our expert travel content.” ~ SmarterTravel, A Tripadvisor Company

“What I like best about Twenty20 are the photos – since they are user-generated, they feel extremely authentic, they are not primarily staged and they feature real people. This enhances our brand identity making the execution of our marketing channels more relatable. I would highly recommend Twenty20 because their wide range of images appeal to our audience, they continue to increase the supply of photos, and the cost associated with their stock photography is affordable, as compared to other stock photography companies I have worked with.”  ~ 24 Hour Home Care

“Great quality photos combined with accurate search. I almost always find the photo I need. I love the inclusion of diverse groups of people without looking hyper staged. They have a great collection of abstract photos – the “Insta” aesthetic translates well to slides and sales enablement.” ~ Coursera

That’s the announcement, now here are the details!

For customers, you’ll be able to log in to Twenty20 as before. We have an updated set of Envato terms and privacy policy to accept, but otherwise, you should see no interruption to the service. As soon as we’ve developed our Envato Elements <> Twenty20 integration, we’ll be back in touch to give you the low-down on how to access not only your regular image library but all the Envato Elements creative assets (at no extra cost – yay!)

For photographers, this month, we’re paying out an additional bonus equivalent to your earnings for March as a “Welcome to the Envato community”. Additionally, next month onward we’re doubling the portion of revenue going to photographers on Twenty20 to create a nice sharp bump in earnings for all of Twenty20’s community!

Next time you log in to Twenty20, and before your first payment, you’ll need to review and accept the updated set of Envato terms and privacy policy, and update your details so that we can process payments. You should see no other interruption to your service.

Aside from doubling the commissions for photographers, we’re aiming to bring a lot more customer dollars into Twenty20. Envato Elements has well over a hundred thousand subscribers and we expect they will bring a dramatic increase in downloads (and a corresponding surge in earnings!) This will happen once we merge the subscription access later in 2019.

Finally, the Twenty20 team in Los Angeles is continuing on with Envato, and we’re excited to welcome some fresh faces to our growing company.

We hope you’re as excited as us to see Twenty20 joining Envato!

Curious to hear more about Envato’s vision and performance?  Read our 2018 Public Impact Report



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The GIMP

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The GIMP – which stands for the “GNU Image Manipulation Program” – is open source graphics editing software with a range of powerful features for image authoring, image composition, and photo retouching. Versions of the program are available for use on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, and it provides a powerful but extremely affordable alternative to expensive commercial programs such as Adobe Photoshop.

In terms of painting and drawing images, the GIMP includes a full suite of drawing tools (all of which produce smooth drawing effects thanks to powerful anti-aliasing technology) such as pencils, brushes, airbrush, and cloning. The program of course supports custom brushes and patterns, as well as gradient and blending tools. For adjusting, manipulating and cleaning up images, there are many different tools, and most importantly the program supports multiple levels of undo and redo, so if you make a mistake, you can easily recover from it.

The GIMP has its own native file format for saving images, known as XCF, which retains layers and the other sophisticated editing features that you need to keep for work’s that are still in progress. However images in GIMP can also be loaded, saved, or converted to and from a wide variety of popular file formats including bmp, gif, jpeg, png, ps, psd, tiff and numerous others.

Another powerful aspect of the GIMP, is that like top-end commercial graphics programs, the software is both extensible and can be automated:

* Extensibility means that programmers can enhance the software with add-on modules (“extensions” or “plug-ins”) that provide extra features over and above the basic program. For example, typical extensions may add support for loading or saving images in different file formats, or provide extra effects and filters for manipulating images.

* The automation features of the GIMP allows scripts to be set up to perform common procedures that you might otherwise need to do again and again. For example, if you have a large number of images to convert from one file format to another, a script can be set up to do this in automated way, rather than you manually have to load and then re-save each individual image.

Obtaining the GIMP is easy. The GIMP is actually an open source program, which means you can download it (including the source code, which you can review or even edit if you have the programming skills) for free. That said, if you’re not a technically-orientated type of person, this may not be the best option for you. The other way to obtain the program is to purchase a commercial distribution of the program (these are mostly very reasonably priced) – the advantage of which is usually a straightforward and easy installation procedure, documentation, support, and in many cases, useful extras bundled with the basic program, such as tutorials or clip art libraries.

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Source by Sunil Tanna

Learn Selective Sepia Focus Using Photoshop

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One of the most popular and most appealing effects for photographs is the sepia effect. This effect adds an old world feel to your photograph and also induces a nostalgic feeling.

By virtue of this effect, your entire photograph will be in color or black and white while just the subject of your photograph will appear in the sepia mode. This effect, if properly used, can add a grand and classy look to your picture. You can achieve this effect using Photoshop.

Select the image on which you want to use this effect and then open it in Photoshop. Once the image is ready, select the area that you want to be in sepia. For this, you need to use the rectangular marquee tool. After you have successfully selected the required region, you need to invert your selection. Now you need to edit this region. It is quite a good idea to use the black and white effect for the rest of the photograph.

You can also use the blurring effect in addition to the black and white effect so that the focus of the viewer remains on the part of the picture in sepia. For the black and white effect, you must desaturate the inserted selection region completely. The amount of blurring and the kind of blurring depends on your choice and the resolution of your picture. Some pictures go well with certain kinds of blurring techniques.

Now, you must inverse the selection again to add the sepia effect. Using the Hue / Saturation window in Photoshop, you have to induce the sepia effect. For this, moving the saturation slider till 10 will do the trick. Adjust the lighting and hue using the Colorize box.

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Source by Gavin Smith

Photoshop – Help With Text

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OK, you are now the proud owner of Photoshop. Now you just need help to figure out how to use it. Let us have a look at some Photoshop help with text. Text can be confusing. In its self, it is an awesome subject and there is just so much flexibility that text can give you. Learning Photoshop text will not come over night. The more time you spend playing with Photoshop the more you will understand it.

Let us take a general look at Photoshop text.

To add any text to a Photoshop document, a single letter or a paragraph you have to use Photoshop's Type Tool. This is found together with all of other tools in the Tools palette. It is the one which has a capital T as its icon. (A quick tip. To get to Text, is to simply hit the letter T on your keyboard) When you use it to enter text into your document, the text appears horizontally as you would expect. Of course, you may well ask the question, is there a Vertical Type Tool? The answer is yes.

The Horizontal Type Tool is only one of four different tools that Photoshop gives you in the Tools palette. The one shows by default. Simply because it's most likely the only one you will use, the other three tools are the Vertical, Horizontal Type Mask Tool, and the Vertical Type Mask Tool. will never have cause to use the others.

To add text to your Photoshop document, with Type selected, just click anywhere inside the document window and start typing. When you have finished typing your text, your normal reaction would be to press Enter to have Photoshop save your text. Problem is, when you hit enter, Photoshop just moves you down to the next line so you can continue typing. By selecting enter on your number pad or alternately you can exit type by choosing another tool from the Tools pallet. This will have the effect of knocking out of type mode and will save your text at the same time.

