Type Design essentials for Graphic Designers

DigiGrotesk was designed in 1970 specifically as a first project for
the Digiset machine, by the company of Dr. Ing. Rudolf Hell, inventor of the machine.

The icons of the digital revolution in type design and how their legacy affects the contemporary

Type design and visual communication — or graphic design, as most people call it — are intertwined. Even though the need to express one’s message in a brief and concise way has led to the birth of emojis or emoticons and a wide range of universally interpreted pictograms, letter shapes are still the fundamental medium for the message. It is truly essential for graphic designers to comprehend the basics of type design in the same way as it is for an auto mechanic to know what goes on in the combustion chamber of a car’s engine.

1. How it all began

In the 1960s, there was something in the air. The transition from traditional cold metal typesetting (the name refers to setting the text after casting the individual types) to hot setting (in opposition—the text is set prior to casting the type) that was happening over prior decades resulted in rapid advancement of technology, and modernized systems started to come one right after another. For example, Intertype’s first Fototypesetter (1956) machine, based on their casting device, used light to project prepared text from negative matrices onto film material. IBM’s Selectric (1961) was a sophisticated typewriter that allowed for the rapid exchange of typefaces in the written document and more1). The first true digital system was introduced in 1966 when German inventor Dr. Ing. Rudolf Hell presented technology using cathode ray tubes (CRTs) to project images onto a screen, exposing predesigned typefaces onto a film negative. This device was called the Digiset and it could image 1,000 characters per second! The significance of this invention lay in the CRT bulb. A glyph was no longer a physical object stored in a matrix form of a metal cube or film negative. A character became a set of 2,000 pixels. That meant that the thought and concept of a designer became a string of ones and zeros!

2. Hermann Zapf and Gudrun Zapf von Hesse – the first professional digital fonts

“The letter’s indwelling wealth of form is a fresh, unending astonishment. As there are many splendid types of earlier centuries that we still gladly use in printing, it may perhaps be asked why new types are designed. Our time, however, sets the designer other tasks than did the past. A new type must, along with beauty and legibility, be adapted to the technical requirements of today, when high-speed presses and rotary presses have replaced the handpress, and machine-made paper supplanted the handmade sheet.” (Manuale Typographicum, 1970 M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MA, p. 3)

Marconi, designed by a great German calligrapher, typographer and type designer Hermann Zapf, is the first professional type design project in the digital environment – resulting in creating a string of data rather than a physical object.

The quote above comes from the preface of the Manuale Typographicum—a book by the first iconic designer showcased here. Hermann Zapf grew up in the troubled times of interwar Germany in the early twentieth century. Due to his beliefs and his father’s political affiliations, Zapf could not pursue his dream career of becoming an electrical engineer. Thanks to this, the world can now appreciate his amazing calligraphic works and the first properly designed digital typeface—Marconi Roman. Zapf began a cooperation with Dr. In. Rudolf Hell GmbH in 1973. As he mentions in his book Alphabet Stories, at first, the design process was very time-consuming, as he had no experience with the different way of working. The letters were drawn with white paint on a black-coated raster sheet to reflect the pixels mentioned earlier. Although the first release was in 1973, the perfecting and updating the design went on until 1976. Furthermore, there were three more typefaces—Edison Roman, Digiset Vario, and Aurelia Roman.

Zapf also consulted for the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1976/1977, introducing the first program of typography and type design for digital environments, supplemented with an advanced calligraphy course. Hist most iconic designs are Palatino and Optima and a broad range of calligraphic scripts with Zapfino as his prime example.

Alcuin typeface has a strong calligraphic character. Gudrun Zapf von Hesse was deeply
engaged in this kind of craft. Alcuin was her first project that was meant for a digital environment.

It is meaningful to separately mention Zapf’s wife, Gudrun Zapf von Hesse. Not only was she a great designer, but one of the first women in the field of digital type design. Before she met Hermann, she taught lettering at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. Her first typeface, Diotima, was commissioned in 1951 by the Stempel AG type foundry. Zapf von Hesse actively participated in the early stages of digital type design, working on such projects as Alcuin (a text face closely related to the carolingian minuscule sketched in 1986) and Carmina (a calligraphic text typeface designed in 1987).

3. Gerard Unger – thinking about the process

Parallel to Zapf’s Marconi, another designer from a younger generation began work on another typeface, one that leveraged the pixel grid of the CRT bulb. Gerard Unger, a Dutch type designer, developed the project Demos and its sans-serif counterpart Praxis. One of the concepts in this design was to address the deterioration of lettershapes at smaller sizes of reproduction by the phototypesetting machine. This idea resulted in low contrast of the thick and thin parts of the letters. Like Zapf, Unger underlines that calligraphy is what lies at the foundation of his design. Even if not directly reflected in the project it is “the movement of the hand controlled by the brain and the eye.”2)

Swift was another milestone project by Unger. It was an early digital design that addressed the issue of newsprint in the then-current technological circumstances. Paper production was much different and much less precise at the time, same as the capabilities of printing devices. Plus, the printing tech and the volume of the print was influenced by several factors such as humidity or plate deterioration. Two newspaper typefaces used at the time were Times New Roman and Excelsior, both designed in the 1930s; it was time for something fresh. Swift was meant to be resilient—its robust, wedge-shaped serifs are meant to resolve any doubts.

For around fifty years there was no proper development in newsprint typefaces and the two only available choices were Times New Roman and Excelsior. Swift, designed by Gerard Unger filled this niche also addressing the technological issues.

