Category Archives for Tutorials

You have your logo- Now What?


So you have a logo. Maybe you had it done professionally, maybe you have a friend who created one for you or you made one yourself! Whatever the case may be, your logo does not make up your brand, infact it is a very small part of your visuals. What makes your visual branding great is seeing all of the small components come together, creating a consistant look and style. That means your website, your business cards, packaging and your social media platforms. So what do you after your designer has handed you your final logo files? Or you need to make your own business cards in a pinch? A lot of times companies don’t have an in-house designer and a lot of materials like blog posts, email blasts, etc, are up to someone who isn’t trained in design to create. Sound familiar?

I experienced this a lot when I first started designing for clients. I would create a beautiful logo for them, hand it off, receive final payment, all was good in the world. Then I would head over to the client’s website to see the beautiful logo I designed for them on top of a completely incohesive website!! EEKK!! All of a sudden my pride and happiness with my work turned to cringing, not wanting to direct anyone to the website to see the logo I did. This is one reason why I stay away from projects that are just logos (there’s always an occasional exception) and try to focus on the branding as a whole.

SOOO all that being said- here are three tips to help keep your visuals looking good across all platforms! They are the basics, and there are tons more I could write about, but these specific three will be the foundation for any work that you are creating and can really make your designs go from zero to hero.

1 // Keep your fonts and colors consistant.

With fonts and colors- I normally group them both into a general rule: don’t use more than four. With fonts, you want to stay away from using the exact same font that is used in your logo, to allow the logo to stand on it’s own and not to get lost in the crowd. Throughout your visuals, choose a font that you will use for your body text, your headers, sub-text, and a highlight font if needed. Try to keep these consistant throughout all your visuals.

For colors- I wouldn’t stray too far from the color palette of your logo. Don’t forget to stick with the 4 colors rule of thumb! I’d go with a light color (for backgrounds and fills), a dark color (for headers and body copy), a neutral color, and a punch color (for the areas that need to stand out). Or just stick to different tints and shades (adding white and adding black) of the same base color. Whatever you do- keep it consistant. I often use the color guide on Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but if you don’t have those programs, some great ways to choose consistant color palettes are websites like Kuler (created by Adobe), The Color Collective, and  Design Seeds.

2 // Stick with a grid.

Whatever you are working on, be it a letterhead, a blog post, or a business card, I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep text and images aligned, as well as consistant borders and margins. This can make or break your design.
If you have an inch border on one side of your letter head, make sure all the sides have an inch border. If you have 25px in between images and text, keep it that way throughout all  your blog posts! Keep the end of all visual
items aligned.
3 // Keep it simple! 
I can’t stress this enough. Don’t be afraid of negative space. Instead- EMBRACE it! The key to good design is knowing how to use space, not filling every inch of it up. White space is good. It’s great actually. With so much to look at on the internet, so much competition for our minds and time, people want something that has a clear, consistant message. Simple and easy to understand. With breathing room. Don’t crowd, oversaturate or confuse. Keep. It. Simple!!!

And YES YES I KNOW- there are many examples where people have broken these rules and made it work- but you have to know the rules in order to break them! So stick to these three simple steps and as you get better, you can start to experiment and break them! Woo Hoo!!

PS- hiring a designer means you don’t have to worry about any of this! wink wink..

 …

22. May 2013 by Joanna
Categories: Design, Tutorials | 15 comments

My Favorite Photo Editing Apps


With so many Instagram users out there, I think it’s important to use another app besides just the filters that the Instagram offers to help your photos stand out in the crowd. I’ve had a few people ask me what apps I use to edit my Instagram photos- so I thought I would share some of them with you today!
VSCO Cam // This is a great app for those who want a great filter on their photos but don’t want to spend the extra time doing major customizations. There filters are very simple and clean looking. Much more beautiful than the ones that Instagram offers.

Afterlight // This is my favorite photo editing app by far. I love the freedom and the options available on this app. You are able to edit photos without the constraints of a 1-10 scale like on VSCO cam. Sometimes I just want a very slight change instead of moving all the way up to the next number. Like a 6.35 instead of a 6 or a 7. But another reason I love this app is because of it’s most recent updates. You can do circles, numbers, instant film filters and more. It’s a blast to play around with. I especially love their numeric and alphabetic filters. I haven’t had any reason to use them yet- but when I do, just watch out!

