No matter who you are or what your business may be, you will always want your website design to stand out. Having an extraordinary website allows you to stay on the mind of most of your visitors and can help translate how unique your product or service is to someone.
The problem with creating a standout site is sometimes you have no clue where to start. You may have the colors you want, and you may simply have an idea; but as far as it really being unique, you don’t have a single clue. It can sometimes be hard to start with absolutely nothing and try to make it into something that will stick with someone.
Fortunately, there are folks out there who help out by creating fabulous PSD templates to help anyone get started on making a website. The unfortunate truth however, is sometimes, most of these freebies aren’t worth even going through. So, today we’ve created a list of 20 amazing PSD templates to do the sorting work for you and get you inspired with your own website design.
All of these PSD templates are free. Please read the license agreements carefully before using the PSD’s exclusively for commercial use.
This is a great place to start off this round-up as this template comes in 9 different colors and is absolutely free. The design is very clean and clear and leaves a lot of room for excess developments.
- 16 PSD files; 9 different color schemes.
- Doubles as a Photo Gallery.
- Well organized for easy editing.
This is a one page template, made with most designers and creatives in mind. Showing off a very clean design and use of trendy elements, this is a no-brainer for any one looking to begin on a single page portfolio.
- Uses 960 px grid system.
- Designed contact form.
- Comes with complimentary social media icons.
Ecommerce Web Template
When doing e-shops and e-commerce, it can be pretty challenging to think of new ways to reinvent it, but this template here has done great at making a welcoming and fun website. A great start for a creative, fun, or family product.
- Fresh, bright, clean design.
- Comes with necessary buttons and icons for a web shop.
- Uses standard fonts (Arial and Rockwell).
Redux Business Website Template
Perfect for pretty much any product or service, this clean web PSD pretty much comes with everything you need. You can use it as is or put your own little spin on it.
- Flawless design, easily customizable for all.
- Leaves room for lots of modern features (slide shows, video screen shots, etc.)
- Well organized for easy editing.
3D Creative Layout
The navigation of this particular template is the star here–and when coded you’d probably use a script that makes it work similar to most Mac navigation. It’s a very creative concept and can be widely used.
- Super unique layout.
- Includes several icons.
Church Website Layout
This is a pretty self explanatory template, with a great layout and attention to detail. It doesn’t just make it look like you’re just going to ‘church’, but to an ‘experience.’ This template could work well with churches as well as bands and musicians.
- Fully designed photo slider.
- Social media icons included.
Agregado LifeStream Theme
This theme is not only a PSD, but it is also a WordPress theme. Fortunately, we all don’t use WordPress, so the PSD is available. This is another versatile template, with a wonderful color scheme.
- WordPress theme is free as well.
- Fully designed contact form, comments and tags.
- Uses standard fonts.
Modern Design Studio Template
Textures can add that extra ‘umph’ to sites and this template demonstrates that well. Playing around with textures pretty well without crossing the line and over doing it.
- Modern, usable design.
- Uses standard fonts.
Creative Portfolio Template
This is a super crisp and clean template that utilizes a really fresh take on portfolio layouts, not to mention the design is pretty much impeccable. This is definitely a template to keep near by.
- Resizing is easy with ‘Smart Objects’
- Includes useful social media icons.
- 6 PSDs; Home Page, About, Contact, Services, Blog Post, Blog Entries.
Events PSD Template
A one page website that is a great splash site or small site for upcoming events. You’re able to show off exhibits or performers/speakers as well as get your audience to purchase tickets. This is a nice, quick fix for many website needs.
- Extremely unique design.
- Uses 960 pixel grid system.
- Fully customizable contact form and purchase buttons.
Yellow! Minimalist Blog Template
Minimalism is a style that can work for almost any person or product. Here, we have a nice simple blog template, with a wonderful pop of color.
- Unique one-column design.
- 2 PSDs; Home Page and Inside Page.
- Minimalist design
A good mix of crisp, clean and beautiful work. This template uses a very sophisticated color palette, and also has a nicely thought out layout.