4. Ikarus system – the beginning of curves

The software that made it possible for encoding drawings as strings of ones and zeros, instead of manually turning on and off every pixel was named Ikarus. It was developed by the URW company in Germany in the early 70’s. Dr Peter Karow, co-founder of the company, was one with tremendous contribution of allowing the system to work with mathematical calculations of splines definitions. This meant that type was defined as curve shapes rather than just pixels which addressed the problem of bigger sizes. Ikarus was used to create digital typefaces as well as logos and signage. Three main problems to make type design widely available were the price of software and hardware and the complexity of use. Despite having a rather short moment of glory, Ikarus development left us with the interpolation. It was a base for later Multiple Masters technology as well as Variable fonts. The first public reveal of the Ikarus project took place in Warsaw during the 1975 ATypI conference.

5. Matthew Carter – Bitstream was when it started getting serious

Digiset and its variations were used until the introduction of the first Apple Macintosh in 1984, which brought typesetting to desktop publishing. The introduction of digital typography created a whole new range of possibilities and, of course, a tremendous need for the type design community to fill the void in the new market. In 1981, the first independent type foundry was established by Matthew Carter and his colleague Mike Parker. That startup, Bitstream, aimed to liberate designers from the realm of monopoly by machine industry corporations such as Monotype and Linotype. It was a turning point in typographic history, as the corporate approach to the digital realm revolved around the rapid delivery of familiar type solutions to the desktop platform in great numbers. This resulted in poor quality digital designs and repeated problems in further type design in general—we’ll come back to that a little later.

Matthew Carter, studied punchcutting, made letters for a variety of different medium and is a designer that is very much complete in terms of his skills and career, Georgia is a classical typeface created with the new technology prepared for screen display.

Bitstream digitally reproduced a wide range of classical, well known typefaces and released them under different names. Although not illegal, this practice caused a lot of controversy. Famously, Matthew Carter is one of the few type designers that has participated in the process of design using a wide range of technology. He studied punchcutting and produced his own punches, created typefaces for phototypesetting machines, designed type to be cut in wood, and pioneered digital type design for desktop computers. His designs include two of the most widely used typefaces in the world—Verdana and Georgia.

Verdana is one of the most widely used typeface on the planet. The reason is the language coverage. The concept was to design a screen typeface with maximum character legibility, that would survive extremely low resolution screens.

6. Sumner Stone, Robert Slimbach, and Carol Twombly – type design in its prime

Trajan is a project that celebrates and honours one of the best achievement of our era – the Roman Capitals.
It was sketched and designed by Carol Twombly – a type designer of brief, but amazing career.

In the early 1990s, type design became more available to designers. Software tools accompanying hardware allowed for a wide range of possibilities and offered accessibility to those wanting to create their own designs. The number of solutions on the market grew exponentially. There are three more important names to mention at this point: Sumner Stone, Robert Slimbach, and Carol Twombly. Stone was the first director of typography at Adobe. He started the Adobe Originals “To create typefaces of extraordinary technical and aesthetic quality”3) while hiring Robert Slimbach and Carol Twombly in 1989. The program aimed to create timeless designs of the utmost quality both technical and aesthetic. Another major contribution of Sumner Stone was the Multiple Master technology4). It was based on the interpolation algorithm created by Dr Peter Karow and built on it to interpret the interpolation onto the desktop publishing. Few of the designs from the initial period include: Caslon (Twombly), Myriad with its serif counterpart Minion (Twombly and Slimbach), Trajan (Twombly), Arno (Slimbach). It is important to add that Slimbach and Twombly were not the only designers that contributed their work to the program and that it is still ongoing to produce a legacy of beautiful lettershapes.

Arno Pro family by Robert Slimbach is a very modern yet classical desing. It has multiple extra features
such as a set of Optical sizes, a huge ligature collection and multiple options for numbers edition.

7. Font Wars – the dark side of the industry

To fully understand the transition from those early years in digital lettershapes to the abundance of typefaces today, one must be aware of the standards that changed over the years in what the industry called the “Font Wars.” Adobe based their releases on the adapted PostScript system. It defines typefaces and images as objects on a page. Adobe used the system to introduce PostScript Type 1. The significance of the standard is that it defines the lettershapes as outlines calculated as Bézier curves. Since Adobe had exclusive rights to this technology, Apple and Microsoft had to pay high licensing fees for the application and struggled to come up with an alternative of their own. In September 1989, TrueType (.TTF) was released. Meanwhile, Adobe offered a tool called Adobe Type Manager (.ATM) that had its own font format. While TrueType was created by Apple in collaboration with Microsoft, Apple independently developed the technology further and came up with QuickDraw GX. In response, Microsoft sided with Adobe to develop the OpenType font format (OTF). OpenType fonts began being released around the year 2000. As TrueType required advanced and detailed work to release a good quality product, it resulted in numerous examples of poorly designed typefaces and a reluctance to use it the format. Between 2005 and 2007, OpenType was adopted as a standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). OpenType consists of four elements that come together as a font: outline description, hinting instructions (the way that the outline is pixelated on the screen in various sizes), tables for character classification, and extra features like substitution with alternate glyphs (including ligatures and numerous other possibilities).

8. The latest milestone – OpenType 1.8

This brings us to the introduction of OpenType 1.8 during the ATypI 2016 annual conference in Warsaw5). Although the change does not lie in the way that the typeface is constructed—good old Bézier curves are still the best choice—a new way of storing the information in the file and interpretation of multiple masters was brought to light: variable fonts. These two words comprise probably the most seen phrase at recent type design conferences and the typographic social media environment. What it comes down to is that a designer can create instances of a typeface that can be interpolated not only between themselves but even further, wherever the designer puts the limit. The problem today is that a font family that has, for example, five instances of weight, three optical sizes, and, let’s say, an extra serif and a regular and italic version of each means that we need 5x3x2x2 font files to have everything. That adds up to sixty instances to browse through in design software… with multiple font files to upload to a web server for use on a website. A variable font could contain a light and bold, italic, optical sizes, and a serif variation. Thanks to this new technology, they can all extrapolate to create countless instances seamlessly or only those defined by the designer.

