Designers Talking About Their Work

Designer Face Off featuring Mike Klok and John Lee Clair

Welcome to Designer Face Off, where we ask two designers to go head to head, asking one another burning questions about their shared passions for design, entrepreneurship, and all things creative. Facing off today are designer Mike Kluk of Stuffed Brain Studio and John Lee Clair, designer, videographer, photographer and owner of Big Shot Photo Booth.

Mike Klok is a freelance designer and the brains behind Stuffed Brain Studio, a creative studio specializing in branding, design, and illustration. They provide, “Quality Guts and Goods.” Mike is based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He met John Lee at last year’s design conference WMC Fest, where they became fast friends.

Designers Talking About their Work aka Designer Face Off: Featuring Mike Klok off Stuffed Brain Studios

John Lee is a long-time friend of WMC. As mentioned, he is a talented videographer (check out one of these hype videos he shot for us!) He is constantly working on multiple projects down in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is based. He specializes in design for both print and digital, along with photography and video production.

Let’s listen in on two amazing designers talking about their work and gaining insight from one another!

Watch last month’s Designer Face Off.

For the full Designer Face Off series, head to our YouTube Channel.

Want to get to know Mike and John Lee a little better?

Head to Mike’s official site: Stuffed Brain Studio | Facebook 

Learn more about John Lee here: Big Shot Photo Booth | Official Site | Facebook 

Tips for Designing Your Own Patches with Patch Superstore (+ How to Get a Free One)

This month, we are all about patches, as we are giving away incredible Arsenal patches to our current Arsenal subscribers and anyone who subscribes to the Arsenal membership in May ’18.

If you don’t know about the Arsenal Membership, it’s a beautiful thing – this subscription gives you access to Go Media’s world-renowned design resources (every single one of our mockups, royalty-free vectors, textures, tutorials, fonts and more), plus every product we have yet to release, in addition to our exclusive community – for only $15/mth. No strings attached, cancel anytime.

Go ahead and join now – so that you can grab your patch and wear it proudly. After all, our Arsenal crew is pretty tight and proud to be part of this revolution.

We owe our friends at Patch Superstore a huge thank you for partnering with us on this month’s member goodies. We had a moment to talk with Bill Stevens of Patch Superstore to gain some insight about designing these popular accessories

Bill, can you tell us a little about yourself?

All my life I have loved being near the ocean, you could call me a classic Thalassophile. Growing up I was always drawn to bright, eye-catching art. This lead me to creating my own art and eventually majoring in Graphic Design at University Of Florida. I began working with Adobe Products and Photoshop 3, eventually mastering them. I loved the program so much that I ended up getting my MFA in 2004.

I began working with PatchSuperstore in 2003 and during that time I’ve designed tons of patches and pins. During the past 15+ years I’ve worked my way up in the company, starting from entry level designer, moving to digitizer, then to art director. After that, I began working in sales and I’m now the master of all our products.

Working in design has afforded me such incredible opportunities – I get to live my dream doing exactly what I love to do, and that is to create art every day. Not only do I get to pursue my own creative endeavors but I get to help bring beautiful art into the world, by assisting customers with their own designs. Design is such a rewarding field for any creative to be in – if I could do it again, I would not change a thing.

Can you give designers some quick tips on setting up their design files specifically for patches?

Awesome looking patches start with excellent artwork and very experienced digitizers. The digitizer converts your design by retracing it in a file that tells the embroidery machine how and where to lay the stitches.

At Patch Superstore we have multiple digitizers on staff with a minimum of 7 years’ experience and the master digitizer has over 25 years. Designing patches, you have to think about it like drawing a design at actual size with crayons. You can get lots of detail at 12″ but at 2-3″ that same design in a crayon drawing would look really bad. Embroidery can’t produce really fine details like regular printing can. This is because the thread thickness and needle size are a set diameter, so we can’t go smaller than what it is. This is also because the fabric is less stable and precise.

Things to avoid are:
Thin lines with light color threads
Lots of thin lines like cross hatching
Small text under 0.08″  tall
Too much detail for the size (think drawing with a crayon)
Narrow Spacing
Over 12 thread colors
And gradients.
Thin lines will produce what we call a running stitch (as seen below)

It is a single stitch that will look dotted with light color threads as it shows the shadow of each pin hole. To avoid this we recommend removing them or making them dark like a Black or Navy. It is a cool effect though if your looking to give that appearance on something.

What file size and type do you prefer?

Ones that are editable are always best. File sizes matter when emailing. If it’s over 10mg put it in Dropbox. Here is a basic guideline for the best file types we like, but we also take hand-drawn images on napkins that are send from a phone:

RASTER DESIGNS

Photoshop, PNG, JPEG and PDF files
Artwork must be the exact size you wish to embroider or larger
300 DPI or higher resolution
0.13″ or larger text (10 pt.)
No fine detail

VECTOR DESIGNS

AI, and EPS files
Linked images must be embedded or provided as a separate file
Fonts may be outlined or provided as a separate font file
No fine detail
0.13″ of larger text (10 pt.)

