May 12, 2015

The Favorite Keyboard Shortcuts of 7 Successful Creatives

 

Keyboard shortcuts can change your life... or at least save you a few precious seconds of it on your next project. Shortcuts help you work more seamlessly and efficiently, whether you're designing a rad album cover in Illustrator or balancing a sensible budget in Excel.

A keyboard shortcut is a combination of keys that, when pressed simultaneously, perform some task that ordinarily requires use of a mouse or other input device*. Regardless of your background, you're most likely familiar with the basics: Undo, Copy, Paste, and Control-Alt-Delete. But you may not know that there are hundreds of fancy shortcuts out there that can save you valuable time and energy.

I've found that every artist, designer, and creative has their own unique tricks of the trade and go-to shortcuts. In the interest of uncovering some of these priceless productivity gems, I've asked designers, artists and creatives to share their favorite keyboard shortcuts with us! (Keep in mind, most shortcuts are interchangeable for Mac and PC, just swap ⌘ and Ctrl.)


Kathleen Shannon | Braid Creative

creative branding & blogging goddess
⌘Z - forever and always. I also love shift+⌘+ [ and ] for moving objects above and below each other in InDesign.


Ciera Holzenthal | Ciera Design

graphic designer & meet up maven
I love being able to quickly navigate around the screen, so my favorite keyboard shortcuts are for zooming in and out, ⌘+/- and ⌘0 for “Fit page in window” for when I need a quick view of the full design.



Robert Cornelius | Robert Cornelius Photography

photographer & photoshop powerhouse
In Photoshop: I use ⌘J alllll the time to duplicate my layers. I’m constantly trying something crazy and if I just duplicate my layer before I try it, then I can always delete that layer if I don’t like it, or maybe turn down the opacity a bit. Also ⌘E to merge a layer down to the one below it.



Jamie Starcevich | Spruce Rd. Design

graphic designer & branding buff
Spacebar is the easiest way to navigate to different areas of your artboard! Before using this, I used the navigator tool... which I am not sure they even still have that! I never use it anymore, clearly. I use the guides in illustrator like nobody's business! ⌘; toggles the guides on and off. “V” is probably my most used shortcut! This toggles to the selection tool, and basically just off of whatever previous tool you had selected (shape, transform, etc.)



Sara Cornelius | Cake Over Steak


illustrator & fantastic food blogger
For Photoshop, I love being able to use the brackets [ and ] to change brush size, and you can swap between your foreground and background colors (if you're using a brush tool or whatever) with "x" - knowing shortcuts like these for the Adobe programs is a game-changer in your workflow and speed.



Sarah Moore | Smoorelovin

interactive designer & playlist perfectionist
option + ← or →  = single letter kerning is definitely my favorite, such a HUGE time saver. It allows me to put as much care into letter setting as possible with a little more control.


Chrystina Cappello | Christina Noel

greeting card crafter & bringer-together of bloggers
I don't usually have a mouse attached to my laptop, so I spend most of the day using keyboard shortcuts. Some of my favorites are Ctrl-E to center in Microsoft Word, Ctrl-> and Ctrl-< to make fonts bigger and smaller in Microsoft Word, Ctrl-T to open a new tab in Chrome, Alt-tab to switch between programs, and Ctrl-Z to undo.


BONUS - Me! | brigette i design

graphic designer & hotkey hoarder
For the Mac operating system - if you hit ⌘-spacebar it brings up a “spotlight” search bar in the right hand corner. Start typing and you can open any application or file from there instead of manually going through folders.


Thank you to all of the amazing creatives who shared their keyboard shortcut expertise with us - now go forth and use their gifts of knowledge!

Do you have any must-know shortcuts, or just a favorite? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re looking for a visual reminder to use your hotkeys, check out my "Know Your Hotkeys" series of printables and prints in my etsy shop.


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February 10, 2015

Valentine Printable Treat Tag: You're Unbe-leaf-ably Cool!

 


Everyone knows that the most important thing about Valentine's Day is making the best cheesy puns. Similarly crucial is eating delicious candy, and I suppose appreciating your friends and loved ones is up there as well. These printable candy valentines have you covered on all three!

Keeping with tradition, I designed these treat bag valentines for friends and coworkers this past year, this time with gummy mint leaves candy. Check out the past two designs, "You're a Star" and "You Rock" as well!


To incorporate a more permanent element to the gift after the minty deliciousness is gone, I included a leaf-related graphic and Albert Einstein quote to hang up.


These are super easy and fun to make! You'll need:

  • 4.75" x 3.5" clear treat bags (from your local craft store or amazon)
  • Spearmint Jelly Leaves candy (any grocery should have these, or in bulk at candynation.com)
  • Cardstock or heavyweight printer paper
  • Color printer
  • Scissors or X-acto knife
  • Stapler



  1. Download the printable here! 
  2. Print the pdf double-sided onto your card stock, and trim out each label square on the "unbeleafably cool" side. Fold down the middle evenly.
  3. Fill your treat bag with a helping of candy, and fold the top of the bag over.
  4. Place your label around the folded edge of your treat bag, and staple towards the bottom edge.
  5. BAM - You have a fun and tasty valentine to give the unbeleafably cool people in your life!