OpenType 1.8 was a collaboration of industry—Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, and Google worked together toward a smooth introduction of the new standard. Between accepting OpenType as an ISO norm and this collaboration, the “Font Wars” came to an end. The weight shifted from trying to outrun the competition towards focusing on type design and the software engineering behind it to bring higher quality tools to type users. Both OpenType and the currently available tools for font creation allow for a much more detailed and advanced workflow which brings type design closer to what it was before the digital revolution began to make its mark on the world.

9. My point of view on the subject / Personal Thoughts

I decided to select a few of the many great designers and showcase their fonts from the beginning of the digital era that. In my opinion, these designs reflect best practices that should still be kept in mind while working on a type design project. Some might argue that this kind of thinking may be a bit skeuomorphic and modern solutions should be more rooted in their own digital realm. However, centuries of alphabetic evolution and the way that lettershapes are perceived are deeply rooted in cultural traditions. This is one of the reasons for a big difference in non-Latin scripts—they cannot directly adopt the same practices that are used for Latin as their cultural evolution has a different background.

10. Why is it important to use professional typefaces?

Even if you or your client have no budget for purchasing a font, not to mention commissioning a custom project, it is always better to stick to the ones that are professionally designed. Today, such services Adobe Typekit, MyFonts, Fontstand, and others provide affordable solutions, even for freelancers. If you must use free solutions, there is always Google Fonts. Choosing this kind of service in a way guarantees that for one, the work was done by a type designer, tested in multiple ways and environments for bug detection, and usually provides broader language coverage. The spacing between the letters (which is a sacred thing for the industry) is not incorrect.

Here are a few essential tips for working with typefaces:

  • Do not tamper with the design to make it fit!
  • In Adobe use Metric vs. Optical kerning (Metric—as designed, Optical—calculated by an algorithm)
  • Be aware of possible OpenType features—good designs include numerous ligatures, substitution options, small caps, sub and superscripts, and variety of numbers for display, text, and table purposes.
  • Keep in mind the original design destination of the typeface—if someone already did the work, there must be something to it.

11. What it all means for graphic designers and typographers?

A single OTF file can contain up to 65,535 characters and glyphs. This is an unimaginable number if you consider that the English alphabet holds a mere 26 letters. Let’s add punctuation marks and numbers, consider that there are upper and lower cases, small caps, subscript, and superscript… but then there are various languages that use extended latin characters. A wide range of extra characters called diacritics comes in the picture. Not to mention other scripts—Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Devanagari, Thai… Unicode, which is a standard of numbering each of the glyphs and characters mentioned above, allows for a neat organization of all. G graphic designers and typographers are given a powerful tool that extends greatly beyond the basic set of letters. The purpose of the whole story above is to illustrate that the meticulous process of designing a typeface is something not to be treated lightly. A designer must be aware of all the features of a chosen font and the circumstances that led to the design in the first place. Of course, that does not mean that there is no room for distortion or playing around with lettershapes; just that it should be done with reasoned intent. In the end, both type designers and graphic designers want to make the world a nicer place to look at in addition to the functional purposes served by design.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNUEUth7qjc – the Selectric Machine
  2. http://ift.tt/2CCblPk Gerard Unger—Type Journal Interview, 13.05.2015
  3. http://ift.tt/1lIwD4O – Adobe Originals info page
  4. http://ift.tt/2qv6ATS – The Adobe Originals Silver Anniversary Story: How the Originals endured in an ever-changing industry – 7th of 10 amazing articles by Tamye Riggs about the Multiple Masters Technology
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kizDePhcFU – Presentation from the ATypI Warsaw 2016 revealing the major update in OpenType – the introduction of Variable Fonts

Other resources:

  1. http://ift.tt/2CCbnqq – Decovar typeface presentation
  2. http://ift.tt/2CE7QrP – Zeitung Flex by Underware typeface video showcase
  3. http://ift.tt/2CCRQWK – One year in an update on variable fonts by Jason Pamental

This article was written by Borys Kosmynka and commissionned by Pixartprinting.

The post Type Design essentials for Graphic Designers appeared first on Typography Daily.

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This Week’s Fresh Design Products: Vol. 103

Fresh Design Products is a regular series in which we highlight and celebrate fantastic new products that have been recently uploaded to the marketplace by new and seasoned Creative Market shop owners. It’s sort of like a quick stroll through a farmer’s market of design and creativity. Enjoy the sights, pick up new products, and follow talented shop owners. The products and shops curated for this series are selected by our Community Curator, Matt Borchert.

Brand New Shops

Talented designers are opening shops in the marketplace each week. We’re spotlighting a few promising new shop owners who are knocking it out of the park by uploading beautiful new design products to launch their shops! The previews you see here are often just a small taste of each shop’s full future offering, so be sure to follow them to stay tuned for more amazing assets.


Ana of The October Studio designs professional Blogger templates.


Katie’s styled stock photography features wonderful soft tones.


Florencia created her shop Rabbit Hole to feature her latest illustrations.


Lana creates illustrations to make the world a more beautiful place.


Vladimir’s shop is stocked full of fantastic photography.


Cynthia is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator who loves working with watercolors and digital paint.

Debut Uploads

In this section, we highlight new shop owners who have recently uploaded their very first product. If you like what they have to offer, encourage them to add more products for sale by commenting on and purchasing their first product.

Seasoned Veterans

Some of our shop owners at Creative Market have been in the marketplace and our community for quite some time. We want to recognize these hard working creators by sharing select new products as they release them. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the latest offerings from our popular and up-and-coming shops.

Free lettering worksheets

Download now!


Download now!

Getting started with hand lettering?

Download these worksheets and start practicing with simple instructions and tracing exercises.