- 2 PSD files; Home Page and Inside Page.
- Includes useful icons.
- Extremely versatile design.
This template brings a fresh look at websites, especially their headers. Boasting a colorful palette with clean design elements, this is a great site for agencies or designers.
- 4 PSD files; Home Page, About, Contact, and Work.
- Creative and grungy design.
- Comes with icons and designed contact form.
This template sports a very unorthodox layout and design for an education website, but in a very good way. It could use some help as far as the typography is concerned, in regards to making all that clearer; but this template is a great start.
- 2PSD files; Home Page and Inside Page.
- Unorthodox and fun layout.
- Uses standard fonts.
Digital Rust Template
With seven different PSDs, and a very fresh look at website design, this template is nothing short of awesome, and is extremely high quality. This is a great template if you are looking to do something new without straying too far away from the basics.
- 7 PSD files; Home Page, About, Work, Work Item, Contact, Blog Post and Blog Page.
- Easy resizing using ‘Smart Objects’ and shapes.
- Well organized for easy editing.
This is a rather simple template, but the detail in the template’s design is extremely noteworthy. Great for small businesses and designers alike!
- Uses stand fonts.
- Versatile template.
- Easily editable.
Creative Mass: One Page Portfolio
This is a wonderful one page site, with a dark theme–great for artists and small products. The detail here is amazing.
- Uses 960 pixel grid system.
- Includes complimentary icons and buttons.
This template is great for businesses centered around technology. The design is exceptionally modern and serves as a great starting point or as a complete site.
- 3 PSD files; Home page, Inside page and Contact.
- Fully designed contact form.
Grunge Designer Portfolio
While this was made to be a web designer portfolio, one could easily extend the uses of this to work with businesses and products. This is a great template to get you started with your site.
- Textures and Icons available on Template Webpage.
- Customized image slider.
Cafe and Restaurant Template
This template has a very nice color scheme and is very well thought out as far as the layout for all things restaurant. It makes good sense and the design draws you in very easily.
- Stylish design for restaurants.
- Uses 960 pixel grid system.
- Well organized for easy editing.
How’d You Like It?
Being creative is extremely important, so hopefully this collection of PSD’s can catapult you to an area of success. As mentioned, these are great starting points or even ending points depending on what you like (make sure you check the license). If we missed an excellent PSD template, feel free to let us know! Also, leave us a comment and tell us which one was your favorite.
They say that ignorance is bliss and knowledge is power but somewhere between these clichés there’s a spot reserved for individuals who possess a little too much knowledge to be blissful but still only enough knowledge to be dangerous.
SEO, as an industry, is known unfortunately for the mass of rumours, myths, mistruths and unscrupulous gurus. This in part stems from the search engines’ unwillingness to discuss their algorithms (this lack of disclosure is completely understandable). This breeds a culture of myths where newbies and veterans alike get caught out by nothing more than hearsay that gains traction.
The aim of this post is to try and dispel some of the more widely held SEO myths:
#1 – Google is the Only Search Engine
Google may be the largest search engine but you shouldn’t ignore the others. Image Credit
It sounds ridiculous to say and whilst Google is the biggest of the search engines, Bing has certainly cornered a fair percentage of the market – some say as high as 30% of all US searches are powered by Bing. This means that while you should undoubtedly concentrate your SEO efforts on pandering to Google, you shouldn’t completely ignore Bing.
Many of the techniques and principles are the same across the search engines but you should also do things like register your website over at Bing’s Webmaster Center Tools.
#2 – You Need to Submit Your Website to Google
This is a myth that has been around as long as Alta Vista.
There are hundreds if not thousands of hosting companies, SEO companies and web designers offering to ‘submit’ your website to all the major search engines – and charge you for the privilege.
The fact is you just don’t need to submit your website to Google or any other search engine. Inclusion in search engines is free and usually automated. Google very often finds and indexes your website as a result of visiting a link contained on another web page.