You can download the past free printables designs too - click below:


Enjoy!  Brigette



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January 22, 2015

5 Graphic Design Resolutions You Can Make This Year

 
With the first month of 2015 already mostly behind us, you may have already filled your resolution list with more than enough ambitions for the coming year. But if you don’t have any design related goals, consider crossing out “eat more kale” and add one or two resolutions that nourish your creative self instead. Here are a few ideas:

1. Step up your technical skills.


We all know how elusive getting into that perfect creative flow can be, so don’t let technical skills or messy organization get in your way. Here are some small things that can have a big impact on your efficiency:
  • Be diligent about creating character and paragraph styles for long documents

  • Know and use keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys (shameless self-promotion: my hotkey reference posters can help with this one!)
  • Try some new productivity or organization tools

  • Develop a good file organization system (something I have to work on, any suggestions?)



2. Read a design book.


Reading more is perpetually on my resolution list. No matter what the subject, I feel much more focused and aware in other areas of my life when I make reading a habit. Resolve to absorb some new information about designers and their process, new work that you won’t find circulating on the internet, or some practical information like freelance finances and logistics. Here are some design books that I’ve found interesting and helpful:


3. Learn something new, design-related or not.


There are 100 ways to do the same thing when it comes to graphic design, and it’s extremely interesting to learn different designers’ processes. I’ve had a Skillshare membership for half a year now, and it’s certainly worth the cost. There is a huge variety of design and illustration related classes on there, as well as critical / creative thinking, marketing and other related fields. Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve taken so far:


4. Refresh your personal brand or business cards.


It can be difficult to prioritize designing for yourself when you have so many other things on your to-do list (like eating or not eating kale.) But if you’ve been meaning to freshen up your personal branding or business cards, it may help to make it a resolution for yourself this year. Whether you’re actively looking for a job or not, it’s great to have business cards or a website that you’re proud to share whenever you meet a potential client, collaborator or even just a friend. 

5. Start a rewarding personal project or endeavor.


No matter how much else you may have going on, it’s important to make time for projects that you truly feel personally and emotionally invested in. When your heart is in your work, it’s easier to put in extra time and energy, push your creative limits, and create work that truly connects and resonates with people. Also, you should be having at least a little bit of fun! I’ve found that techniques or styles I experiment with in personal projects end up being useful in my professional work as well. As Maya Angelou said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”



CLICK TO TWEET


What other design related goals do you have for this year?
Let’s hear about them in the comments! 




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November 18, 2014

Dom Streater - Logo Design Process

 

I have the honor of knowing many talented women from my college years at Moore College of Art & Design, and one creative friend in particular has been rocking it lately - Dom Streater is a Fashion Designer, the winner of the 12th season of Project Runway, and a generally awesome person. Needless to say, I was extremely excited when she asked me to work on her brand as a fashion designer.

STEP 1: CREATIVE BRIEF


To get things started, I worked with Dom to put together a creative brief. This involves a series of questions I use to distill exactly what a client wants to communicate with their logo and identity. Creating a design brief is a great way to ensure you and your client are on the same page, even if you’re working with someone creative or who you know well. Through this discussion, Dom and I came to the conclusion that a hand-drawn logo would be a good approach, and would evoke her special blend of traits in her work: retro but modern, feminine but bold.

STEP 2: MOODBOARD


Once we had the blueprint figured out, I started with some image research. Though you may agree conceptually, you and your client may have very different ideas about how those concepts translate visually. A mood board is great step to bring to life what’s you’ve discussed - before you invest time and energy into a particular design direction. This is the inspiration board that I created for Dom’s logo, incorporating some images of her work with some of the patterns and typography styles that I had in mind:

STEP 3: SKETCH, SKETCH, SKETCH!


Once we decided to move ahead with this hand-drawn typography approach, I hit my sketchbook and roughed out as many potential designs as I could. I typically work in a small moleskine notebook first, then bring potential options onto larger paper and refine with tracing paper and markers. 

STEP 4: TWEAK, REFINE, & VECTORIZE


I chose three designs that I felt were the strongest, and shared them with Dom.
We decided to combine some of the different elements that we liked in each into one logotype. I did a few more versions in pencil and marker, and then brought it into the computer to vectorize in Adobe Illustrator. This is the final logo:


STEP 5: REAL-LIFE APPLICATIONS


Here it is in action on the business cards I designed, and a trade show sign:


Hand-drawn typography can be a satisfying iterative process - from roughing out the initial concept, to finessing the subtleties of curves in Illustrator. I particularly love using it for identity projects when it’s appropriate, I think it’s a great way to communicate the personality of the individuals behind the brand. And of course, working with talented and creative people like Dom makes it all the more fun!

Do you have a different route in your creative process?
Let me know in the comments!



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