Free Mockup Templates & Brand New Templates for Pro Users of Mockup Everything

Free Mockup Templates & Brand New Templates for Pro Users of Mockup Everything

Well hello Mockup Everything fans!

We meet again!

Thanks for stopping by to check out this month’s Mockup Everything mock-up templates, bringing us up to 196 templates in total! This great news, combined with our now-active transparent background feature and the success of our ongoing Design Battle, has us all giddy.

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Free Templates!

We’re feelin’ so happy that we wanted to spread the love to our Free Users. To you lovely folks, we’re now offering a few new, totally free templates. These freebies include:

  • iPhone (Angled)
  • Men’s Distressed T-Shirt
  • Women’s Crew Neck T-Shirt Modelshot
  • Poster with Hands
  • Magazine Cover
  • Business Card

Sweet, huh?  Free users, please be reminded that there are some totally awesome reasons you should upgrade to Pro.

As in:

  • Access to our over 190 templates, with an additional 5 templates (or more) added every single month
  • The ability to mockup snapshots twice the size of the free versions
  • Access to our new transparent background option

Give me a free 7 day trial to Mockup Everything Pro!

Now let’s take a peek at this month’s new templates!

These templates are available for our Pro Users. For monthly updates, please follow us on Facebook!

Men’s Long Sleeved T-Shirt (Ghosted, Side View)

Find me here:  All > Apparel > Men's > Long Sleeved TShirt > Ghosted > Side
Find me here: All > Apparel > Men’s > Long Sleeved TShirt > Ghosted > Side

1

Men’s V-Neck T-Shirt (Side View)

Men's V-Neck T-Shirt Modelshot, Side
Find me here: All > Apparel > Men’s > V-Neck T-Shirt > Modelshot > Side

2

Women’s Crew Neck T-Shirt (Flat view)

Find me here: All > Apparel > Women's > Crew Neck T-Shirt > Flat
Find me here: All > Apparel > Women’s > Crew Neck T-Shirt > Flat

3

Kids T-Shirt (Modelshot)

Find me here: All > Apparel > Baby & Kid > Kids T-Shirt > Modelshot
Find me here: All > Apparel > Baby & Kid > Kids T-Shirt > Modelshot

Kids T-Shirt, Modelshot_gray

Bottle Holder with Zip

Find me here: Food & Beverage > Koozies
Find me here: Food & Beverage > Koozies

4

Now…what are you waiting for? Let’s go Mockup Everything!

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Paper Textures Tutorial: Adding fake folds to your design in a jiffy with the folded paper texture packs

Paper Textures Tutorial: Adding fake folds to your design in a jiffy with the folded paper texture packs

Hello Zine readers!  Simon from Studio Ace of Spade here today. I just wanted to let you know that my folded paper texture packs, volume I and volume II are now available on the Arsenal! I hope you enjoy this textures tutorial, teaching you to add fake folds to your designs in a jiffy with the folded paper texture packs!

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

What’s in the packs?

Glad you asked. Each pack contains a series of 12 textures each. The textures are roughly 4740 x 6320px @ 600 dpi.

The pack is centered around folded and crumpled paper, from a simple vertical and horizontal folds all the way to crazy crumpled and over-folded paper. Check these examples below:

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

These should cover a decent chunk of your folded and crumpled paper emulation needs.

How to use these textures

Just like the photocopy noise textures I released a few weeks back, the textures are black and white, which dictates some of the workflow to follow. This awesome post about blending modes I found on PhotoBlogStop gives us this information about the Screen blending mode:

Screen: Similar to the Lighten blend mode, but brighter and removes more of the dark pixels, and results in smoother transitions. Works somewhat like the Multiply blend mode, in that it multiplies the light pixels (instead of the dark pixels like the Multiply blend mode does). As an analogy, imagine the selected layer and each of the underlying layers as being 35mm slides, and each slide being placed in a separate projector (one slide for each projector), then all of the projectors are turned on and pointed at the same projector screen…this is the effect of the Screen blend mode. This is a great mode for making blacks disappear while keeping the whites, and for making glow effects.

Keeping this information in mind, here are a few ways to use the textures.

Add the texture within your layer stack

The scenario: you just want to add paper folds as the finishing touch to your print.

Here’s the finished file for the piece I did for the demo of my metal dumpster texture pack.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

In order to give this piece an extra “vintage movie poster” feel, I’ll simply add folded-paper-textures-volume-01-sbh-001.jpg from the folded paper texture pack volume I to the top of my layer stack.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Once that’s done, simply change the blending mode to Screen, and you’ll have some fake folds in your poster!

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

If the effect is too strong, you simply have to play with the layer’s opacity slider to make the effect more or less subtle. Below is the same texture at 50% opacity instead of 100%.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The scenario: you want to use some of the more exotic textures as part of your design itself.

There are some less conventional folds in the packs. For instance, in volume II, there’s this burst-like thing (folded-paper-textures-volume-02-sbh-006.jpg):

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

This is the file of the piece I did for the photocopy noise texture pack:

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

While this might be a bit corny, I’d like to use the burst-like folds behind the design (and the silhouette in particular) to create some divine rays of some kind. Let’s start by placing the texture at the bottom of my Design layer group.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Composition wise, I think it could be more interesting if the rays were coming from behind the head of the silhouette.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Now, we simply have to use the Screen blending mode to our advantage again, so we can see the background effects of the piece again.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Since the effect is still a hair too strong, I simply decided to lower the opacity of the texture layer to 25%, and we get something much more subtle.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Paste the textures in a layer mask

Using these black and white textures in layer mask is super easy, because you can get a very quick sense of how they’ll impact the content of that mask. If we look at the more crumpled type of paper textures, we find things like that (in volume I, folded-paper-textures-volume-01-sbh-007.jpg):

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

This would be perfect to emulate a very worn print. Let’s have another look at the Road Hog tee design pack by OK Pants (more info about that here, on the Arsenal). It’s just got a background effect set up, just like at the start of the tutorial I wrote about my metal dumpster texture pack.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

I want to emulate a worn look for the piece, just like if the piece had been heavily scratched. It’s simple to do. Let’s start by adding a layer mask to our design. Simply highlight the layer you want to add a mask to, and click the Add layer mask button at the bottom of your layer palette.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Make sure the layer and the mask aren’t linked together (click on the chain link between the layer and mask thumbnails), so we’ll be able to resize and move the content of each independently of each other.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Once these two steps have been taken care of, open your texture, copy it, and paste it into the layer mask. Simply ALT/OPTION+CLICK the layer mask’s thumbnail in the layer palette to access its content to do so. Resize the texture so it fills the whole canvas. Even though the files are super high-resolution, don’t hesitate to sharpen things up a bit (you can use Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen a couple of times). Sharpening the texture will also bring out the fold pattern more.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Once you’re done, click the layer thumbnail again to admire your result… And realize that obviously, the effect is too intense. Simply switch back to the layer mask content view, and make the edits needed to the texture.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

First, let’s invert it (CTRL/CMD+I).

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The result is much nicer.

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

From there, using the level palette (CTRL/CMD+L), you could make the effect stronger:

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Or you could do it much softer, too:

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The folded paper texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Last thoughts

I’m sure there are a few more ways to use these creatively, but that’s what I wanted to show you today. I hope you enjoyed going through the short how-tos as much as I had fun writing them. As usual, you should ask your questions in the comments below or by tweeting at me. And obviously, you should purchase the texture packs so you’ll never have to worry about how to add folds to your designs again!

BUY THE FOLDED PAPER TEXTURE PACK VOLUME I

BUY THE FOLDED PAPER TEXTURE PACK VOLUME II

Go Media Podcast – Episode 23: A Conversation with Mike Jones from CreativeSouth.com

Podcast for Designers – Episode 23: A Conversation with Mike Jones from CreativeSouth.com

This month, we sit down with Mike Jones from CreativeSouth.com to talk about the event he co-founded and how Creative South is changing the design community in Georgia. We’ll also talk about WMC Fest 5 and what it takes to put on a good event. Introducing Podcast for Designers, episode 23.

10 Mistakes Freelancers Make and Should Avoid Making Today

10 Mistakes Freelancers Make and Should Avoid Making Today

New freelancers can run into a myriad of problems. Without the support of a firm, freelancers hold a world of responsibility in their hands. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed right out of the gate. Some of our favorite freelancers are here to remind us that it’s only natural to make mistakes. Take note and try to learn from theirs today.

Go Media Asked, “What was the biggest mistake you made early in your career as a freelancer?”

Feeling Entitled.

The hard truth is that there are a myriad of mistakes you can make as a freelancer. We’re often drawn to this route because we have an aversion to authority in general, and people telling us how to do things. However, not having someone to tell how to do things sets us up to fall on our face over and over again. Beware of your own ignorance.

The biggest mistake that I’d like to warn up-and-coming freelancers about is Entitlement. We often get quite proud of our artistic abilities, and begin thinking that we deserve certain things, and that clients should worship the ground we walk on. The truth is that we are entering into relationships with our clients, relationships that we should focus on cultivating just as much as we focus on the work. Being a responsible, dependable, and likable person is often more important than your design skill. Resist the urges to take out your frustration on the client. Work on yourself. Be personable. No one owes you anything – it’s your job to keep client relationships enjoyable. – Brandon Rike

Blaming “Clients from Hell”

In my early days of freelancing, I used to think clients caused problems. It took me awhile to realize that this is how novices think. There’s no such thing as “Clients from hell,” because only designers from hell take on those types of clients.