What mistakes do you see designers make when designing for patches or submitting files to you?

Forgetting to convert fonts to outlines, missing linked images, adding way too much text or details to small designs, using over 12 colors.

What should designers keep in mind when designing for patches vs a sticker or button?

Gradients can be achieved but unlike print we have to run the colors into each other to give it a blended effect. We recommend the gradient area is 1″ or larger and no more than 2-3 colors per inch. Text outlines in like colors like white around black text and 3″. It will have a dotted effect going around the text and not look solid.

Patches are a really popular item among the design and creative community right now. What kind of patches are most popular on your store? What patches do you recommend designers create if they want to hit a home run for swag bags or to sell to other designers, at trade shows, etc.?

We do a lot of add-ons like putting the patches on backing cards, making them retail ready, patch key-chains, die cut aka “hot cut” borders. Iron on patches are the way to go. No one wants to have to sew these on, plus it gives the patches a stiffer feel, so the patches aren’t limp. No one likes limp patches.

How to Create a Book Cover Design

Let’s create a striking history book cover about antique war stories with the Hard to Kill Vector Pack

How to Create a Book Cover Design

Well hello there dear readers! Simon here, ready to walk you through my process to create a striking book cover with our latest vector pack release, the hard to kill vector pack. We’ll look at the pack elements, how to pick, choose, and arrange them to craft a design.

Purchase the Pack

The brief

Our role today is to create a book cover for a collection of ancient warrior stories. The collection includes stories from antique Athens and Sparta. We’ll need to have a good centerpiece graphic element, as well as include the two parts title: “Ancient warrior stories – Vol. 01: Athens & Sparta.”

Building our concept

While the pre-made designs included in the pack are striking, they don’t quite fit the intent. They are more suited for apparel applications.

We need something striking, but less focused on a lettering element, and more on a visual element. The Spartan helmet will do just fine for that.

The shield will provide a good supporting visual element to anchor the helmet in the frame.

The two circular frames elements will provide additional ornamentation.

We’ll probably add another thing here and there, to tie everything together, but these will be the core of our piece. We’ll also use League Spartan, from the League of Moveable Type, to set our title.

Oh, and for the color scheme? We’ll stick to the white/dark gray/light gray of the pack itself. It’ll challenge us to keep things efficient to maintain legibility, and impact.

Let’s get this show on the road

Step zero: document setup

We’re working on a book cover, assembled from vector elements. We’ll work in Illustrator, in a 6″x9″ format. Note that the color mode has been switched to RGB, to match the color mode of the vector assets.

Step one: background elements!

That one is easy. We need to create a rectangle in a dark gray (#231f20) that covers the whole canvas.

Step two: the warrior helmet and shield

Let’s start with the helmet. Let’s paste it at the center of our document (X: 3″, Y: 4.5″), sized at 4.5″ wide. Let’s reflect it on a vertical axis so it “looks” to the right (right click > Reflect).

Let’s remember to organize/rename our layers, and groups, right away to keep our document clean.

Let’s add the whole shield element (including pattern) into our document. It should be pasted behind the helmet, centered in the document, and sized at 4.9″ wide.

Once the shield properly in placed, we need to adjust the color of its background fill to match the color of our document’s background color (#231f20). The shape in question is the black path at the bottom of the group.

Here’s the result after a quick shot of the eyedropper tool (I).

We’re moving forward, nicely, but the shield’s pattern showing through the helmet’s open areas creates visual tensions. To remedy that, we are going to create a background fill shape by using offset path. With the helmet highlighted, let’s head to Object > Path > Offset path. The dialog box will allow us to create the shape that matches the helmet with an extra 0.25″ added to its edges. Note the round joins for a softer feel.

The function creates a new path, that is the same color than the one used a base. We need to change the color of that path to our background color as well (#231f20).

With that done, and with some layer clean-up later, this is where we’re at.

Step three: the circular frame elements

Adding these in is nothing trickier than giving them their own layer, proper size, and proper order. Let’s start with the more complex of the two, with the pointy elements.

After creating a layer for them placed below the helmet and shield one, it needs to be pasted in centered, and sized at 6.383″ wide.

The second frame is to be pasted behind the first one, centered, and sized at 7.25″ wide.

The various black areas of that second frame need to be changed to our background color (#231f20).

Step four: the text

Adding the text is a walk in the park, thanks to the type on a path tool. Let’s start by creating a centered circle with a diameter of 7.65″ in a new layer.

We’re typing our first part of the title (“ANCIENT WARRIOR STORIES”) on that circle. It’s set in white-colored League Spartan, sized 18 points tall, centered, and tracked at 250.

After creating a second circle, we can add the second part of our title (“VOL. 01: ATHENS & SPARTA”).

The issue we have is the alignment of the text object on its circular path.

The good news is that after double-clicking on the type on a path tool icon in the main toolbar…

….we get access to this option panel, that allows us to change the alignment to ascender, which in turns makes things look a lot better.

With that done, we’re almost done with our cover, as the main elements are in place.

