Making use of Art Brushes in Illustrator

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Since I started working on Dealotto, I've spent a lot of time looking at design resources. Themes, fonts, actions, patterns, plug ins; all sorts of goods. During this time, I've noticed that there's a much larger variety of resources available for Photoshop than there is for Illustrator. This is despite the fact that you can create actions, patterns, styles, textures, and brushes; just like you can in Photoshop.

Instead, I see a lot of what is commonly referred to as "vector packs"—a collection of vector design elements or illustrations. While these have their uses, I've come across a number of packs made up of elements that would benefit from taking advantage of Illustrator's more advanced capabilities. The most common example I see of this is where the designer could have turned elements into brushes.

This got me thinking about whether many people are really aware of how Illustrator brushes work, and how useful they can be.

There are five different types of brushes that you can make use of in Illustrator, but today I want to teach you about one in particular—the Art Brush.

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The year I started selling my own products

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As I mentioned in my review of 2013, I've always loved the idea of creating and selling my own products. Last year, having previously created some free design resources that went on to become quite popular, I decided to start offering premium goods via Creative Market.

I set up my shop in March and since then have released a total of 4 products. So far things have gone well, but to be honest, the last year (or 9 months to be precise) was really just about testing the water; seeing if people were interested in my products and trying to figure out exactly what sort of goods I want to be selling in the future.

I did very little in the way of marketing, simply tweeting once or twice to let people know that a product was available. As you would expect, the results were far from extraordinary, but were enough to get me thinking about what could be achieved if I was to invest a bit more time in my shop.

This year, I'm going to do just that, but before I start talking about my plans, let's look at how my shop has performed up to now.

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2013 in retrospect

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This time last year I wrote a short post about what I had planned for 2013 and spoke briefly about what I hoped to achieve. I thought now would be a good time to look back on it and reflect on what I've done during the last 12 months.

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Google's greatest ever easter eggs

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Google has become well renowned for the easter eggs that it adds to its products and services. Hidden gems that are there to make us laugh, or think; but mostly, keep Google in the news.

Designed to get people talking, get Twitter tweeting and bloggers blogging, Google’s easter eggs are named after the Easter tradition of searching for chocolate, or painted eggs. The intention is to keep us on Google’s sites for longer, and maybe have a little fun along the way.

Today we’re going to look back on some of the best and more memorable examples, check them out and be sure to give them a try yourself.

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Tweaking the logo

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I designed the logo for Sivioco back in 2010 and other than ironing out some issues with the 'S' in 2011, it's remained unchanged. This week, however, I decided it was time to make some tweaks.

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40 really creative business card templates

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If you’re not in the position to photograph your work, product mockups can be a great alternative to showcase your designs. They’re inexpensive, easy to use and relatively hassle-free. The only problem is that finding quality resources takes time.

Luckily for you guys, we’ve decided to do the hard work for you and put together a collection of the best templates, both free and premium, that we could find. 

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The history of typography in 5 minutes

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Designer Ben Barrett-Forrest has created a delightful and informative stop motion animation about the history of fonts and typography.

The History of Typography, which is just over 5 minutes long, covers everything from Blackletter to Caslon, Pixel Type and the way technology has evolved to allow anyone to create their own typeface.

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Sound in user experience design

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Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works…and sounds.

The web is home to thousands of sites dedicated to showcasing great design, but the majority of these are focused purely on the visual, meaning that the audible aspect of design is often overlooked.

It’s an issue that user experience designer and musician, Jordan Kolasinski, addresses with his latest project, Beyond The Beep, a blog described as “a look (and listen) at the use of sounds in user experience design”.

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Inspiring typography from Typewolf

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If you’re looking for a quick fix of typographic inspiration then boy, do I have a treat for you. It comes in the form of Typewolf.

Typewolf is a showcase of typographic inspiration that identifies the fonts used in each of the featured designs. The site is curated by designer Jeremiah Shoaf, whose aim is to create a one-stop resource for designers seeking typographic inspiration for the modern web.

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The Science of Sleep

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Recently I had the honour of making my first contribution to Silver Screen Society by designing a print for the movie, The Science of Sleep.

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Side project: Friends of Type

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Friends of Type is the side project of designers Aaron Carambula, Erik Marinovich, Dennis Payongayong and Jason Wong. The project is an ever growing archive of original typographic design and lettering primarily created by the aforementioned.

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Sell your domains with Namebox

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Namebox is a simple service created by designer Drew Wilson to help you sell your unwanted and/or unused web domains. It’s free to use and is built to make listing your domains quick and easy.

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8 must-watch talks for any creative

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Every now and again I come across a talk that I find to be truly inspiring or informative. Over the years I’ve made sure to bookmark these talks for later reference and now, after recently revisiting my collection, I thought it would be a good time to share those that I believe all creatives should watch.

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The potential of personal projects

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Personal projects allow us the freedom to work on whatever we want, to experiment or to try something new. With no client demands and no set deadlines, the direction and final outcome is entirely down to you. In essence, personal projects give you the opportunity to do exactly the sort of work that you want to be doing. It can even lead to opportunities to do that sort of work on a professional level.

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How to present screenshots of your work

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When it comes to presenting screenshots of your work the most obvious choice would be to use a straightforward screen-grab. Today, however, we’re going to look at some alternative methods and discuss how they might be able to make your screenshots that little more interesting.

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Should you be working with startups?

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For me, working with startups has been a huge learning experience. Over the last two and a half years I’ve experienced working both in-house and as a consultant for two startups, as well as recently agreeing to provide my services to a third. I’m still very much in the early stages of my journey but my experiences have already taught me a lot, and hopefully I can pass on some of the knowledge I’ve acquired.

If you’re thinking about working for a startup but have no previous experience and are unsure what to expect, there are a few things that you need to know.

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12 signs that you're a trendy designer

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As designers part of our job is keeping up to date with what’s happening in the industry, one aspect of which involves keeping an eye on the latest trends. Although it should be noted that ‘keeping an eye on’ and ‘being part of’ are two very different things.

The popularity of things like Dribbble rebounds just goes to show how inspirational we all find other people’s work. But there’s inspiration, and then there’s derivation.

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Side project: The Dead Words

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The Dead Words is a project created and curated by graphic designer Karen To. The idea behind the project is to rediscover dead words — words which were once part of our language but have now been omitted from the English dictionary — through the art of lettering.

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How to transition app designs to iOS 7

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There’s been a lot of talk about iOS 7 since its unveiling earlier this month and most of it has been centered around the design, in particular the new icons. Now, as we’ve all had time to mull over the changes, questions are beginning to be asked about how they will affect the design of our own apps. As a result, a debate has broken out about how much of an influence iOS 7′s new UI should have.

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Side project: Silver Screen Society

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Silver Screen Society is a project curated and maintained by graphic designers Trevor Basset and Brandon Schaefer. The idea is to honor the many stories told through the world of cinema by each month featuring a new film and inviting several creatives to create artwork based on their own unique interpretations.

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