Professionals seek responsibility. Every problem is the responsibility of the professional. That means every issue can be traced back to a shortcoming of the designer. It is your responsibility as the designer to ensure that there is thorough communication in the preliminary stages of the project. If a problem occurs, you need to be asking yourself how you could have prevented it. What could you have explained better? What clause could you have included in your contract that would have kept this from occurring? How can you find a way to accept responsibility for this problem? What will you do to prevent it with your next client? – Sean McCabe

Being Too Available

Looking back, I ​sometimes regret being too available.

​I was enthusiastic and eager and sometimes got taken advantage of, but more than that, I sometimes question whether I’d gotten more respect/been less scathed had I been tougher, less ready to jump in and do the work people above me would not. Those are my freelancing regrets – letting people walk over me.

I still struggle with that now I own my own business – would people respect me more if I was a little less available. At the end of the day, I just have to believe it’s OK to work it the way I work it – I just keep pushing through with the hope that my instincts + talent are enough. – Chrissy Jensen, Domestica

Not Standing Up For Myself

When I look back at some of nightmare client projects I landed as a Freelancer I now realise the main mistake I made was not standing up for myself. A lot of designers fall into the trap of being the client’s puppet, where you wind up making never ending tweaks and having the design process dictated to you. It’s important to remember that you’re the professional and the client is hiring you for your expertise, so be confident in your work and explain the reasoning behind your design decisions to avoid having your work butchered! Often you’ll find that the client will change their mind and agree with your ideas once the design theory has been explained to them, which is a win-win for both parties; they end up with great design work and you’re left with a project you’re happy to share and show off in your portfolio.

…Although sometimes the client still doesn’t care and you end up being a puppet anyway! – Chris Spooner of Blog.Spoon. Graphics

Asking for Money

I felt overwhelming guilt early on in my career about getting paid for my work. (I blame indie rock). I overcame that by studying businesses outside the creative sphere and how they handled contracting their work. It took longer than I care to admit but I finally learned the value of my work and to only deal with clients that understood that as well. I also realized being broke sucks and only stresses you to the point of not being able to produce good work or survive as a business. – Aaron Sechrist, OKPants

Not having the conversation upfront

“Very early on in my career, I was approached by a dream client: a new spa with money looking to build a unique brand. Needless to say, I was freaking out. I met with the client and talked through a scope of work. Something about this client made me feel a bit uneasy. They had taste, but hadn’t ever hired a designer before. They asked me about a budget and I told them I’d look through their requirements and get back to them. Honestly, I was a bit scared they might have really warped expectations of the cost, and as a young designer I was nervous the cost would scare away a really cool project. I just naively thought, “I’ll let my first round of logo explorations sell them on the cost”. We planned another meeting and I worked my ass off putting together a really strong first round of logos. The meeting went ok, they had a bunch of questions and were ALMOST sold on a few directions. I held off again on talking money (yeeeeesh) and scheduled another meeting to present round 2. I worked ever harder on round 2, sure that this work would make them realize they’d pay anything to have it. I sent round 2 with my final bid and waited with a sick stomach feeling like I’d lied to my parents. Of course they came back flabbergasted. Having no experience, they assumed a whole branding package couldn’t cost more than $300. My bid was somewhere around $1,500 and they thought I was crazy. It ended up just getting worse from there and we parted ways. I did a huge amount of work for free just to avoid a rough conversation up front that actually would’ve just saved me all that time and heartache. I look back and laugh at how easily I could’ve avoided this crazy situation, but also keep it as a little reminder of how not to start a project.” – Dan Christofferson, Beeteeth

Spending too much time seeking work

“I should have put less time trying to find work and more time simply creating work. For every hour I spent trolling Craigslist for random freelance gigs, I could have been sketching work for my portfolio, for sale as prints, fine art or whatever. I always felt so much pressure to justify any creative effort with the hope of a prospective paycheck, and never allowed myself the freedom to simply create, which is what I do best.” – Troy DeShano

Quoting Accurately

I noticed that for a while when a client would ask me for a cost, I would blurt out a number without taking some time to think through the design and the time it would take me to do the drawing. I think I would be worried that I wouldn’t get the job. Unfortunately I might quote them a bit low and then be angry with myself because I might not be covering all of my supplies or even taxes.

So now I usually take at least one day from the initial conversation, gather my thoughts, price out the job and make sure the cost is fair for me and the client. A great lesson learned. – Steve Knerem

Working on Spec

When I was first illustrating, a company contacted me and asked me to do work on “spec.” Spec work means any work done on a speculative basis. In other words, the client has you make work for them and there is no guarantee they will use the work or pay your for your time. In spec work you only get paid if they end up using your work. Not knowing better and wanting to take whatever work came my way, I agreed to make some designs for the company. I ended up spending hours and hours going back and forth with the company about what they wanted and adjusting my designs. I realized pretty quickly that I was in a bad situation. They were being really picky about what they wanted and I was pretty sure my designs weren’t going to get printed anyway. So I hedged my bets and decided to break the contract I’d signed with them and walk away before I wasted any more of my time working for free, even though that meant I’d never get paid work with this company again either. I also made the decision never to do work on spec again! – Lisa Congdon

…but one of the biggest mistakes just may be jumping all the way in.

Taking the Leap

I should have gone freelance way earlier than I did. – Aaron Sechrist, OKPants

_________________________________________________________

It’s your turn! What mistakes have you made early in your career as a freelancer? What are you most afraid of?

And for more on launching your freelance business:

freelanceheadergray
Click here to head to our popular post, “How to Launch Your Freelance Business: 9 Simple Tips”

Tutorial: How to Use your Photoshop Mockup Template from Go Media (A Beginner’s Guide)

Tutorial: Photoshop Mockup Template How-To from Go Media (A Beginner’s Guide)

Hello Rock Star Designer (your name here), I believe a celebration is in order.

You have just purchased the World’s Best Templates on Go Media’s Arsenal! Now you can:

  • Present your design to clients in a realistic, 3D setting on an actual product that has been professionally photographed
  • Test your product’s market potential as well as explore how it might look before going through the expensive manufacturing process
  • Impress and entice family, friends and future clients who’ll drool over your designs
  • Fully customize the appearance of your design and end product
  • Completely revamp your portfolio

Ain’t messin’ around, are you?

Hold. Stop. Wait a minute.

Need help diving in? You’ve come to the right place! Here is a How-To-Video, helping you newbies feel your way around our mockup PSDs.

Want to grab the amazing design we used? Head to the Arsenal to pick up Steve Knerem’s Day of the Dead T-Shirt Design Pack. Use the design as-is or modify the design in .AI to make it your own!

For a step-by-step written guide, head to our post – Newbie’s Guide to Beautiful T-Shirt Mockups

Need mockup templates, but don’t have Photoshop? Try our realistic mockup site, Mockup Everything, where we offer hundreds of templates (and counting). Try it free for 7 days now!

New T-Shirt Vector Pack Release: Produce an exceptional and unique t-shirt design in moments. (Yes, you!)

New T-Shirt Vector Pack Release: Produce an exceptional and unique t-shirt design in moments. (Yes, you!)

Hello Designers,

If you’re like me, there are a million things you want to accomplish. Like, today.

But time (and frankly, a tiny bit of skill) have kept me from checking those things off of my ever-growing list.

Until now.

Thankfully, I have some amazing friends who have hooked me up with the tools I need to not only check off my to-dos, but look like somebody who’s somebody doing them too.

And they’re here to help you as well.

Introducing the T-Shirt Design Pack

Here we go ya’ll. A way to actually design an exceptional (and unique) t-shirt in moments (little design skill needed…but lots is great, too).

I don’t know about you, but I consider it a miracle.

dayofthedead-feature-images

With today’s release, the Day of the Dead T-Shirt Design Pack by Steve Knerem you’ll get everything you need to design the perfect t-shirt:

  • All 10 Haunting Illustrations
  • The Original .AI file of this design (allowing you to make it all your own)
  • A Men’s Triblend Ghosted Mockup Template to make your final design look professional and realistic
  • As well as a sample of Jeff Finley’s popular eBook, Thread’s Not Dead, the Designer’s Guide to the Apparel Industry, so that you can be on your way to apparel industry greatness

break_the_design

So, what do you say? Let’s not waste any more precious time…

Click here for design greatness, only $17.

Best of Graphic Design Conferences 2014: Connect, collaborate and be forever changed: Grab your the ticket to WMC Fest!

Best of Graphic Design Conferences 2014: Connect, collaborate and be forever changed: Grab your the ticket to WMC Fest!

Three Days that Will Change Your Life: the best of graphic design conferences 2014 is upon us!

When your head is down and nose is to the grindstone, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the world, from your fellow creatives. As projects pile up, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to even lose that fire you once had as a designer, artist, musician, entrepreneur, maker, doer, dreamer.

What if I told you you have the opportunity to breathe again?

