Pop Graphic Design | Graphic Design 101 – Making Your Work Pop!

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Brad Colbow

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Graphic Design 101 - Making Your Work Pop!

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Hello, my name is. Brad and I review tech for creative professionals and today. I’m talking about something. I’m very familiar with. I’m gonna be talking about graphic design. We’re gonna be talking about design principles. Things you can do to your work today to make it look better make it stand out, make it pop. And then we’re gonna take those principles and we’re going to start designing with those principles and to do that. We’re going to be creating a Youtube thumbnail If you’re just getting started in digital art or just want to learn more about creating things on a computer or iPad. You should check out my digital starter kit. It’s free, and if you want to learn more. I’m gonna drop a link down in the description and in the corner of this tutorial under the video. When you think of design you think, hey, that looks cool, but there’s more to design than that. Every good design starts with a goal. My thumbnails have a couple of goals. The number one goal is to communicate to the audience what the video is about? The second goal is to make it click worthy this is. Youtube, after all, And if nobody clicks on your video, Youtube stops sharing it with a larger audience and the third goal that I have is, I want to establish a brand, so if someone sees one of my videos and then sees another thumbnail for a different video, they could say wait. I recognized that style that belongs to the same channel, so the first goal is pretty obvious. If I’m reviewing an iPad, I use an image of an iPad. The second goal is a little bit more complicated, for example. I do reviews mostly for illustrators and designers. Now one way I could do it is I could use the text for artists and illustrators in my title or my thumbnail, but I find that it’s often easier to show those things than to actually tell people about those things, so maybe. I’ll be showing an art app on the screen. Maybe I’ll have a stylus sitting there. Something that will communicate to the audience without saying directly that this is an illustration focused review and that third part is. I want to use repeated elements over and over again in each and every one of my thumbnails, whether it’s the same font or my logo or similar color palettes, those people can recognize it as mine to accomplish these goals, we use four core design, principles, contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity or crap for short. I swear I did not make that acronym up. They teach this stuff in schools. So here’s crap. In A nutshell, contrast is so cool. He has a ponytail and a Camaro. Contrast is the difference between two things, size contrast, shape contrast, color contrast contrast, can be used in so many ways and might be the most important part of design, for example, If your core colors are green and blue, putting those two colors on top of each other might not work out so well, there just isn’t enough contrast, make that a lighter color green, and now it’s easier to read, and if you make that a darker shade of blue now, you have even more contrast, and it’s gonna stand out even more. We use contrast to separate design elements, so here’s an example of size contrast, your eye will be drawn to the larger object in your head. You will subconsciously think. Hey, that is the more important thing. If we have a blog post and all the text is the same size, it doesn’t read. Well, we bump up the size of that headline, and now it’s the prominent element that thing you see first. You might say the second. Most important thing is the story, not necessarily the date and the byline. So let’s make those a little bit smaller and maybe reduce the color contrast. Maybe think that text a little bit gray, and now that becomes secondary information. It’s there if you need it, but it’s not gonna draw your attention to it next up. We have repetition patterns in design are really important. If you create a pattern like all of these news stories fitting into one particular pattern. When you see it again, we will know. Hey, that thing is a new story when that pattern breaks, it also says. Hey, this is different. This is not a news story. Alignment is an easy one by aligning objects we can create relationships between them. These are four separate things once we align them. They are now part of a pattern part of a group. If we align them differently, they become a different pattern in different groups, which leads us into proximity. How close elements are to each other helps us figure out what those groups are by increasing the space in between objects we say to the viewer. Hey, these are different things by putting them closer together. We say, hey, these things are part of a group so when we take trask repetition alignment and proximity and put them all together. What we’re doing is we’re communicating to our viewer. What