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Stunning New Year’s Graphics: A Curated Collection of Quotes, Photos and Cards

Whether it’s for some inspiration, a memorable photograph, or an invitation for a once-in-a-lifetime event, New Year’s graphics commemorate a fresh, new start with tasteful typography to match. While New Year’s resolutions are quick to fall by the wayside (and very run-of-the-mill), great New Year’s graphics will never let you down.

Looking for flyers to announce a killer New Year’s Eve bash? Or perhaps you’re in the mood for a specific email template to wish all of your employees, bosses, or co-workers a Happy New Year? Whatever your motivation, this roundup will have something for your Auld Lang Syne-loving sentimentality.

So prepare to unburden yourself from last year’s baggage, sit back, and enjoy this vibrant collection of quotes, photos, cards and other New Year-related design inspiration.

New Year’s Quotes: Timeless Sayings and Proverbs for Introspection and Purpose

The Internet has opened up limitless opportunities to find quotes for any occasion, but here are some of the topics most frequently sought around New Year’s Eve:

  • Inspiration
  • Motivation
  • Inner strength
  • Philosophy
  • Love
  • Determination
  • Beauty
  • Perseverance

Perform a quick Google search for “quotes,” and you’ll see more than one billion search results! To say that quotes are in high search demand is an understatement. Websites like BrainyQuote specialize in offering quotes for any occasion from a whole host of famous and infamous figures throughout human history. Each quote is rendered in the form of a quote picture that’s also easy to share on social media, making the proliferation of quotes addictive and highly encouraged. Quotes are further sorted by topics and authors for well-organized searching.

Other sites like Goodreads showcase an exclusive popular quotes category, which even features a search engine just for its vast library of assorted quotes from historical figures, authors, notaries and personalities in general. Talk about a quote database.

Both popular quote sites also have sections specifically for New Year’s quotes.

In BrainyQuote’s New Year’s Quotes webpage, you’re treated to a plethora of quotes from an assortment of notaries like:

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Scott Fitzgerald
  • Diogenes
  • Mark Twain
  • William Shakespeare

Here is a memorable example:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” – Neil Gaiman

In Goodreads’ Quotes About New Year page, you can choose from a couple of hundred quotes from various, well-known figures like Alfred Tennyson, S. Eliot, Rainer Maria Rilke, Omar Khayyam, and K. Chesterton.

Again, here are some of this resource’s inspiring examples:


Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,

Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” – Alfred Tennyson

“Now the New Year reviving old Desires,

The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires.” – Omar Khayyam

These quotes are well-suited as potential source material for new year’s graphics like an inspirational email template that you may want to send out, greeting cards you want to hand out to celebrate the season, or perhaps a new business card design that you’ve been looking to implement.

Here are a few New Year-themed email templates from our marketplace:

While you’re at it, check out some New Years’s greeting cards from our marketplace:

Finally, here are a series of quotes bundles created by shop owners:

New Year’s Photos: High-Quality Images to Capture the Moment

There’s an old cliché that goes: A picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to New Year’s celebrations, this cliché is the ultimate truth. Instead of describing in words the moment, magic, and feeling you experienced in Times Square with your friends and family, or at your local watering hole when the new year rolls around, a single image can capture this essence more powerfully than anything else.

Don’t believe that New Year’s photos are the way to go to create lasting impressions?

Consider the following: ever heard of something termed the picture superiority effect? This phenomenon makes the case that using New Year’s graphics like photos is the best way to enshrine the mood and grandeur of any celebration.

In sum, it confirms that photos are far better remembered than mere words. This has been shown as true in a plethora of experiments—in essence, it demonstrates that we human beings are visual creatures.

From the designer’s standpoint, this is powerful information.

For example, if you’re working on a project involving a new site that needs to go live right before New Year’s because it’s for the special rollout of an alcoholic drink, you need to communicate the celebratory aspect of new year’s to site visitors. You can’t do this with mere words alone. If you do, your new site would be rather dull and not fare as well.

Entrepreneur Magazine states that "visual content compels audiences to stay on your website for longer.”

You’d need to pepper your new site with many New Year’s-related images, in addition to high-quality images of the new product, to stand a chance at driving traffic.

Check out the many new year’s photos from our marketplace that would be ideal in such a scenario:

Other design projects call for the use of photos, too, over mere words. If you’re designing a travel brochure that features new year’s destinations or packages, you’ll want aesthetic photos showcasing those destinations and opportunities.

If you’re involved in creating a flyer that calls attention to various New Year’s Eve hotspots around the city, you’ll also need vibrant imagery to make your readers pick it up and pay attention.

New Year’s Cards: Use Great Design to Get More People to Your Event

Picture this: It’s mid-December, and you need to get the invites out for the New Year’s Eve bash you’re throwing. Instead of sending the typical email, you want to use a more personal touch. You want something tactile that your guests can actually touch, feel, and turn over in their hands to admire and appreciate.

The solution?

As far as New Year’s graphics go, try the old-fashioned, physical, invitation cards.

Apartment Therapy featured a helpful comparison of physical invitations versus digital invitations, and some of the distinct pros of keeping it traditional include:

  • Inclusiveness – Everybody has a physical address, but not everyone has an email address or is on Facebook
  • Design sensibilities – If you’re a designer, you can show off your design chops a lot more deeply when you go with a physical card instead of a digital one
  • Confidentiality – You don’t want strangers and the uninvited crashing your new year’s bash, so sending traditional invitations guards against an email invite being incorrectly forwarded to somebody or a Facebook invite being seen by the wrong people
  • Clarity – Physical cards offer unprecedented clarity because they can individually address numerous people in turn, whereas an email invite to, say, the head of a household’s email address makes it less clear who all specifically in the household are invited to an event

If this has you sold on the power of tactile invitation cards, then take a look at our huge selection of New Year’s cards that are ideal for any soiree or bash that you’re throwing on that fateful night:

The way you design a card is also at the core of how many people end up going to your event.

