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Graphic Design (Topic) - Blog Posts

83 Graphic Design Portfolio Websites Guaranteed to Draw Attention

83 Graphic Design Portfolio Websites Guaranteed to Draw Attention

For centuries, philosophers have been asking themselves "If a tree falls in the woods, but nobody is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?" Think of your graphic designs in a similar way: if nobody is around to observe your portfolio, does it still make an impact? Finding the answer to that first question may take a while, but thankfully, we already know the answer to the second. The designs you've created won't help you grow as a designer all by themselves. You need eyes on the … [Read more...]

38 Typography Tools for Print Designers (Better Than Adobe Suite)

38 Typography Tools for Designers (Better Than Adobe Suite)

A Swiss Army knife allows you to do a lot of different things at once (like remove a screw or open a wine bottle), but sometimes what you really need is a strong pair of scissors—a tool that only does one thing, but does it much more simply and elegantly. It's the same way when working with typography in print design. The Adobe suite is powerful and multifaceted, but when you need to create a new font from scratch or identify the name of a particular typeface, it pays to have a few more specific … [Read more...]

The Top 60 Free Adobe Illustrator Tutorials for 2018

The Top 60 Free Adobe Illustrator Tutorials for 2014

When you create printed marketing materials, your designs are little like Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Alice is constantly shrinking or growing as she explores different parts of Wonderland. Likewise, you'll often need your design elements to shrink or grow, depending on what the situation calls for. That's why learning how to create scalable vector illustrations in Adobe Illustrator is absolutely essential. Adobe Illustrator can be a tricky program to learn, but if you've used some of the … [Read more...]

55 Ridiculously Cool Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials

55 Ridiculously Cool Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials

Remember how scary it was when you were a little kid and you had to start reading books in school that didn't have any pictures in them? Truth be told, that little kid still exists inside all of us; it's one of the reasons why print media designs often rely on photos and illustrations rather than walls of bland text. But text doesn't have to be boring-after all, text is just another form of visual imagery, one that can become a beautiful work of art with the use of unique fonts or interesting … [Read more...]

How to Use Our Folder Design Templates

How to Use Our Folder Design Templates

Company Folders' pocket folder design templates are free to download and customize however you like. To help out, we've assembled a handy tutorial to downloading, modifying, and making them your own. Finding & Downloading Templates All of our folder design templates can be found on the Company Folders website by clicking "Design Templates" in the footer area. Here are a few examples: Colorful Church Welcome Packet Folder Template The Golf Swinger Presentation Folder … [Read more...]

Create a Shaped Clipping Mask in Photoshop/Illustrator (Tutorial)

Today, we're sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of one of our favorite folder design templates. This Cruise Ship Adventure Presentation Folder Template uses a simple clipping mask to make the image of the ship appear to be split into several rounded square tile shapes. The end result looks like something that would take a long time to make from scratch, but you can create it using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in just a few simple steps with this handy tutorial. Creating the … [Read more...]

51 Free Photoshop Tutorials for Amazingly Cool Photo Editing

51 Free Photoshop Tutorials for Amazingly Cool Photo Editing

Imagine a world where Adobe Photoshop and photo editing don't exist—where the photos in your print marketing collateral have the same visual impact as your driver’s license photo. A world where you can’t tell the difference between a professional direct mail campaign and your Aunt Judy’s tacky holiday greeting card. Pretty scary, huh? Fortunately, Photoshop exists (along with many free Photoshop alternatives), allowing print media designers to transform photographs into really cool works … [Read more...]

How to Use Our Die Cut Templates

How to Use Our Die Cut Templates

When you order a Company Folders product, our die-cut templates act as your canvas when you construct your artwork. If you've download your desired template but need help editing it or applying your design, let this handy tutorial be your guide. Step 1: Open or place the die-cut template in the program of your choice. If you are using Adobe Illustrator, you can simply open the template file directly. However, when saving your project, make sure you do not overwrite the original … [Read more...]

10 Tips for a First-Class Printed Design Portfolio (with Examples)

10 Tips for a First-Class Print Design Portfolio (with Examples)

You've already posted all of your graphic design work online, so who really needs a print portfolio, anyway? As a matter of fact, investing the time to create an outstanding printed portfolio can pay off in a big way—even if your work is strictly digital. Unlike online portfolios, physical portfolios cannot be clicked away. Since they're physical objects that take up space, clients can rediscover them even after putting them in storage (long after they've deleted your web portfolio from their … [Read more...]

Are These 6 Social Media Mistakes Ruining Your Print Ads?

Are These 6 Social Media Mistakes Ruining Your Print Ads?