the most important thing on the page or on the screen is so that’s the Super High-level overview of design. Now, let’s take that and apply it so throughout the rest of the video. I’m gonna be mentioning, taking a picture and using the lighting and using the software and whatnot, But I don’t really have time to go into full reviews of those things or the details of those things, so making it post over on my website. That’ll have a lot of links and details into those sorts of things, so I can just focus on the design. I’ll link that down below in the description and throw it up here, too. There are a lot of great tips out there in terms of what should be in your Youtube thumbnails, and there’s no one right answer, for example, if you’re a personality driven Youtube channel using your face in your thumbnails, probably a good idea making eye contact is probably a good idea. I’m a tech based Youtube channel, so I like to show the products. In fact, I’ve found through testing different thumbnails that that’s. What works best for me now? What we’re going to be doing and why? I’m standing here as opposed to my normal spot. Is I’m gonna be taking you through a photo shoot in my studio. I’m gonna show you how I use. Photoshop you can use any image editor that you’re familiar with to kind of splice up that image and and create the layout and then use some of those design principles to do that. So let’s get going here. Is my photos set up? I have some colored paper poster board behind me that I picked up from a local craft store when I’m taking a photo. The main thing that I am thinking about is contrast. What is the product that I’m gonna be putting into my thumbnail? How is that product gonna look on the background that I pick out the laptop that I’m photographing today is actually space gray, but under the lights and pretty much everywhere you’re going to see it. It’s gonna look pretty light. It doesn’t even look like the darker colored aluminum because it’s reflecting so much light in the photos. I’m gonna put it on a darker colored background If I was photographing something like, say the Black Surface Pro X, I would probably use a lighter color background like this gray, but since its reflective, I’m gonna go much darker, so I decided on this nice purple color, cuz. I don’t get to use purple too much, and I think it’s gonna look pretty good, and I’ll probably throw something yellow on the screen, which is lighter, which is gonna provide some more contrast. It’s also my brand color so anytime. I can enforce that. It’s gonna look good. So here are our ingredients first. I’m gonna be taking a photo gonna be using that photo as my background gonna take that photo. I’m gonna edit it in Photoshop. Then I’m gonna add some typography and all along. I’m gonna be pointing out how we apply those design principles that we talked about before first off like. I said I am taking my own photograph. I’m doing that because one I have the tools to do that. I think it helps with the uniqueness of my thumbnails. There are other options out there. I used to use product images provided by the manufacturer, but other youtubers were doing the same thing. So my thumbnails look kind of Samey. I wanted a way to differentiate a little bit Another option that I’ve used that I really like, and is a more inexpensive route than actually going out and buying a bunch of hardware or using mock-up templates. You can get them anywhere. I get mine from design cuts. I have a relationship with the folks over. There know them pretty we’ll like them. They’ve got a lot of nice variety like these. Ipads that I can use and throw my own screenshots on them and they look really, really good. So like I said when I’m setting up my photo. I want to think about my contrast, so I want this product to be really well lit. I don’t want it to have a lot of harsh shadows. I want to make sure that I clean off any fingerprints before I get going because those are really gonna show up later on, get rid of the harsh shadows. My light has this cover on it, which diffuses the light. It really helps soften the shadows. If you have a direct spotlight on your product, you’re gonna find that you’re gonna get really hard Line shadows. Maybe you’re going for that usually. I’m not I like that softer. Look, it looks more professional. Kind of fuzzy around the edges. Something to keep in mind with photography. Lighting is way more important than your camera is. I often use my phone’s camera for this. In fact for this very project. I just snapped photos with my phone. Any phone made in the last? Several years is gonna take really good pictures. If your lighting is good Here is the photo that I’m working from, and I know what you’re thinking, Brad. That purple is only under part of the laptop. So, yeah, this product is so big that it was hard to get purple underneath all of it. So what I did is I took a second photo here of just the Purple and what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna crop out one side of that laptop. I’m gonna take the second image and I’m gonna slide it