Attend our 5th annual Weapons of Mass Creation Fest (running August 15 – 17) and you’ll experience three days of inspiration on overdrive: three days surrounded by folks just like you, who have all the passion in the world, yearning to become better than they once were. They’ll want to hear your successes, your struggles, to collaborate and connect. They’ll help you see life and work with new eyes. They’ll ask nothing in return.

And you? You’ll leave feeling recharged, focused, energized like never before. You’ll leave with incredible bonds only created through mutual respect and understanding. You’ll be an integral part of a movement, a part of something bigger than yourself. You will be forever altered.

Promise.

If you’d like to be a part of three life changing days, you can grab your Early Bird ticket now by:

clicking here.

For more info.

The Weapons of Mass Creation Fest team is overjoyed to announce the first wave of speaker, artist and band announcements! Check ’em out over at wmcfest.com!

Speakers include:

Jolby & Friends is a collaborative studio based in Portland, Oregon dedicated to telling stories through design and illustration.
Jolby & Friends is a collaborative studio based in Portland, Oregon dedicated to telling stories through design and illustration.
Sonnenzimmer is the art studio of Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi
Sonnenzimmer is the art studio of Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi
Keenan Cumming is a NYC based product designer.
Keenan Cummings is a NYC based product designer.
Cuban-American Designer & Artist. Creating culturally rooted, story-driven work in the arts, publishing, & wine industries.
Cuban-American Designer & Artist Veronica Corzo-Duchardt. Creating culturally rooted, story-driven work in the arts, publishing, & wine industries.

…more to come!

Bands include:

Mr. Gnome is a indie/psych/rock duo from the magical land of Cleve
Mr. Gnome is a indie/psych/rock duo from the magical land of Cleve
Comprised of four Cleveland rock music scene vets and fronted by Erika Lauren from WMMS’ “The Alan Cox Show” and MTV’s Real World DC, HAWKEYE has the chops and ain’t afraid to prove it.
Hawkeye: Comprised of four Cleveland rock music scene vets and fronted by Erika Lauren from WMMS’ “The Alan Cox Show” and MTV’s Real World DC, HAWKEYE has the chops and ain’t afraid to prove it.
Good driving and hard rock from Cleveland, OH
Black Puddle Noise: Good driving and hard rock from Cleveland, OH
Backyard / Suicide Pop Rock And Roll
Teddy Boys: Backyard / Suicide Pop Rock And Roll
Dolfish is American singer-songwriter Max Sollisch
Dolfish is American singer-songwriter Max Sollisch
Oldboy (not to be spelled "Old boy") is a rock-folk band whose music runs the gamut from wistful to epic folk to downright heavy rock and roll. Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, a city known to be a part of the rust belt of America, Oldboy really shines - out loud.
Oldboy (not to be spelled “Old boy”) is a rock-folk band whose music runs the gamut from wistful to epic folk to downright heavy rock and roll. Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, a city known to be a part of the rust belt of America, Oldboy really shines – out loud.
Texas Plant: Folk/Americana from Cleveland
Texas Plant: Folk/Americana from Cleveland
These Knees collaborates with musicians across the country incorporating acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar, piano, and percussion.
These Knees collaborates with musicians across the country incorporating acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar, piano, and percussion.
Midnight Passenger is a Cleveland based rock-band.
Midnight Passenger is a Cleveland based rock-band.

…and more to come!

Artists include:

JP Boneyard is a person from Boston, MA who designs, does front-end development, and produces art and music events.
JP Boneyard is from Boston, MA. He designs, does front-end development, and produces art and music events. He’ll be bringing us his National Poster Retrospecticus
The Bubble Process is a two-man design and illustration firm built on this foundation: good food, good music, good times
The Bubble Process is a two-man design and illustration firm built on this foundation: good food, good music, good times
Landland is a very small graphic design & illustration studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota that was started by Dan Black, Matt Zaun & Jessica Seamans in early 2007.
Landland is a very small graphic design & illustration studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota that was started by Dan Black, Matt Zaun & Jessica Seamans in early 2007.
Meghan Minior is an artist, event coordinator, and musician living in the woods of Leverett, Massachusetts.
Meghan Minior is an artist, event coordinator, and musician living in the woods of Leverett, Massachusetts.
Scott Williams is a Chicago-based graphic designer who has been making things around town a little more beautiful since 1996.
Scott Williams is a Chicago-based graphic designer who has been making things around town a little more beautiful since 1996.
Jason's work has appeared in numerous exhibits and publications. A selection of his posters are part of the permanent collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Denver Art Museum.
Jason Munn’s work has appeared in numerous exhibits and publications. A selection of his posters are part of the permanent collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Denver Art Museum.
Printmakers JW & Melissa Buchanan
Printmakers JW & Melissa Buchanan
Product designer and owner of studio and blog Pinegate Road
Product designer and owner of studio and blog Pinegate Road, Kelsey Cronkhite

…and more to come!

Learn more about our line-up on wmcfest.com and be sure to stay tuned to upcoming artist, designer and musician announcements as well as more information about workshops and events!

P.S. August 15 – 17 will be a busy weekend in Cleveland. Be sure to book your hotel now!

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Texture Tutorial: using metal and rust textures to destroy a design

Texture Tutorial: using metal and rust textures to destroy a design

Hello all! Simon from Studio Ace of Spade here again, ready to show you how to use my latest textures, the metal dumpster texture pack, to destroy and weather out the crap of your designs.

The metal dumpster texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

What’s in the pack?

A little while ago, there was one of these huge metal dumpsters sitting in a parking lot. Since no texture library is complete without rust and metal textures, I got my camera out and shot as many images I could of the banged-up monster. The textures range from subtle speckles in the paint to massive rust damage. This makes this pack highly versatile, and will help you bring either subtle touches or nuclear damage to your pieces.

The metal dumpster texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The textures can be used as overlays, or pasted in layer masks. There are 45 textures in the pack, sized at 3264 x 2448 pixels.

The metal dumpster texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

How can I use these textures?

Well, I’m glad you’re asking, because just like with my photocopy noise textures pack, I’ve taken the time to write a little tutorial. We’ll be using OKPants’ sweet Road Hog tee design pack as the base artwork for our experimentation. What’s the Road Hog tee design pack, you ask? The Go Media team wrote a very convenient blog post to answer the questions you could have.

This tutorial is rather short, and takes advantage of layer masks and blending modes. Count around an hour of playtime in both Illustrator (Ai) and Photoshop (Ps). Plug your headphones, press play on some nice music, and let’s go.

The starting point: preparing the Road Hog design to our liking

The Road Hog tee design pack includes a biker/Americana inspired design, that you could take apart and re-arrange to your liking. Or, like me, you could just leave it in one piece. Here’s a shot of the design in Ai. This is the “sea foam” color palette.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The design also comes in a black and white color palette, an “heritage” color palette (rust tones), and an “Americana” color palette. Feel free to choose the one you prefer for this tutorial.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The original sea foam palette is nice, but the tones are a tad too strong and saturated for my taste. After a bit of research on Colourlovers, I managed to find a more subdued version of the color palette. After using the magic wand (Y) and the Select > Same > Fill color menu a few times, our base art was recolored.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The re-coloration process is really easy since the design is simple and the vectors well constructed. Just make sure that all of your shapes are ungrouped and unlocked, and it should go smoothly. I switched the bright yellow to the faded yellow at the left of the color palette image (#f0eec1), the main blue hue to the palette’s faded blue (#b2dabf), and the black to the dark brown/purple (#5c4a4e) at the right of the palette. I created the darker blue by lowering the brightness value of the light blue, which gave me #727d71.

After recoloring the artwork, I added an outline to it. There are multiple ways to do so, but here’s how I do it:

  1. Make sure all of your elements are grouped togetherThe metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann
  2. Duplicate the designThe metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann
  3. Merge the bottom copy in one shape using the pathfinder’s Unite functionThe metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann
  4. Change the color of the merged shape to #f0eec1. I chose the light color because I thought at that stage that the background of my final piece would be dark (the design has been hidden in this shot.)
    The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann
  5. Finally, turn the design back on, and use the Offset path function (Object > Path > Offset path) to create the outline. I use Offset path as opposed to a stroke, because the result looks more polished. The downside to that is that unlike a stroke, you can’t easily edit the width of the outline once it’s been created. A few things about the values I’ve used: the thickness of the offset is set at 1/8th of an inch, and the joins to round for a softer feel.The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky HartmannThe metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann
  6. We’ve got ourselves an outline. To make things a bit cleaner, you can run the pathfinder’s unite function on that outline group one more time. This will fuse the multiple shapes that compose it together, living us with one big, clean entity. I’ve highlighted in red the area where the most simplification will happen.
    The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky HartmannThe metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Now that we’ve got ourselves a recolored and outlined design, it’s time to move things to Photoshop.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Setting up the stage in Ps

Much like when we were playing with the Awaken design, our Ps document will be an 18″x24″ @ 300 dpi canvas. This time, it’ll be setup in a portrait orientation.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

I’ve completed the setup of my document with guides. I might have created a few too many, but oh well. I have guides at the 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 16, and 17 inches marks vertically, and 1, 2, 11, 12, 13, 22, and 23 inches marks horizontally.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Background preparation

As I’ve said when we were preparing our vectors and adding an outline to them, my original intentions were to have a dark background on our piece. After progressing in my design, I realized that it wouldn’t work very well, so I went back and made sure that my background would be light instead of dark. For the sake of brevity, I’ll spare you that back and forth in this tutorial. So let’s skip directly to the correct layer order for a light background with a dark border.