#3 – You Can ‘SEO’ a Website Just Once
Search engine optimisation is rarely a one-time thing – we understand why people hope it is, since cash, particularly in small businesses, is precious. However, a website’s search engine performance needs regular attention.
This might sound like the plea of a salesman pitching a monthly retainer but the simple fact of the matter is that Google et al tweak their algorithms and search results constantly, not forgetting the fact that your competitors are likely to be investing in improving their websites too.
All of this can have a dramatic impact on your website’s performance in the search results. If you’re not investing in SEO on a regular basis then you’re falling behind.
#4 – You don’t need to worry about SEO
There are some people who will tell you to completely disregard SEO, saying that they’ve never given a fig about the search engines in their life and they’ve done alright.
Granted, some brands, rockstars and superstar bloggers can get away with not bothering. For everyone else however, optimising your website and working towards better search engine visibility is essential. Whilst you shouldn’t do things or make decisions solely on the basis of search engines, you should certainly contemplate them and understand how they work and what they look for because they are a truly astounding source of traffic.
#5 – Your Rankings Don’t Matter
The advent of personalised search results has reduced the importance of rankings somewhat but they aren’t obsolete by any means. They may not give you a 100% accurate picture but they are a fair indication or approximation of where your website ranks for the majority of users.
We understand why this myth came to be, and we accept that any SEO worth their salt should be focusing their attention on more than just rankings these days; overall search visibility, conversion rate and search engine traffic are core success metrics in many’s eyes.
But don’t forget that the lion-share of searchers will leave Google via the first page of results so knowing where your website sits is a very useful indicator indeed.
#6 – An XML Sitemap Will Boost Your Rankings
We imagine this started life as the perfectly legitimate advice that having a sitemap is a good idea from an SEO perspective – it certainly is a best practice.
However, whispers across forums and blogs likely transformed this into the myth that a sitemap would boost your rankings. The suggestion that a sitemap will give any page on your website a boost is pure fiction – search engines use your sitemap to learn about the structure of your site and to increase coverage of your webpages.
#7 – Keyword Domains Trump All Other Tactics
Keyword domains don’t hold the same power as they once did. In fact, the idea is somewhat dated. Image Credit
In case you are wondering, a keyword domain is a domain that includes a keyword you wish to target, for example cheapwidgets.com.
Registering a keyword domain was, at one time, a reasonable SEO strategy (not one that we favoured, but nobody can deny that it worked) however since Matt Cutts announced in 2010 that Google would be looking into why keyword domains rank so well and the search engine’s subsequent ‘tuning down’ of the power of keyword domains, this has become a far less effective strategy.
We will accept that in some markets it will still work but this isn’t going to be the case for very long since in most verticals and particularly on competitive keywords, Google has all but wiped out the keyword domains that didn’t really deserve the rankings they had suggesting they’ve gotten wise to the tactic.
If you’re looking to establish a solid foundation for your website then it is far smarter to opt for a brandable and memorable domain rather than attempting to shoehorn your target keywords into a long, often hyphenated, difficult to remember and spammy looking domain.
To be clear, if you own a keyword domain, it’s not going to count against you, you just need to embark on a proper promotional campaign including link development and social media marketing in order to build the authority and profile of the website.
#8 – Copying a Competitor = A Strategy
There is a widely held belief that firing up OpenSiteExplorer and taking a look under the hood of your competitor’s website constitutes an SEO strategy – it really doesn’t.
Replicating your competitor’s link profile or search strategy is rarely a smart move and may even count against you. This is because a technique or linking method that works for them may not work the same way for you.
There’s nothing wrong with learning from your competitors, as the old saying goes “Learn from the mistakes that other people make” and with the wealth of data available, it is a smart move to understand what your competition is doing and develop your strategy accordingly.
#9 – Meta Data is Worthless
Less important, yes. But worthless? No.
We’ve seen Google ignore meta titles and descriptions when it thinks there is a better one to use but by and large it will take your hint as to what the page is about.