Why do so many graphic artists still fumble horribly when it comes to promoting social media with print ads? It's not like they haven't had plenty of time to get on the ball. Social media's been around for over a decade now, and you'll be hard pressed to find a company that doesn't have some sort of presence on Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter. There's really no giant, hidden secret to learning how to advertise social media, nothing that makes it more difficult to work with than a website … [Read more...]

13 Popular Print Design Trends (That Make Us Cringe)

13 Popular Print Design Trends of 2013 (That Make Us Cringe)

Nobody wants to be the one person to miss out on the latest trends, but keeping up with fads isn't always an indication of quality. If it were, people would still be dancing the Macarena and playing pogs. Likewise, many of the popular print design trends of the past just end up making artwork look dated and unprofessional by modern standards. But not every printing trend is a relic from the Clinton era. Some are relatively new fads that are so widespread and standard that nobody really stops … [Read more...]

Interview: Lester Hutt of BevShots, Our Folder Design Contest Winner

Interview: Lester Hutt of BevShots, Our Folder Design Contest Winner

We've received many fantastic submissions to the Folder Design Gallery, and we're proud to announce the very first winner of our yearly folder design contest: BevShots, a company that turns microscopic photographs of alcoholic beverages into gorgeous works of art. Their award winning folder design exemplifies a truly unique take on surreal artwork, inspired by tiny details in the natural world around us. We spoke with BevShots president Lester Hutt about the remarkable creative process behind … [Read more...]

The 16 Best Free Adobe Photoshop Alternatives for Mac & Windows

The 16 Best Free Adobe Photoshop Alternatives for Mac & Windows

We recently took a look at the Adobe Creative Suite, breaking down when to use Photoshop vs. Illustrator vs. InDesgin, but there's one glaring fact we didn't mention: not every designer has access to these programs. For designers who are just starting out, still in school or operating on a tight budget, Adobe Photoshop might be a luxury that you just can't afford. But if you find yourself in one of these categories, breathe easy; there are several free photo editing programs out there that … [Read more...]

Only a Few Days Left to Enter Our Folder Design Contest!

Only a Few Days Left to Enter This Quarter’s Folder Design Contest!

Your mother might have told you that nobody likes a show-off, but when you're a designer, it's your job to show the world just what you can do. We opened up the Folder Design Gallery so that designers would have a place to promote their artwork, but we thought we could do even more to salute the hard-working designers out there who are changing the game with their remarkable custom folders. So we decided to sweeten the deal. Each year, we pick our favorite folder design; the winner … [Read more...]

Adobe Illustrator vs. Photoshop vs. InDesign – Print Design Guide

Adobe Illustrator vs. Photoshop vs. InDesign - Print Design Guide

Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign represent the “big three” of the Adobe Creative Suite—but never assume that one is interchangeable with another. Use the wrong design program to create a certain element of your artwork, and you might end up with blurry text, sloppy layouts, or a logo that you can never resize without turning it into a pixelated nightmare. Using all three programs together, however, turns them into the ultimate dream team. You can maximize the strengths of each Adobe … [Read more...]

The 5 Different Logo Design Styles: Which Type Fits Your Brand?

The 5 Different Logo Design Styles: Which Type Fits Your Brand?

Where would McDonald's be without their golden arches, UPS without their brown shield emblem, or Coca-Cola without their iconic cursive script? Each of these logos perfectly encapsulates the associated brand, and yet, each is an entirely different type of logo design. The same way that food falls into basic food groups, logos fall into 5 basic styles, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Here's a definition of each logo type, along with some tips on how to choose one that … [Read more...]

The Top 8 Free Font Sites for Print Designers

The Top 8 Free Font Sites for Print Designers

Some would say that finding the best fonts for your print media project is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but it's actually more like trying to find a needle in a stack of other needles. Just when you think you've conquered this herculean task and discovered the one font that seems to perfectly encapsulate your vision, you'll find that the font is outside your budget range, unsuitable for print, or not safe for commercial use. To help out, we've written reviews of the best free … [Read more...]

The 17 Best Stock Photo Sites Every Designer Should Bookmark

The 17 Best Stock Photo Sites Every Designer Should Bookmark

Nothing makes a print design pop more than exciting visuals that engage the audience, but you may not always have the time or budget to create original photographs or illustrations. Stock art is a quick and easy way to add a visual component to your designs; just remember that not all stock image websites will have the print-ready images you need. Any artwork you plan to incorporate into a printed image should be: High resolution (300 dpi or greater) Properly licensed for your use … [Read more...]