Step five: some fluff for good measure

While our cover’s main elements are in place, the corners are slightly empty at the moment. It can give the impression that our content is floating in the middle of the page. Let’s add some corners elements to visually close the frame around the center piece. The corners of this element will do.

After ungrouping the piece/releasing the compound path, we’ll be able to select the corners in question separately from the rest.

After a bit of clean-up, and selective grouping, we obtain each individual corner element.

They should be pasted at 0.25″ in each direction of the corners, and sized at 1″ wide.

And because we’ve properly named our layers/vector objects, this is what our file organization looks like.

Step six: leveraging our texture library to add a final layer of substance to the mix

To properly wrap this piece up, we are going to add three textures to it to give it some “meat.” First, let’s save a high resolution PSD file of our piece (File > Export > Export as). Note the checked Use artboard box, to trim the elements that are outside the bounds of our canvas.

A few technical notes and reminders

As we embark on the texture side of things, it’s a good time to remember a few base rules, and processes:

  1. Don’t know what a clipped layer is? Glad you asked! This means that the layer is only visible/applies to the layer directly below it. You can very quickly do this by holding ALT down on your keyboard and clicking between the two layers. Here’s a quick demonstration.
  2. Every time we’ll work with textures, we’ll follow this simple process: place as smart object, sharpen1, desaturate, enhance contrast with levels, and modify the blending mode.
  3. Placing the textures as smart objects, and using adjustment layers to tweak them, allows us to stick to a non-destructive workflow. We’ve explored in depth the numerous pros and few cons of such a workflow in this past tutorial: “How to Use Textures The Right Way.”

Notes: 1 – accessed through the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen menu.

Let’s start with a texture from our vintage paper texture, vol. 01 set.

The texture is vintage-paper-textures-volume-01-sbh-001.jpg.

It’s placed in our PSD file as a smart object, sized up to 165%, rotated 90°, and sharpened.

After being desaturated with a clipped hue/adjustment layer, we’ll be enhancing its contrast with a clipped levels adjustment layer.

And after changing the texture’s blending mode to soft light @ 75% opacity, we’re achieving the first part of our texture effect.

Next is a vignette. I strongly recommend using this lossless vignette technique, found via Design Panoply (#6). The color of my shape layer is our trusty dark gray, #231f20.

Note the 150 pixels feathering value.

After changing the vignette shape blending mode to soft light @ 50% opacity, our effect is achieved.

The last texture we’ll add to the piece is from our photocopy noise texture set.

The texture is the first one in the pack, photocopy-noise-textures-001-sbh.jpg.

That texture is placed centered, and sized up to 100%.

We’re using levels to make the white specks of dust really “pop.”

The result, after changing the texture’s blending mode to screen @ 100%, is quite satisfactory.

And here’s a last look at our layer palette in Photoshop.

Let’s wrap this party up!

Phew, we’re all done! Look at this cover. Let’s mock it up for the client presentation.

I hope that you enjoyed following along the tutorial as much as I enjoyed creating it, and that your outcome matches the goals you set for yourself before diving in.

Did I leave anything unclear? Any suggestions? Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below! I’ll be happy to help.

The hard to kill vector pack is now available! Go grab it! If you already have, I hope you enjoy it, and that this tutorial gave you a sense of what you’ll be able to accomplish with it.

Purchase the Pack

And on that note, I’ll see you next time. Cheers!

Poster Design Ideas: How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Crest of Arms vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal’s Crest of Arms vector pack

Hello GoMediaZine/Arsenal blog readers! Simon here with a new step-by-step tutorial. We will be leveraging the contents of our brand new Crest of Arms vector pack to create a poster for the release of PWR.CLRS’ first, self-titled, album. We’ll talk about inspiration, layout exploration, and execution.

Buy the Crest of Arms Vector Pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack - poster design ideas

The brief

Our framework for the tutorial is that we’ve been contracted to create a poster for up and coming musical act PWR.CLRS. The experimental musician is based in Cleveland, and produces a mix of hard-hitting electronic beats, distorted guitars, and spoken word surrealistic poetry. He’s releasing his first record, and needs to let the masses know about the fun night ahead. As we’re pressed for time, we’ll be leveraging the library of visual assets provided by the vector set to speed up our design process.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack - poster design ideas

Gathering some inspiration, and putting a concept together

Buy the Crest of Arms Vector Pack

The inspiration from this piece came from three different sources: the vector pack itself, a superb portrait bathed in neon, and wide array of album art examples.

The vector pack features a lot of clean cut, precisely drawn shapes, with careful highlights, shadows, and ornaments. The elements that immediately jumped at me were the shield shapes (actual shield, circular patterned version), the stalks, and some of the oval frames. Although all the elements are exquisitely drawn, their complex highlight and shading made them hard to mix with other elements. We’ll look at techniques to remove some of the fluff.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The next bits of inspiration came from two photos available from the wonderful collections over at Unsplash. The first photo is this striking night portrait, taken by Alex Iby. I knew rapidly this would become my centerpiece element.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The second photo that helped to shape the piece was this other portrait, taken by Jay Clark. The slogan on this gentleman’s shirt was the key to the band name. I started with TRVE.COLORS,  which morphed to PWR.CLRS (Power Colors).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Lastly, the amazing library of album art through the ages hosted at Fonts In Use proved good jump-starting material.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With the elements in hand, it became clear that the shield shapes would support, and frame, our neon portrait. A dark background featuring white text would make for increased contrast. Some additional visual elements (stalks), sprinkled with some textures would tie the whole piece together.