Wouldn’t you much rather your preferred title and description were used rather than what Google can pull from the page itself? Meta data is your chance to convince searchers to clickthrough – it is your platform to engage and standout.
With the launch of Google+, each time a link is published on the social network, a title and description is scraped. If your website doesn’t have any data then Google will pull in whatever it can find, and your link could end up looking pretty ugly.
#10 – You Can Learn SEO by Reading Up
In every industry there are ‘gurus’ and the world of SEO is no different – wannabe experts who’ve got their website ranking for a brand term and suddenly think they’re qualified to teach others “how to get page 1 rankings”.
There are some gurus out there who spend more time theorising, pontificating and regurgitating opinions of others than they do actually SEOing, consequently their knowledge and advice often leaves a little to be desired.
Be careful who you take advice from and try to divide your time 10/90 so for every 10 minutes you spend studying SEO you should spend 90 minutes actually doing it. The best way to learn SEO is to experiment yourself.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some sharp minds out there, in fact there are many SEO blogs out there worth checking out.
With Google’s recent announcement that they will support the rel author attribute, trust and authority will start to play a bigger role in SEO in the future. This should help to increase the visibility of the true experts out there – which will be a good thing for everyone.
#11 – Google Adwords Can Hurt/Help Your Rankings
There is a definite conspiracy theory that advertising via the Google Adwords platform somehow impacts on your organic search rankings. There seems to be just as many people who believe the exact opposite. That fact alone should tell you that there is absolutely no truth to this.
Nevertheless, it is a myth that continues to spread despite the fact that Google has reiterated time and time again that “Google’s advertising programs are entirely independent of the unpaid search results.” (source)
It is understandable why some people believe this to be a fact but in reality having worked on close to 250 campaigns (which included a mix of SEO and PPC), honestly, there is no visible correlation whatsoever between Google Adwords spending and organic rankings.
#12 – Google Will Never Figure Out What I’m Up To
Be very mindful of the footprint you are leaving… Image Credit
Google is very advanced – there are undoubtedly some areas they could improve on – but by and large as each year passes their algorithm gets smarter and smarter in order to deliver better and better results for users.
Find the balance; develop a strategy that gets the results you want without pushing it too far and earning yourself a penalty or worse still a ban.
Google is very quick to recognize patterns in linkbuilding for example; if they detect anything unnatural or untoward then you could be in for a nasty shock.
With the recent Panda update, Google has also advanced a great deal in the way it views content; it has certainly gotten better at identifying duplicate and thin content. One could even argue that Google, is now very close to ‘understanding’ what makes content high-quality, making the need to be an authority and true expert in your market an ever increasing necessity.
Be mindful of the footprint you are leaving – build for the long term where possible and if you are going to dabble in the edgier tactics then make sure you know what you’re doing.
#13 – Scraping is a Content Strategy
Despite all the recent Panda update noise in the online marketing world, there are still some webmasters out there that are scraping content.
If you don’t know what scraping content is then in essence it is a process whereby content is pinched from a website and republished on another.
Filling your website with other people’s unique content does not constitute a strategy; it will get your website flagged for spam probably faster than any other tactic.
We readily accept that sometimes scraped content outranks the original but this occurs more and more infrequently. To see scraping as a viable content creation technique is unethical, often illegal and just plain crazy.
Google and Bing actively encourage creating high-quality content and since the good stuff tends to be what attracts and engages real people then common sense tells us it will always be the best strategy.
#14 – Keyword Density Rules
We simply had to include this one. Despite this myth repeatedly being buried, keyword density always seems to find its way into the conscious minds of newbies and intermediates alike.
Back in the early days of search engines, there was a magical keyword density percentage that each page should fulfil in order to rank well. If things weren’t going well, you’d just add more keywords, simple.
The effectiveness of this technique died out a long time ago and yet we still see websites trying desperately hard to jump through a hoop that doesn’t exist.
Write for humans whilst interweaving keywords naturally into your text. Saturating your copy with keywords is a shortcut to switched-off visitors.