Let’s fill the background layer with that faded yellow (#f0eec1) from our color palette.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

On top of that layer, create a new one, filled with our dark brown this time (#584c4e).

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

We’re going to take advantage of the Arsenal’s vintage poster borders texture pack to reveal the underlying yellow layer to make it look like there’s a dark border around our design. The process is very simple, and consists of pasting one of these textures (I used the first one in the pack) in a layer mask. Jeff made a video with step by step instructions, and it’s visible here:

Vintage Border effects in Photoshop using Layer Masks from Go Media on Vimeo.

The result of that manipulation is the following:

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Note that if you don’t own the poster border textures, you could paste any other grunge texture in the layer mask. This series of free vintage film plates textures from Lost and Taken would be an interesting alternate, although a tad too intense in this example:

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Anyways. Once you’ve prepared your background, it’s time to move along and import our vector design in our Ps document.

Pasting the design from Ai

That’s probably the easiest step: simply copy your design in Ai, and paste in as a smart object in Ps. I sized mine to be around 16 inches wide.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Texturing the design itself

It’s finally time to use the metal dumpster textures. Place metal-dumpster-textures-018-sbh.jpg above the design.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The elements of the texture we’re interested in are these dark scratch marks. In order to extract them, we’ll need to desaturate the texture (CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+U), and to change its blending mode to Screen.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

It’s not yet very exciting, I’ll give you that. Next, we’ll invert the texture (CTRL/CMD+I).

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

We’re already starting to see these scratches impact the design as if it was painted on metal and exposed to things scraping it off its support. To further the effect, we’ll play with the level palette (CTRL/CMD + L), in order to increase the contrast of the texture.

A few notes about my Levels values: the 100 on the left is the value for the dark tones. It means that I’ve made the dark pixels of the texture darker than what they originally were. The 0.75 is the value for the mid-tones. That slider is normally set at 1. Bringing it to 0.75 means that the mid-tones are also going to be darker. Finally, the 175 on the right is the value for the light pixels of the texture. It’s set to 255 by default. Bringing it down to 175 means that the light pixels are actually going to be lighter. Darker blacks and grays + lighter whites = high contrast texture.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Finally, I’ve leveraged a layer mask to allow the texture to show only on the design and not on the background.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

To create such a layer mask is easy. CTRL/CMD+CLICK the thumbnail of your design layer to create a precise selection of its content, then click the new layer mask button at the bottom of your layer palette.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Following a similar process, I also added metal-dumpster-textures-022-sbh.jpg to the design. Its effects are much more subtle, but you can see them in the gear behind the skull/wings/bones element.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

My levels values were a bit different:

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

It’s also to be noted that the texture was not inverted, and put on the Soft light blending mode at 25% opacity. I chose to do so because the results were less aggressive than when using Screen. I’ve also confined its effect to the design only by using the same layer mask  process than before.

The next step was to impact the design layer even more than with its two textures. In order to do so, I gave it its own layer mask, and pasted metal-dumpster-textures-001-sbh.jpg into it. After sizing it to cover most of the design, and playing with levels to bring its contrast to new heights, this is the result:

The original texture

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Playing with levels

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The result

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Impacted areas details

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

To increase the worn feel even further, I created a layer group containing the design’s layer and my texture. I then duplicated the background dark brown layer’s layer mask (CLICK & DRAG + ALT/OPTION+SHIFT) to it. The result isn’t very visible, but some of the mask’s grain lets the dark brown show through.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Global textures

If the textures at the previous step are important because they give their character to the design elements themselves, the ones we’ll apply now are just as important. They participate to tie the piece together, by giving their artifacts to the various design elements and the background in a continuous manner. You can choose to apply a lot of them, or just a few. I have three in my case.

The first one is metal-dumpster-textures-012-sbh.jpg. As you can see, it’s a fairly clean texture. The main elements I’m interested to see passed on to the design are those black, dirty marks. They look like smeared paint.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

After placing the texture in the design (rotated 90° counter-clockwise), desaturating it, I’ve leveraged the levels to get the dark and mid-tones much stronger.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Once the blending mode switched to Soft light, and the opacity lowered to 50%, the result brings some subtle darker areas in the top left of the piece. It’s like some liquid slightly stained the art.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The next to last texture we’ll use is metal-dumpster-textures-037-sbh.jpg. It’s a texture that I use as a grain texture. There are only a few speckles of rust here and there, and the rest are a few light dots.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

After desaturating it and playing with levels, here’s what the texture looks like:

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

And below is the result on the piece after switching it to Soft light @ 50% opacity. It’s very subtle, but still adds a little something.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Finally, the last texture I’ve used to add more of the same dirty stain type of finish to the poster is metal-dumpster-textures-030-sbh.jpg.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Nothing special to add to the process used before, other than because this one was a bit intense, I’ve put on Soft light @ 35% opacity only.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The last touches

We could add more textures to the piece, but it wouldn’t add much to the design. It’s better to stop there. Now, you could either leave the piece here, or add just a tiny bit more of contrast and grain. Either way is fine by me, and will equally look nice. You could also add fake folds too, but we’ll get to that in an upcoming tutorial.

The first of the finishing touches is to create a layer that contains a merged copy of all the layers of our piece. There’s a keyboard shortcut for that: CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+ALT/OPTION+E. Simply select your top layer, and press the keyboard shortcut. It will generate a new layer containing that merged copy of your piece. I renamed mine to “Comp” and placed it in its own layer group.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Next, make two copies of that layer. Name the bottom one Aged 2, and turn the top one off for now.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Download this Aged 2 action created by the good peeps at Go Media for an old tutorial, and run it on the Aged 2 layer. Put the layer on Soft light @ 25% opacity. The action created a photocopy type of effect, with something looking like old ink and grain. Below is a close up shot before and after switching the blending mode.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Finally, we’ll use the stamp effect action Jeff released a little while back. Run the action on that last copy of the Comp layer we have remaining. The action will create two layers, one with just the black pixels of the stamp effect, and another one (usually turned off) with some more details. Turn both of the layers on, merge them together, and call the result Stamp. Place that last layer on Soft light @ 25% opacity and you’re done!

If you want more info about the action before buying it, you can read this quick blog post written for its release.

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Done!

And the piece is done! Using the metal dumpster texture pack, we were successfully able to age and destroy the design. You should totally mock-up your piece to impress your clients:

The metal dumpster texture pack demo - by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

That’s it for me today. If you have any questions or suggestion about the tutorial or the textures, don’t hesitate to use the comments, or to tweet at me.

BUY THE METAL DUMPSTER TEXTURE PACK

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An Interview with Rock Star Designer Tad Carpenter

Hello Tad Carpenter!

He’ll be the last to tell you, but for us here at Go Media, WMC Fest 3 alum Tad Carpenter is a rock star. Designer, illustrator, author and teacher, Tad balances good stuff like brand identity, packaging and book design, illustration and interactive along with his role as Professor at University of Kansas. Surrounded by design (his parents were artists and his wife Jessica a designer, too), Tad creates whimsical, smart and all-around fun for clients like Macy’s, Chronicle Books, MTV, Adobe and Hallmark Cards.

Clevelanders, be sure to catch him on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at the next AIGA Design Speaker Series.

Now onto our chat!

Shins2_03_tadcarpenter
THE SHINS (SASQUATCH)
Poster

You’re pretty much a rock star designer in our eyes. In your opinion, why was it you who “made it”? What are characteristics that would drive someone to achieve such a status?

Complacency breeds death. I want that fire, I want the pressure, I never want to stop climbing.

I dont know how to answer that. Ha! Thank you for the compliment but I am just thankful to have work and to be doing something I love everyday. I don’t know if I have “made it” like you say. I still feel like I have so many things I want to make and so much I want to do that I’m still each day just climbing that hill. I will always be climbing that hill. The older I get at times that hill starts to feel like a mountain. I want to make more, I want to do more. The hill keeps growing. To be honest, I hope I never feel comfortable and complacent. Complacency breeds death. I want that fire, I want the pressure, I never want to stop climbing.

yeahburger04_tadcarpenter
YEAH! BURGER
Illustration, Identity, Restaurants

If you had to choose one defining moment in your career that pushed you towards notoriety, what would you say that was?

Perseverance and sweat are vastly underrated traits.

Geez, again I am not sure. I don’t know anything about notoriety to be honest. I, again, am just so happy to love what I GET to do for a living. It is important to remember we GET to do this. There sure are a lot of other professions out there and I am so lucky this one chose me. I can say this, ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be an artist, a designer, an illustrator. I got my first taste in 3rd grade and at that moment I knew this was the life I wanted to lead. I worked really hard. I still work really hard. That is what it all comes down to in my eyes, how hard do you want to work? I have never been the best draftsman, or the best with color or have the best type skills or can draw anything I look at or whatever. But I have always been willing to roll my sleeves up and work, work, work. Perseverance and sweat are vastly underrated traits.