underneath there. It’s gonna look really good and I’m gonna walk you through it. Basically, what I’m gonna be doing is cropping out this side. This side little bit on the bottom, and then, of course, over here on the top as well, so let’s get started on that now. I could use a stylus to do that. You definitely can do that since this has very like straight edges. I don’t think I could’ve worried about the stylus so much. I’m just going to use my mouse and I’m going to be using the polygonal lasso tool in order to do this. So I’m gonna start over here by the edge of this plant and I’m just gonna click once and you’re gonna see as you draw your lasso. It’s gonna draw a line as you move and I’m just gonna scroll here all the way to the end. I’m gonna find my flat line here, and I’m just going to make a large selection and I’m gonna delete one chunk at a time as I go. So I’ll close that now. One thing is if I hit. Delete, it’s going to give me this box and Im. I don’t want to deal with that, so I’m gonna double click on my background, and I’m gonna make this not flat, so I’ll say okay, now when I delete it, it’s gonna give me that checkerboard, which is telling me this is transparent, which is exactly what I’m looking for now. I can take this lasso tool again and I’m gonna do this edge so in order to do that. I’m gonna zoom in and I work really big. This photo eventually has to be 1080 by 720p but the photo. I’m working with here when I’m doing my cropping. I usually am working. I think this photo is like 4000 pixels wide, So it’s four times larger than I need and what that’s gonna do is as I shrink it down as you see. That edge is not super smooth, But it’s not gonna matter much once I once I shrink it down. No one’s gonna be able to tell whoops. Scrolling is a bit walk in Photoshop today because I’m screen recording at the same time. It’s doing this, but all I need to do is come in here and use my lasso tool to select everything and I’m just gonna go ahead and do all of that. Here’s another contrast thing while we’re here. See how I photographed this edge on the gray and that is literally bleeding to the same color. It’s the exact opposite of high contrast, its very low contrast. Sometimes you want that in this case we do not, we want this product to stand out last thing. I want to do is as I come around this edge. I don’t want to cut it flat right here. What I want to do is. I want to add a little bit of lip to it. It’s hard to see it’s easier to see where it overlaps this gray, a little bit and then. I’m just gonna actually keep that lip. Let me zoom out, So it’s a little easier as I draw this straight line and I’m gonna do that. So I have the lip of that laptop. Select over scroll up a little bit. Come up here! Double click to close that selection hit. Delete and there we go. I have cropped out one side of my laptop and I’m ready to move to the next step. There is one thing that I want to clean up over here on this. Lower right hand side. Let me zoom in and you can see there. Is this little paper edge? And so let me show you something quick and easy that you can do to clean that up, so I’m gonna come in here and I’m gonna use my little polygon lasso tool and I’m just gonna grab the edge of the laptop Because replicating shadows can be kind of hard, So I like to just copy them from where whatever image I have. I’m going to select. You know, a nice square. I mean, something like that, and I’m gonna hit command C to copy it and then command V to paste it. It pastes in place. Now when I move my use my move tool, I can move that selection that I just cut out. It’s easy to see when I move it on top of my laptop. I’m gonna move it down here and let me nudge it over with my arrow keys, and there we go. We have a perfect alignment right here with the side of my laptop because it’s a nice straight line now. Those of you with good eyes can tell that there is now a purple crop mark here because there is a slight gradient to that paper. That’s no big thing. What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna mask that out, so I’m gonna go over here to my layers. I’m going to add a layer mask to it now. Anywhere where I paint with black, that’s gonna disappear so you can see. I’m using my paintbrush to paint with black, and you see, it’s disappearing on that mask. I’m painting on that mask. I’m not gonna use the paintbrush. Instead, I’m gonna use the gradient tool, and if I go to my gradient editor, you can see, I’m gonna go from black to transparent, so see what happens when I start dragging my gradient down, and when I let go what happens is it erases in that nice clean gradient, so you can’t really tell there’s that edge there. It’s a little edge over here on the left side sometimes. I’ll take the gradient tool. Drag it the other way. When we zoom out, what do we have? We have a nice, crisp edge. You can’t really tell that this was photoshopped unless you know what you’re looking for so. I’ll toggle it off. Oh, you have an edge? Toggle it back on were. Good to go next up. We’re gonna get this into a thumbnail now. I could