Misc technical resources

Image Trace : remember a good BEGINNING, not end

Altering text with the ability to create outlines. Once you have “outlines” you can alter it by accessing the individual anchor points. More text altering resources can be to use some of the text effects.

DaFont has so many great typefaces ready to download. If you aren’t sure how to download a typeface – see this post.

Stamp Effect tutorial

Making stars and then creating a custom brush

Music Illustration Poster Design

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It’s our last project… Let’s make it great!

Adobe Illustrator is for illustrators.. In this project, you need to communicate your “illustrative style” by starting from a blank document and using the pen tool, in addition to others, building a cohesive poster design for your favorite band. The poster illustration should be seen as an illustrative ad, marketing a particular performance/location.

Once you decide on your band/group/solo artist, work in your sketchbook to play around with composition, type and color palette. Your aesthetic direction is very important in this project!

Saul Bass: Master Graphic Artist

Alexander Girard: Graphic Artist and Illustrator

50 Amazing Poster Designs

Music Festival Branding Campaign

Typography + Music Illustration

Music Icons

Fort Lauderdale Designers: Iron Forge Press


Choosing a band of your choice, design an illustrative advertising poster combining all of your acquired technical skills so far: THE PEN TOOL, image trace, pattern making, typography, shape builder, the blob tool, recolor artwork, layer/file management, etc. Is an “effect” something you would like to try?

This could be your dream concert, favorite band, with a fictional location/time and date.

Design elements to consider: Composition, basic principles of design (Repetition and Rhythm , Scale and Proportion, Directional Force, Balance, Emphasis, Contrast), Typography, Color Theory.

Size requirements – larger: 13 x 19″ – 18×24″


Great tutorial from Adobe:


Books to reference:

Masters of Poster Design

Gig Posters

1000 Posters from Toulouse-Latrec to Sagmeister

Naive: Modernism and Folklore in Contemporary Graphic Design




Link to Just Like Being There – documentary on Gig Posters (watch it! On Netflix)


BELOW you will see some beautiful student examples from previous semesters!

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DUE: Wednesday, April 27. Last critique and meeting!

Pattern Collection

For your Pattern Design project you are working on a Pattern Collection –

Three DIFFERENT patterns that work within a theme.

Think of all the different ways to find connection – theme, color, line, shape, texture.

Your final PDF file should have 3/4 artboards.

  1. Pattern 1
  2. Pattern 2
  3. Pattern 3
  4. Optional: Choose one pattern to present on a mockup

Mock ups are a powerful tool for designers to use to visually present their designs to the masses. You may choose any direction of where you see your pattern being used – ideas include but not limited to –

Textiles – pillows, bedspreads, towels, etc

Clothing – shirts, hoodies, swimsuits, etc

Products – backpacks, notebooks, mugs, etc

Packaging – tea, wine labels,

Here are some resources for free mockups – but lots of others online too.

Adobe Stock (10 free images)


If you’d like to challenge yourself to something more complex – try Dimension and this tutorial for 3D packaging visualization.

Artboards 101

Patricio had a question about Artboards and I am happy to give you some resources as well as talk about this in class as it directly relates to Project 3 and many future projects.

Think of Artboards as pieces of paper. You can rearrange, you can have one for “sketches” and one for finished design, you can have multiple pages (with different sized papers) and rearrange them.

General help:




Patterns on Patterns

Digital patterning

Watch these Video tutorials:

Adobe help: 

Excellent short video

Another tutorial

  • Objectives: Using the pen tool, shape builder tools and others – create a digital pattern that can be made into a piece of fabric, wallpaper, or other paper goods. (Journal, file folder, etc.) We are also going to learn how to “Recolor Artwork” so you can see your pattern in different color schemes. We will also cover color and color swatches in Illustrator. Pattern Options and Pattern Tiling.

Create a digital pattern repeat in Illustrator using 2-5 colors within the file.


1. Experimenting with: Basic tiling, brick, hexing, and mirroring.

2. Present a ” Pattern Collection” for critique consisting of 3 different patterns with one unifying theme

  • 8″ x 10″ for each of the 3 art boards – final saved as a .pdf and uploaded to our Google Drive

Things to think about:

1. Color palette/harmony

2. Execution: What do you see this pattern being used for?

3. Tech: pen tool, shape builder, arrangement of layers, (overlapping shapes) composition, Recoloring Artwork, scale tool, etc.