TARGET HEARTWORK Illustration
TARGET HEARTWORK
Illustration

What is one important piece of advice you’d give a fellow designer who wanted to land a dream client, such as Hallmark – but had zero connections?

No way to fail.

Connections are important of course. I could be wrong, but to me making connections today is the easiest it has ever been. Everyone has those big pie in the sky dream clients they would love to work with. Anymore finding out their contact info is literally just a few clicks away. Never, ever be afraid to ask for something you want. If you want to work with Nike or Hallmark or Apple go make it happen. The worst that can happen is you end up exactly where you are now. No way to fail.

Have you ever broken a “rule” to get ahead in your career?

I did once go swimming 5 minutes after I ate. I regret this daily.

I also talked about Fight Club which I think might be a big no-no according to the clubs first rule.

What is your biggest fear, creatively speaking?

When I first wrote an answer down I wrote that I fear not getting any work in the future. All of it just drying up. This is a BIG fear for me but really, I would just have more time to make things for myself. That can never be taken away from you. So yes, not getting in more work and having to get a real job is a big fear but also just time passing you by scares me. I want to do this for another 70 years…can I? What will our profession be like in 10 years? 20 years? 50 years? The fear of the unknown is always present.

TRICK OR TREAT: A HAPPY HAUNTERS HALLOWEEN Illustration, Books
TRICK OR TREAT: A HAPPY HAUNTERS HALLOWEEN
Illustration, Books

What is your biggest dream, creatively speaking?

I have so many things I really want to do. A huge passion for me is writing and illustrating children’s books. I have been so lucky to work on several over the past few years. I want to keep doing this forever. My first real exposure to art (like most of us) was from children’s books. I love that maybe I, too, can inspire or get a child excited about design. That is a serious responsibility that I don’t take lightly.  Something I have always wanted to create is a clothing line. My wife and I (also a designer) have played with a few ideas over the years and I would love to work more on this one day. I love branding new start-ups too. I hope I can create more and more of these as well. Restaurants, retail, anything. It is such a rush creating a new brand and seeing the clients excitement as it comes to life.

BIKE PRINT Illustration, Prints
BIKE PRINT
Illustration, Prints

What is the biggest challenge you have faced, or face on a regular basis, to achieve success?

I guess having too many dreams, goals, work and commitments is not always a bad thing.

I am sure it is the same challenge everyone faces. Never, ever enough time. Outside of running my own studio I also teach graphic design at the University of Kansas. I love teaching. It no doubt makes me a better designer and I love working with aspiring young designers. It is so rewarding and flat out fun. But, it does add to my workload to get my “real work” completed. I feel I am pretty good with time management but could get better. I guess having too many dreams, goals, work and commitments is not always a bad thing.

For more: Tad Carpenter | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr | Flickr | Dribbble

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I know how many grueling hours you put into that design. You’re so super excited that you’re tempted to just send it off to the client as is, amIright?  NO! You’re smarter than that. Tell me that you have a few moments (and a few dollars) to make that design shine. I promise it will take your design from ordinary to extraordinary. All you have to do is head over to MockupEverything.com where we are selling individual versions of our high-quality layered and masked Photoshop mockup templates  in categories like:

  • Apparel
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What? You’re still here?

Off you go!

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

Texture Tutorial: Aged poster design with the Photocopy Noise Texture Pack

Texture Tutorial!

Hello there! Simon from Studio Ace of Spade here. Long time no see. I’m here to introduce you today to a texture pack I’ve created, called the photocopy noise texture pack. I’m delighted to announce that it’s finally on sale at the Arsenal!

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann

What is the pack about?

What’s so special about this texture pack? First of all, these are hand-made textures. They were made using an old photocopier that had a toner on its last leg. The result is a pack of six fantastic noise textures. The process was simple: I created a black document in Ai, and printed it as many times as I could before the toner gave up. Because it was almost ready to throw away, it wouldn’t print a perfectly black sheet. I got these black rectangles, speckled with white spots and stripes. Once scanned in, cleaned up, and inverted, these make up for perfect noise textures.

A closer look at the content

Some technical data: you get six textures, that are around 4760×6400 @ 600 dpi. Here are what they look like:

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Previews

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Previews

How can I use these?

I thought you’d never ask! In order to demonstrate the possibilities of the textures, I’ve put a quick little tutorial/demo together, using Jeff’s Awakened t-shirt design pack as the base. We’ll use both Ai and Ps for this. Here’s a preview of what we’ll be doing:

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo result

Basically, we’ll use these to age Jeff’s design, along with a few other tricks here and there. Here’s a 100% crop, to get a better sense of what these textures are able to do:

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo result, 100% crop

Note that if you haven’t purchased the Awakened t-shirt pack, or have no idea of what I’m talking about, you should go read and watch more info: over here.

Let’s get started

 Step 1: document setup

Jeff’s illustration is quite neat, and would look quite awesome on a print. So, let’s go ahead and create a new 24 inches wide by 18 inches tall Ps document @ 300 dpi.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Once you have that new document setup, fill its background with dark gray (#231f20), and setup guides for the center and margins. I might have gone a tad overboard with mine. My vertical guides are at the one, two, 11, 12, 13, 22, and 23 inch marks. My horizontal guides are at the one, two, eight, nine, 10, 16, and 17 inch marks.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Oh, and if you’ve read some of my other tutorials before, you’ll probably remember that I’m a stickler for proper layer naming and other Ps etiquette stuff. My background layer is named bg – #231f20, which gives me both its functionality and its color.

Step 2: importing the design

Let’s have a look at Jeff’s design:

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

As you can see, there are quite a few elements that compose it (feathers, purple circular element, red circles, white circle, blue geometrical element, silhouette, and off white stars). I could simply select everything, and copy and paste it in Ps. The only issue with doing that is that it won’t allow us to individually texture the elements. Since I want to do something refined and individualized, I won’t go that route. We’re going to copy and paste each element one by one. It’ll be a bit long, but worth it in the end.

Use the main image as a reference point to position your elements, and make sure that they’re always sized at 100%. Also, don’t forget to paste the elements as smart objects, so they retain their vector characteristics. It’ll be crucial for later.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Note: you may have to center or nudge elements manually.

The purple circular pattern.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The red circles.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The blue geometrical element.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The white circles.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The black silhouette.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The stars.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Aligning the stars back in place (the top star is at the intersection of the top red circles).

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Nudging the wings back in place.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Here’s a view of how the design elements are placed compared to my initial guides. If you want your design or some of its elements to be bigger or smaller within the finished print, now is the time to adjust the sizes. For instance, I’ve decided to size my design so it reaches the smaller rectangles inside of my guides.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

And here’s a view of my layer stack so far.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Step 3: let’s roughen these vectors up

The next step will involve the use of Illustrator’s roughen filter (Effect > Distort and transform > Roughen). I learned about the effect through that 2011 Method and Craft article by Simon Walker. Basically, the effect distorts your paths and adds more or less subtle variations to them.

We’ll be applying the effect on all of the elements of the design, minus the wings. This is where retaining the smart object quality of the elements pasted in Ps comes handy. You simply have to double click on the layer thumbnails of the smart object in order to be brought back to Ai, and to be able to edit the vector element.

Let’s start with the purple circular pattern element. I’ve turned off the other elements of the design for better legibility, but you don’t have to.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Once you’ll double click on the layer thumbnail, Ai will open and you’ll be able to edit just that element.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Let’s select our element, and bring up the roughen filter (Effect > Distort and transform > Roughen). I suggest zooming in a little bit, in order to fully appreciate what the effect does to your paths. Oh, and tick that “Preview” box to see what’s happening.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Obviously, the default values are a bit extreme in terms of result. After a little bit of tinkering, the values I’ve settled on are the following:

  • Size: 0.1%, relative
  • Detail: 50/inch
  • Points: smooth

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Note that you can come up with your own values. These should be considered as a starting point for your own exploration. Also, you could decide to expand the various elements from strokes to paths, or to leave them as is. Once you’re happy with the filter’s values, validate them. The next step: save your work (CTRL/CMD+S), close the file in Ai, and head back to Ps for a little surprise…

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The effect is applied! Isn’t that neat? Now, you’ll simply have to go through the same process for the other design elements (minus the wings, once again: the halftone effect they have is enough). I personally used the same values for the roughen filter for all the elements, as it gives consistency to the final piece, but you could spend the time to find the perfect values that works the best for each specific part of the design. Below, a few shots of the process, up close:

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Note the special values I’ve ended up using for the white circles: the effect wasn’t visible enough with the other ones I settled on earlier, so I upped the ante a bit. I did return to my previous values for the other elements though.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

And done with that part.

Step 4: textures!

Finally, we can play with textures here. The photocopy noise texture pack is made of black and white textures, which will somewhat dictate the workflow we’ll have with them. First, we need a bit of a refresher about blending modes. This wonderful article by PhotoBlogStop will give you every detail you ever wanted to know about them, including math (!), but we’ll focus on Screen:

Screen: Similar to the Lighten blend mode, but brighter and removes more of the dark pixels, and results in smoother transitions. Works somewhat like the Multiply blend mode, in that it multiplies the light pixels (instead of the dark pixels like the Multiply blend mode does). As an analogy, imagine the selected layer and each of the underlying layers as being 35mm slides, and each slide being placed in a separate projector (one slide for each projector), then all of the projectors are turned on and pointed at the same projector screen…this is the effect of the Screen blend mode. This is a great mode for making blacks disappear while keeping the whites, and for making glow effects.

