Link List, volume 36

This week the focus is on Typography. We’ll look at some apps (games & reference), books, tutorials and freebies. Enjoy some cool type in the summer heat.

Type Tutorials

Typography Crash Course.

A Kerning Master Class.

What font should I use?

Type Films & Essays

Upside Down, Left to Right. A letterpress movie.

The history of Amsterdam’s Curly Letter.

What is Typography all about?

Type Resources

Metatron, a font based on sacred geometries.

Free open-source type? Yes please! The League of Moveable Type.

Free monthly font goodness @Veer.

Modern pictograms.

Bariol, a rounded typeface with lots of use, from decorative to covers to editorial.

Friday Fresh Free Fonts is a regular feature over at abduzeedo, check it out.

The Daily Drop Cap. The experiment is complete, but it’s a wonderful archive to explore.

Type Games & Apps

TypeConnection, a typographic dating game. How do you rate as a match maker?

Fontshop’s FontBook for iPad – 620,000 font specimens for your typographic exploration. Lovely.

Kern Type, the kerning game.

So much fun: I Shot the Serif.

Type Books

10 Essential Books on Typography.

Link List, volume 35

More tutorials to help you refine your skills and master our tools of the trade.



Create a luscious pair of lips from a photo.

 Tips & Tricks

I love the new pattern feature in CS6 and here are a couple of videos demonstrating its use: from Adobe and from Computer Arts magazine.



Make your own 3D Paper Craft calendar.

Setting up and planning a magazine.

Tips & Tricks

Using Fx to simulate stickers & tape.

Typographic Quick Tip: Kerning.



Combining Illustrator vectors and Photoshop to create abstract shards.

Quickly turn a photo into a sketch with Gaussian Blur.

Combine analog textures and hand-drawn art.

Two retro film effects: Fuji Velvia and the Lomo effect.

Tips & Tricks

Adjusting tones with the Dodge & Burn tool.

Enhancing reflections in landscape photography.

The Color Lookup Adjustment Layer.

Link List, volume 34

This week is all about Inspiration and Business. Not everything about graphic design involves software and the blue glow of a monitor.


Amazing star trail photography from the ISS.

Some fictional space inspiration: 23 Coolest space ships from movies & tv.

Retro design from another culture: Japanese matchbook covers.

Pixar’s story rules. How can you apply these to your design work?

Step away from the computer, drop that mouse/stylus and pick up you pencil and go draw something. Great design starts with thinking and thinking is best done with paper & pencil.

And while we’re getting all analog here, why not bind your own books?



Going solo means you do it all. Be prepared to face many challenges.

Just because you’ve gone freelance doesn’t mean you should avoid other freelancers. Get out and meet your peers – they are not your competition.

Avoid these common mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to talk money.

Some tips to save you time and money and even avoid disaster (BACK UP YOUR DATA.)


Get noticed, create a knockout online portfolio.

Now, make sure people visit your site.

It’s a competitive market out there, you need to get noticed.

Everyone wants to get hired, here are some things that will be used to evaluate you. Do you make the cut?


We all spend too much time stationary, it’s a professional hazard. Here are 3 exercises to help with your posture.


Avoid these pitfalls to maintain your creativity.

Productivity killed the design star.

Your email is the best social network you posses.

A to-do list can be daunting. Create a Focus and Ignore list and review them every morning.

Link List, volume 33


InDesign & Photoshop

Working with monotone layouts.




Create a space scene. While this might be something you create, the way the tools are used is what is important to learn. Figure out how you can use these techniques in your own work. And check out Iceflow Studio‘s site for other great tutorials and info.

Another space themed tutorial, this time making a planet using Photshop’s 3D tools.

Make glow effects (and use Transform<Warp) to create an energetic image.

Tips & Tricks

Understanding the Saturation Tools.

I think Curves are the most powerful adjustment tool available. Watch this video and become a Curves master.