A Beautiful Mess // We all know the amazing DIY Blog A Beautiful Mess, right?? Well they recently came out with a really fun and creative app for your photos. It comes with cool borders, doodles, and sweet hand drawn phrases. You can read all about the app on their blog here.

Don’t be limited to using these photo editing apps for just Instagram photos. You can also use them to edit your blog pics, or whatever other reason you need photos edited! Have fun!!

Photo sources: VSCO cam, A Beautiful Mess, Joanna Waterfall Instagram

20. May 2013 by Joanna
Categories: Inspiration, Just Lovin, Tutorials | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 comments

Blogging Tutorial | Utilize Pinterest

Happy Monday friends! Did you have some time to rejuvenate over the weekend? I still feel like I could have used more but hey, that’s life! I thought I would start this week off with a tutorial for you bloggers out there.

You may have noticed I recently added a “pin-it” button to my blog. I had been putting it off because I thought I would need to set up a good amount of time to code it and make sure it runs smoothly on my blog. Turns out it’s really simple and anyone with a wordpress blog can learn to make a custom one in a few easy steps! Pinterest is a great tool to use for anyone who sells or promotes their business or product online. Last year Pinterest generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined! (More crazy Pinterest stats here) So that being said- utilize Pinterest as much as you can!

Here’s how you can start! (This tutorial is for WordPress. But if you use blogger, this is supposedly a good tutorial to check out.)

1 // Log into your WordPress blog and select “Plugins –> Add New”

2 // In the “Search” area, paste “jQuery Pin It Button For Images” (There are quite a few different plugins you can use for this, I tried a few and this one worked best for me. And it allows you to use your own “Pin It” image, which is pretty cool when you’re looking to have a cohesive brand.)

3 // It should be the first one to show up under your search, go ahead and click “Install Now” Once the plugin has been installed, go to your blog homepage, scroll over your images to make sure it’s working correctly.

4 // If everything is working ok, head over to your “Settings” on the left sidebar, and click “jQuery Pin It Button For Images”. Here you can adjust your settings like choosing which pages you want the button to show up on, as well as upload your own image.

5 // If you know a little bit of Photoshop, it’s really simple to create your own button. You can also download the free trial of Photoshop to play around and make one. (If you’re serious about blogging, I really recommend purchasing and learning Photoshop, as it’s a great way to create custom layouts and more!)

6 // Create your Button in Photoshop. Open up Photoshop, and create a new document (File —> New). Since we’re creating for web, make your resolution 72dpi. A basic size to go off of is 80 x 80 pixels. (If you want it bigger or smaller, it’s totally up to you- view your doc at 100% and you can see what it will look like to scale)

7 // Design your button! Use fonts and colors that will go with your brand. You can have it be an image of your choice, or simply tell people to “Pin It!” Get creative with it.

8 // Once you have an image created, head back over to WordPress. Your settings window should still be up. At the bottom of the settings you will see an area you can check labeled ”Use Custom Image”. You can upload your image in the “Media” section of WordPress and grab the link to the image. Copy that link and paste it in the “URL address of the image” area in the “jQuery Pin It Button For Images” settings. Once you have the URL in there, write in your height and width of the image you created. (Can be found by going to Image —> Image Size in PS) Once that info is placed in, press “Update Settings” at the bottom of your settings.

9 // Head over to your blog, reload the page, and see your brand new “Pin It” button in action! Look at you making your blog look all official. Relish in your awesomeness.

Enjoy! And if you have a particularly cool button you want to show off- post a link in the comments- I’d love to see what you come up with!…

11. February 2013 by Joanna
Categories: Tutorials | 24 comments

Photoshop Tutorial – Custom Color Palettes

Ever seen a photo and fallen in love with the colors? Me too.
I actually do this quite a bit, and end up saving those photos with hopes that I may use them in the future for a new project moodboard.

Whether you’re an interior designer, graphic designer, blogger, or even just a person who is re-decorating the kitchen, this simple Photoshop trick will be great for you. Take colors from your favorite photos and use them elsewhere. I’ll show you how!

First things first, choose a photo with some great color you could see yourself using for your project. I’m always doing this for logo and branding mood boards, so I’m thinking of an entire brand and what colors represent them.

Open your photo up in Photoshop and click on the “Eyedropper” tool. (For a shortcut, click the letter “I” on your keyboard) Once you have this tool, scroll over the part of your photo with the color you want to grab. In this case, I’m in love with her mustard yellow dress, so that’s the first color I’m getting.