Additionally, we’re locating this era-defining performance at the Phantasy Nightclub in Cleveland (Lakewood), OH. The Phantasy is a special place:

Nine Inch Nails debuted at the Phantasy. The Ramones, Iggy Pop, the Pogues, the Damned, the Psychedelic Furs, the Cramps, Motorhead and the B-52s all played there. The Phantasy was also fertile soil for Cleveland’s ascending 1970s and 1980s music scenes (…)

(via this old news article)

Let’s set a date of February 28th for the performance, and indicate that tickets are available everywhere.

The execution

A few technical notes and reminders

We are going to use both Photoshop and Illustrator for this piece. Photoshop is were 99.9% of the work will happen, but Illustrator will be necessary for opening the pack’s files, and to customize the vector elements themselves.

We are going to work extensively with textures. It’s a good time to remind you guys of a few base rules, and processes:

  1. Don’t know what a clipped layer is? Glad you asked! This means that the layer is only visible/applies to the layer directly below it. You can very quickly do this by holding ALT down on your keyboard and clicking between the two layers. Here’s a quick demonstration.
  2. Every time we’ll work with textures, we’ll follow this simple process: place as smart object, sharpen1, desaturate, enhance contrast with levels, and modify the blending mode.
  3. Placing the textures as smart objects, and using adjustment layers to tweak them, allows us to stick to a non-destructive workflow. We’ve explored in depth the numerous pros and few cons of such a workflow in this past tutorial: “How to Use Textures The Right Way.”

Notes: 1 – accessed through the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen menu.

With this in place, it’s time to get started!

Document setup

We’re working with an 18″x24″ canvas. I made mine 18.5″x24.5″, in order to work in some bleed area. I’m at 300 ppi, and using RGB, as some of the texture magic happening in the finishing touches rests on it.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we’ll use the automatic guide tool (View > New guide layout) to create a grid to align our elements on. We’ll be using four columns, and eight rows. The margins are set at .25″, so the inside of our outer guides will be our 18″x24″ canvas.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Main elements: the portrait

If you haven’t yet, grab Alex’ portrait over at Unsplash.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s place it as a smart object in our document. It’s sized at 22.5% of its original height and width, and its center is located at X: 9.25″, and Y: 13″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we need to change the color of the background to #231f20 (a rough equivalent to CMYK rich black).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Main elements: the vectors

It’s time to grab the assets we’ll need from the vector pack. Let’s start by opening it in Illustrator. All of the ones we’re interested in are on that first artboard. I’ve highlighted them in red:

  • The shield
  • The “circular patterned” shield
  • The wheat stalks
  • The oval “toothed” frame

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s start by copying all of these in a new, empty Illustrator document to remove some of the clutter out of the way. I suggest a sheet that is at least 8.5″x11″, and in RGB color mode (to match the PSD document). A dark background (#231f20 for instance) will also help us to see our modifications to the assets more clearly.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next up: to copy and paste these four assets to the empty Illustrator document.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Prepping the shield

The main change we need to make is to remove all the fluff from that main shield shape. All the shading do-dads have to go. The fastest solution is to ungroup the asset (Right click > Ungroup), to manually select all of the extra elements by hand, and to erase them.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

At that point, we’re left with this neat, thick, white shield.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we simply have to paste it in our Photoshop document, as a smart object. It’ll be sized 425% of its original size, and its center placed at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.25″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Once in place, this is what our layer stack looks like: the background, the smart object photo, and the smart object shield.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Masking the image using the shield

One of Photoshop many useful features is the ability to click on a layer thumbnail, and to load its content as a selection. Let’s click on the shield layer thumbnail while pressing the CTRL (PC) or CMD (Mac) keys to load it as our selection.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

From there, with the photo smart object highlighted in the layer palette, we can simply click on the Add layer mask shortcut at the bottom of the palette to start the masking.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Et voilà, we have a mask in place. It isn’t showing/hiding the right thing yet, but we’ll get there shortly.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

If we click on the layer mask thumbnail and press ALT/OPTION at the same time, we can have access to, and edit, its content. We’ll start by inverting the image, so it shows the proper thing.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Better, but we also need to mask the photo past the edges of the mask.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s go back to our mask view (click + ALT/OPTION), and paint the outer side of the shield edge in black as well to hide the rest of our portrait.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

If you use the paint bucket to quickly fill the area, remember to use a solid paintbrush to clean the seams.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And with that work done, the photo is properly masked!