Using Quick Select and Refine Edge (love Refine Edge!) to extract an image.




Radial patterns using Type, Transform & Blend.

Tips & Tricks

Quick Web Icons.


Summer Reading List

For the Web Designer, 20 free e-books.

Dig deeper into design theory with this list.


Design Inspiration


I love Jarek’s blend of physical media & techniques with digital. The Adobe Spotlight and his personal site.

A master of personal re-invention, a consummate story-teller and artist, Hillman Curtis passed away in April. Visit his site and explore the body of work he left with us to motivate and inspire us.

Link List, volume 32


Using multiple applications is a great way to get the outcome you want. Here’s a simple abstract line design that starts in Illustrator and finishes in Photoshop.

Creating a grungy blackletter effect using Illustrator & Photoshop.

Here’s another multi app tutorial that starts with custom type in Illustrator and ends with a cosmic scene in Photoshop.

An awesome place for tutorials on all things Adobe is Layers Magazine. I really like this Photoshop 3D tutorial on creating a DNA strand.



Create a bright abstract lines background.

Basic compositing: Fixing bleached out skies.

Masking Transparent Elements.

Tips & Tricks

Creating Neon FX with Layer Styles.

Getting into Layer Styles: Understanding Drop Shadows

Become a Master: 101 Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts.

Design Inspiration


Need to kick start your creativity? Here’s a great project idea: Creative Cards. Maybe it’ll inspire you to re-imagine another common object in your life?

The films of Studio Ghibli as Penguin Book covers. Too bad the Studio Ghibli site isn’t in English…

Postcards from everywhere/nowhere, the Wander Blog project.


The type stylings of Jessica Hische.

An interview with Chuck Anderson, NoPattern.

Link List, volume 31


Tips & Tricks

Quickly create a geometric square pattern (pre-CS6.)

Quick guide to creating icons.


Some great drawing tutorials (article says 45, but 31 seem to be missing.)

Crate a folded text effect.

Make your own leather texture.

Creating hand drawn text with the Blend Tool.



A beginners guide to InDesign.



Tips & Tricks

Quick Instagram effect.

Working with Strokes and Fills in Photoshop CS6.

Speed up your photo editing workflow. From Bridge, to RAW to Photoshop.

Exploring Blend Modes: Hard Mix.


Interested in Photoshop 3D tools? Here’s a great place to start: Photoshop Dimensions.

I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but it’s a great resource: Photoshop Basix.


Business Matters


Some things to ponder before becoming a freelancer.

The paths to freelancing.

How to determine your rate.

Some more things to consider when setting your rate.

Motivation & Time Management

Start with organization.

Finding & Keeping focus.

Link List, volume 30



Create a beautifully detailed eye from an image.

Chunky, line art style portrait.

Making a geometric op-art poster with random colour fills using Illustrator’s ExtendScript toolkit.

I do love a nice text effect. Here’s some Gothic Linework Typography.

Tips & Tricks

CS6 enhancement: Image Trace.

Adding Character with the Stroke tools.



Creating Clipping Paths in InDesign.

Making PDF forms.

Tips & Tricks

CS6 enhancements: Content Collector.

CS6 enhancements: Liquid Layouts.



40 tutorials on Repairing & Colourizing old images and some retouching basics.

Tips & Tricks

CS6 enhancement: Oil Paint filter.

CS6 enhancement: more powerful Layer groups.

CS6 enhancement: Adaptive Wide Angle filter.

Cool tricks with Shadows.

And for a more detail, Understanding Inner Shadows.


Camera RAW is magic, but how much can it do?


Trends in Typography.

Design Reading List

Graphic Design: History in the Writing looks like an awesome collection of essays.

Link List, volume 29


Tips & Tricks

Multiple page sizes in a single document: Mastering the Page tool.

InDesign Keyboard shortcuts.

A years worth of Tips & Tricks from CreativePro.