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Source by Richard Waters

Photoshop Action Tips From Envato Author Gianluca Giacoppo, aka Giallo

If you’ve ever sat and wondered how to make your design workflow much easier, then let me be the first to introduce you to the wonder of Photoshop actions. Designed to give creatives access to phenomenally intricate effects, these step-by-step functions play out high-quality results with the click of a button.

So how do you get this design sorcery to work? And where can you find some cool actions? Today, we’ll be exploring this topic with one of our very own authors from Envato Market.

Meet designer and Photoshop action creator Gianluca Giacoppo, aka Giallo.

Gianluca Giacoppo

Gianluca Giacoppo’s skills for post-processing photos and illustrations have definitely paid off, making him an Elite author with many highly rated products. This visual effects specialist from Italy knows how to add eye-popping photo effects to any portrait or composition with the help of custom-made Photoshop actions. We spoke about how he originally got into these tools as well as what it takes to sell high-quality premium products.

Let’s take a look at what he had to say.

How did you get into Photoshop actions initially, and where did you learn to create them?

Working for various advertising agencies, I realized that every now and then we were required to modify multiple images at a time and that’s where I started to explore Photoshop’s automatic processing capabilities.

Animated Pencil Sketch FX
Animated Pencil Sketch FX Photoshop Add-on

His first action, a tool used to increase the size of smaller images, is still available on Envato Market with over 1,000 sales. Gianluca notes that by looking at other designers he was able to come up with his own useful products.

Where do you obtain inspiration for your creations?

I just recently got into photo effects so I look for artistic inspiration of any kind, from digital to traditional art. The most common websites to find fresh and trending art are Dribbble, Behance, DesignInspiration, and Abduzeedo.

Ever wondered about creating your own action? Gianluca lets us in on the process.

How long does an action take to create? Could you take us through a bit of the process?

Creating a good Photoshop action requires a considerable amount of time and experience. The developer has to consider multiple factors, from size to resolution and depth.

The amount of tuning and experimenting I’m able to achieve will determine the quality of the action created.

Asset creation and transformation into Photoshop add-ons. Recording the action. Transforming it into JavaScript code and adding manual adjustments. Then setting up the final presentation and previews.

Some of the best tips come from fellow creators. Here are his tips for newbies to digital products like Photoshop actions.

Do you have any tips for creators that are looking to get into action creation?

Yes, several. Here’s what I consider the most necessary. I often see that Photoshop Actions work only if:

1) Photoshop is in English.

2) You meet certain preferences in your settings and control panel.

3) The image is in RGB, and also set to 8 channels.

4) The starting layer needs to be selected and named properly.

5) Consider the layer ordering and final document setup.

He continues his advice with a few more notes about coding actions.

Recording an action is a fairly simple task. Photoshop has a built-in recording tool that allows you to record a certain process. But an action developer has to consider the image being processed on different operating systems and with different Photoshop versions, taking the precautions previously explained.
There are also many limits and things that can’t be done in the actions panel. That’s why it is optimal to implement JavaScript code, and to “retouch” our Photoshop actions. The possibilities with Photoshop scripting are endless. Since it uses JavaScript, we can set up conditions and react to them using variables and much more.

Geometrical Dispersion FX - Photoshop Add-On
Geometrical Dispersion FX – Photoshop Add-On

So what’s his final verdict on creating high-quality actions? Well, there are many important factors to consider.

In your opinion, what makes a good action?

The final result, originality and compatibility. If there are too many conditions for the action to work, or the user has to take too many manual steps, that devalues the overall product. I always consider the user’s point of view, and a good add-on for me is the one that provides the best user experience.
A good action means also great customer support from the author. Some customers might not be Photoshop experts and therefore require support, which is one of the factors that others look for.

Among the many creative projects in his Envato Market profile, Gianluca also creates amazing mockups, various templates and animated effects. So what does he have in store for the next product?

Do you have any notable projects in the works?

I’m currently working on another photo effect—I’d like to create a realistic charcoal visual effect. I don’t think our community reached the realism and material feel that real charcoal and pastel create on canvas, so I’m looking forward to improving this type of artistic effect.

Sounds like we’ll be enjoying more fantastic artist effects to come. He also lets us in on his favorites.

Which are your favorite creations and why?

My favorite plugin at the moment is Real Paint Fx, which creates a realistic painting effect from any image. One of the main reasons is that the script was challenging to develop and the customers’ reactions were great. I also want to thank the photographer M.Rezania who allowed me to use his fantastic photos.

Design is destined to see an incredible shift towards more thrilling visual effects.  So what does this action developer have in store?

What do you think is the future of Photoshop actions?

The future of automatic processing with Adobe Photoshop is in the hands of Adobe. Hopefully they will provide more tools and options for developers of automatic effects. Adding more filters and tools to Adobe Photoshop would unleash the creation of a new array of tools and plugins for the community.

Any more hopes for this area? He continues.

Another hope for the future is related to the market that we generated with these automatic effects. As we increase the value of our plugins, we should also implement their price increases as well. The average price of $7 doesn’t reflect the amount of effort needed to create such a complex tool, so my hope for the future of Photoshop actions is that authors will feel less scared of offering their products at the prices which reflect the amount of time spent.

Animated Real Paint FX - Photoshop Add-On
Animated Real Paint FX – Photoshop Add-On

Are you inspired to create your own action? Use these incredible tips from Gianluca to ensure success with your next project, and take advantage of all that Photoshop actions have to offer to expand your online business.

If you want to learn more about how to customize a photoshop action, follow this tutorial and checkout more Photoshop actions tips and tutorials over on Tuts+.

We’d like to extend a thank you to Gianluca for participating in this feature. Feel free to find more of his work at the links below:

Gianluca Giacoppo


I’m a digital artist with a love of all things Photoshop. Check out my tutorials for great tips on digital painting, photo manipulation, and photo effects on Envato Tuts+!


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Photoshop – Saving and Reusing Selections

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Photoshop provides tools for saving and loading selections. The selection process can be a task in itself. Being able to save your selection to return or use in a different image you are working with can be a real time saver.

To save your selection, simply create a selection, then choose the save option from the select menu, “Select->Save Selection”. When you choose to save your selection, you will be creating a new channel and this will be the default name presented by Photoshop. Channels are grayscale images that store different types of information about your image. When you create an image, Photoshop automatically creates color information channels with your ‘RGB’ (red, green, blue) color information. Alpha channels store your selections as grayscale images providing a method for you to modify, display, or blend parts of your image with another.

Once you have saved a selection you can recall it by using this saved channel. This exercise will illustrate how easy this can be. Choose an image with a nice contrast between foreground and background. Choose your foreground using your choice of the selection tools. Now under the select menu, choose “Select->Save Selection”. This will be your first saved selection so your only choice will be to save this selection, this channel, with a new name, “foreground”.