After I click, the color shows up in my color palette on the bottom of my toolbar.

Now I’m going to create a shape with that color. I’m going to use the circle for my swatches, but you can use whatever shape you like! (Shortcut – click “U” to go directly to the shape tool, and “Shift U” to change shapes!) 

Click and drag to create your shape (hold shift for a perfect square or circle) and there you have your swatch! Repeat the same process with different colors and soon you’ll have some wonderful colors ready to be used for your project.

This simple process can come in handy for so many different things. Here is an example of how I use this technique, at the beginning of a branding project while creating moodboards. It helps set the tone for the project and maps out the direction I’m headed!

Have fun! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!

Happy Wednesday friends!



Photo from JCrew Fall 2012 Collection

22. August 2012 by Joanna
Categories: Design, Tutorials | 1 comment

DIY Wine Bottle Animal Stopper

Hey friends! Happy Tuesday- it’s time for another DIY with Grace over here. I’m especially excited about this one. Ever have a bottle of wine that you want to save, but just cannot get that cork back inside? This DIY will help out, and in style :)

What you’ll need:
Glue gun/glue sticks
Cork stoppers
White spray paint
Some animal friends (I bought mine at a farm supply store)

1. Give the little guys their first coat of paint. Don’t worry about covering everywhere, as they will need several coats.
2. Spray another coat onto the animals, and make sure you turn them upside down, side to side and back on their feet to cover every bit of them.

3. After they have dried, take your glue gun and dab an even amount of glue on the animals belly (or directly onto the corks top). Then stick the animal to the cork!

4. Repeat with all of your chosen critters, and let them dry for a minute or two.

5. Pop them on your favorite wine and enjoy their sweet drink savin abilities!…

14. August 2012 by Joanna
Categories: Tutorials | 2 comments

Adding That Personal Touch

Oftentimes I use my own handwriting in my posts. I’ve always loved doing things by hand. When I first changed my major to graphic design, I was literally scanning everything into the computer, (including my own handwriting) just so I could get things looking the way I wanted. I didn’t know the computer very well then, so I felt like it was just stopping me from creating the art I wanted to make.

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Now that I know better, there are so many faster ways to create handwritten work right on the computer- one of them being writing with the magical Wacom Tablet. For someone like me, an ex-fine arts major and a artist at heart, the Tablet is such an amazing tool. I have found that when I’m designing with my Tablet, I feel so much more at one with my computer than when I’m using a mouse. It helps me feel free in my designing, and allows me to work faster.

The reason I tell you all this, is because I get a lot of people asking me how I use my own handwriting in my posts. The answer is the Tablet. Right now I have the Bamboo- which is pretty basic. I got it off of CraigsList for about $40- and it’s worked fine for me for blogging. (I’m investing in a better one for design work!) So if you’re not doing anything too fancy, the Bamboo is an affordable option that works great for adding that personal touch to your blog posts. (Check out CraigsList and Amazon for good deals!)

Once you have the Tablet, this is how I go about adding my writing to a post. Just warning you- it takes a bit of practice to get used to this thing, don’t get discouraged if your handwriting isn’t turning out the way you want it to at first. Stay disciplined and practice it everyday, and you’ll get better. I promise :)
You can always try and do these steps with a mouse as well, I just find it much more difficult- but if you’re ambitious, give it a try!

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1) First things first, I use Photoshop for most all of my posts, sizing the canvas to be the same size as the width of my post section of my blog. Mine is 600 px wide.

2) Choose the brush, brush size and hardness. I normally use a brush size around 1-3px wide. Too much larger starts looks funny. I tend to use the normal brush with the hardness around 80-90%. But there are plenty of brushes you can play around with, including ones you can download online to give your writing a custom look. Some look like paint, others pencils, and some chalk. Play around and see what works best for you.

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3) Once I have my brush ready, I will create a new layer specifically for my writing. This way I can move it around freely and delete it without messing up my photo.

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4) Now it’s time to write away! Since handwriting is personal, it seems more like your own voice projecting the words, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding your caption. If you can’t see yourself saying it, don’t write it!

5) Make sure it’s legible, place it over a part of the photo that makes it easy to read. (Light area of photo, dark color and vice versa)

6) If you want to write something else on another area, make sure to create a new layer and write on that one, so they’re kept separate and easier to edit.