crop this into the size. I need it, but instead I’m just gonna go ahead and create a new image and I’m gonna make it ten eighty tab over here by 720 Which is exactly the size that I need. I’m going to say yep. Go ahead and create that. And now I have the size that I’m working with. Now I can take this image and I can grab my move tool and I could start moving it. Whoops, actually. I need to grab both layers, cuz. I wanna move both layers and I just drag them over to this tab, and I let it go and the reason I like doing that is because if I ever need to go back to that original image that it cropped out, I can do it. I could have done it all in one if I turn this into a smart object, but I’m not thinking that far ahead. At least not today, so let’s resize that, and you can see that it’s resizing pretty good, and then I’m gonna crop it in such a way where that looks pretty good and yeah. I want to get a little bit more of that top edge of the laptop. Kind of like that. Maybe I move it over. I’m losing my dinosaur! I didn’t want to lose my dinosaur, but here we are, That’s alright and there we go. That looks like it’s laid out pretty much where I want it to be in this thumbnail. Then I can go to my other photo, which has my purple background and I can just drag it up and I’m gonna drop it right there into this file. I’m actually gonna move it down below. Let me zoom out a little bit here, and it’s really big, so I’m gonna scale it down. I’m probably gonna keep it bigger than the other one, but not quite as small as I may have needed it. And there we go something like that and now. I’ve got that that nice purple going on. If I want to, I could even come in here up at the top and and clean that up a little bit more. In fact, I might just nudge it, and that’ll do. It might just nudge it over there. We go, maybe not. I’ll figure it out anyway. Good enough for now. There is a couple things that I have noticed with my paper that I use is that I do have some marks because I put a lot of products on this paper and it marks up the paper. Sometimes that shows up in the thumbnail. No big deal. I can use my little band-aid brush, which is called the Spot Healing. Brush what’s nice about. That is all you have to do is kind of move it over areas that are nice, solid colors that need cleaned up, But when I let go, it gets rid of a lot of those marks. It’s a quick way to clean that up and this looks okay, but it could look better. The first thing I want to do Is that when I snap that photo of this purple, it’s a lot lighter over here that it is over on the left-hand side, so let’s go to image adjustment, brightness and contrast, and I’m just going to knock that brightness down a little bit, which is gonna make that that purple, a little bit darker. The other thing I want is having absolutely no shadow on the right Hand Side doesn’t quite look realistic. It looks like it’s floating a bit, so let’s get a shadow in there and to do that on my layers. I’m gonna hold the command key. Select that layer by just clicking on it and what that’s going to do Is it’s going to give me my marching ants around the edge of that laptop, and I’m gonna create a new layer and I’m just going to fill it with black, so I’m gonna grab the color black. The shortcut for the fill option is option, delete, and now that’s filled with black. So if I turn off that you can see that that has filled with black, and now I’m going to blur this layer, so I’m going to go to filter drop down and I’m gonna go down to blur and I’m gonna say gosh and blur, and we’re just gonna make this super super blurry. I don’t know, six. Looks like it’s about, right, okay, and then when I turn that on now, I have a shadow over here now. There’s not gonna be any shadow up here. There’s gonna be shadow down below, and I’m gonna nudge that down to make that a little bit more realistic, because that’s where the shadow is gonna show up. It’s gonna show up along the bottom of the laptop, unless so along the sides of laptop, I might pull it out on the sizes to touch, and then I’m gonna adjust the opacity of that drop shadow, just a tiny bit, maybe move it to like 70 percent and I want no drop shadow on that screen because that screen is not lying flat, so I’m gonna mask this, create my mask and then do what I did before with my gradient, but this time I’m gonna start my gradient like here. I’m gonna drag it down kind of like that. And I’m pretty happy with how this photo looks now. We got to get some text up in here so next up. We need to talk about repetition and one thing. I repeat, and all of my thumbnails is the same font, the tame type stylings in the same icon so to do this part. I’m actually gonna just drag over this layer folder. I have, which has all this text in it that I need and just drop it into my thumbnail. So I’m gonna drag it over to that tab. Pull it in here! Drop it and we are good to go now. One thing that I am noticing here is I think I screwed up that? This is clearly wider than this so. I’m just gonna keep quickly go in here. Go image size. What am I dealing with 1280 I made