The most interesting part of this quote is the emphasized sentence: “this is a great mode for making blacks disappear while keeping the whites, and for making glow effects.” It just happens that the noise effects in the textures from our pack ARE white speckles and stripes. So we simply have to put the textures on screen to retain just their noisy part, and the rest shows up as transparent. After that, if the effect is too strong, you simply play with the opacity slider of the texture layer. Let’s put this into practice by adding some noise to our background layer.

Go ahead and place photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-001.jpg in your design. It should be just above the background layer, and sized to cover the whole background.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Give it a quick sharpening (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen), and simply change the layer’s blending mode to Screen. As you can see, the effect is quite strong.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

We’re simply going to lower the opacity of the layer to 25% for something a bit more subtle.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Also, I’ve given the background elements their own layer group.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

It’s time to start adding our subtle noise to the rest of the design. We could simply use the texture clipped over each element, and tinker with the opacity sliders to create some subtle overlays. But this would show the noise as white or light gray speckles over each design elements. Most of these being line art, we wouldn’t see much of an effect.

We’re going to use another trick from our bag, and paste the textures in layer masks. Remember that whatever part of a layer mask that’s white shows the art, and whatever part of it that’s black hides it. Armed with knowledge, we can deduce that pasting the textures as is will simply obliterate the designs. Nothing subtle here. What we can do however is to invert the textures once they’ve been pasted in the layer masks. From there, playing with levels to increase or decrease the intensity of the effect is child’s play.

The process to paste a texture in a layer mask is easy:

  1. Add a layer mask to the design element you’re interested in impacting (with the layer highlighted, go to Layer > Layer mask > Reveal all). Make sure to click the little chain link between the layer and the layer mask to make it disappear. This will allow you to move or resize the content of the layer mask without changing the design element itself
  2. Open your texture file, copy its content (CTRL/CMD+C)
  3. Go back to your design, and ALT/OPTION + CLICK your layer mask. This will allow you to get access to and edit the content of the layer mask itself, rather than your design
  4. Paste your texture (CTRL/CMD+V)
  5. Resize and edit the content of the layer mask at will
  6. Click back on the design element and admire the result of your work

Here are some images of the process with the wings. I’ve used photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-001.jpg again.

Layer mask added and unlinked.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Pasting the texture in the layer mask.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Resizing the texture to cover the whole canvas. You have access to the same transform controls that outside of the layer mask (CTRL/CMD+T or CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+T for proportional transformations).

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Inverting the texture (CTRL/CMD+I).

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Using the levels palette (CTRL/CMD+L) to increase the contrast.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Admiring the result.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Comparison with the layer mask turned off.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Some of impacted areas highlighted.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

As you can see, it’s quite a simple process, and the result with the photocopy noise texture pack are just the right amount of subtle.

Following a similar workflow, I worked my way through the other elements of the design, using textures #1 to #5 of the pack (#6 will used for the final finishing touch).

Below, some before and after pictures for each element:

Purple circular pattern, before

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Purple circular pattern, after (background turned off for better effect appreciation)

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Layer mask details

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Red circles, before

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Red circles, after

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Layer mask details

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

It can seem that the effect is too subtle. Here’s a 100% crop to convince you otherwise:

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Blue geometrical element, before

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Blue geometrical element, after

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Layer mask detail

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

White circles, before

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

White circles, after

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Layer mask detail

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Silhouette, before

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Silhouette, after

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Layer mask detail

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Stars, before

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Stars, after

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Layer mask detail. Note that I’ve used the same textures than for the silhouette. I’ve simply moved it to the top right a little bit.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

And here’s the full design after all that process:

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

We’re almost done. It’s time for the finishing touches.

Step 5: let’s wrap this up

Now that all of our design elements got their individual weathering treatment, it’s time to tie everything up together. In order to do so, we’ll first add a layer mask to the whole design layer group, and paste one of our textures in there. This will unite the elements together visually, by giving them a consistent weathering. I used photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-004.jpg for that (the one with the heavy striping).

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Once that’s done, we’ll add two more textures at the top of our layer stack. The aim is the same: to tie all the elements visually together, by impacting them all with the same element. First, let’s add photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-005.jpg to our design. Make sure it fills the whole canvas.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Let’s make it significantly darker, so its effect will be much more intense.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

After that, change its blending mode to Screen.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Since the effect was a tad overbearing, I lowered the opacity to 25%.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

We could stay there, but I’d like a effect similar to a vignette, that would detach the center piece from the background a bit. I’ll be using photocopy-noise-textures-sbh-006.jpg to accomplish this. Let’s place it into our document, in a way similar to the image below (it’s been rotated upside down, and scaled up so it covers the whole design). I’ve also given the two top textures their own Global textures layer group.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Once it’s in place, simply change the blending mode to Soft light, and lover the layer opacity to 25%. This gives a much softer result than Screen, and still let’s the background’s subtle noise show through.

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

And we’re done! You could take the time to mock this up on a poster mockup template if you wanted to:

The photocopy noise texture pack by The Shop / Simon Birky Hartmann - Product demo

Last words

I hope you liked going through this tutorial as much as I liked writing it. I also hope it convinced you to get the photocopy noise texture pack, as well as Jeff’s Awakened tee design pack if it isn’t already done. If you have any questions, feel free to tweet at me (@simonhartmann)! I’ll also be watching the comments in the next few days. Thanks again for reading, and until next time, cheers!

BUY THE PHOTOCOPY NOISE TEXTURE PACK

BUY THE AWAKENED TEE DESIGN PACK

eCommerce Nightmare: How CS-Cart handcuffed us for years and why we switched to WooCommerce

Oh dear, where do I start? I feel like there’s a huge story behind the scenes that we’ve never let our community in on. To be honest, we’re quite embarrassed about it and we’ve been trying to make things right ever since. But I think it’s time to come clean.

TL;DR: We’ve been trying to upgrade our graphic design resource marketplace, the Arsenal since 2010 and have failed miserably due to working with a heavily customized version of CS-Cart which seemingly handcuffed us to their development team. 4 years, headaches, panic attacks and tens of thousands of dollars later we are FINALLY breaking the chains and getting a taste of freedom! We’ve switched our platform over to WordPress and WooCommerce. WordPress and WooCommerce both happen to also be Go Media’s preferred solutions for so many of our own clients…

So what was the problem?

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Some Background

Arsenal v1 – 2006 – PHP-IPN Monitor

In 2006 we launched Arsenal v1 using software called PHP-IPN Monitor. It was one of the very few tools for selling digital files online at the time. It cost a mere $99 bucks and in a few days we had our first product up for sale. This lasted a year or two until we started releasing more products and needed a way to add search, customer accounts, etc.

Arsenal v2, 2008 – Enter CS-Cart

In 2008 we upgraded to a full shopping cart platform, CS-Cart. Other major eCommerce options at the time were Zen Cart and X-Cart. CS-Cart was actually a splinter cell of the original X-Cart team. We saw progress and innovation in CS-Cart, but it didn’t support selling digital files. In fact, not many shopping cart applications at the time did. So we hired their team to develop custom features for it. They were very affordable (based in Russia) and added what we asked for. Total implementation took maybe 6 months. Admittedly, the resulting code was sketchy according to our own development review. But we were busy, it was stable, and thus didn’t spend much more time on it.

Arsenal v3, 2010 – Outsourced to Death

We designed Arsenal v3.0 in 2010 and it took us until January 2014 to finally launch. We missed our deadline by 3 years. It was a FAIL to live in infamy here at Go Media.

So what happened?!

ultimatehoodie

Failure to Launch

In 2010 we had the next Arsenal planned and designed. We didn’t have the capacity to produce in house, nor was it exactly our expertise. So we requested quotes for the web development and received estimates in the hundreds of thousands from top American firms.

We didn’t have that sort of budget for this. At the time, we were pushing our internal development resources into a design studio management app, Proof Lab. We put Arsenal v3 on hold until we could finish Proof Lab. Proof Lab ended up taking our team two years to finish. By that time, the Arsenal v3 design was tired and the user experience no longer adequately served the community’s needs.

In 2012 we had a relatively small, but workable budget to get it developed. We decided to hire CS-Cart again because they had been okay on v2 and no one knows their software better. They delivered on their commitment the last time we hired them. They had grown a lot since then. Surely they’d do an even better job this time around.

We were sorely mistaken.

CS-Cart Nightmare

We had a 6 month deadline CS-Cart agreed to. The deadline was pushed back because CS-Cart was coming out with version 3 and we agreed to wait for it. We’d all be better off in the long run. It was chock full of exciting new features. Cool. They promised it was just around the corner. They even published articles of anticipation to the public. Surely their road map was remotely accurate.

Nope.

CS-Cart v3, and therefore the new Arsenal was pushed back 9 months, then a year. Then a year and a half. The CS-Cart Developers would constantly miss deadlines. They would even claim something was done, when it clearly wasn’t. We had to micromanage every detail. We would send reminders, to-do lists and inevitably hassle them as each delay, bug and excuse mounted.