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

A bit of extra depth

In order to give the shield around the photo a bit more visual presence, we are going to give some extra layer styles to simulate a real thickness. First, a thick stroke. It’ll be 35 pixels thick, and has the same color as the background (#231f20).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, a strong drop shadow, for the illusion of depth. Note the darker color used (#202020).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The result is a satisfactory illusion of depth and layers.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The circular shield

Time to add the “oval patterned” shield in the mix. After heading back to Illustrator, let’s change its color to pure white (#ffffff), then paste it as a smart object into our Photoshop document behind the photo layer.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

It’ll be sized at 550% of its original size, and positioned with its center at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.25″. Additionally, we’ll change its blending mode to screen, to interact more with texture elements later.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The circular, “toothy” frame

This little one needs to be adapted a bit.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

First, its color needs to be changed to all white.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, it needs to be pasted as a smart object between the photo, and the main shield shape. It’ll be sized at 950% of its original size, and positioned at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.03″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After changing its blending mode to overlay, we get a neat secondary frame effect in place around the portrait, highlighting the face even more.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Last vector element: the wheat stalks

This last one is the finishing touch of the vector assets. It frames the overall piece, and also gives it a visual anchor within the canvas. We first need to head back to Illustrator to change their color to pure white.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we’ll paste it as a smart object right above our background layer. We’ll size it at 1000% of its original size. Its blending mode will be overlay @ 50% opacity, and its center is at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.3″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And all of our elements are in place! Next, we need to talk text.

Copy copy copy

The copy for the poster will be straight to the point: the name of the act, the occasion we’re summoning people to show up for, the location/date line, and the ticketing information. All spelled out, we have:

  • PWR.CLRS
  • RECORD RELEASE PARTY
  • PHANTASY NIGHTCLUB • CLEVELAND • FEB. 28TH
  • TICKETS AVAILABLE WHERE TICKETS ARE SOLD

The typeface we’ll use for our poster is a free one, and comes from the League of Moveable Type. It’s called Orbitron, and has been designed by Matt McInerney. It’ll be the one used for all of our text elements.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

PWR.CLRS is typed at 150 points tall, centered. Its center is located at X: 9.33″, and Y: 2.40″. Note that the kerning is set to optical.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

RECORD RELEASE PARTY is typed at 60 points tall, centered. Its center is located at X: 9.22″, and Y: 21.94″. The kerning is set to optical as well.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, PHANTASY NIGHTCLUB • CLEVELAND • FEB. 28TH / TICKETS AVAILABLE WHERE TICKETS ARE SOLD are all part of the same text object. The “/” indicates a line break. It’s written 30 points tall, and placed at X: 9.25″, and Y: 23.21″. The kerning is set to optical as well.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And with that, all of our text elements are in place. Here’s a look at how our layers are organized up to now. Note the new Background layer group, to separate its elements from the rest.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Time for textures!

Now that everything is all well organized, it’s time to add textures. If you looked at some of my past tutorials, you already know that I LOVE textures. They help us to give substance, depth, and, well, texture, to very clean digital shapes. Luckily for us, the Arsenal has quite the library.

First up, the text

In order for the text to be more worn out, we’ll be using a texture from the Vintage Organic Noise Texture Pack. The texture in question is gma_tex_herbal-organic_09.jpg.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Remember how we used click+ALT/OPTION to edit the content of the shield’s layer mask earlier? Well it turns out that we can do much more than using brushes and the paint bucket when doing that. We can also paste the content of a texture file in that layer mask. Depending on the texture, it can make for a very rapid, and efficient way to give things a worn out aspect.

Let’s start by opening the texture in Photoshop, and copying the content of the file (CTRL/CMD+A to select everything, CTRL/CMD+C to copy).

Then, let’s add a layer mask to the Text layer group.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

By clicking+ALT/OPTION on the layer mask thumbnail, we have access to that pristine layer mask’s content.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

By pressing CTRL/CMD+V, we can paste the texture at the center of the layer.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

In order to cover the whole piece, we’ll rotate the texture clockwise 90°, and size it up to 220%.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

From there, in order to soften the intensity of the texture, we’ll use levels (CTRL/CMD+L) to fade the texture some.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The result is this beautifully, organically worn text.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, the background. We’ll be using a painterly texture from the Brush Stroke Textures, Volume 02 pack. It’s brush-strokes-textures-volume-02-004-sbh.jpg.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s place it dead center right above the background layer, sized at 105% so it covers the whole background.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Remember the technical notes from earlier? Don’t forget to sharpen the texture smart object (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After using a clipped hue/saturation to desaturate the texture layer, we’ll be using a clipped levels adjustment layer to enhance its contrast.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Lastly for the background, we just need to change the blending mode to soft light @ 35% opacity for our effect.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that our background is fully textured. Time to move on to texturing the piece as a whole, to tie everything together.