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7) And there you have it! You just added your own little personal touch to your blog- just like you used to do in your journals back in the day!

You’re a Photoshop pro.…

22. May 2012 by Joanna
Categories: Design, Tutorials | 3 comments

Adding That Personal Pizazz

Oftentimes I use my own handwriting in my posts. I’ve always loved doing things by hand. When I first changed my major to graphic design, I was literally scanning everything into the computer, (including my own handwriting) just so I could get things looking the way I wanted. I didn’t know the computer very well then, so I felt like it was just stopping me from creating the art I wanted to make.

Now that I know better, there are so many faster ways to create handwritten work right on the computer- one of them being writing with the magical Wacom Tablet. For someone like me, an ex-fine arts major and a artist at heart, the Tablet is such an amazing tool. I have found that when I’m designing with my Tablet, I feel so much more at one with my computer than when I’m using a mouse. It helps me feel free in my designing, and allows me to work faster.

The reason I tell you all this, is because I get a lot of people asking me how I use my own handwriting in my posts. The answer is the Tablet. Right now I have the Bamboo- which is pretty basic. I got it off of CraigsList for about $40- and it’s worked fine for me for blogging. (I’m investing in a better one for design work!) So if you’re not doing anything too fancy, the Bamboo is an affordable option that works great for adding that personal touch to your blog posts. (Check out CraigsList and Amazon for good deals!)

Photobucket

Once you have the Tablet, this is how I go about adding my writing to a post. Just warning you- it takes a bit of practice to get used to this thing, don’t get discouraged if your handwriting isn’t turning out the way you want it to at first. Stay disciplined and practice it everyday, and you’ll get better. I promise :)
You can always try and do these steps with a mouse as well, I just find it much more difficult- but if you’re ambitious, give it a try!

Photobucket

1) First things first, I use Photoshop for most all of my posts, sizing the canvas to be the same size as the width of my post section of my blog. Mine is 600 px wide.

2) Choose the brush, brush size and hardness. I normally use a brush size around 1-3px wide. Too much larger starts looks funny. I tend to use the normal brush with the hardness around 80-90%. But there are plenty of brushes you can play around with, including ones you can download online to give your writing a custom look. Some look like paint, others pencils, and some chalk. Play around and see what works best for you.

Photobucket

3) Once I have my brush ready, I will create a new layer specifically for my writing. This way I can move it around freely and delete it without messing up my photo.

Photobucket

4) Now it’s time to write away! Since handwriting is personal, it seems more like your own voice projecting the words, so keep that in mind when you’re deciding your caption. If you can’t see yourself saying it, don’t write it!

5) Make sure it’s legible, place it over a part of the photo that makes it easy to read. (Light area of photo, dark color and vice versa)

6) If you want to write something else on another area, make sure to create a new layer and write on that one, so they’re kept separate and easier to edit.

Photobucket

7) And there you have it! You just added your own little personal touch to your blog- just like you used to do in your journals back in the day!

You’re a Photoshop pro.…

18. May 2012 by Joanna
Categories: Tutorials | Leave a comment

Paper Scraps

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I hate having to throw things away, its something I’m learning how to do.
I just can’t help but think, “I can use these sometime in the future!”
A few years later they’re still in the “I’ll use these one day” box.

I have a ton of paper scraps collected over the years, and have rounded
up some DIY’s on what you can do with those guys! If you have a ton of
scraps you just can’t throw away, maybe try one of these crafts to turn them
into something you’ll actually love and use!

1: Paper Scrap Flowers. Limited only by your creativity.
The uses for these are endless!

2: Recycled Paper Notebooks. Gifts, journals, sketchbooks, scrapbooks.
Fun times.

3: Book Cover and Freshened Up Ruler! Paper scraps can cover an
already existing journal or book, line a ruler that needs a bit of freshness,
or even cover a pencil or scissors.…

15. June 2011 by Joanna
Categories: Inspiration, Tutorials | Leave a comment

Make Your Own Stripey Shirt!

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If your a poor kid like me, love the stripe trend going on right now but can’t afford to go shopping- make your own awesome striped shirt! Refinery29 has this easy DIY on how you can pull this off. I’m not extremely crafty and I think even I could do it- so its kinda exciting. All you need is some tape, black spray paint, and a white t-shirt!

Click here for the instructions!

Easy Peasy! And oh so cute!…

25. May 2011 by Joanna
Categories: Just Lovin, Tutorials | Leave a comment