Worst Fonts Ever! 11 Examples of Bad Typography in Print

Worst Fonts Ever! 11 Examples of Bad Typography in Print

Fonts are like celebrities—some are famous, while others can be downright infamous. When an audience sees a font in your print media design that they just can't stand (be it overused, ugly or unreadable), you can lose their attention in a heartbeat. We've already discussed how to properly use typography in your print media project, but there's one more rule that print designers should take to heart: avoid using notoriously bad fonts in your designs. To that end, we've provided you with a … [Read more...]

9 Stylish Folder & Brochure Folds for Print Designers

9 Stylish Folder & Brochure Folds for Print Designers

The reason paper makes for such a versatile medium is its ability to transform into something entirely different. As a child, you probably created airplanes, miniature footballs, or fortune tellers through paper folding techniques. Likewise, with a wide variety of folder and brochure folds, a single sheet of paper stock can become a cool tri-panel folder, a fancy multi-page brochure or practically any other form of print marketing. When creating marketing media, there are many different types … [Read more...]

RGB vs CMYK vs PMS: Deciphering Design’s Confusing Color Jargon

RGB vs CMYK vs PMS: Deciphering Design’s Confusing Color Jargon

Every industry has its own unique lingo that can sound like complete gibberish to the uninitiated. The print design industry is no exception to the rule. You may have heard the terms RGB vs CMYK vs PMS in relation to color when designing for print, but you may not know what each acronym stands for—or, more importantly, why you should care. However, if you want your final design to look the way you intend, it's imperative that you educate yourself on each of these color profiles and the … [Read more...]

99 Best Free Fonts for Print Design

When designing print media collateral, a good font can grab the eye and captivate the audience—but the best fonts for print ads often require you to pay a licensing fee for use in commercial marketing. This can increase the cost of your print campaign and leave less money in the budget for special options like coatings, die cuts and embossed elements. Fortunately, there are a bevy of free fonts for print design that are beautifully designed and don’t cost a dime to use commercially. Keep in … [Read more...]

20+ Die Cut Design Ideas for Print (With Examples)

It's easy to find inspiration in a unique color, font or logo when creating print marketing collateral–but the shape of your media is one aspect of design and branding that is often overlooked when brainstorming for ideas. Need some examples? Consider the green soda bottle in the image to the right. Any idea what brand it is? You could certainly tell if it were labeled, but there's nothing about the shape itself that tells us anything about the brand. Meanwhile, the Coca-Cola bottle is … [Read more...]

Tips for Designing and Printing 4-Color Process Folders

Tips for Designing and Printing 4-Color Process Folders

From the name alone you might think that custom, 4-color process folders mean you're limited to only using four colors in your design. In truth, it allows you to use more colors in your folder design than any other available imprint method. 4-color process printing reproduces the colors in your design by mixing different quantities of cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) ink. The ink is mixed during the printing process itself, much like a color printer from your home or office. This … [Read more...]

Infographic: Choosing Between Printing Methods

Infographic: Choosing Between Printing Methods

The printing method you choose has a major effect on the quality of your marketing materials, especially when you consider the other elements it needs to work in tandem with: design, stock, coatings and other factors. If your print technique is incompatible with any of these elements, it can make your finished product less attractive or even downright illegible. For that reason, it's vital to select the right method for your particular project. Embed this on your site Learn more about … [Read more...]

8 Reasons to Invest in Unique Die-Cut Designs

When we think about design, we often think about the color and images we see on the canvas, not the shape of the canvas itself. Unique die cut designs allow you to manipulate the physical shape of your marketing material, which in itself becomes part of the design. Think of a Wendy’s hamburger—their patties are a special square shape that makes them unique over other fast food restaurants. The square hamburgers are an instantly recognizable part of their brand. One look and you’d know … [Read more...]

The 8 Best Annual Report Cover Designs

The 8 Best Annual Report Covers

When designing the cover for your company's annual report, you should take a peek at what others have done before you to draw inspiration. The best annual report covers use bold designs that tell the story of the past year while looking forward to the future. When you look at these daring cover designs, consider how you can apply similar creative thinking to your own designs to create an annual report cover that sticks with investors all year. CGIAR Here's an example of how … [Read more...]

Branding Blunders: The 2012 London Olympics Logo Controversy

Branding Blunders: The 2012 London Olympics Logo Controversy

The Olympic Games are no stranger to controversy and tragedy--and the London Olympics logo is a little bit of both. Since it was first revealed two years ago, the logo has been met with criticism for its radical design and even religious uproar when the word "zion" was thought to be hidden in the text. The 2012 Olympics logo may be divisive, but there's still a great deal to learn from it about the pratfalls of biting off more than you can chew when it comes to edgy design concepts. What's … [Read more...]