Let’s quickly look at the most crucial elements of winning New Year’s cards:

1) The copy – The words you use to convey the importance of your New Year’s event and why you want certain people there has to be persuasively worded. Invitations should be personalized with the names of the person and include calls to action, urgency, and an appeal to one’s emotions. Paragraphs and sentences should be short, and a “chunking” effect should be used to ensure the copy is broken up into smaller, digestible snippets.

2) The typographyHow you make what you write look has a huge impact on response rates and general interest. The fonts you use should be readable and legible. You might be tempted to use fancier typefaces, but that tends to make an invitation harder to read and understand rather than creating a sense of elegance. Instead, use sans serif fonts that are simple and minimalistic for great readability.

3) Symmetry – If your invite’s design elements (copy, images, any insignias, emblems, etc.) are well-balanced because they’re centered on the card itself, this creates a nice, aesthetic sense of symmetry that’s pleasant to glance at. Using symmetry adds to the overall appeal of the card.

4) White space – A card announcing a New Year’s event needs to emphasize and draw attention to the most important information: the location, time, data, and other crucial details. White or negative space (which doesn’t have to be white, per se) is a solid-colored area around this crucial information that frames it like a border. The effect is to make the actual information stand out more noticeably to readers.

5) Colors – Another useful design element in your card is your choice of colors. Colors enliven the design presentation and give helpful accents and touches to your readers. Colors are also used to make important information stand out—like who the sender is, what the name or title of your event is, etc.

New Year’s Graphics: Typography, Illustrations & Flyer Templates

New Year’s graphics aren’t limited to just quotes, photos, and cards. You’ll find a lot of creative New Year’s designs centered around different fonts, illustrations, and flyer templates.

New Year’s typography is festive font that epitomizes the celebratory mood of people as the clock counts down to midnight. These graphics are apropos for anything from photos that need a splashy New Year’s font to a template for a restaurant menu that has a special course just the last few weeks of December.

This festive typography comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from creative hand lettering to exotic calligraphy. They smartly spruce up any ordinary card, banner, or design to give them that unmistakable New Year’s flair that’s perfect for the season.

Here’s an assortment of finely-crafted New Year’s typography from our marketplace:

Then, there are New Year’s illustrations, which are attractive, graphical elements for use in anything from posters, t-shirts, flyers, and artwork that you want to distribute just in time for the new year. These illustrations come as vector or PNG files to allow you to design overlays for images, badges, stickers, tags, and other marketing materials.

Creative designers won’t have a shortage of ideas about how and where to use these illustrations. Here’s a selection of New Year’s-themed graphical illustrations from the marketplace: 

Now, if you walk the streets of a busy metropolis on New Year’s Eve, what’s the first type of advertisement material that you usually encounter? Flyers, of course! Whether it’s those stapled to telephone poles or pasted to walls, there seems to be no shortage of them in the days and weeks leading up to the big night.

Throwing a party or big get-together on New Year’s Eve means that you want a lot of attendees for it to be considered a success. Getting the word out over digital approaches like social media and text messages only reaches a certain number of people, but flyers on the street means that many passers-by will see the announcement for your big soiree.

For these occasions, you could design your own flyer from scratch and by hand, or you could do the more efficient thing: get one of the many attractive flyer templates to advertise your New Year’s event quickly.

Here’s a rundown of some of the best pieces we have in our marketplace: 

Graphics That Stun

Other seasons usually get more attention when it comes to graphics. Think of Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas. New Year’s isn’t traditionally associated with neat graphics, but this curated collection should make you rethink that.

Whether it’s the inspiring quotes that you’ll draw strength from next year or the beautiful New Year’s photos that enliven any presentation or site, it’s clear that the transition from the old year to the new one provides a lot of design inspiration and ideas.

Products Seen In This Post:

Free lettering worksheets

Download now!


Download now!

Getting started with hand lettering?

Download these worksheets and start practicing with simple instructions and tracing exercises.

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25 Beautiful Packaging & Label Designs

Today’s roundup consists of a mix of great packaging, label and bottle designs. And as usual I would recommend checking out our packaging board on Pinterest, with over 900 curated packaging and label designs.

New North by Campbell Hay.
The Loop
Hunt & Brew packaging design by Kerby Rosanes
Havn Gin
Lot №40
The Archaeologist Gin
Raw Organic Ethiopian Honey Packaging by Cre8tive Pixels
Wood Brothers Small Batch Vodka by Pencil Studio
Sea Glass Gin
Malou Tea Atelier
Volcano At Home by Commission
Corleone Packaging
Haven’s Kitchen Sauces by Alexandra Stikeleather
Green & Black’s chocolate packaging by Bulletproof
The Double Single
Simply gum mints by Vanessa Rees
Caviar Packaging by Zoo Studio
Paraiso Packaging pt. 2 by Ryan Prudhomme
Merlyn welsh cream whisky liqueur.
Enchanti Finest Care Design
Milton Cidrerie
William Grant & Sons Wood’s Old Navy Rum

25 Beautiful Packaging & Label Designs was originally published in From up North on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Stefan Hürlemann

Stefan Hurlemann

Stefan Hürlemann uses personal side projects to help him pursue his love for type and experimentation. Since 2016, he has participated in the weekly challenge offered by blankposter.com, a site that encourages artists to design a poster based off of a randomly generated word. This exercise pushes him to use a variety of typefaces and explore different techniques and tools. These explorations have also inspired him to analyze unique themes and move his work in new directions.

Stefan Hurlemann

Stefan Hurlemann

Stefan Hurlemann

Stefan Hurlemann

Stefan Hurlemann


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Erik Kirtley
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2018 PANTONE Color of the Year

Pantone, the authority on all things color, has announced that Ultra Violet – aka, Pantone 18-3838 — will be the Color of 2018. Pantone didn’t come up with this pronouncement arbitrarily, although it would seem that funereal black or pukey orange would be more fitting to the times. Pantone color gurus, however, are more philosophical and optimistic – and less snide. The Institute describes Ultra Violet as associated with “mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world.” Pantone vice president Laurie Pressman says, “Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design, it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in the world today.” Considered in that light, I would nominate “Pussy Hat Pink” or Fire Rescue Red” instead.