Now choose your background, or if you like, use the same selection but choose its inverse from the select menu “Select->Inverse”. Choose “save selection” again, and give this selection a new name, “background”. At this point, if you click on your channels tab you will see your two new channels after the default RGB channels with the names your provided. You will also see thumbnails that appear black and gray, like a photograph negative. They also will appear to be opposite in black and gray.

Deselect your current selection using the ‘Ctrl D’ option. Now under the select menu, choose “Select->Load Selection”. Choose either of your saved selections which have been saved as channels. You will see the same selection you made activate with its signature ‘marching ants’. I like to choose the move arrow, actually move this selection around a bit just for that pure visual for what is truly included in a selection.

Go through this same process, choosing your other selection only this time when you load selections, choose the other channel name. Now you will see this selection of your background reactivated for you to use as you like.

These steps in saving, naming, and reloading selections opens the door to using and blending channel information. Having a saved selection can be a great time saver but introducing yourself to channels and the expanded capability that adds to your Photoshop experience will be more than worth the exercise!

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Source by Tom Womack

Professional Photo Maker – Adobe Photoshop CS4

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As we find in our searching for that professional photo maker, the life of the software product usually has a number of releases offering different versions. Within these versions, changes can be seen normally by the author providing a new re-installable product or just the modified files.

When searching for a professional photo maker, most look for software that may be suited for an expert or even a novice. Within this software should be the simple and easy to use features for all who are tending on utilizing this software.

There is quite a bit of professional photo software out on the market today. This can be a time consuming task if not sure what you are looking for when first starting out or what one might need.

Once you type on those magic words looking for the one great piece of software you will find results that can confuse a person. There will be a wealth of information that is provided which can lead to an overwhelming feeling and frustration.

One of the top results is going to be the Adobe Photoshop CS4 or CS5. This professional photo maker has some great features geared to those who are looking for that ease of use and understanding of how these tools work.

Access of this powerful software will provide its users with a greater sense of freedom while editing, improvements with efficiency, creating masks and fine-tuning of images, color correction, increased speed with graphical handling, plus raw image processing.

In using Adobe Photoshop CS4 or CS5 users will not need any special requirements, Users can make a variety of adjustments to images without corrupting the value of the image itself. One of the great benefits if wanting to try this piece of software is its free trial version. This is a wonderful way of utilizing the features to see if this is the right software before investing.

As one searches, there will be many more of a certain type of professional photo maker that users can try with its free trials. Before choosing, one should look into other upgrades that might be available for that specific software. As the user increases their experience, they may need to upgrade to a more professional photo software that offers more advanced tools that offers different features.

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92 West | Branding + Strategy + Web Design

92 West is a branding, digital marketing, web design and advertising agency focused on helping brands discover their true voice and sense of purpose; genuinely inspiring audiences.

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Source by Cate F

Themefusion’s Avada Sells Its 500,000th Licence

Themefusion, the genius’ behind the storied WordPress theme ‘Avada’, have just passed their most significant milestone to date.

On April 3rd, at approximately 1.05am AEST the 500,000th copy of Avada was sold.

This means that at any given moment, the template that was dubbed “The Swiss Army Knife of WordPress Themes” by Envato CEO Collis Ta’eed could be powering up to half a million websites worldwide.  Amongst it’s star-studded user-base are websites for properties such as Microsoft Visual Studio, The San Diego County Fair and comedians Russell Brand, Frankie Boyle and Jack Whitehall

Since its introduction in 2012, Themefusion’s Avada launched like a rocket to become the single most popular WordPress theme of all time. In less than twelve months following its release, Avada had brought in a million dollars in sales for Themefusion. Barely two years later, that figure had multiplied to over ten million dollars. Today, Avada remains the highest selling WordPress theme on the planet with over twenty-five million dollars in total sales revenue.

With now over half a million customers worldwide, the ThemeFusion team cites both customer support and taking full responsibility for the end-to-end experience of their product as some of the key reasons for their success.

“Avada is exclusively built and maintained in-house, guaranteeing a reliable experience for the end user. We do not rely on or are influenced by 3rd party tools to provide functionality, and that frees us up from external hindrances. Add to that a passionate approach to customer support and detail, and you have an amazingly flexible design tool that is continuously evolving.” 

The Avada theme was first conceived by Luke Beck, a Florida-based Designer and Muhammad Haris, a freelance WordPress developer based in Pakistan. Today, ThemeFusion is comprised of a global team of upwards of 20 people, working across a mix of customer support and ongoing theme development to ensure the template remains on the cutting edge.

“Our team (has a) relentless dedication to what they do and whom they do it for… We pride ourselves in the fact that we have very low staff turnover, many of our 20+ team have been with us for 4/5 years +, and our policy internally has always been to treat each other as family and to carry that mindset into our daily work.”

On behalf of the entire Envato staff and broader community, we’d like to extend a very hearty congratulations to the entire ThemeFusion team.

To mark the occasion, the team at ThemeFusion have let us know that they will be running a celebratory sale over the course of the next week. At the time of writing, the ThemeFusion team team are promoting a massive 35% off their standard price. So whether you’re a seasoned Avada user or just looking to get your hands on your first licence, now is a great time to snap up a copy of a WordPress theme that’s become the stuff of legend within the Envato community.

For a quick overview of Avada’s incredible history, check out the infographic below.

A history of Themefusion and Avada’s achievements


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Why Good Designers Are Like Crocodiles

Crocodiles adapt. They learn the movements of their meal and strike at just the right moment. It’s this mix of immersion in scenarios, research of their environment, and instinct, that make them the perfect analogy for a good designer.

However, while crocodiles aren’t known for being particularly empathic, for a designer, empathy is crucial.

Finding empathy through experience

Books or running on-screen interviews aren’t the only way to establish empathy. As a designer, I’ve found the best way to do so is through experience, which means working with a broad range of people, including people outside the design community. Most of all, you need to experience uncomfortable scenarios and put yourself in situations that may be way outside of your comfort zone.

The true value of design is found through experience

I’m a UI designer with a background in visual, branding, and graphic design. When I started at Envato, I was so far out of my depth I was bordering on drowning. I had no tech or product references to draw on – but it was the experience from my design career and the somewhat daunting role at Envato that ultimately shaped the way I now work on product interfaces and guidelines.

I had previously worked in local government, which moves at a fraction of the pace of a tech company. However, in government I learnt how to design for brand, wayfinding, digital, print and even experience design, for audiences who, no matter their background or situation, should be able to experience our services equally.

Working with community, indigenous and disability groups allowed me to design with respect and sensitively for the region and users of the services, meet accessibility requirements, and still strive to maintain high quality and creativity.

All design experiences impact how we make our critical decisions, how we structure our feedback and think about design as solving legitimate problems for everyone, as well as being beautiful to look at.