Texturing the full piece

The first texture we’ll use for the piece as a whole is from the Vintage Organic Noise Texture Pack again. It’s gma_tex_herbal-organic_07.jpg.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

We’ll place that texture centered in the frame, and rotate it counterclockwise 90°.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

It’s sized up to cover the whole piece, at 55%.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After sharpening the texture, we can simply change its blending mode to color burn @ 35% opacity. There’s no need to desaturate it, as it’s already a black and white texture.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

In order to add some highlight at the top of the poster, we’ll then add gma_tex_herbal-organic_03.jpg in the piece.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

This one is rotated 90° clockwise, and also sized up at 55% to cover the whole piece.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After sharpening, we can change its blending mode to soft light @ 25% opacity.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

To add a hair of film noise, we’ll use GoMediaArsenal_FilmNoise_05.jpg from the film texture pack.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

This texture needs to be rotated clockwise 90°, and sized up 2100% to fill the whole piece.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Once we have used a clipped hue/saturation layer to desaturate the texture, we need a clipped levels adjustment layer to enhance the texture’s details.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that done, we just need to change the texture’s blending mode to screen @ 35% opacity.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that, we’re almost done. Here are what our layers should look like at this stage:

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Finishing touches

The last bit of stuff we need to do to this poster to wrap things up is to add a little bit of a halftone effect. Let’s start by making a merged copy of all the layers so far, by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+ALT/OPTION+E. This will create a new layer at the top of our stack.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack - poster design ideas

Let’s rename it to Halftones.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After that, we have to turn it into a smart object. With the layer highlighted, head to Filter > Convert for smart filters.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that done, we can head to Filter > Pixelate > Color halftone. Note the value of the Max. Radius, up to 10, from the default value of 8.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The cool thing with smart filters is that the layer has a blending mode, and the filter itself has one as well. What that means is that we can make the effect even more subtle and believable. Let’s start by assigning the halftone filter a blending mode of overlay @ 100% opacity. To do this, let’s double click on the double arrow icon on the right-hand side of the layer thumbnail.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

We then get access to this drop down menu to choose the blending mode.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

From there, we can change the blending mode of the layer itself to lighter color @ 35% opacity.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

If everything went according to plan, this is what the layer stack should look like.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Additionally, here are a couple of detail shots @ 100% zoom.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And here are some close-ups:

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And finally a full view of the final piece:

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Wrapping things up

Phew, that was a long one! I hope that you enjoyed following along the tutorial as much as I enjoyed creating it, and that your outcome matches the goals you set for yourself before diving in. Did I leave anything unclear? Any suggestions? Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below! I’ll be happy to help.

The Crest of Arm vector pack is now available! Go grab it! If you already have, I hope you enjoy it, and that this tutorial gave you a sense of what you’ll be able to accomplish with it.

Buy the Crest of Arms Vector Pack

And on that note, I’ll see you next time. Cheers!

Free Feminist Vector Pack on Go Media's Zine by Shelby Criswell

Celebrating International Women’s Day with our Free Feminist Vector Pack!

Download our Free Feminist Vector Pack!

It’s International Women’s Day, which means it’s time to “celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women” – which we should be doing every day if you ask us. But the fact that women get this extra special day is pretty awesome anyway, so we’ll take it! We wanted to do something special today, so we are releasing a Free Feminist Vector Pack by one of our favorite female designers!

This pack is totally free and totally awesome, so we hope you enjoy it.

The Feminism Vector pack was created by Shelby Criswell, an independent comic book maker, trouble starter, freelance illustrator, and bluegrass lovin’ dork (her words!) straight outta San Antonio, TX that loves to play around with funky linework and strange fonts. Shelby is an artist who creates a lot of cool products for us for our Arsenal, home of the best vectors, textures, mockups, and tutorials in town.

Hey, speaking of awesome women, do us a favor and give Shelby credit for being a kick-ass female…

[Tweet “Hey @shelby_criswell, You’re the coolest! Thanks for the Feminist Vector Pack!”]

Now, onto Shelby’s Feminist Vector Pack – go download and do great things!

Download >> Go Media’s Feminist Freebie Pack

Free Feminist Vector Pack

Free Vintage Starburst Vectors

Freebie of the Day: Free Vintage Starburst Vectors

Free Vintage Starburst Vectors

We’ve really been in a retro kind of mood lately, as inspired by a trip to a local vintage shop. What really caught our eye were the starbursts that decorated so many of 1950’s fabrics and bakeware. So, we were inspired to create some free vintage starburst vectors for you. We hope the pack serves you well and gets your motivated to create something fun and dynamic.

To give your work some extra oomph, head over to our Arsenal, where you can have access to our entire library, including all of our vector files for only $15 per month.

The Arsenal subscription includes some of our other vintage packs (roughly $10 to $12 each), like:

Download our:

>>>Vintage-Starburst-Freebie

Free Vintage Starburst Vectors

best hoodie mockup templates

The Top 7 Hoodie Mockup Template Packs

The Best Hoodie Mockup Templates on the Market

The Arsenal remains committed to providing designers of all stripes with world-class tools to present their work in the best way possible. So in this installment of Arsenal insights we’re going to cut through the clutter and call out the 7 best hoodie mockup templates currently making waves in the Apparel industry. Check it out!