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Edit Collection

The Edit Collection is a brand new super family designed to create multi-platform brand and editorial typography. The Renaissance construction allows the typefaces to handle long texts in small, medium and large sizes, balancing its astonishing and recognisable details with high legibility. The Edit Collection with its rational, clean aesthetics and great versatility is best suited for complex typography programs.

Edit Serif Pro is a modern multilingual multi purpose typeface and the first release of Atlas’ next super family. Its humanist contrast combined with modern details makes Edit Serif Pro suitable for headlines and texts that need to distinguish themselves — while still expressing rational and clean aesthetics. Each style comes with 1.540 glyphs, many features and alternative character sets.

More informations: http://ift.tt/2Bd04XW

Designed by: Christoph Dunst

Published at: Atlas Font Foundry

Publishing Date: 11/2017

€49 Single Font
€299 Complete Family (12 Fonts)


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Free Photoshop Brushes to Decorate Your Holiday Cards

Adobe Photoshop is a program that offers seemingly endless potential for creating. With all of the incredible features it boasts, it can sometimes be overwhelming to try to figure out how to make the most of them.

That’s where Photoshop brush expert extraordinaire Jessica Johnson comes into play.

She’s going to be walking us through some of her favorite brush techniques inside Photoshop. It will unlock your creativity and show you her insider techniques to create your own stunning holiday cards and illustrations!

Getting to Know Jessica

Jessica comes from a fairly traditional design background, having graduated from Missouri State University in 2002. "We BARELY had the internet when I was in university… so things were VERY different," Jessica explained.

imgPin It

Her university’s design department was headed by a group of distinguished “old school” professors. Although being very tough, Jessica learned to appreciate how they instilled in her the most important design fundamentals. These included how to properly approach design, and the importance of creative problem solving.

Jessica reflected, "These are the skills that are the foundation of who I am today as a designer." These skills, mixed with her insatiable curiosity, pushed her into the rewarding career of developing tools to help other designers.

Jessica’s Adventure into Creating Custom Tools for Designers

Jessica started creating design tools during a rough patch in her life. She was living in Miami Beach and her freelance work was drying up. On top of that her dog started suffering from heart issues, and the expenses piled up. Out of desperation she decided to pack her dog and belongings up to move back with her family in Missouri.

Avoiding the 9-5 Life

After staying in Missouri for a few months Jessica came to the realization that she needed to start making money fast, or she would need to start a more typical 9-5 job again.

"I had uploaded just a few products onto Creative Market up to that point with a few sales… but I had an idea for a product I thought could be a BIG hit," stated Jessica. "I wanted to create a kit for some gold foil effects, not shiny gold like you used to see on club flyers all the time, but a gold leaf / gold foil effect."

At the time, there wasn’t anything like it on the market. She had to work hard to bring her vision into life, and make sure that it looked good no matter what it was applied it to.

After releasing the product to a seemingly slow start Jessica said, "…it somehow gained traction and took off like crazy, and in those first few months I sold a BUNCH! All of my hard work, late nights, and manic over-creating (I created something like 180 original patterns which were the base of my effects) finally paid off!"

Jessica’s hit product is shown below:

Jessica reflected on this experience, "It was a high I will never forget, and hearing amazing feedback from my fellow designers was more rewarding than anything."

She also noted, "One of the things I love about the career I’ve been able to carve out through Creative market is the freedom I have to work wherever I want — which is a huge privilege — and being able to spend time with my best friends who live all around the world. I am able to live a life I never dreamed of up growing up in a small town in Missouri!"

She continued, "I even turned my travels into an instagram featuring my stuffed fox — that I’ve had since I was 3 years old — which went viral due to a fundraiser for a friend with cancer."

You can view her now famous travels with Mr. Fox here: http://ift.tt/2nO0QoJ

Stepping into Custom Brushes

Jessica built her niche in creating layer styles, but never stopped experimenting. "I had been purchasing brushes from my fellow designers, and became more and more intrigued by what was possible. That got me into experimenting with the brush settings and creating my own brushes for projects," she said.

Along the way, Jessica realized that she could take the brush techniques she developed and turn them into products for designers of all levels to enjoy and use.

"It was very essential for me to create a product that would let designers of all levels be able to pick up these brushes and start creating, no matter if they were a beginner or an advanced illustrator."

She continued, "I am proud to say that with the Impressionist Brushes and Wet Paint Studio (shown below), I was able to put something into the market that hadn’t been seen yet, and translate techniques I developed into a turnkey solution for so many of my fellow designers."

Hacking the Pattern Stamp Tool for Impressionist Color Blending Brush Strokes:

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The pattern stamp tool is an often overlooked tool in the Photoshop arsenal. It’s a powerful design tool that can help you make amazing color blending effects and illustrations.

Since pattern overlays are perhaps the most common way to apply a pattern to an object in Photoshop, I feel that the pattern stamp tool — which simply applies the pattern to an area you paint with a brush — is overlooked by designers and illustrators.

More importantly, there is a setting WITHIN this brush that is also overlooked. The impressionist brush setting. When checked, instead of painting the pattern as you paint with your chosen brush, it will ‘spit out’ all of the colors that are WITHIN your pattern. If you grab a regular Photoshop brush and try this it will likely not look great. You will probably see unappealing bands of color as you paint.

However, if you tweak the Photoshop brush settings, you can disperse the brush marks so the brush creates an appealing blend of colors. What’s cool about this feature is you can create a pattern that contains exactly the colors you want in your brush stroke; even if they are unrelated.