Design is allowed to be beautiful

Design should be delightful. People respond to good design. It communicates passion, inclusion, coherence and clarity of brand. Beautiful design shows that we care about our brand, our products and how our customers perceive us.

Aesthetics play a huge part in a designers process, just as much as interviews, budgets and business needs. It’s the aesthetics that attract people in the first place, and by balancing beauty with informed research we are able to create something attractive without detracting from our purpose.

It’s not all about you

Designing is not just about you or your customer. Design is finding the balance between what the users wants, what our authors want (in Envato’s case), what the business wants, what our design standards require, as well as the limitations of technology and timelines.

As a designer you need to learn to accept that most decisions are out of your control and that designing is a negotiation process, one that you can own and influence or one that you can shrug your shoulders at and just roll with – its important to instinctively pick your battles.

There are plenty of projects where days or even weeks of work have been wasted once the creative disappears up the corporate chain of no return. It’s these jobs that make you feel like a hack, constantly questioning design decisions no matter how much insight, feedback or research you have. But these are the projects that create resilience and build the designer instinct where with or without the insights you learn to trust your own decisions. In the end, design is about standing by your work and owning the results, whether award-worthy or dumpster fire.

Projects that create resilience and build the designer instinct where with or without the insights you learn to trust your own decisions

Muddled methods of a hack

Double diamonds, design sprints, lean startups and all the rest of the formulated design processes may never fit your mould. (I for one only learnt about these frameworks at Envato – furiously reading a stack of books after miraculously getting through the recruitment process).

Design doesn’t have to mean a prescribed process. Understand them sure, but establishing your own way of working is where you find your true happy place. Working next door to a pub like I do is also a designer’s place but anyway… Defining your own style and path will allow a greater understanding all aspects of design, not just tech or product or UX.

Design can be fluid, design can be messy and design can rub people up the wrong way. Hack, sticky tape and bleed your way through various jobs, experiences, styles, mixed teams and clients. Make a lot of mistakes, break things, drink more than you should and a lot of the time wonder why you’re doing it in the first place.

Somehow I’ve scraped through 20 years adapting and applying a mix of loose processes to what my current project requires. Its made for a hell of an interesting journey and I’ve been able to learn equally from terrible bosses who crush your creative spirit and from inspiring industry-leading mentors who make you love what you do. It comes down to learning what not to do as much as what to do. And I’m still learning.

Instinct won’t get you all the way

At Envato, we use a design framework that relies heavily on research, and with a massive community of customers and authors, why wouldn’t you? Our UX team create stories and research documentation that within the UI team, we use to inform style guides and libraries with the intention of reuse of core patterns between products.

Without the research and ability to test ideas and concepts with our community, we would base a lot of decisions on gut instinct which relies on biases, both emotional and cultural. I’ll admit, trusting your gut isn’t always the right decision, but I believe a balance of instinct and research will get you further than either alone.

Future designers

How will designers adapt to future design challenges? How do we think about designing outside of pages and screens? How do we take the experience we have in interface, UX and visual design and apply them to voice, VR or ever changing social platforms and still create beautiful and inclusive design experiences?

We swim, crocodile.


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Artistic expression at Envato Mexico HQ

It’s been almost a year since we welcomed the team from Placeit into the Envato family and it’s been a wonderful journey so far. It’s a family that’s growing rapidly too, so much so that the Envato Mexico team have recently had to move into a new office to accommodate all the new hires!

Placeit’s former headquarters was revered for its character and charm, as only a former nightclub-turned-tech hub can be! As a result, it was a challenge to recreate and expand on that character in a new location, but what better way to do it than with a generous splash of colour?

Enter the in-house design brains of Envato Mexico. From photographers to graphic designers, digital artists to painters, the team in Guadalajara are a talented bunch of creatives! A crew of 15 colleagues assembled to plan and design a series of six murals around the new office.

“We let the imagination of the creative people run free,” says Manuel Lopez, who coordinated the project. “The only guidelines were that the pieces had to reflect the creative nature of Envato and Placeit, and be related to Mexican culture.”

We think the results speak for themselves.

Not a bad transformation for a former 1970s design shop for architects, designers and painters!

The actual collaboration between the original artist and the helping hands of others across the business was a real highlight,” said Lopez. “Afternoons and weekends of beers and chips, and the good time’s everyone shared was fantastic.”

“The outcome is so awesome. Everyone loves the murals, they make all feel that it’s their space, personalised and close. A more intimate place to work and have fun!”

“It reminds us all that we have a creative family and we should have fun in the office.”


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2019 Color Trends – Envato

When Pantone announced its 2019 color of the year as the bright and vivacious “living coral,” designers and artists all over took notice. And since color and culture go hand in hand, we’ve also seen a few new colors with even more vibrancy now emerging on the scene.

The Impact of Color

Color has always played a huge role in our lives. We all know our favorites, and it’s not uncommon for us to share a few. Each hue transmits a particular feeling, energy and mood, and by learning more about these trends we’ll be able to explore exciting inspirations we might otherwise ignore.

So let’s take a look at a few more emerging color trends for 2019.

Gold

Minimal Black and Gold Flyer Template

In the creative, makeup and beauty worlds, the color gold is the champion of luxury brands. Models adjust their selfies with that perfect golden-hour glow, artists attach gold leaf to their canvases, and jewelry designers go in on fantastic gold designs.

And with an ever-growing global economy, it’s not a total shock that our tastes are becoming more expensive. The color gold is, in fact, driving this trend as we find ways to exude a sense of confidence in all areas of our lives. Psychology tells us that gold can make you feel glamorous while also inviting courageous feelings of passion and wisdom. Pretty cool!

Gold Inspiration

Are you feeling a little fancy today? Try out one of these gold design tutorials. I myself have already used this color a few times this year! Not only is it applicable across a variety of projects, but it also ranks as the top searched color on both Envato Market and Envato Elements! How’s that for gold standard?

How to Create a 3D Gold Text Effect With Photoshop Layer Styles
How to Create a 3D Gold Text Effect With Photoshop Layer Styles

Recreate the metallic sheen and luster of stunning gold letters with this text effect tutorial! Join Enrique Elicabe as he explains how to use Photoshop layer styles to achieve realistic gold textures and colors.

More Gold Tutorials

Want more gold tutorials? Jump to a few of our favorites.

Natural Greens

Natural Magazine
Natural Magazine

Artists have always been connected to nature—and therefore, the color green. Green is the color of life. It’s associated with feelings of growth, harmony, renewal, and balance. It’s the circle of life all in one color, really. We notice it throughout the seasons, and now that we’re becoming more conscious of our environmental impact, natural green colors are dominating our work spaces, creative activities, and lifestyle designs.

Natural Green Inspiration

Hunter green is one of the most common greens designers are excited by, although you’ll also find many variations. Naturally, it inspires many creative projects with nature-infused themes, but it’s also associated with wealth and finance. So you’ll find it most prevalent in design topics like stationery, websites, and more.