1. Advanced Hoodie Mockup Template Pack

Best Hoodie Mockup Templates

We had to put this one at the top of the list, not only because it has all the standard bells and whistles you’ve come to expect from the Arsenal (multiple ghosted [front, back, and side] and flat options, plus numerous preset options), but also because it has the unique distinction of allowing you to simulate various intricate textures that are otherwise hard to authentically recreate like Houndstooth, Herringbone, & Zebra Print! That’s certainly enough to earn it a place on the list. But this one also goes above and beyond with 10 unique Zip Hoodie option, 93 Tiling Patterns, 7 Print Zones (not bad), Easy-to-use clipping masks, and 8 Present Colors for each Hoodie.

Download the Photoshop Advanced Hoodie Mockup Templates Pack today and elevate your design work to a whole new level.

Download Here

2. Classic Tri-Blend Pullover Hoodie Mockup Pack

Best Hoodie Mockup Templates

Our choice for Number Two makes the list because it has a bit of stealth AND a touch of class. First, the Classic Tre-Blend Pullover Hoodie Mockup Pack allows users the ability to change hoodies to any color of the rainbow and beyond – that’s the stealth part. But it also allows users to present their work to clients so effectively in eye-catching 3-D that the extra burden of pricey printer bills is no longer an issue. Up the ante!

Download today

3. Ladies Ghosted Hoodie Mockup Pack, V2

Booooh!! Spooky stuff. So sharp, it’ll give you the shivers…

Coming in at number 3, one for the gals – The Ladies Ghosted Hoodie Mockup Pack, V2. Includes all the features that made V1 the industry standard, but with features like 14 professional templates in total, 6 back views, 2 side views, 4 front views, & 1 model shot [each with its own single clipping mask in place], V2 raises the bar even further.

Note: All ladies pullover and zipper hoodies include front and back photos, cropped sweatshirt formats, Fleece Zipped, and Sleeveless Hoodies formats – all fitted to form. Plus the easy to use color palette allows for switching up your color scheme fast!

Download Today

4. Ladies Ghosted Hoodie Mockup Templates Pack

An obvious choice to follow number three on our list, the original Ladies Ghosted Hoodie Mockup Pack, the one that started it all. Still a shining example of the Arsenal as a source for World Class design tools. Complete with Pullover Hoodie Version (Ghosted Front & Back), Tri-blend Zipper Hoodie Views (Ghosted Front & Back), and Zipper Hoodies (Ghosted Front, back, and side). 13 Templates total (6 back views, 2 side views, 4 front views, 1 model shot). Revolutionary stuff for the ages.

Download Now

5. Lightweight Tri-Blend Pullover Hoodie Mockup Pack

Next up, coming in at Number Five on our list, the Lightweight Tri-Blend Pullover Hoodie Mockup Pack. With both Men’s & Women’s lightweight tri-blend Ghosted Pullover Versions included [Front and Back], this pack could best be described as the equal opportunity hoodie mockup pack. Get the best of both worlds: 4 templates total, front, back, ghosted, with a new easy to change hoodie color layer!

Download today

6. Pullover Hoodie Mockup Templates Pack

Number six on our list of top Mockup Templates is the Pullover Hoodie Mockup Template Pack – the set it and forget it pack. Why? Well, it includes the Arsenal’s patented easy-to-change color layers and a drawstring layer for all of the templates, with front and back views with clipping masks in place for a start! But – in addition to that – it also allows designers access to smooth, realistic lighting, drop shadow & shading effects in a realistic 3-D format without hassle. Thanks to these easy to use innovations, you can spend less time on the technical stuff, and more time growing your client base. No muss, no fuss. Here it is.

Download today

7. Stringless Pullover Hoodie Mockup Template

Finally, Number seven caps our list for a couple of reasons, not the least of which because it removes one of the great annoyances of the apparel industry – one that has plagued designers for ages – those darn hoodie drawstrings. Apart from that, the Stringless Pullover Hoodie Mockup Template Pack is a shining example of a product born out of pure community. Designers demanded a stringless option, and The Arsenal responded with what can only be described as a revolutionary time saver for designers everywhere who are actively working in the Apparel industry.

(Remember if you have a design request, please tell us yours by emailing us here)

Download today – No strings attached!

Men's Crew Neck PSD Mockups

Men’s Crew Neck PSD Mockups featuring Displacement Maps

Free Skull Vector Download

Free Skull Vector Download

Watercolor Alphabet Font

Introducing our Watercolor Alphabet Font Texture Pack

Say hello to our Watercolor Alphabet Font Texture Pack

This handcrafted, handpainted pack isn’t your typical font. Saved out as PNG files, the Watercolor Font Texture Pack is to be used like a texture, giving your piece an individually-crafted quality.

Introducing our Watercolor Alphabet Font

Saved out, as shown above, the letters can easily be individually changed to any color of the rainbow using the swatches included in this pack. The possibilities are endless.