The color jitter feature has long been included with Photoshop brushes, but there are limitations, and it’s tricky to be precise with the colors. You can blend foreground to background, or jitter the hue, but it’s nothing compared to the pattern stamp tool!

Wet Paint Brush Effects Are One of the Coolest Features in Photoshop You’re Not Taking Advantage of:

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With the emergence of digital painting on our tablets, and new programs like Procreate luring designers away from Photoshop, it’s easy to forget that some of these ‘new’ features are already in Photoshop. You’re just not taking advantage of them!

Not only that, there are also amazing things you can do with Photoshop that you can’t do with apps such as Procreate.

With the wet paint brush tool in Photoshop, you can pick up and sample MULTIPLE colors at the same time (not just push them around), and adjust your brush settings to create amazing wet paint strokes that blend all of the colors you have sampled in amazing ways.

With the Right Tools ANYONE Can Be an Illustrator

True Story: I cannot draw. As a fine arts major, I had to take drawing and painting along with everyone, but my attempts at realism were mediocre at best. I always considered myself a ‘designer’ and never IMAGINED that one day I could be creating illustrations I would be proud of.

However, through this journey creating tools and resources for other designers, I discovered that I was becoming an illustrator! What I LOVE about advances in technology, is that it gives someone like me who can’t traditionally illustrate, the ability to bring ideas to life. All because I’ve created tools to make this possible.

By creatively harnessing the power of the tools within Photoshop, I’ve pushed my own boundaries and am now able to create designs and illustrations I never imagined possible!

Push Yourself Through Experimentation and Play

One of the most important things I can stress is giving yourself time for creative experimentation and play. A LOT of the time, my tools and resources were the direct result of ‘just messing around’ and not because I was expressly trying to create an effect.

You may not consider yourself an illustrator, but by harnessing the power of the amazing design programs we have, you too can create things you never imagined possible! You may find yourself creating your own illustration sets instead of purchasing them and they will be uniquely your own!

As I’ve released my sets of brushes, I get messages from designers of all levels saying how they are surprising themselves with what they are able to do because of the power of Photoshop tools! This holiday season why not experiment and see what you can create.

Now we can use Jessica’s techniques and brushes to create our own holiday cards!

Tutorial: Create Your Own Holiday Card

Download the Sample Brushes and Follow Along!

Step 1

Download and Install the Sample Brushes

Free Photoshop Brushes

Download them


Download them

Perfect for greeting cards

Add a special touch to your print design projects with this free set of brushes by Jessica Johnson.

In creating this holiday card design, we are using just a SINGLE mixer brush from my Wet Paint Studio collection, and I have provided 6 different ‘pre-mixed’ palettes that you can sample from to create beautiful brush strokes exactly like these!

In a hurry to see what you can create? Use the PRE-LOADED tool preset brushes in the file which have the colors already loaded for you!

Step 2

Using the Pattern Brush

Again, we will be using just a single pattern brush from my Modern Impressionist Pattern Brush Studio to create the glow of the holiday lights.

We will use 3 different Pre-Fab color palettes which will let you paint in beautiful, multicolored impressionist brush strokes that match the colors in the holiday lights! These brushes are also provided to you as a tool preset file, with the patterns already loaded and ready to go!

Step 3

Create Your Lettering

Create BEAUTIFUL ‘hand-lettered’ text with the gorgeous mixer brushes. NO layer style can emulate the directional brush strokes like you see here!

Pro-tip: Use your favorite font as a guide! Simply type out your text, create a layer above it, and follow the letters as a guide for your beautiful painted typography!

On this lettering, I used Buttermilk Farmhouse by Make Media Co. as a guide for my text!

Another tip: If you have the latest version of Photoshop CC 2018, use the stroke smoothing for even more fluid and natural strokes, even if you don’t have the steadiest hand!

Step 4

Illustrate the Greenery

Watch how easy it is to create beautiful illustrations with only two brushes.

Here, we draw out some very simple greenery shapes that anyone can master, and we let the brush do all the heavy lifting.

The mixer brush creates beautiful color blends that make even the simplest shapes beautiful and interesting. Add some gold into the mix, and be astonished and how beautifully it blends together — like real paint… ONLY BETTER!

Brushes Used:

  • Green Mixer Brush
  • Gold Accent Mixer Brush

Step 5

Create Glowing Holiday Lights

The glowing holiday lights are just as easy and fun to create! A basic oval shape becomes a glowing holiday fairy light when you load it full of beautiful colors from my Wet Paint Studio.

The base of the light is created with the gold accent brush. Then we use our pattern brush loaded with gorgeous Pre-Fab Color Palettes to create the artistic glowing effect around the fairy lights. After we brush the strokes, we will lower the opacity of that layer for the proper subtle effect!

Brushes Used:

  • Light 1 Mixer Brush
  • Light 2 Mixer Brush
  • Light 3 Mixer Brush
  • Gold Accent Mixer Brush
  • Lights 1 Multicolor Glow
  • Lights 2 Multicolor Glow
  • Lights 3 Multicolor Glow

Step 6: The Finale!

Put Everything Together

With only these 2 basic brushes, we can create a gorgeous artistic card like the one shown here. I hope you are inspired to experiment with Photoshop brushes more in the future, even if you don’t consider yourself an illustrator.

As you see here, there are a very powerful arsenal of tools within the Photoshop brush options. And NOW you have a couple insider tricks that can help you take better advantage of them to create designs and illustrations you never thought possible. It doesn’t matter if you are a designer, illustrator or even a hobbyist!

Continuing Jessica’s Story

"I carved out a niche career I never EVER could have imagined possible as I was making my way through design school," Jessica exclaimed. "Plus the fact I am doing work that thrills and inspires me, and makes a difference in other designer’s work, makes all the hard work worthwhile."