Create Earthy 3D Typography in Photoshop

Create Earthy 3D Typography in Photoshop
Create Earthy 3D Typography in Photoshop

You can also use these colors for a brilliant text effect! Recreate this look with stellar stock images in Adobe Photoshop. Ed Lopez shows us how in this awesome tutorial above.

More Green Tutorials

Unwind and relax with a nature-inspired tutorial. Jump to a few of our favorites.

Neon Green

Green House Logo
Green House Logo

Remember the 90s TV show, Double Dare? Now you can relive all your favorite slime fantasies with one of the boldest fashion statements to hit the catwalk: UFO green. Daring and slightly unusual, this bold color choice has already been favored by fashion giants like Gucci and Versace.

So how do you stand out when everything is already so saturated? Many looking to this bright neon trend might be trying to do just that: stand out.

Neon Green Inspiration

From the catwalks of the spring 2019 runways to the fictional paradises seen in digital art, neon green is definitely a stunner. At the forefront of what you’ll see from this trend are vibrant vacation clothes, graphics, and colorful photography. But you can also check out our tutorials to find out how to use this cool color.

How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in Procreate

How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in Procreate
How to Create a Punk-Rock Portrait in Procreate

Procreate is the go-to digital painting app for many new artists. And now you can create epic, neon-colored hair with this tutorial from Maria Dimova. Learn how to use different brush settings and layer styles for a vibrant hairstyle.

More Neon Green Tutorials

Try out this wild color out yourself! Check out these helpful tutorials.

More Neon Colors: Pink, Orange, & Purple

Neon Sign Photoshop Effect
Neon Sign Photoshop Effect

Neon green isn’t the only psychedelic color to emerge for 2019.

And last year we called it! Many fan favorites come in the form of electric neon pinks, oranges, and even some unique purple flavors. Neon colors, after all, are an ode to the eclectic retro ambience of the 1980s. Everything certainly pops with them, and if used effectively, they can bring creative, spunky energy to any piece.

Neon Color Inspiration

Fashion designers like Jeremy Scott are also going full-on construction worker with bright, neon yellow accents for jumpsuits and other quirky designs.

Need some neon inspiration? Try your hand at a bold photo effect like the one below.

How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect

How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect
How to Create a Neon Rainbow Photoshop Portrait Effect

In this tutorial, Abbey Esparza shows you how to add a punk-rock pop art vibe to your portraits in Adobe Photoshop. Learn how to create the perfect neon glow and how to bring more vibrancy and brightness to any portrait.

More Neon Color Tutorials

Excited to try your hand at these colors? Check out these amazing tutorials.

Cobalt Blue

Blue Polygon Backgrounds
Blue Polygon Backgrounds

Will we ever grow tired of blue? Blue is a color you can feel and also design with. And the cobalt version refers to the extraordinary pure blue pigment discovered by chemists at the turn of the 19th century.

Cobalt Blue Inspiration

Cobalt blue was a favorite among legends like Vincent van Gogh. It also inspires a magical energy you might find in many neon-themed designs. Try out the one below for a cool text effect.

How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop
How to Create a Neon Glow in the Dark Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop

This insightful Photoshop lesson comes from designer Laura Keung. Follow along as she shows you how to use layer blend modes and multiple brushes for a unique neon look.

More Cobalt Blue Tutorials

Looking for something to make with cobalt blue? Check out these tutorials.

Try These Trends

How will color guide you in 2019? Explore these trends and test out new color palettes to improve your skills.  For more help, find exciting new tutorials to try over on Tuts+.


I’m a digital artist with a love of all things Photoshop. Check out my tutorials for great tips on digital painting, photo manipulation, and photo effects on Envato Tuts+!


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The Secrets of a Successful Rebrand (And Why Some Brands Miss the Mark)

No talk of successful rebranding is complete without mentioning the now legendary transformation of Federal Express in 1994.

Fred Smith, its founder, chairman, and CEO, wanted to reinvigorate the company’s image. He challenged the creative team to make the Federal Express truck recognizable from five blocks away.

The result: a shortened name—FedEx—and a bold, zippy new logo:

The new name and visual identity perfectly encapsulated the company’s value proposition: speed. Notice the hidden arrow in what looks like a simple wordmark?

The new branding catapulted FedEx into the next century and remains relevant and powerful even today.

But rebranding doesn’t always turn out the way it did for FedEx.

Take the case of Tropicana’s rebranded packaging in 2009.

What was supposed to make their brand more current and fresh soon became stale. Sales dove 20%—equivalent to $137 million—in the first six weeks after Tropicana unveiled its new look, from this:

Tropicana Original Packaging

…to this:

Tropicana Failed Rebranded Packaging

Cutting its losses, the company reverted to its old packaging, which is still in use as of this writing.

What makes the difference between a rebranding triumph and a fiasco?

We’ll explore some possible answers in this post.

The Hidden Costs of Rebranding

Rebranding entails huge costs and risks. Companies hire branding experts to conceptualize the rebrand. And then other consultants and vendors are needed to roll out the new identity.

After studying over 1,200 rebranding projects spanning 25 years, the VIM Group estimates that the cost of implementing a rebrand is 20 times the cost of developing the new brand identity.

In other words, for every dollar a company pays branding and design consultants to come up with the brand redesign, it will spend $20 to roll it out.

Not to mention the time the entire exercise takes and the potential loss of goodwill, reputation, and sales, should the new branding flop.

Yet for all its costs and risks, rebranding is surprisingly common. In the hospitality industry, for example, researchers have found that one-third of all hotel properties have changed brands since opening. And companies that have been around for decades have iterated their identities several times throughout the years.

Why do businesses make this terrifying leap? There are plenty of good reasons to do so.

Why Rebrand? Let Me Count the Ways

Whether internal to the business or coming from the environment, a number of factors may demand a rebrand.

1. Reflect the company’s new positioning

Like humans, companies change over time and, when it does, a brand redesign becomes necessary.

It’s like when children grow up into adults. They drop the silly nicknames and need a whole new wardrobe.

A variety of situations may account for this:

  • The company has evolved. It has shifted to a different market, product offering, or value proposition altogether.

Case in Point: Infusionsoft rebrands when its parent company becomes Keap to signal its expansion to a new market.

Infusionsoft Rebrand 2019
A comparison of the old and new logos on the Infusionsoft blog
  • The market has evolved. A business may need a new identity to respond to consumer demands and expectations.

Case in Point: Mailchimp makes room for customer-driven growth while refusing to grow up.

MailChimp Rebranding 2018

  • Technological advances. The emergence of new technologies can make a company’s positioning—sometimes even the company itself—obsolete.

Case in Point: Squarespace embraces a new brand that “makes sense in motion.”

