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 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 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.

Monday Link List, volume 17

Copyright/Legal & Inspiration vs Imitation

Can you own a Style?
Understand your rights. This article is from a British publication, but the points are valid.
Imitation. Idea Theft. Portfolios. A provocative read.
Inspiration vs Imitation.


Be the Best, at whatever it is you are passionate about.
Work with Intention: focusing your Interests, Skills & Opportunities.
Managing Failure. In Design, failure is inevitable. What are you doing to learn from it?
Avoiding friction & learning to pace yourself.
Creative Mornings Talk: The Top 10 Things I wish I Knew When I Graduated College.
Things you won’t learn in school.
8 tips for the designer in their first studio job.


Don’t discount those who have come before you.
Ad teachings, a blog that spotlights great communication solutions. (FYI, that’s what good design is for).

Business Practices: Billing.

How to get paid.
A guide to online payment options.
Fuck you. Pay me. A designers message to difficult clients.
Getting Paid, How Much and When? Contracts & Invoices.
Make a Contract. Get a Layer. A little money up front will save you big bucks and headaches later.

Business Practices: Freelance

Freelance Tips from a Hiring Manager.
How to keep the money coming.
Thinking long-term – what’s your retirement plan?

Business Practices: Managing your Business (Got MBA?)

A series of articles on starting out as a freelance designer.

Expanding your Business.

Work Habits

Managing Information Overload.
Avoiding Burnout.

Work Space

Co-working/shared spaces (find a place, or share yours for extra income) and Networking spaces:
HUB Ottawa. 
The Code Factory. 


Who you Know, What you’ve Done and How you Hustle.
Overcome your shyness. Networking and self-promotion are not for wall flowers. But it’s doesn’t need to be a terrifying experience.
5 Steps to Building your Network.