Muffin Icon Set

A set of deliciously cute icons in 256 x 256 pixels, which you can easily resize according to your needs.


Download Muffin_Icon_Set here

Baby Elements Icon Set

Cute baby icons. 256 x 256 – easily resizable into smaller icons.


Download baby_elements here

Heart Romance Icon Set

A colorful set of romance icons perfect for Valentine’s Day use. 256 x 256 pixels. Can be resized easily.

Download hearty _romance here

Chirpy Chicks Icon Set

This cute chick and egg web icon set comes ready in a size of 256 x 256 pixels. You can easily resize them into smaller sizes.

Download chirpy_chick_icon_set here

Learn To Draw Cartoons In Ai From Scratch: A Beginner’s Guide

As with anything, practice and patience leads to success. Drawing your own cartoon character is no different. The first thing you should understand is this: don’t be overly ambitious to start off with. Surely you are not expecting an instant Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse at the first try.

3 MAIN TIPS TO REMEMBER – FOR BEGINNERS

1. BEGIN with SIMPLE & CLEAR shapes. Don’t try to make everything perfect yet. As you advance along the way, you will eventually know how to fine-tune the curves, colors, etc. For the time being, at least get a character defined.
2. PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE. There’s no shortcut to success. Don’t be overly ambitious – your mouse isn’t going to look like the one in Ratatouille any time soon.
3. Practice makes perfect. The more you practice and play around with the tools in Illustrator, the more familiar you will be with them. If you don’t know what each tool is used for, first find out, then come back to this page ;)

Today, you will be taking the first step to drawing your own cartoon mouse.

There you have it – your first basic cartoon mouse. Your mouse should hopefully look different from mine, based on the colors of your choice, and variation in shapes. However, DO make sure it at least does LOOK like a mouse ;)

FA files for large format printing efficiently

As the creative director of an ad agency, I’ve come across many a time when designers don’t seem to know how to get their Final Artwork done right. I’m not talking about web design, where no FA is necessary considering web design files should always come as is, in PSD with layers and so on and so forth.

I’m talking about FAs for offset print, and large format inkjet print including billboards, posters, backdrops, buntings…you know what I mean. (It’s my guess that if you’re reading this, chances are you’d be in the design related industry).

In this installment, I will be going directly into large format printing.
It may surprise you to know I’ve come across simple bunting FAs that totaled a heaping 657MB – for 1 design, mind you.

So what went wrong? These are the frequent mistakes often made by designers in preparation for large format print.

MISTAKE 1

Some designers think that FA for large format print SHOULD ALWAYS be prepared in ACTUAL size. Simply because they think it would affect the print quality.

The truth:
WRONG! Take for example, a 2×6 ft outdoor bunting (those you’d normally see strewn across lampposts. DON’T create a 24x74in artwork in ai, for goodness’ sake. (As you should also jolly well know, there’s no “feet” dimension available for you to choose from in Illustrator.) It doesn’t matter if your visual comes with images or contains purely of vector graphics – your visual can easily be created into a 2.4 x 7.2inch size and NOT affect the outcome of the final print.

MISTAKE 2

Based on the above 2×6-foot bunting example, I’ve seen many designers who’ve actually scaled the image right up to EXACTLY 2×6 feet, which is completely pointless.

When it comes to creating FAs containing images, use your common sense. Obviously you’re going to end up having an image file in your FA folder as well. Just ensure that the image size is large enough for the required print. Example: if your image size is 4000×2000 pixels at 300dpi for a 2x6ft bunting, frankly, you can either leave it as it is, or even scale it down to 70% should you want to (either way, without affecting the final print quality).

What you’re going to end up with is this:
1. LARGER file sizes for BOTH the image AND .ai, Quark, InDesign, etc
2. Unnecessary time wasted on saving the large files
3. No sharper / enhanced quality of final print as compared to if the files were smaller.

MISTAKE 3

Images should ALWAYS be saved as a .tiff file because print quality is better.

Truth:
WRONG again! Use a .jpg file for goodness sake. Save yourself the extra and unnecessary time saving the file into a pointless larger format.

MISTAKE 4

Images should ALWAYS come with a .eps extension if linked to illustrator.

My answer:
(mouth wide open) WHY?!!!
I’ve asked a few designers this question, and all I’ve ever gotten was, “well, I was told to in college….”
Oh, OK! Well, now I’m telling you from over 10 years’ experience in the ad industry – NO!

MISTAKE 5

Preferably, images should be embedded.

My answer:
No, no, no. Embedding makes the file bigger, overall. Embedding the image also restricts color collaboration on your printer’s end.
Do yourself a favor – Save the image as a separate file and LINK it from your artwork.

LIES ‘Big’ Agencies Love To Tell

Yup, it’s time to do the breakdown on the many lies the ‘bigger’ boys in advertising love to tell.

And in this instalment……………(Drum rolls) Ta-da!

“You HAVE to send everything that’s going for print through color separation”.

uh-hmmm. I’ve had many clients come to me and asked, “Hey, how much would it cost me if I wanted a set of storytelling posters designed and printed for a roadshow?”

Well, design fees would of course, vary according to every agency, based on reputation, experience, and so on and so forth. And so would the printing costs.

THEN, there would come the incredulous question, “How much would color sep cost me for the posters?”

Huh?! Why would you send POSTERS for color sep? Hehehe.


Digging into the 911s of it all, I discovered that the BIG boys in the advertising industry ALWAYS included a charge for color sep, for literally EVERYTHING, including posters.

Their rationale: “To ensure that the color’s accurate.”
An additional line to persuade clients: “We ‘recommend’ that you do it, because we won’t be able to assure you that the results will be satisfactory if you don’t.”

Well, many clients have fallen for that, and why shouldn’t they? After all, these are big names in the advertising industry and have been around for years. Hence, they SHOULD KNOW what they’re talking about, right?!

Well, the truth is, some of these agencies are big names today simply because they were pioneers. Yup, and because they’re pioneers, they seem to hold on to very conventional working methods; having everything TOO organized and fixed, with no room for flexibility in-between. All departments are properly segregated and follow a standard work-flow process.

  • Account management team visits the client
  • Gets brief from client
  • Returns to agency, writes out a detailed brief
  • Sets a meeting with the media, production, creative team….
  • Then finally a brainstorming session or two
  • Then moving on to the creative department doing some further brainstorming before ‘sketching’ a draft
  • Next comes the execution, of which could be changed a zillion times before the creative director finally gives the green light to go ahead.
  • Creative team gives artwork to the account management team to present to the client
  • And the same cycle continues as clients revert with changes.
  • …snore…snore….more

I am already bored describing the seemingly endless process.

I can understand the need for such detailed organizational work flow perhaps 30 or even 20 years ago, but in the current era with advanced computers and software catering to practically everything, do you really need to go through ALL THAT?!

Following dead routine is belittling to us human capabilities. With modern tech to help us along, we should be more than able to multi-task, which saves time, saves hassles and saves the need going through unnecessary red tape.

So what’s this to do with color separation and posters in this topic, you ask. The bottom line: The big boys claim there’s a need for color sep merely to KEEP the role of the production manager, which means: They ‘look like’ they do more, hence they charge more, and of course, they earn more.

All in all, I’d say despite the big name, strong branding and so-called prestige, it’s time to cut back on all the bullshit and stop taking clients for fools ;)

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