Squarespace Rebrand 2018

  • Differentiation. As the market evolves and new players arrive, the company may need to reinvent itself to differentiate from the competition.
  • Internationalization. Entering a new country may compel a business to rebrand in order to better align culturally with the new market.
  • Negative image. A PR crisis, negative reaction from stakeholders, and other manifestations of a poor reputation could compel a massive identity makeover.

2. Make the branding more relevant

One of the most common reasons to rebrand is to keep current and cutting-edge. It’s like throwing out your grandma’s bell-bottoms and replacing them with bootcut pants.

Several situations may warrant a brand refresh:

  • An outdated brand. As with fashion, branding trends come and go. When a company’s brand looks old-fashioned and tired, then it needs sprucing up.

Case in Point: Bhutan gets a modern look for today’s marketplace.

Bhutan Rebranding

  • Misaligned brand expressions. Through the years, an organization’s brand expressions may have gotten scattered and inconsistent. Their website has one look and their product packaging another. A branding makeover may be called for to make everything look, not just fresh, but cohesive.

Case in Point: Slack gets its visual act together with a logo redesign.

Slack 2019 New Logo

  • Branding reset. The original branding wasn’t well-thought out in the first place, because the founder needed a brand name and logo quickly, not realizing how fast the business would grow. Now that they have the resources, they want to do branding correctly and drop the one that just happened to be the most convenient at the time.

3. Change in business ownership

Structural changes in a company arising from mergers, demergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and spin-offs often require rebranding.

Rebranding may be part and parcel of the deal. Or, it may be the logical thing to do after the ownership change takes place. Mergers may mean a literal merging of business names, for example. And acquisitions may wipe out one company’s identity altogether.

Case in Point: Hewlett Packard Enterprise brands itself as “The Machine” to launch its demerger from Hewlett Packard.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise The Machine logo

4. Meet legal requirements

The courts may require a company to change its name and/or visual branding if these are deemed to infringe on the copyright of another company. This happens when the branding is too similar to one that’s protected by law.

5. Change in leadership

The arrival of a new CEO does not always require rebranding. But if the CEO is prominent and likely to stay on for many years, then rebranding may be a good way to reflect the company’s change in direction and vision.

An example that comes to mind is the rebranding of Apple when Steve Jobs returned as CEO in 1997. However, Jobs’ return to Apple also meant restructuring the company. And so, the rebranding was more a reflection of substantial changes than simply the return of its original founder.

Types of Rebranding

Rebranding takes different shapes and forms, depending on its scale and scope, which are dictated by the reason for rebranding.

  • Visual only. Rebranding may be a simple matter of a logo redesign, a font style change, or new colors. Freshening up an established brand or adapting the logo to digital media may require little more than a visual identity change.
  • Renaming + visual. More significant rebranding involves changing the name as well as the visual identity of a business. Ownership changes, restructuring, market evolution, and legal requirements are some of the drivers of a rebranding with this scope.
  • The Works. When the very essence of a business changes, then the brand redesign goes beyond skin-deep as well. Rebranding begins from the core of the business—its vision, mission, and values—and radiates to its outward expressions.

3 Rebranding Trends in 2019

Just as there are trends in fashion, there are trends in rebranding as well. Here are the top rebranding trends we’ve noticed:

1. Simplification

Companies seeking to refresh their identities are opting to make their visuals clean and uncluttered. This may be because minimalist designs look best on digital media, particularly on mobile devices.

Minimalist designs are characterized by the use of white or negative space, sans serif fonts, and flat—not 3-dimensional—forms (although depth may be going back in style again soon).

In terms of names, simplification means short and punchy monikers, as in the case of FedEx. Mastercard seems to be aiming for simplicity with its logo redesign:

Mastercard New Nameless Logo 2019
Mastercard’s new, nameless logo

2. Un-branding, reverse-branding, or debranding

Millennials become loyal to brands, not because of their image, but because of what they stand for. And so, they reject visual gimmickry (traditional logos, fonts, colors, and imagery) and instead look at a brand’s authenticity, values, and integrity.

In response, companies are adopting styles that may appear like the absence of branding: nondescript, generic, bland, even. Skincare brand, The Ordinary, exemplifies un-branding from its name to its visual design:

The Ordinary's Un-branded Logo

3. Throwback/Vintage

Rather than putting on modern appearances, some brands are donning vintage looks. Trend curator Rohit Bhargava calls it “RetroTrust.”

“Often unsure of whom to trust, consumers look back to organizations and experiences with brands that have a legacy, or those with which they have a personal history,” Bhargava writes in Non-Obvious 2019: How to Predict Trends and Win the Future.

This may seem to contradict the need to modernize and keep with the times. In fact, it’s the pendulum swinging in the opposite direction.

Many have become disillusioned with over-digitization, with its lack of personalization, unrelenting pace, and abstraction. They’re harking back to the “good ol’ days.” Hence, the return of vinyl records, retro gaming, and even the Ektachrome film.

Whistler Classic Soda’s retro logo embodies its 1950s origins:

Whistler Classic Soda vintage branding

5 Key Ingredients of Successful Rebranding

What can we learn from the experience of companies that have rebranded?

Success is never guaranteed, that’s for sure, but rebranding best practices help increase the chances of a positive outcome, such as:

1. Do it for the right reasons.

With the costs and risks inherent in rebranding, you better be doing it for the right reasons. Needing a fresher look, for example, is not always a good reason to rebrand.

Change for the sake of change can backfire. That seems to be the case with Zara’s logo redesign, which so far has brought out the worst in critics.

Zara's New Logo 2019
This tweet is only one of the many harsh criticisms against Zara’s new logo.

Companies may also be tempted to rebrand as a response to issues that require a different solution altogether. Low sales cycles, poor brand awareness, and dismal marketing results will only get worse with rebranding, according to Jon Simpson, member of the Forbes Agency Council and owner of Criterion.B.

2. Research, research, research.

Doing your due diligence by conducting research is the best insurance against a rebranding debacle. It begins with evaluating your current brand assets. How is your brand resonating (or not) with your customers, prospects, employees, and other stakeholders? Where are your competitors at?

Question your assumptions and examine them against your research findings.

3. Get buy-in.

Don’t rebrand in a vacuum. Involve stakeholders from the get-go and throughout the entire rebranding process, through to post-launch. Collaboration, participation, and communication are all part of rebranding best practices.

“To get [rebranding] right from the start, a mix of ‘hands’ must be on deck, from top to bottom, inside and out,” says Anaezi Modu, founder and organizer of the Rebrand 100 Global Awards. It’s not something management can simply hand over to the marketing department and its consultants.

4. Invest in implementation.

As mentioned earlier, implementing the rebrand requires 20 times the budget of the conceptualization side of it. Take this into account when allocating your resources. Sometimes, the rebrand is sound but it falls flat because not enough thought and energy was put into executing it.

5. Go deeper than skin deep.

Even a superficial rebranding is a good occasion to re-examine your essence and culture, so you can more accurately express it.

