Fonts and Vector Images

handcrafted-chalkAs a designer, we usually have several sources for fonts, vector images and stock photos. If you’re looking for a great source for fonts, images, vectors and Photoshop Actions, I highly recommend Creative Market. As per their website: “Creative Market is a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world.”

Creative Market has a great selection of resources, their blog is full of tips and tricks for creating better designs, and the pricing is awesome. I’ve often been able to purchase entire font libraries for much, much less than I would have on other font sites. Designers that put up content for sale are also encouraged to offer free samples or bonuses, and each week there is a selection of Free Goods that you can select from. These might be fonts, Photoshop Actions, images, or vectors. If you’re a designer looking to generate some extra income from your designs, then you also have the option of opening a shop on Creative Market.

I encourage you to check them out today (click the image in this post to get there) and start adding to your collection!

Album Art #1: Whipped Cream and Other Delights

Whipped-Cream-&-Other-Delights-Cover-blogOne of the things that has always been on my design bucket list is to design an album cover. Not just any album cover, an iconic album cover.

Besides design, one of my other passions is music. I played drums in a few bands in my teenage years up to my thirties. And when I was a kid, one of the album covers that got me interested in music was Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights (shown here from my vinyl collection). I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say that it wasn’t the music that first drew me in; it was the cover. Who was that girl? Why was she covered in whipped cream? (And be honest guys, you stared at that cover wishing the whipped cream would somehow fall off in certain areas)!

Ahem, okay. Putting my design hat back on, this cover was designed by the photographer Peter Whorf and was shot in his converted garage studio. The model was Dolores Erickson, a fashion model and actress with several big name credits to her portfolio. Dolores is now a successful painter. In addition to Dolores, I love the color and the cool curved lettering of this album.

Back before iTunes, Spotify and the like, you either heard a song on the radio, at a friend’s house or party, or you were at a record store looking at album covers. And if the cover was good enough to grab your attention it prompted you to buy it. At least that’s what happened to me. Once I got the record home and put it on, there was this experience of listening, looking at the cover and maybe reading the liner notes. Many people are rediscovering that today, and I think there still is a place for good album art.

Once I actually got around to listening to this album, I liked it, and so did about 6 million other folks, because that was how many records that were sold. And even though it was released almost 50 years ago, you still hear music from this album today on the radio, tv and movies. Not sure if you’ve ever heard any of the music from this album? Check out this rare video below of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.

A cool album like this and an iconic cover…that would be fun to work on.

To read a great interview with Dolores about her experience being the star of this cover, click here.

Embed Getty Images

Pop the champagne! Or wine (or your favorite beverage), because Getty Images is saving you from ripping off images on the interwebs. You can now embed Getty Images into your website, blog or social platform without feeling guilty for pirating images. From Getty Images, “Finally, everyone can enhance their online communications and express their creativity with high-quality imagery – at no charge.”

It’s really as simple as finding an image you like on Getty Images, copying the embed code (looks like this: </>) and inserting the code into your post, page, etc.

Thank you Getty Images – the quality of imagery on the web just went up a notch. For details check out

Pay for creative work.

Design_for_free_billboardWould you work for free? If you do creative work (designer, artist, coder) you may have seen something like the following example that I see far too often in online forums, direct emails, or via face-to-face networking. It goes something like this:

I have a small business and I would like to re-vamp our Logo and such for our website, signage, business cards, clothing, etc. I’m hoping to find a new or aspiring graphic artist that would like to help create our new look, and at the same time build their portfolio. Sorry, but this is not a project I can pay for, but it may be good experience and an opportunity to build your portfolio and gain a great reference.

What kind of “great reference” offsets being paid for hours of work? If someone asks how much you paid for all this creative work do you say, “Oh, I told them I didn’t have much money so they did it for free and to build their portfolio.” Finding that out, will your next “client” ask you to work for free also? My advice for any designer/creative type engaged in business is simple: Get paid for your work. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting out or not. If the client/business is already established (in this case, needing a “re-vamp”), then they should have a marketing budget set aside for design work. If they don’t, you should still be able to negotiate a pay-for-design rate, get a signed agreement, and proceed to do what you’re contracted for, and only what your contracted for. Don’t let the client come back with excessive revision requests unless you’ve built that into your contract.

Let’s put it another way. Dave wants a house built. He finds an architect and a builder that are just starting out and requests to meet with them. At this meeting he says to the architect, “I want you to design a 2,500 sq. foot house for me.” and then turning to the builder, says, “And I want you to build it as modern as possible with granite countertops, walk-in shower and hardwood floors.” Then Dave adds the kicker – “I don’t have any money to pay for this, but this house will look great in your portfolios and I’ll give you a great reference.” Do you think the architect and builder are going to accept?

What makes people assume that creative work should be performed for free? A good designer can be an asset to your business –  like a good employee, accountant, lawyer, supplier, etc. One shouldn’t think of creative work as a “one-off” relationship. What if you need additional work like a promotional piece created for a new product? Are you going to place another ad looking for free design work? Or are you going to contact “your designer”, the one that you have a working relationship with, that understands your business because of the time spent working together on your branding/marketing materials. The designer who can get it done quickly for you because he/she understands what you need designed without a lot of input/micromanaging from you?

Graphic designers and other creative folks need to get paid the same as you need to get paid for your products or services. We have families to feed and bills to pay, just like you do.