Black is Black, right? Not when you’re going to print. Get a handle on the different shades of Black.


Setting up a Baseline Grid for good typography.

Where do I get such fabulous toys? Check out Noupe’s InDesign Toolbox. It’s got links to InDesign focused sites, tutorials and other resources.



Create glowing disco lines.

Make a retro triangle pattern.

Create Isometric Grid 3D lettering.

70 great tutorials for making your type pop and other tutorials to make you an Illustrator master.

Mastering your tools: 35 tutorials focusing on specific Illustrator tools.

Welcome to the 3rd dimension: create a 3D airplane.


Tips & Tricks

Fun type treatments with 3D postcards.

Using Layer Comps to improve your workflow.

Using the Lens Blur filter.

Using tools on Smart Object Layers.


Create Liquid effects.

And just in time for summer, how to create an elephant sundae.

Design Process

Thoughts on Design: Essential Reading

Keeping up on your game, a summer reading list from Frank Chimero.

Design is a job. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Branding and Logo Design

Tips for crafting the perfect logo.

More thoughts on logo design.

And a reminder that Branding is more than a Logo.

Can you use math to solve design problems? Why of course you can!

Link List, volume 28

This week I’m trying to establish a more general format for the Link Lists. I’ll present 3 or more categories relating to Graphic Design with emphasis always on the beloved Trinity of software (Illustrator, InDesign & Photoshop) supported with business, inspiration and other related links.


Create a very cool badge with some creative combination of a simple blend and masks for complex details.

Getting the most out of the Blend tool.

Create a Spiral Blend.

Working with Envelope Distort.

50 tutorials to help you master Illustrator.


Creative uses of the Curves Adjustment Layer.

Creative a Film Edge Burn look with Curves.

Using Curves to control skin tone.

And a companion video to the last, Retouching Skin.

3 Ways to improve an image (or text) if you absolutely have to enlarge it.

10  photo-illustration tricks.

Business Matters: Tips for Freelancing

Is Freelancing right for you?

Resources for the new Freelancer.

How to deal with some common Freelance perceptions.

Guidelines for getting paid.

Working from home? You need to stay productive.

So you’re making money as a freelancer, now what? These tips are specific to the US, but the advice still stands no matter where you live.

Link List, volume 27

Creative Suite 6 & Creative Cloud

It’s official, Creative Suite 6 is available as of yester day (May 7) and Creative Cloud will be launched May 11 – Friday. Can’t wait.


Here are a bunch of InDesign Tips, Tricks and Tutorials that I’ve been hoarding. Time to share them.

Working with type:

Using your First Baseline to perfectly align type.

You’ve set your Baseline control, now to vertically balance columns to avoid widows & orphans.

10 tips to help you master typography.

Advanced Typography primer, covering Special Characters & Glyphs (including Keyboard Shortcuts.)

Text Wrap & Fit Content options explained.

Tips, Tricks and Tutorials

InDesign Basics: (Everything) You need to know starting out with InDesign.

Book mark this page: InDesign Magazine’s Tip of the Week.

Mastering Master Pages.

The Perfect Page: Grids that create harmony.

Building your grid: How to construct a Penguin book cover.

Mind the Gap: tools that help align your objects to the Grid.

Create a Grid on the fly using Live Distribute.

Find yourself using the same elements over and over again? You need to harness the power of Snippets.

Using Anchored Objects to make your Tables stand out.

Smart Guides, not just in Illustrator.

11 Tricks that will make you more efficient.

Some inspiring tutorials.

Magazine design tutorials.

InDesign & the Web

A web developer’s guide to InDesign as a dev tool.


Common print job templates. (envelopes, door hangers, presentation folders & more.)

Don’t know the difference between a Blind Emboss and Deboss? Check out this Print Terminology Glossary.

InDesign & Creative Cloud

CS6 feature: Content Collector tool.

CS6 feature: Liquid Layout.