#15 – You Should Crank Out as Much Content as Possible
Creating content, unlike working on the factory floor, is not about sheer output quantity. Image Credit
There was a time where churning as much content out as possible was an arguably effective strategy. Want to target a new keyword? Just create a new page, rehash the text from a closely related page and Bob’s your uncle; you’ve got some extra-long tail search traffic.
However, since Google rolled out their Panda update (which they’ve labeled a high-quality sites algorithm) they issued some guidance as to what they expect high-quality might look like.
They published some questions that help you to better understand Google’s mindset when they set out the aims of the Panda update. One of these questions was:
“Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?”
This is a direct attack on the aforementioned strategy and gives you all the more reason to consolidate your unruly content archive into a neatly organised, engaging and informative series of knowledge hubs – your visitors will love you for it too.
Publish content that adds value for the end user rather than content designed solely to feed search engine spiders – the spiders have lost their appetite for junk.
#16 – There’s an Ideal Wordcount
We can’t say for sure the actual origins of this myth but the truth is that there really isn’t a wordcount requirement for SEO.
If you produce a piece that is too short then you run the risk of not covering the topic in enough detail which can be a turn off for the people reading it and can also be a turn off for the search engines.
If you produce a piece that is too long then you run the risk of it being perceived as boring or un-readable which will have a negative impact on the social/viral capabilities of the piece – which could have a knock-on effect to your rankings. A long and boring piece of content may also prove a complete turn-off to visitors who immediately leave your website; this ‘bounceback effect’ will impact on user data which Google then reworks back into how it ranks your website.
The answer is that you should produce content that is just right – no need to worry about how many words it is, just cover what needs to be covered, edit and proofread it then publish it in a user-friendly format.
#17 – It’s All About Great Content
We truly wish we could tell you that Google and Bing were smart enough to recognise great content alone –we could all build fantastic websites and people would flock to our doors to devour our content.
Sadly, we’re not quite there yet and whilst high-quality content is a big (and ever-growing) part of SEO, it isn’t the whole shebang. You’ll still need to get involved in other areas if you are going to succeed in the search results.
Having an attention strategy for your website and content is paramount to SEO – without it, any time or resources invested in content will potentially be wasted.
#18 – PageRank is the Only Metric That Matters
Google has long been telling us not to obsess over PageRank (PR) and yet many continue to do so. It just isn’t the metric it once was.
Sure, it is interesting as a concept to understand and it’s interesting to know the published PageRank (See myth #19) of your own website but don’t judge everything you do by PR.
There are over 200 ranking factors that Google uses to determine where your website appears in the search results, PageRank is one of them and is therefore only a very small part of your website’s performance.
When it comes to building links, it can be easy to get drunk on the PageRank as you seek out ‘high-PR’ websites to attain links from but remember that there is more to a link than its PageRank; think traffic, neighbourhood, context, type and position to name but a few link quality metrics.
#19 – Toolbar PageRank and PageRank Are the Same Thing
To many, PageRank is PageRank but in actual fact it has long been accepted that there is a published PageRank, often referred to as toolbar PageRank, and an internal PageRank which Google uses behind closed doors and doesn’t actually publish.
Toolbar PageRank, inherited the name because of its appearance in the Google toolbar, is actually a snapshot of internal PageRank data so is very often out of date since it is only updated intermittently throughout the year.
This added confusion helps to reinforce the point that you shouldn’t ever see PageRank as the king of all metrics.
#20 – Quantity of Links is What Matters
Building links isn’t just a numbers game, it’s a metrics game – relevance and quality are more important. Image Credit
This myth stems from the principle that a link was a vote for your website and therefore the more votes (links) your website got; the more popular it must be and therefore should rank higher.
Sadly, not all links are created equal.
We can see why some people are quantity obsessed when it comes to links because as consumers we have been brainwashed to assess value by volume; big household brands have drummed into us that more = better. However when it comes to building links, it’s the quality that counts.