4. Stylistic: Abstract, non-representational, representational, whimsical, geometric?

Online Research:

Spoonflower – print on demand by textile designers and artists.

Behance Pattern Design

Rifle Paper Design

Marimekko: Modern Scandinavian design

Real Simple Magazine

And, of course, we can’t talk about wallpaper design without talking about the amazing Arts and Crafts artist and designer, William Morris.

Here are some links to his famous designs:

Victoria and Albert Museum, London: William Morris

Books referenced for this project:

1. Grammar of the Ornament by Owen Jones

2. “Over and Over: A Collection of Hand drawn Patterns” by Mike Perry

3. 1000 Patterns

SCAD grad fashion designer

See below for amazing former student pattern collection examples!

“Glowing” textures

Patricio was asking about how to add texture.. Lots of great ways to add texture to your flat vector work:

Adding image and artistic effects

Some great videos

Grain effect:


Clipping Masks with inserted Textures/Brushes, etc.

Making a Clipping Mask with a transparent texture from Photoshop is a great idea too. This way you can apply the texture to the interior of block text, a closed path or a shape.


Vintage Halftones

Adding halftones can be fun!

Glowing – Inner and Outer Glow:



My #1 advice regarding texture is not to discount the power of OPACITY. Layer, layer, layer, layer!

Wednesday, Feb. 23 : Lab day for Infographics

Today will be a lab day for Infographics – we will meet at 8 a.m. for a tutorial and then work from home to gather information and plan your project

These are the steps I would recommend for this project: 

  1. Research / Data Gathering
  2. Compositional Layout – How are you going to present all this info?
  3. Title Design
  4. Typography + Color
  5. Design Icons/Elements

I’ll also do a technical demo on how to use the “Edit Colors/Recolor Artwork” feature in Illustrator so you can be sure you are certain about your color decisions.

Color support: 


Recolor Artwork



Next week – required email check in. 

Use this above graphic as inspiration for planning! It shows typography, icon design, color palette, etc.

Project 2: Infographics: Chart it.. graph it.. and map it

Infographics Design Project: Charts, graphs and maps: 

Continuing our studies of visual communication, our next assignment is to produce an infographic on a subject matter of your choice. You can approach this from anything to a scientific manner to a humorous/witty manner. Charts, graphs and maps are all part of graphic design – we see them as accompaniment to magazine articles, newspaper spreads and web graphics. Publications from anything such as the NYTimes, to National Geographic, to Maxim use infographics, not to mention countless information based and news websites. Try using a mind map for brainstorming to develop your design approach for this assignment.

Anything from bar graphs, to pie charts, to Venn diagrams, to “pinned maps” to an original idea is acceptable.

You may use hand drawn elements, vector graphics, simple lines and shapes or a combination of several.

See these links for visual research: See Pinterest “Infographics” or “Graphs” Also take a look at Cool Infographics for inspiration.

This site Pop Chart Lab has a bunch of beautiful vector based charts and infographics

Also check out this artist, Chad Hagen for his “Nonsensical Infographics” which I personally love.

First things first: Scour the internet or newspaper or a magazine for an article you think would be appropriate for illustration through an infographic. The best articles include statistics, literal communication devices and images as well as a sense of “measuring”.

Ideas to consider: 1. Monetary worth 2. Usage Statistics 3. Compare/Contrast (Something vs. something else) 4. A “How to” 5. Dissecting an object/idea/concept 6. Top 10 ____ 7. Percentage of _____ 8. Demographics.

Element your design must have: 1. Chart or Graph or Map – or combination of the three. Design must combine images and numbers to balance a sense of measuring.

Second step: Technical: Be sure to watch the following Adobe videos on 

Illustrator Charts/Graphs tutorial

Illustrator chart graph video

Final design: 11″ x 17″ (or longer)  vector graphic design.

See former student examples below:

Due date: TBA

Also – you must turn in a hard copy/web link of the article (if applicable)  you are illustrating.


Here are some great resources on gradients – the new-ish free form gradient tool is a great tool to help you add depth once you are ready.


Gradient tool, panel + color stops

Check out the new gradient annotator and free form gradient tools.

Adobe gradients help

Another good one + adding to the swatches panel.

Additional video  – 4 min.

Excellent branding campaign focused on simple shapes + gradients


Collective Futures