“There is often a tendency to miss opportunities for real innovation and advancement,” Modu observes, “If you must, ask others to help reveal your blind spots. This prepares you to evolve and maintain relevance even as things change—which they inevitably do sooner or later.”

Rebranding: The Bottom Line

Rebranding can be the best thing that’s ever happened to a company… or it can be the worst.

What makes the difference?

Being true to your company’s identity and making it all about the customers you want to serve.

They can tell if you’re rebranding just for the sake of change or because you want to tell the story of who you have become.

Rebranding isn’t just about changing graphic designs; it’s about making inner transformation outwardly tangible.

If you’re looking to conceptualize, refresh, or update your business brand, read about what makes a small business brand successful.

In the meantime, what recent rebranding examples strengthened your connection with the brand? Which ones alienated you from the brand? Tell us in the comments below.

 



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International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women In Design

Art has never belonged to a single type of person.

At least, I’d like to think that we can all express it—through a variety of mediums and styles. And although history hasn’t always given recognition to everyone, art can still be found in the caves, halls, laptops and devices of nearly any person wanting a voice or searching for an answer.

Over the last 100 years, the influence of women in design has especially been felt through the decades of social work and advocacy from the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Now, with the internet, we gain access to a new generation of women hoping to make their mark in design.

So to celebrate International Women’s Day in 2019, let’s take a moment to highlight the remarkable work of seven women in this exciting digital field. Learn more about these Envato authors and their work and stories.

Kerry

Astrologer Kerry Kershaw is an avid artist who transports her viewers to exciting, natural worlds. Inspired by her love of travel, FortySixandTwo has become her haven for stunning flyer templates and stationery essentials. Let’s discover who has inspired her through the years.

Q: Which women have inspired your career path?

I mostly get my inspiration from so many different places and from listening to my heart. Anais Nin, Debra Silverman, Elizabeth Hiach are a few of the women I follow.

LUMINA Pinterest Pack

The owner of a publishing company, Kerry shares her favorite work with us.

Q: What work are you most proud of?

Creating my own brand, the Magic of I, and launching a publishing company in 2018. I self-published a completely custom, small batch 2019 Astrological Planner that I designed, illustrated and wrote myself. I also crowdfunded just over 90k last year to get it sustainably produced, and have shared the moon and stars with over 5,000 customers all over the world.
LUMINA Letterhead

Here is her advice on working in this creative field.

Q: What tip would you offer other women looking to work in your field?

Create space to listen. Create for you first—if it doesn’t light you up, excite you and make you feel alive then find something else. Life’s too short; the world needs your magic.

Juniper Flyer

Irene

Irene Demetri

Freelance graphic designer Irene Demetri loves creating patterns and digital resources for her design community. A mother of twins, wife and digital designer, she makes simplistic designs that aim to facilitate the work styles of creatives everywhere. Here are her favorite designers.

Q: Which women have inspired your career path?

I have gotten inspiration from so many women during my career as a designer, usually by those who were strong and driven in what they did.  As a child, I remember watching the film ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ and being so touched and inspired by Dian Fossey’s strong will, determination and love for what she did. She inspires me to this day.

Girlboss Patterns
The owner of Youandigraphics on Envato Elements, Irene shares with us an appreciation for all the creative work throughout her journey.

Q: What work are you most proud of?

I don’t think I can single out pieces of my work that I am most proud of, I am proud of any work I put out there at the time of its release. I make sure each piece reaches the top of my capabilities and knowledge while I am working on it so I can be proud once I release it. At the same time I am always looking at how I can improve my products making sure I learn from any mistakes or feedback I get.

Boho Patterns Collection

Do you trust your gut? Irene recommends following your intuition.

Q: What tip would you offer other women looking to work in your field?

To trust their instincts and decisions! Being a freelancer means you need to make all your professional decisions by yourself and even though it is most helpful to ask for advice, at the end of the day you know what is best for you.

Graphic Flowers Patterns

Carolina

Next is Carolina, a talented graphic designer from Sao Paulo, Brazil. After dedicating herself to becoming an accomplished Envato author, Carolina has created amazing digital resources of colorful abstract backgrounds and graphic templates. Let’s hear more about her influences.

Q: Which women have inspired your career path?

I’d like to mention three remarkable Brazilian artists: Ruth Kedar, the woman behind the Google logo. Bea Feitler, the woman who created some of the most iconic magazine covers of all time. And Luisa Dörr, the woman who photographed Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and the other nine influential women for TIME’s magazine project “Firsts.”

Colorful Motion Square Backgrounds

Every designer remembers the feeling of their first successful product. Carolina shares her memory with us.

Q: What work are you most proud of?

Wavy Abstract Backgrounds

Are you inspired by her incredible work? Here’s her advice to other women.

Q: What tip would you offer other women looking to work in your field?

You must understand your client’s needs and do your best to match your authenticity with their expectations. I believe a good designer is essentially a very curious person and an extraordinary observer. Also, don’t forget that there is absolutely no one else in this world like you, so acknowledge your strength, work on your weak spots, trust your inner wisdom and use your uniqueness in your favor.

Tokyo City Glitch Backgrounds

Daisy

 

Illustrator, musician and game developer Daisy Ein is the lead artist of Super Retro Duck, an indie game developer that she co-owns. She’s also the artist behind our amazing How to Draw Natural, Textured Afro Hair series on Envato Tuts+. Here’s her advice on getting into the field.

Q: What tip would you offer other women looking to work in your field?

I think the biggest tip I’d give—as simple as it might sound is: just go for it. Whatever your creative or professional goals are, life is too short not to try. When an obstacle hits, refocus and keep trying. Don’t know something? It’s time to learn!

Umbrella Blue

Q: Which women have inspired your career path?

One of my inspirations is a lovely illustrator named Rose—she goes by the pen name “barachan.” Her illustration skills and design knowledge are really out of this world. She’s self made and has been her own boss for at least the last ten years. I hope I can lift up and inspire someone, someday, the way she inspired me.
How to Draw & Paint a Galaxy Afro Portrait in Adobe Photoshop

So what’s it like being an indie game developer? Daisy lets us know.

Q: What work are you most proud of?

I’d have to say my indie game, Tiny Bird Garden! I co-own Super Retro Duck (the game’s developer), and we developed and published the game ourselves. We’re a team of two, so it meant wearing a lot of different hats at once. I did the branding, motion graphics, illustrations, merchandise, music… it’s been a big part of my life for several years.
You can check out our game at TinyBirdGarden.com! It’s available for Android, iOS, PC, and Mac!

Tiny Bird Garden

Laura

Laura Keung

Next up is Laura Keung, a graphic designer and publication design enthusiast based in Munich, Germany.  She enjoys passing her knowledge through Envato as a way of giving back to young designers who want to achieve their goals. Here are her inspirations.

Q: Which women have inspired your career path?

Throughout my studies I was lucky to attend CreativeMornings Toronto, created by Tina Roth-Eisenberg who also runs SWISSMISS.