#21 – No-follow = Not Worth It
The no-follow attribute provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines not to follow any links on a page or a specific link on that page.
It tells the search engines that you don’t editorially vouch for the website you are linking out to and therefore no anchor text, PageRank or any of your website’s authority should be passed on. No-follow is in essence contraception for links.
This has led to the widely held belief that a link that is no-follow is not valuable. In my opinion, links that are no-follow are still valuable for two reasons:
Many leading websites no-follow their links but the traffic and exposure opportunities alone still make the link worthwhile.
Furthermore, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that search engines assess how natural your link profile looks and since generally speaking a website will pick up some no-follow links naturally, it would look wholly suspicious if your link profile consists only of do-follow links. (See myth #12)
The fact is that search engines and their algorithms evolve all the time but the fundamental principles remain almost the same – create a high quality website that delights, engages and provides value to an audience whether that be your readers or your customers.
That is All
So that does it for this myth-busting look at the world of SEO. What SEO myths have you heard that were not discussed? Which of the myth-busting dissections do you disagree with? Have you fallen victim to any of these myths before? Hit us up in the comments and let us know!
When in search of inspiration, one recipe that tends to always produce successful results is to look at the world around you in a different light, so to speak. This flipped perspective can often lead our thinking and creative processes out of the box, as we see things differently than we normally would. Photographers are fantastic at doing this with a simple location change. By taking their subjects and submerging them in water, or seeking them out under the sea, photographers make some truly stunning captures.
Welcome to our inspirational showcase of underwater photography. These photographers provide a look at a world that we tend to not have access to, and they breathe new perspective into areas we regularly turn to for inspiration, all by taking their lens beneath the surface of the water. We hope you enjoy these often breathtaking and emotive captures.
Under the Sea
Most people think of a yogurt brand when they hear, “Swiss style.” As designers, we may be a bit more familiar with the Swiss school of design. Some call it the evolution of modern design. Others may think of it as just a step to where design style is now. Both may be correct.
Josef Müller-Brockmann (May 9th, 1914 – August 30th, 1996) is considered one of the key players in the Swiss School of international Style. When one considers the time of his career, which included the Second World War, the Cold War and the growing influence of a Europe on the mend from destruction and fear, he certainly influenced not only a design style that influenced designers on a global scale. It was a time of rebirth for many nations that lay in ruins, rebuilding and rethinking centuries of tradition that were forced to change due to the brutality of war and cruelty.
Müller-Brockmann was more than just a man who sought to form what is now labeled the Swiss School; Constructivism, De Still, Suprematism and the Bauhaus, all of which pushed his designs in a new direction that opened doors for creative expressions in graphic design, influenced him. Among his peers he is probably the most easily recognized when looking at that period.
Perhaps his most recognized work was done for the Zurich Town Hall as poster advertisements for its theater productions. The work is graphic, rather than illustrative. Some critics say these posters created a mathematical harmony, which reflected the harmony of music. If one studies posters before that time, they would probably all agree that these are a bold and different way to play to visual messages dealing with music. Who would think of such a graphic? Who would dare execute such work at that time? If you look at the jazz and fusion albums in America at the time, you can see Müller-Brockmann’s influence.
The Grid System: Constrictive Or Freeing?
His design sense of the 1950s aimed to create posters that communicated with the masses. This was no small feat as the pieces had to communicate across a language barrier, with English, French, German and Italian speaking populations in Switzerland alone. It was the harmony and simplicity of these pieces that influenced a post-war world that had lost the sense of central nationalism and gained a lesson in the need for globalization. Müller-Brockmann was soon established as the leading practitioner and theorist of the Swiss Style, which sought a universal graphic expression through a grid-based design, purged of extraneous illustration and subjective feeling.
The grid was the prioritization and arrangement of typographic and pictorial elements with the meaningful use of color, set into a semblance of order, based on left-to-right, top-to-bottom. According to Wikipedia, the grid system is, “a two-dimensional structure made up of a series of intersecting vertical and horizontal axes used to structure content. The grid serves as an armature on which a designer can organize text and images in a rational, easy to absorb manner.”