If that wasn’t bad enough, new developers kept getting assigned to our project and we’d practically have to start communication over from scratch.

A year and a half over deadline, just when we thought we were on the homestretch, some confusing conversations (there were many) lead us to discover CS-Cart was about to release an entirely new version 4.0 of their software! They never mentioned a new version was in the works. We discovered so on our own.

We asked if everything would be future proof and our store could receive updates to the software as released. CS-Cart said YEP. They would promptly migrate our customization over to v4. Promptly apparently means “drag your feet and make excuses for months and months.” Later they would conclude that a key feature we needed was entirely not able to be migrated at all. They danced around our issues for several more months before declaring we were stuck with version 3.

Stuck.

Essentially, we were locked out of receiving updates to their software even though they were still providing custom development on what was now a legacy platform with significant known bugs. Yay! At this point we had invested tens of thousands and lost countless months giving CS-Cart the benefit of nearly insurmountable doubt.

Wow, we’re fricking nice. We couldn’t turn back, right?

The Forest from the Trees

The past few years we have been developing most of our client websites on WordPress as well as eCommerce integration using WooCommerce. In 2010 we would not have considered using these applications for something as demanding as the Arsenal. But we joked that with our WordPress and WooCommerce development expertise we could build Arsenal v3 in a few weeks and be happier with the results. Even better, we would feel more in control of the situation. We hated not being comfortable editing the CS-Cart software. Even though it was a PHP core, it just wasn’t in our team’s wheelhouse. Go Media definitely employs WordPress experts. CS-Cart experts, not so much.

After CS-Cart wiped the smile from our faces, we stopped joking. The improvements and extensions emerging from the WordPress and WooCommerce ecosystem started making the switch a real possibility. Maybe a harder part was accepting CS-Cart as a failure and eating the 3 years of time and money invested in it. It was an unprecedented move to put a store the scale of the Arsenal onto a WordPress plugin. It felt like uncharted territory.

But first we still needed to deploy the “new” Arsenal as it was on CS-Cart. Just finish the job and be done with them. They seemed to be done with us anyway. Their code was our problem now. We scrapped many of the features we had been trying to implement since 2010, such as the artist marketplace. We pushed it up, dealt with the fallout and quickly froze production as we focused on testing the viability of WooCommerce.

Textures Archives   Go Media s Arsenal

WooCommerce here we come!

By this point, WooCommerce had answers for nearly every problem we were having with CS-Cart. Artist marketplace? There’s a plugin for that. Bundle products? There’s a plugin for that too. Subscriptions, digital products, product and order migration – all were completely or partially solved by plugins we could implement in short order. Less bugs than CS-Cart v3? God, we hope so! Was it too good to be true? We feared it might be, for several white-knuckled weeks, as we beat on our proof of concept. But the pressure was on for us to replace the questionable version 3 powered by CS-Cart. So we hit it hard.

WooCommerce has a very different database design when compared to CS-Cart. It leans completely on WordPress, which we all know has its roots in blogging. This turned out to be a very square peg going into a round hole when it came to moving data over (see serialized arrays). Nearly every data object was remarkably different. Fortunately, there is a nice plugin that made migrating the products a cinch.

Unfortunately, a similar Customer and Order migration plugin could not handle the volume we were trying to push into it. Because the database tables were very different, we spent days in MySQL working out the formulas. And then converting the 90,000 customers and hundreds of thousands of orders from almost a decade online, took hours of computer processing time to complete.

All said, the new Arsenal, code-name 3.5, DID NOT take us 3 years! Eat it CS-Cart. We developed the new WordPress & WooCommerce custom theme and migrated all of the products, customers and order data in about six weeks time.

We might not go as far as to say WooCommerce is better than CS-Cart, but here are a few places WooCommerce wins out:

  1. It’s truly more open source. WooCommerce has been the fastest growing eCommerce solution in the last two years with an estimated million+ deployments and counting. With this comes a larger development cadre and more users to be accountable to. This adoption and visibility means better consideration for backward compatibility and less likelihood of bugs.
  2. An already larger and accelerating ecosystem. Not only is WooCommerce the fastest spreading eCommerce application, but the fact that it is buoyed by the massive WordPress scene (20% of ALL websites!) puts the wind to their backs.
  3. The API uses PHP and WordPress best practices, as does the core implementation itself. We believe in standards and excel in this arena.
  4. The documentation is better. The community resources and knowledge base more abundant.
  5. Did we mention it is on WordPress?! There really is no eCommerce software with the publishing power of WordPress. Most eCommerce CMS features are hardly more than an after thought. The marketing and informational demands of today’s web make content king for online shopping. Marrying WordPress with eCommerce is a customer satisfaction match made in SEO heaven.
  6. We trust WooThemes. The great ladies and gents in the Woo camp are people we’ve worked with many times over the years as fellow WordPress experts. They’re good about collaborating with us to make improvements, they’re reliable and they’re in our timezone.
  7. WooCommerce is easier to customize. We discovered a lot of obstacles and had functional disagreements with how CS-Cart handled certain things, only to discover there was no clean way around them. Hence, the reason we were stuck with v3. WooCommerce sprinkles hooks and filters everywhere, making it a snap to override and add things.
  8. It’s smaller. This is a double edged sword, but we’re kinda control freaks here anyway. CS-Cart is trying to be the big-size-fits-all player, but if you’ve ever worked with, say Magento, you know that sometimes mo-features-mo-problems. WooCommerce is lean and mean and at least if you need a few specific features, you can develop or add a third party plugin that hooks right into place and probably won’t have to be thrown away when that next version comes out.

All in all, we’re thrilled and very optimistic about the results. Moreover, bye bye CS-Cart and we’re not looking back. Nothing will ever be exactly everything you want in software. We’re not naive to the challenges of building complex systems, especially for eCommerce. We’re not going to bash CS-Cart as an application, and they were very nice during all the empty promises they didn’t keep. It’s just that maybe we grew apart. Maybe we thought it best to see younger, sexier applications.

WorldsBestHeader

The future of Go Media’s Arsenal

We are very excited about what comes next to the Arsenal. What was originally a veritable clearing house for rejected design concepts from Go Media had set the stage for what is now a major segment of our industry. You deserve better from such veterans. We all do. We’re committed to restoring our position as a leader and trusted source for premium graphic design resources.

We want to make your work lives easier without compromising quality. We want to empower creatives with tools and tricks of our trade as well as provide opportunity for the best to join our efforts. We’ve been inviting our favorite designers to now sell their own resources in the new marketplace. We welcome upcoming talent to show us what you’ve got. We may be able to help you become recognized and clear a nice profit in the process.

We ask ourselves every day, what are we doing to change lives? After last year’s WMC Fest which we tagged “3 days to change your life” that’s become an overarching priority at Go Media. We are not interested in copying the trendiest products out there, but to get to the core of what designers like us are really after. We’re committed to providing the best tools, articles, ebooks, inspiration, education and other resources to become the best designer you can be. And not only the best designer, the best Self you can be. Because there’s a lot more to life than Photoshop.

We really hope you’ll join us to help make the new, new Arsenal great. If you’d please take a moment to comment, we would really like to hear your suggestions for what would help you as a designer. We all know that vectors, textures, and templates are a dime a dozen these days but we still face challenges at the helm of creative production.

Now that we have the technology completely within our control and a brand new outlook for the future, what would you like to see the Arsenal bring you?

Packaging Design Inspiration: 50+ Awesome Examples

Here at Go Media, we’re passionate about all aspects of design: web, print, branding and illustration. Some may say we have too much fun, but we’d disagree. It’s just that we believe it’s really important to love what you do. Recently, we were tasked with yet another awesome project – packaging design for Dirty Energy, a brand new energy bar packed with all sorts of goodness.  We enjoyed building upon its core theme, “built from the ground up,” incorporating earthiness into our design. We’ve been collecting packaging design inspiration for our next design – and thought we’d share with you. Enjoy!