my thumbnail the wrong side, so I’m gonna come in here. I’m gonna go image canvas size. I’m gonna select the left hand side and I’m gonna change this to 1280 This is gonna grow the canvas, but not the full image and then. I’m going to grow it from a left to right. So what I click? OK, boom, there we go. I might have to do a little more photoshopping to get this background to look good, but for now I think I’m gonna leave it and focus on the text, so I’m gonna grab that text. I’m gonna move it here and there we go. Our title title Looks pretty decent, one thing. I am trying to avoid here, is I? Don’t want my title to touch the the edge of my laptop. I want it to overlap enough, so it doesn’t look like a mistake, or I want a bit to be far enough away, so it doesn’t look like a mistake. If it’s just right on that edge, It creates tension and it doesn’t look good so. I’ve decided I’m going to overlap it instead because moving it here moves it too close to the edge, so we’re just gonna overlap that text, just a tiny bit and work with something like this. The other thing we have going on here is alignment. I am aligning all of my text on the left and the right, and I tend to do that and a lot of my videos and a lot of my thumbnails. I’m gonna do that one in this one, too. So could I start typing in what the title of this video is? I’m gonna turn off some of the elements. I don’t need got a select two line one and say Mac Book. I’m gonna go to line two. I’m gonna say Pro 16 inch inch there we go and one thing I want to do is. I want to make sure that this text is the same size as the line above it. I’ve made sure that all my text is on a different line because I think it’s easier to hit ctrl t and resize a layer than it is to go in there and actually manually adjust the numbers. I like to just kind of eyeball it. I also like to spell the word Pro correctly. Brad there. We go one thing you should never ever do. Is your maleta me? Resize this up as I see people do this. All the time is if they have some text, they’ll say oh. I’ll just shrink it from the sides. I’ll always shrink it relative to its size. Let me show you what? I’m talking about if I hold shift and I resize it. It squishes the text, never ever ever ever squish text. It looks horrible. Just don’t do it. Graphic design, tip number eight thousand Four hundred Twenty five. So there we go, Those two lines are set. I’m going to move them up and then I want the word review underneath it, so I’m going to take one of my other lines of text this $329 and I’m going to change that to the word refew there we go and I want this to be similarly spaced, So I’m gonna move it down. This is where proximity comes into play If I move it down here. It reads like a separate sentence. I want it to read all as one thing. Macbook Pro 16 inch reviews. Sometimes I break out the review. Sometimes I don’t if I do break out the review. I’ll I’ll move it down a little bit like that. Oftentimes, I’ll include like a little rule line, which will also help me set it off. So the rule line might have the same proximity as the text above and below it the same spacing. I mean, and then I’ll move the hoops. Photoshop has changed the way it does text. I hate that gonna nudge it up there. We go so this is more less What I’m looking for so to review. We’ve got the contrast of the product looking good on what we photographed it on. We have an repetition. I’m repeating elements from thumbnail to thumbnail, so this thumbnail looks similar to this thumbnail, even though they’re using very different colors and at different elements alignment. I am aligning my text so that it is all clean along the sides. I am Center aligning my little icon guy here. In fact, I might not you move over, so he sent her to line a little better. And then proximity is the placement of the text. I want to make sure it’s not too close to the side, and I want to make sure that there aren’t some weird things going on where it’s overlapping here, and I want to make sure that it’s the same distance in between each elements in between each line of text. And when I zoom out, Lastly, I like to do this whenever I make a thumbnail is I’ll look at it and I’ll say when I see it small, cuz This is how a lot of people are gonna be seeing it. Is it readable and one thing that I see here is that I can actually go bigger with it, so I might take all of those layers and I might just grab them and resize them a little bit. There is still some cleanup. I’d like to do to this around the edges and get some things here here and there, like these little corners we go and everything is cleaned up, and that’s looking pretty good, so that ladies and gentlemen is how I use the core design principles to apply to designing something like a thumbnail and I will use these on everything whether I’m designing a web page, a thumbnail, a poster, even in my illustrations. I’ll use some of these same techniques. So if you have a comment or question, let me know down below in the comment section. I would love to hear from you and I will talk to you in a couple of days.