Despite that dry description, the page does go on to add, “After World War II, a number of graphic designers, including Max Bill, Emil Ruder, and Josef Müller-Brockmann, influenced by the modernist ideas of Jan Tschichold’s Die neue Typographie (The New Typography), began to question the relevance of the conventional page layout of the time. They began to devise a flexible system able to help designers achieve coherency in organizing the page. The result was the modern typographic grid that became associated with the International Typographic Style. The seminal work on the subject, Grid systems in graphic design by Müller-Brockmann, helped propagate the use of the grid, first in Europe, and later in North America.”
In an interview with Eye Magazine in the winter of 1995 (a year before his death), Müller-Brockmann spoke about what order meant to him:
“Order was always wishful thinking for me. For 60 years I have produced disorder in files, correspondence and books. In my work, however, I have always aspired to a distinct arrangement of typographic and pictorial elements, the clear identification of priorities. The formal organization of the surface by means of the grid, a knowledge of the rules that govern legibility (line length, word and letter spacing and so on) and the meaningful use of color are among the tools a designer must master in order to complete his or her task in a rational and economic manner.”
The KISS Method (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
Müller-Brockmann is recognized for his simple designs and his clean use of typography, notably Akzidenz-Grotesk, shapes and colors, which inspires many graphic designers in the 21st century. As with the French posters in the 1890s, Müller-Brockmann and his peers also attempted to attract customers and sell products with bold, simplicity. The posters that served to attract an audience to events, especially music events and museum exhibitions embraced the abstract geometrical shapes the style is noted for; but it is the public service announcement posters from this time period that have been more noted than in many other periods of design. The simple, clean and graphic messages were, as with the music event posters, able to be understood by viewers with different languages.
Whether you deal with print or digital design, the lesson of Müller-Brockmann is for simplicity being more powerful than a mashup of too many elements. In a time of globalization with the web, it’s imperative that the message be simple and instantly understood by those with different languages and cultures. As with his poster designs, who could not get the message, seeing a speeding vehicle careening towards a small child?
Müller-Brockmann published several books, including The Graphic Artist and His Problems and Grid Systems in Graphic Design. These books provide an in-depth analysis of his work practices and philosophies, and provide an excellent insight for graphic designers wishing to learn more about the profession and creative thought. He spent most of his life working and teaching, even into the early 1990s when he toured the US and Canada speaking about his work.
In this tutorial we will be learning how to create a Magnifying glass in perspective in Adobe Illustrator. When it comes to creating semi-realistic vector illustrations the most important items are to find the easiest way to create them, make sure to create reliability and to try to keep from creating objects with too many anchor points in order to avoid an obstacle in the printing process.
In this tutorial we wont use some of the amazing Illustrator features within the 3D Effect. Using them would make the creation process much easier for sure, but on the other hand there are a few disadvantages we would like to avoid (creating numerous anchor points as previously mentioned). We will try to create a magnifying glass just with the Pen Tool (
P) and a few ellipses. Some details will helps us to improve the illustration.
Let’s get down to business!
We will be creating this.
Creating the Head of the Magnifying Glass
Since we are creating a magnifying glass in perspective we will start with the ellipse. Grab the Ellipse Tool (
L) and create the ellipse as it is shown in the picture below.
Grab the Selection Tool (
V) and rotate this ellipse.
Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the ellipse and move the copy to the left.
With the Direct Selection Tool (
A) select the anchor point on the right side. Hit the Delete key on the keyboard to remove it. Make sure to match end points of the curved path and the red ellipse.
Now we have to close the path. Select the Pen Tool (
P) from the Tool Panel to close the path. Send the new shape behind the ellipse (
Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + [).
Select the ellipse and under the Object select Path > Offset Path. Set the value for Offset to
Repeat the previous step and offset the smaller ellipse for another
-5 pt. Grab the Selection Tool (
V) and move the smallest ellipse to the left lower corner, as it shown on the picture below.