Berry Energy Bar

Packaging Design Inspiration

Click on the image for its source

Jones Holiday Bottles
Jones Holiday Bottles
Porter de Glace
Porter de Glace
Helt Packaging by Studio Arhoj
Helt Packaging by Studio Arhoj
Pour Moi Coffee
Pour Moi Coffee
Packaging Design Served' NiceFuckingT-Shirts Packaging
Packaging Design Served
NiceFuckingT-Shirts Packaging by Ilustración: Raúl Urias, Alan Guzmán
Kleenex tissue packaging: Cultures of the world by Carli Herbst
Kleenex tissue packaging: Cultures of the world by Carli Herbst
Make It Pop
Make It Pop by Farm Design
Gravity Coffee Packaging
Gravity Coffee Packaging by Matt Hammond
El Mariachi Red Wine Collection
El Mariachi Red Wine Collection by Steve Simpson
Jamie Oliver's Food Line by Pearlfisher
Jamie Oliver’s Food Line by Pearlfisher
La Vieja Fabrica Strawberry Marmalade
La Vieja Fabrica Strawberry Marmalade
Petit Natural packaging by Isabela Rodrigues
Petit Natural packaging by Isabela Rodrigues
Momiji
Momiji
Muyum Packaging by Tatabistudio
Muyum Packaging by Tatabistudio
Phin & Phebes Ice Cream
Phin & Phebes Ice Cream
Label Design Class on Skillshare by Kendrick Kidd
Label Design Class on Skillshare
by Kendrick Kidd
Jafa Cafe
Jafa Cafe
Rutt Beer
Rutt Beer
Folksaga
Folksaga
Design by Sociedad Anonima for Mezcal Manonegra.
Design by Sociedad Anonima for Mezcal Manonegra.
Buck O'Hairen's Sunshine
Buck O’Hairen’s Sunshine
Tokyomilk
Tokyomilk
YÜMI by Natacha Algani
YÜMI by Natacha Algani
Uinta Classic Series Cans by Emrich Co.
Uinta Classic Series Cans
by Emrich Co.
Teapee Herbal Tees
Teapee Herbal Tees
Waldo Trommler Paint Box Packaging Design
Waldo Trommler Paint Box Packaging Design
Bitches Brew
Bitches Brew
Kitten & the Bear | Chad Robert Design
Kitten & the Bear | Chad Robert Design
Williams-Sonoma packaging by Stout
Williams-Sonoma packaging by Stout
Illegal Burger Packaging Design
Illegal Burger Packaging Design
MIND by Chad Michael
MIND by Chad Michael
Half Moon Orchard Gin
Half Moon Orchard Gin
Stories of Greek Origins
Stories of Greek Origins
Nuts.com
Nuts.com
Honey Hunter
Honey Hunter
Target Gift Card | Invisible Creature Speaks
Target Gift Card | Invisible Creature Speaks
Empire Dogs
Empire Dogs
Mayrah Wine
Mayrah Wine
Santo Habito
Santo Habito
Whitebites by Cecilia Uhr
Whitebites by Cecilia Uhr
Gauss Lamps
Tacos!
Tacos!
2c8a157278eac5120871446c8bd6bea8
Sweets Packaging
Good Fizz by Lydia Nichols
Good Fizz by Lydia Nichols
Beehive Honey Squares by Lacy Kuhn
Beehive Honey Squares by Lacy Kuhn
Yahho bluing
Yahho bluing
Blackbird Tea Nº One: The Moon
Blackbird Tea Nº One: The Moon
Schepps
Schepps
Paint Brush Packaging
Paint Brush Packaging
Ginsters Reinterpretation by Charlie Davis
Ginsters Reinterpretation by Charlie Davis
Nostro by Graphasel Design Studio
Nostro by Graphasel Design Studio
Standard Dress Shirt by Jille Natalino, Elizabeth Kelley, Rob Hurst, Joanna Milewski, Mary Durant
Standard Dress Shirt by Jille Natalino, Elizabeth Kelley, Rob Hurst, Joanna Milewski, Mary Durant
Mera® Goat Cheese Packaging by Stephan Pretorius
Mera® Goat Cheese Packaging by Stephan Pretorius
KOOR - Kalev Chocolate Bar Designs
KOOR – Kalev Chocolate Bar Designs

How to design a great t-shirt (even with minimal design skills) quickly: The Unleashed T-Shirt Pack by Steve Knerem

In design, it seems, speed and quality rarely go hand in hand.

But there are some instances when you can have it all.

Introducing the T-Shirt Mockup Pack

With our new t-shirt mockup packs, you can design a great t-shirt quickly.

Seriously.

Here’s what happens: we hook you up hard core with all of the artwork and mockup files. You take those files into AI and modify the original illustration (if you so choose). Then, you mockup your design in Photoshop with some of the World’s Best Templates (ours of course). Bada bing, bada boom: you’ve got a t-shirt to call your very own.

You have ultimate creative freedom, giving both you seasoned designers, and those of you with beginner design skills, countless possibilities.

Today we unveil…

The Unleashed T-Shirt Design Pack

unleashed-feature-image1
This t-shirt design pack includes:

  • All 9 Vectors created by Steve Knerem
  • Both Original .AI files of this design, offering you 2 color variations from which to work
  • 2 Mockup PSDs: a Ghosted Long-Sleeve T-Shirt and Zipper Hoodie (Back Version)

As a bonus, we throw in a sample of Steve Knerem’s Video Tutorial: Hand Illustration for T-Shirts: Part 1 of 3

I want it now – $17

Take a peek at the goods

2colorvariations breakthedesign_unleashed1

Sample Included
Sample Included

So, umm. What are you waiting for?

Give it to me now – $17

The Number One Myth of Hiring (& How You Can Overcome It)

Hey Go Media Faithful! Here’s another excerpt from my book, Drawn to Business, about the number one myth I’ve found in the hiring process. For more of my insights and actual tools to help you start your own million dollar company, pick up the book as well as its supplemental materials, now available on the Arsenal.

Start my own million dollar design firm.

When to Hire Employees

Simply put, your staff IS your company. And your relative success or failure is frequently a result of the quality of your people. If you think you can hire mediocre people and train them to be great, well, think again. Particularly when you’re small and getting started, the impact of your staff is amplified. A very small business is really more about its people and less about its systems. You need to make sure you’re finding and hiring the very best employees.

Here’s What I Had To Overcome

The Myth: more employees equals more profits.

I had this idea stuck in my head for most of my life; the more employees I have, the more money I make. Even before I was seeing any real return on the hours I was working in my business, I was anxiously trying to hire on employees. The thought was that an employee was like a little engine, churning out profits. The more little engines you have running, the more profit is pouring out onto your company floor. Well, this is a fun idea, but what if your engines produce $1 per hour in profits and what if your engines require $2 worth of gas each hour to run? Now your little money engines aren’t churning out profits, they’re burning money at a rate of $1/hour.

It’s important to blow up the myth in your head that staff will somehow magically make you money. Having an employee is not inherently good or bad for your company’s profits. They may make you lots of money, or they may cost you lots of money. The only real guarantee is that you have to pay them either way. So, before you run out and start expanding your staff…

Get out your calculators

Do the Math: hire what you can afford. Don’t be tempted by that high-priced gun. When Go Media first got started, we wanted to hire the very best employees, so we did. We paid them what they asked for. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford the quality of employees that we hired. We never did the math. We assumed that because they were good designers, somehow their value added to what our firm would produce: the extra income necessary to pay their salary. We had a problem. We weren’t charging our customers enough hourly to cover the employee’s hourly wage. After six months, we were broke and forced to lay off our newfangled employee.

fosterscreativity

So when DO you hire?

When do you hire? A good rule of thumb for hiring is when you have enough money coming in that you can afford to pay that new employee EVEN IF THAT NEW EMPLOYEE DOES NOT CONTRIBUTE ONE PENNY TO YOUR INCOME. If you have any doubt whatsoever about your ability to afford a new employee, you probably shouldn’t be hiring them.

Before you start to scale up your business you need to ask:

  1. “Is this system humming? Am I dialed in? Are we churning out rock-solid profits every month?” Or, are you hoping to fix your system by bringing in more people? Are you bringing on people hoping THEY will be the ones who start bringing in the money? If this is your perspective, then you shouldn’t be hiring.
  2. Another question you can ask yourself when considering whether or not to hire someone is: “Is there historical precedence for their job?” In other words, are you getting regular requests for the job they’re going to do? If there isn’t a proven track record of demand, then I would look to an alternate option to hiring a new employee. Build the demand first, line up the work, and THEN hire a new employee.

bonuscontent

All in all what I’ve found is that more employees do not necessarily mean more profits. Employees are a liability. Whether you’re busy or not, you need to pay them. Wait to hire more employees until the evidence and need is overwhelming.

How about you? What have you found to be the biggest myth in your hiring process? What hurdles have you faced? Join the conversation in the comments below!

For more hiring tips, including Supplemental Materials like “How to Hire the Rockstar Staff of Your Dreams,” head over to the Arsenal, where you can pick up all of our bonus content!

Drawn to Business   How to Build a Thriving Design Firm

Hold onto Your Hats: the Hat Mockup Template Pack is finally here!

Hooray for Hat Mockup PSD Templates!

Ready to realistically mockup your designs and impress the hell out of your clients in one fell swoop?

It’s as easy as picking up the Hat Mockup Templates Pack and popping your design on one of our high-quality, lovingly layered, shadowed and highlighted PSDs, including our:

  • 5 Panel Hat
  • Ball Cap
  • Beanie
  • Cuffed Beanie (Flat View)
  • Cuffed Beanie (Ghosted, Side View)
  • Flat Billed Snapback Hat
  • Headband
  • Pom Pom Beanie
  • Trapper Hat
  • Trucker Hat

Up your game NOW by clicking on this huge link.

 A peek at the goods

Beanie
Beanie
5 Panel Hat
5 Panel Hat
Cuffed Beanie
Cuffed Beanie
Beanie (side view, ghosted)
Beanie (side view, ghosted)
Flat Billed Snapback Hat
Flat Billed Snapback Hat
Ball Cap
Ball Cap
Headband
Headband
Pom Pom Beanie
Pom Pom Beanie
Trapper Hat
Trapper Hat
Trucker Hat
Trucker Hat

What are you waiting for? Head to the Arsenal to step up your game now!

Take me to the promised land!