Shop Watercolor Alphabet

Here’s what you get with the Watercolor Font Pack:

  • Watercolor Alphabet (Letters A thru Z, plus numbers 0 thru 9) – PNG Files
  • 12 Swatches (Jpeg Files)
  • Text file (This explains how to apply our swatches to the alphabet)

  Please note: All files are stored in PNG format with transparent background and therefore, are not your typical font.

Introducing our Watercolor Alphabet Font
We’re hooking you up with all the letters of the alphabet, as well as numbers 0 to 9

Shop Watercolor Alphabet

Valentines Day Icons Free

Download of the Day: Valentine’s Day Icons

Join us every Thursday, when your friends here at the Arsenal take over the Go Media blog to share insights, tips, freebies or other fun to brighten your work day.

Today we’re releasing Valentine’s Day vector freebies for your use in any personal project. This includes four icons as seen below. Enjoy!

Love our products? Access our huge product library ($11k in resources) and exclusive content for only $15/mth. Yes, seriously. Learn more now.

Valentines Day Icons Free

Download it now:  GoMedia_Vector_Valentine Icons

Snowflake Brush Freebie

Download of the Day: Snowflake Brush Freebie

Free Snowflake Brush Freebie

Join us every Thursday, when your friends here at the Arsenal take over the Go Media blog to share insights, tips, freebies or other fun to brighten your work day.

Today we’re releasing snowflake brushes free for your use in any personal project. In order to use your new brushes, open PS, then head to Edit > Preset Manage > Load. Next, navigate to your new brush file. Open a new document, select one of your new snowflake brushes and get to work! Enjoy!

Love our products? Access our huge product library ($11k in resources) and exclusive content for only $15/mth. Yes, seriously. Learn more now.

Download it now: Go Media Snowflake Brush Freebie

Snowflake Brush Freebie

Log Vectors Free

Download of the Day: Log Vectors Free for the Taking!

Free Log Vector Mini Pack

Join us every Thursday, when your friends here at the Arsenal take over the Go Media blog to share insights, tips, freebies or other fun to brighten your work day.

Today we’re offering log vectors free for your downloading pleasure. These freebies are straight from our Arsenal library, known world-wide for having the world’s greatest vectors.

Love our products? Access our huge product library ($11k in resources) and exclusive content for only $15/mth. Yes, seriously. Learn more now.

Here’s what you get with today’s download:

Log Vectors Free

Here you go, guys! Download away >> Log Vector Freebie by Go Media

Have a great day, everyone!

Download of the Day: Abstract Grunge Vector Box Freebie

Abstract Grunge Vector Box Freebie

Join us every Thursday, when your friends here at the Arsenal take over the Go Media blog to share insights, tips, freebies or other fun to brighten your work day.

Today we’re sharing some hand drawn, abstract grunge vector box freebies for downloading and enjoying immediately! Check out the Arsenal for more vectors known the ’round the world for being the best of the best.

Abstract-Black-Box-Preview

Did you know that all of Go Media’s vectors are royalty free? We have thousands of hand-crafted illustrations like these you can use in your work, so definitely head over to the Arsenal to check them out.

Love our products? Access our huge product library ($11k in resources) and exclusive content for only $15/mth. Yes, seriously. Learn more now.

Here’s your download >> Abstract Grunge Vector Box Freebie

Have a great day, everyone!

Free Star Vector Pack

Download of the Day: Star Vector Pack

Free Star Vector Pack

Join us every Thursday, when your friends here at the Arsenal take over the Go Media blog to share insights, tips, freebies or other fun to brighten your work day.

Today we’re sharing some gold star elements we created exclusively for you. Check out the Arsenal for more vectors known the ’round the world for being the best of the best.

Here’s what you’ll get with today’s download:

Free Star Vector Pack

Did you know that all of Go Media’s vectors are royalty free? We have thousands of hand-crafted illustrations like these you can use in your work, so definitely head over to the Arsenal to check them out.

Love our products? Access our huge product library ($11k in resources) and exclusive content for only $15/mth. Yes, seriously. Learn more now.

Here’s your download >> Star Vector Pack from Go Media’s Arsenal

Have a great day, everyone!

Download of the Day: Texture Sample Pack

A Free Texture Pack to Make Your Thursday

Join us every Thursday, when your friends here at the Arsenal take over the Go Media blog to share insights, tips, freebies or other fun to brighten your work day.

Today we’re sharing ten textures we created exclusively for you. Check out the Arsenal for more textures known the ’round the world for being the best of the best.

Here’s what you’ll get with today’s download:

Free Texture Pack

These texture samples are from the following categories: dust, motion blur, paper, smoke, paint and fur.

We truly believe that you can never have too many textures. If you’re like us, then head over to our Arsenal, home of the world’s best design resources, where you can soak up thousands of textures (and counting) you can’t find anywhere else.

Love our products? Access our huge product library ($11k in resources) and exclusive content for only $15/mth. Yes, seriously. Learn more now.

Download it now: 

Go Media Texture Samples 1 – 3
Go Media Texture Samples 4 – 5
Go Media Texture Samples 6 – 10