Another Photoshop brush paradise

I’ve listed a ton of places to get Photoshop Brushes in the past. Today I have yet another to add to your bookmarks. PSBrushes has categorized thousands of Photoshop brushes along with convenient preview images for your download enjoyment. Categories like Grunge, Space, Plants, Oriental, and Fractals make it extremely easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Some of the sets are quite large, containing over 80 brushes each. Others are smaller and very specific, with only 8 to 10 per set. All are quality sets.

9 rules to creating a logo you can live with and still get paid

Logo design is one of the most difficult aspects of design. It’s one of those things you have a hard time separating personal taste from good communication and branding. Here are a few rules I have come up with for myself over the years when I work on a new logo.

Do NOT show a client any logo design that you don’t really love.

This is the most important rule. Many years ago I had this stupid idea that I would “show the cool logo” along with “two crappy logos to make the one I like look even better.” The problem is, the client almost always chooses one of the crappy logos and then I’m stuck using it. Never ever, ever, EVER show a client a logo you don’t love!

Show the logos in black & white ONLY.

I explain that we will work on colors only AFTER the final design is approved. The reason is simple, you don’t want to give them yet one more thing to focus on. The client WILL spend a ridiculous amount of time just thinking about the color scheme instead of what they should be thinking about, which is how well the logo conveys their brand/image. Also, with little exception, 60-80% of the clients work will probably be in black & white or one color, so it needs to look good in black & white. And when I say black & white, I mean BLACK and WHITE, no gradients or tints.

I ALWAYS design my logos in Adobe Illustrator.

Any logo, even one for a Web site, needs to be scaled for different use. Designing a logo in Photoshop leaves you with a ceiling you may not be able to live with later on. Designing your logo in Illustrator also allows you to “break it apart” and use the pieces in other aspects of the client’s work. It gives you flexibility in how it’s used (outdoor, ads, multi-media, etc.) and keeps it easy to edit later.

Go straight to the top.

Never accept a logo design job where a committee of 10 people must approve the design. You’ll end up taking a great logo and turning it into a giant puddle of monkey piss in a matter of hours trying to please 10 people. Find out who the decision maker is and work ONLY with them. If there is no single decision maker, then don’t accept the job! You’ll thank yourself for it later!

Make sure the logo works at ridiculously small sizes.

This goes along with the black & white rule. Clients will use that logo on all sorts of things, including imprinting it on a pen. The logo must work at a small size! You might also consider how it will work in a tall skinny ad, a square ad and a wide ad layout. Is it easy to fit into the “flow?”

Avoid using filters, effects and other gimmicks.

A logo is a big investment for a company. Creating a trendy/gimmicky logo will result in it looking outdated and cheap next year.

Create simple artwork.

Don’t get too complex with the design or the way you build it. Don’t use more than two fonts and one single graphic image. A logo that is too complex serves to do nothing but dilute the brand and look horrible at small sizes.

Create offspring.

OK, not THAT way! Once you have a design you like, check to see if there’s a way to use only part of the logo. The Coca-Cola logo is a perfect example. You can use the scripted type, but you can also just use the ribbon design and people still know it’s Coca-Cola, even though it doesn’t say it. Apple Computer is another great example. Apple stopped putting the word “Apple” with the logo years ago, yet you still know it’s Apple. You might also want to create a horizontal and vertical version of the logo to give you and your client a little more flexibility.

My final bit of advice is to think ahead.

Don’t design a logo that looks cool on a blank piece of paper. Your client most likely will want to use it in ads, in TV commercials, on banners, billboards and even on a truck. Design a logo that “works” with a lot of different end-uses. Make sure the logo is balanced. Does it work well at the bottom of an ad, regardless of whether it’s in the lower left, centered or lower right? Does it look good with a Web address centered below it? Does it work on a dark background? Will it look good on a coffee mug? Of course rules are made to be broken. You’re the designer, you make the rules. But you have to assume the worst, look at all possibilities and put yourself in the mindset of the client. While you may not end up with an award-winning logo every time, you will have a happy client and, hopefully, a very nice logo.

Getting the most from InDesign transparency

Adobe InDesignLong, long ago, Adobe gave us transparency in InDesign version 2. In each subsequent version of InDesign, Adobe has added ways to enhance documents with transparency, making it even more enticing. There’s one thing that hasn’t changed, however, and that’s the need to flatten transparency for output to a PostScript device. In the article InDesign Transparency: No Longer the Forbidden Fruit over at CreativePro, you’ll learn everything you need to know to produce a successful printed layout when you download the PDF excerpt from InDesign Magazine.