When asked about how she continues to create amazing products she said, "With each message or comment I get on my product, I am injected with a boost of happiness and motivation that I am making an actual difference in someone’s work or creativity."

"THIS is what keeps me going! If you learn something, share it with others! What you will get back is greater than what you put out…always!"

So with that message in mind, be sure to let Jessica know what you think of her brushes and techniques.

And should you create something awesome using the incredible brushes Jessica shared, be sure to link what you made in the comments below. We can all make this holiday season a little bit brighter with our creativity.

Free Photoshop Brushes

Download them


Download them

Perfect for greeting cards

Add a special touch to your print design projects with this free set of brushes by Jessica Johnson.

Source: http://ift.tt/1cveRcI

Studio Mut

Studio Mut

Thomas Kronbichler and Martin Kerschbaumer are the creative minds behind Studio Mut. Working with clients in the art and culture industries, they craft vibrant posters for festivals and galleries. Employing simple forms and flawless type, they create great work that is bold and compelling.

Studio Mut

Studio Mut

Studio Mut

Studio Mut

Studio Mut

Studio Mut

Studio Mut


Also worth viewing:

Opisso Studio
Naonori Yago
Martina Paukova

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New Fresh HTML5 WordPress Themes

Fresh new WordPress themes, all themes and templates are fully responsive, SEO optimize, retina-ready, cross-browser compatible with powerful easy to use theme features. All themes are professionally designed to be versatile and light-weight, with a modular Bootstrap and HTML5 and CSS3 coding features. Best WordPress themes comes with a well documented help file, which will assist you configure the template in minutes.

The powerful Theme Options Panel paired with intuitive page options panels, a widgetable areas manager and a custom tailored Visual Composerdrag and drop page builder, provide you the tools you need to create complex websites without touching a line of code.

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Clean, Modern, Unique and Multipurpose WordPress Themes for Creatives which suits any kind of Corporate Company website or personal portfolios. Create any page using the Visual Page Builder and Addon’s and a lot of interesting things. Below every theme is ready to use, you can check live demo of each theme.

Here is the list of Fresh new Responsive HTML5 WordPress themes.

Credo – Furniture Responsive WooCommerce WordPress Theme

Credo Furniture is a clean and modern Furniture Interior Design. Its stunning beauty, fashionable clean look and proper execution, accompanying with making use of Visual Composer, Mega Main Menu, WooCommerce and Revolution Slider plugin, and Advanced Widgets will help you to own an amazing site for your profile.

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Nego – Fashion and Furniture Theme for WooCommerce WordPress

Nego is a responsive friendly WordPress theme, built to make your site look good-looking and professional. It offers an ecommerce online store for selling fashion, furniture and accessories.

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Pharos – Minimalist, Clean and Simple WooCommerce Theme

Pharos is highly customizable, sales focused and purely simple WooCommerce theme for WordPress online shop. The design of this awesome theme is highly aesthetic and optimized for boosting conversion rate. It means investing one time in Pharos, you can not only get access to purely crafted responsive and mobile friendly eCommerce website, but also get help to helps to climb on the mountain of online entrepreneurial success.

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Alimo, your new amazing blogging theme. The new standard in content presentation, design and functionality, Alimo will surely amaze you with it’s features!

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Roobia – Portfolio WordPress Theme

Roobia is a beautiful WordPress theme created for creative Photographers and Portfolio Wesbites. It focuses on big portfolio images, minimal design, beautiful typography, so that your content stands out first.

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Zyra – Clean, Minimal WooCommerce Theme

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Anevo – Personal Portfolio WordPress Theme

Anevo is a Creative Portfolio & Personal WordPress Theme for making your portfolio for personal or professional profile. It has the modern & clean design.This WordPress theme comfortable to customize. It is easy to use, and it has perfect pixel design. We Used bootstrap framework, and you will get attractive 15+ pages layouts.

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Maggz – A Creative Viral Magazine and Blog Theme

Check out Maggz’s user dashboard by signing in from the front end of the demo website with the following credentials

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SmartElect – Multipurpose WooCommerce Theme

SmartElect is WordPress ecommerce theme based on WooCommerce plugin. It is suitable for electronics, computer, accessories, mobile, vegetables, food, furniture and home decor store. It is also multipurpose theme which can be used for any kind of online store. SmartElect WooCommerce theme is looking good with it’s clean and fresh design. All sub pages are customized.

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Drone Media | Aerial Photography & Videography

Today, we prepared something fresh for you: Drone Media is our new WordPress theme focusing on aerial photography and videography. The design has modern touch and feel, and it offers full pack of options to describe your services and expose all your projects.

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Beo – Portfolio and Blog WordPress Theme

Minimal and responsive WordPress theme with focus on any portfolio business website, landing pages and personal portfolio pages. Galleries to showcase your portfolio with Masonry functionality and filter options.

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Savana – Multi Concept Responsive eCommerce WordPress Theme

With design and accent in details Savana Theme is perfect template. Design have beautiful typography and elegant structure.

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Fixology | Handyman Multi-Service WordPress Theme

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Veso – Multipurpose Portfolio Theme

Veso – modern & powerful multipurpose portfolio WordPress theme for all sort of projects. Stand out. Make a statement without saying a word. A visually appealing and unique theme. With this release we aim at all sort of creative businesses that need to present their works in an interesting way. Veso is a a multipurpose portfolio theme. Unleash you style. Themes comes with beautiful typography, subtle transitions, interesting use of navigation. Veso is a complete package to mark your online presence. Start creating now. 12 one-click demos included.

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Denorious | Nonprofit and Political Fundraising WordPress Theme is perfectly built for creating sites for Multipurpose; especially charity, nonprofit, political campaign, elections, religious, consultancy, lawyer, donation and fundraising campaign with amazing features and outstanding design. Denorious theme is a piece of art, a clean and smooth WordPress Theme perfect for any type of political, election, donations website.

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