Jessica Hische’s lettering artwork is also very inspiring. You can see her work on many magazine covers, books, and cards. She’s an inspiring woman who’s shown me that it is possible to have more than one passion project.

Playgrounds

And giving back to the community is important for many designers, including Laura.

Q: What work are you most proud of?

I am most proud of work that has helped raise funds for charity. As a designer, I believe we can help develop brands and create visuals that will make charities more relevant and reach their goals.

How to Create a High-Contrast Skateboard Flyer in Adobe Photoshop

Any last advice for her design sisters? Laura lends her wisdom.

Q: What tip would you offer other women looking to work in your field?

Take the leap. Whatever it is you are passionate about and scared of, take that first difficult step, run and rock it! Sometimes there’s pain and hardships involved, but it is all part of the learning process and a way to grow.

How to Create a Quick Repetitive Text Effect Illusion in Adobe Illustrator

Irina

Our next feature comes from the extraordinary city of Barcelona, Spain. Designer Irina Markevich showcases tasty restaurant menus and invitations in her shop, BarcelonaDesignShop. She makes creative food illustrations by hand and shares with us her favorite designers below.

Q: Which women have inspired your career path?

One of my favorite designers is Lauren How. She is so inspiring and such a positive woman. She teaches you how to start your personal projects and how important it is to push your boundaries. Her famous article “10 Things Beyonce taught me about being a boss lady freelancer” was great; she took her lyrics and disguised it as a design talk.

Food Truck Menu Template

Like many designers, Irina is a foodie at heart. Here’s her favorite work.

Q: What work are you most proud of?

During the last seven years, I’ve created a lot of menu templates thanks to my passion for food and design. Every new item that was created was a new step up for me. I use all my creativity to create each of my works so I can say that I am proud of all of them.

Seafood Menu Placemat

Procrastination is a problem for many creatives. Irina recommends taking the plunge in her final advice.

Q: What tip would you offer other women looking to work in your field?

Start today. Don’t wait for tomorrow, for the perfect moment, or for somebody that’s gonna tell you what to do. Every small step is better than nothing.

Ice Cream Menu

Genie Austin

Genie Austin

Our final feature belongs to Genie Austin, a writer and photographer whose work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Guardian and Envato Tuts+.  Here she shares with us a few of the characteristics she admires in strong women leaders.

Q: Which women have inspired your career path?

I’m inspired by all women who buck tradition and carve their own path. Women like Serena Williams, who is uncompromisingly black and unapologetically female, and who shuts out all the noise and hate around her and just plays the game of life exactly the way she wants to play it.

Native Strangers, 2018

Support and encouragement is a huge struggle for many new to tech and design. Genie explains her views on the subject.

Q: What work are you most proud of?

I’m very invested in a project when I’m working on it, but when it’s done, it’s in essence dead for me, and I don’t look back. What I can say, however, is that I’m happy that I’ve followed my own voice and embraced an eclectic approach to creativity and life which was very discouraged when I was growing up. My media of choice are writing, mixed-media textiles and photography. Sometimes I work with them separately and express myself quite differently in each, and sometimes I combine them, but either way, I’m glad I didn’t give in to the pressure to choose.

Native Strangers, 2018

Like many creatives, Genie emphasizes the importance of getting involved. Here are her final words.

Q: What tip would you offer other women looking to work in your field?

There’s a lot of advice out there for women in the creative arts already, but the one thing that is rarely emphasized is the need to be informed about and engaged with the great issues of our time. As image makers, we have an enormous amount of power and sometimes a small amount of awareness of how what we do shapes the world around us.

Native Strangers, 2018

Happy International Women’s Day!

Great advice, ladies! Today is a wonderful time to lend your voice to the new generation of design. I hope you’ve been inspired to tackle your creative projects just like the amazing women above. Thank you to all the artists who have lent their advice to this article.

Feel free to explore their portfolios by visiting the links below:


I’m a digital artist with a love of all things Photoshop. Check out my tutorials for great tips on digital painting, photo manipulation, and photo effects on Envato Tuts+!


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We Need to Talk About Copy

What is content-first design?

Content-first design is exactly what it sounds like, thinking about what content will be required and how it will be structured before launching into visual design. Content, in this case, means copy, images, videos, etc. basically, all of the textual, aural and video components that will be on the page of whatever you’re designing.

Despite the general agreement that Lorum Ipsum is now obsolete, copy is often the part of ‘content’ that usually doesn’t get the love and attention it needs early on, causing major problems further down the track.

When is the right time to talk about the design problem child, copy?

Dangers of not putting copy first

Your message will get lost

People only read around 20% of the text on a webpage. If you haven’t thought about copy before you start wireframing, you won’t be clear about what the key messages are or their order of importance. By considering this early on, the key messages will dictate the hierarchy and are more likely to get seen and absorbed by the user.

Voice and tone won’t be consistent

Even though the brand voice should always be the same, the tone must adapt to the context. By leaving copy until later in the design process, you stand a good chance of misjudging the tone of the design. At best this leaves the user with a vaguely weird, disjointed experience, at worst it can lead to offense and misunderstandings.

Just because changes can be made, doesn’t mean they should

How many times have you heard or said, “don’t worry about the text, the developers can change that later.”? This is usually said when referring to CTA’s, button text and other microcopy. It is just a good excuse to not think about something at that moment and often ends up either being forgotten or left to a developer to figure out.

Translation will be difficult

Visual design can cross language barriers, words often cannot. Leaving copy until late in the day can lead to issues with formatting and context. This will cause low-level issues for users who have the same first language but will be a nightmare for people who need to translate the copy themselves or use translation software/apps.

Content will hold up delivery

Leaving copy until later in the design process will slow things down. Agreeing on the key messages and the order of importance at the outset of a project gets everyone aligned and leaves less room for disagreement later down the track. This means that the focus can be on UI, branding, functionality, usability, visual design and all the other good stuff when it should be.

User testing will be less accurate

Copy provides context, direction and tone. You can’t expect accurate results when user testing with placeholder copy as a huge part of the experience is missing.

How to put copy first

Major caveat: this is still very much a work in progress at Envato and we do not claim to have all the answers (yet). However, here are some things we have found to be useful in the quest for content-first design perfection.

How we put content first at Envato

  • Have a content brief that is quick and easy to fill in collaboratively with your key stakeholders.
  • Get wider stakeholder agreement on the brief before proceeding.
  • Instead of launching straight into wireframes and prototypes, we start with a very basic spreadsheet which lists the page functionality, user flows and first pass at the copy. This lo-fi approach keeps the focus on the copy and the functionality in the early stages.
  • Move on to early-stage visual design, e.g. wireframing/prototyping.
  • The copy is user tested and updated based on feedback (hopefully, just small changes).

Looking for more advice from the Envato design team? Check out part 1 and part 2 of the introduction to our Design Framework.


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