Applying a Color Gradients
Now, it is time to apply some nice color gradients. We have to simulate the look of the metal frame and the look of the magnifying glass. On the following pictures you can see the information about color gradients you can use.
As you can see, a nice color contrast has contributed to the semi-realistic look of the metal frame.
To make the illustration more authentic there is one thing we should not forget, the metal part of the framework that can be seen through the glass.
Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the glass twice and move one of the copies to the left. Select both ellipses and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button.
You should end up with the shape like this.
Apply a linear gradient as it shown on the picture below. The gradient we are using for this part is actually the same gradient we have used for the inner part of the frame. We have adjusted the colors inside the gradient by giving them a nice bluish tone.
Two highlighted edges will improve the illustration. Duplicate (
Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the ellipse twice that represents the inner part of the metal frame. Move one of the copies to the left 1 pixel. Select both copies under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Minus Front button. Set the Fill color of the highlight to
We will create another highlight for the outer side of the metal frame.
Grab the Ellipse Tool (
L) from the Tool Panel and create a small circle. Apply a radial white-transparent gradient.
Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the circle from the previous step and place it on the right part of the metal frame. It will emphasize the metal look of the frame a little bit.
Ctrl / Cmd + G) all the elements.
Creating the Handle
Grab the Pen Tool (
P) from the Tool Panel and create the shape of the handle.
Apply the linear gradient to the handle. Just make sure to create the highlight that will follow the shape of the handle.
Select the Pen Tool (
P) from the Tool Panel and create two curved paths as it's shown on the picture below.
Select the handle and both paths and under the Pathfinder Panel hit the Divide button.
Apply the linear gradient, but make sure to create the same highlight we have created for the handle.
Use the same technique to create one more metal part of the handle.
And our magnifying glass is done. To make the illustration more interesting we will create a nice bit of additional text.
Creating Magnified Text
Let's try to create a magnification effect. You can do it with any shape you like, but we will do it with text.
Grab the Type Tool (
T) from the Tool Panel and type a word (we've used Noupe). You can choose any Font you like.
We will have to edit the letters a little bit. To be able to do that we have to transform them into editable shapes. Under the right click menu select Create Outlines.
Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the letters and Ungroup the copy (
Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G). Remove N and O from the copied word. Change the Fill color of the original letters to green (just to be able to see what we are doing, later we will set the Fill color back to black).
Select all three black letters (u, p and e), scale them up a little bit and move them to the right.
Under the Object select Envelope Distort > Make with Warp.
The Warp Options box will pop up. Set the Style to Fisheye and the value for Bend to 25%. Hit the OK button.
If you are not quite happy with the result you have achieved, feel free to grab the Direct Selection Tool (
A) and to adjust some anchor points. Under the Object select Expand. This way we will turn the letters back into an editable shape.
Now we have to duplicate (Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the ellipse that represents the glass. Bring it to front (
Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + ]) and remove the Stroke and Fill colors. Select the ellipse and U, P, E letters and under the Object select Clipping Mask > Make.
Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + G) the green letters and remove the p and e letters at the end of the word. Set the Fill color for the rest of the letters to black (
#000000) and send them back (
Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + [).
For the end duplicate (
Ctrl / Cmd + C, Ctrl / Cmd + F) the black shape of the handle, apply a nice linear gradient (#FFFFFF to # BDBDBD) and place it as it shown in the picture below.
And our magnifying glass is done!
This tutorial can be a nice practice for creating objects in perspective. If you are unsure how to put all the elements together, feel free to use a reference image (tracing technique can help a lot in this situation). There is one more thing I would like to encourage you about. Take your time when you are applying color gradients. Instead of using Blending Modes and transparency try to simulate a certain look by using the right combination of colors and gradients (just like we did in this tutorial with the part of the metal frame seen through the glass).
If you have any comments or questions please post them in the comments section below. Really hope you like this tutorial. Thank you for following along.
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