The 100 most influential advertising taglines since 1948

TaglineGuru put together a list in 2005 of the 100 most influential advertising taglines since 1948. Our favorite computer maker topped out at #6 with its “Think Different” campaign from 1998. It’s great to look at the list and think back to all the great advertising over the years, but in looking closer at the list, I’m wondering who responded to the survey that resulted in it. For instance, how does 7-Up Cola come in higher with “The Uncola” than Charmin’s famous “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin?” Also listed are the Top 50 U.S. City Slogans, where we find What Happens Here, Stays Here (Las Vegas) at number 1.

Dealing with screen artifacts on transparent PSDs when exported as PDFs

If you place a PSD file with a transparent background into Adobe InDesign and export it as a high-res PDF, you may notice that the edges of your placed image look horrible. There’s usually a black & white halo around the edges of the transparent PSD (see the image above for example). You won’t see them on a placed TIF file, and they generally don’t print anyway, but they’re annoying nonetheless. Fortunately, Bob Levine at InDesignSecrets has finally spilled the beans on what the problem is, and how to fix it. In most all cases, it’s as simple as turning off the Smooth Images feature in Acrobat. Read Screen Artifacts on Transparent PSDs in Exported PDFs Can Be Deceiving…Most of the Time for more information.

Copy multiple Photoshop layers into a new document without flattening

Adobe PhotoshopIf you’re working on a multi-layer document in Photoshop and you want to copy a portion of the image into a new document, there’s no need to flatten the image first. You can easily do it by making a selection around the area you want to copy and select Edit>Copy Merged from the menu, or hit Command + Shift + C. This will copy all the artwork inside the selection area, regardless of what layer it is on. Then you can paste it into another Photoshop document. Just be aware that when you paste the artwork, it will be a flattened piece of artwork.

Create a new tab with the last site you visited in your browser

If you’re reading a Web page and want to go back to the last site you visited without leaving the current site you’re on, there’s a simple trick to allow you to do so. Hold down the Command (Apple) key and click the Back button in Firefox or Safari. The site you’re currently visiting remains open and the previous site you visited will open in a new tab.

Rant: The iPhone – Just shut up already!

A while back, I ranted about developers, PC writers, bloggers, Microsoft and Mac users in general. Today, I want to chit-chat about the iPhone. The iPhone, it’s the 2nd-coming of Christ. It’ll make your stupid kids smarter, your fat-ass smaller, your husband’s beer-belly smaller, and your ugly wife hotter! The iPhone makes your e-penis huge like no amount of Viagra can. It’ll deposit $100,000 into your bank account today, and it’ll eradicate every douchebag in Washington D.C. and replace them with hard-working, honest Americans with the touch of a button. With all that up-side, it’s no wonder that every Web site I visit, I get a heaping helping of iPhone B.S. shoved down my grocery pipe.

My RSS reader of choice actually puked on my keyboard this morning, and I’m pretty sure I saw an iPhone Mail icon mixed in the puddle of mush. Sites I used to love reading are gagging like a cat with a furball in its throat with iPhone articles. Enough already! (more…)

Learn Photoshop’s Color Replacement Tool

As you may recall if you’re a long-time reader (going back to the CreativeGuy blog days in 2005), I posted an article titled Color shifting and replacement in Photoshop covering the easiest way to change the color of objects in your image. It’s an excellent and simple overview, which I re-posted here at TGM late last year. Veerle also covered the tool in this blog post in 2006. Well here we are in 2008, and video is all the rage these days, so here’s the same color replacement tip in a video post over at Sebastian Sulinski’s Design site. This tool is often overlooked by most designers – though professional photographers are most like as attached to it as they are their favorite lens. Play around with it for a while, I think you’ll begin to see how powerful the tool can be in no time.

Underline or strike text in Adobe Illustrator

For longtime users of Adobe Illustrator, you may not have even noticed that back in Illustrator CS2, Adobe finally added a simple way of underlining text – rather than drawing a vector line with the pen tool and grouping it with your text. CS2 and CS3 users can use text underline and strikethrough by opening your Character Panel, click on the Options flyout menu and choose Show Options. Two new buttons should appear near the bottom of the Character Panel. Much easier for us old-timers!