Saturday 24 March 2018

The importance of mock-up to a graphic designer

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Mock up

The best way to show your design to a client is to present it in the final look. However, to make things look real you have to visualize your design in a realistic mock-up to get your client understanding your ideas and to expect a concept of how your design will be in his product or in his desired project.

Mock-ups are very important to any graphic designer to get his work presented in a professional way. But making realistic mock-ups is not an easy process, You have to get some photography skills and advance Photoshop experience. But every designer started by using ready mock-ups templates which are available free & paid in many sources these days.

Below is a free video tutorial from PHLEARN on how to make a packaging box mock-up in Adobe Photoshop. He is explaining how to map out elements to put a simple sticker on box sides.The real product photo is very important to have your mock-up in a good dimensions and suitable angle.

Now you have an idea of how PSD mock-ups get made, Let's go a bit advance by learning wrapping design on a rounded product as in the video below from Vector Slate.

Mock-ups speed up designer work and gives more attraction on it. I faced that many times, When I present my work as real look clients get happy with my design more than they do when I give the design JPG without mocking it up.

There are a lot of designers who sell their mock-ups online and make good money from that. However, You can get good mock-ups for free from Graphics FuelGraphic Burger and Mockup World. Or paid mock-ups from Creative Market and Graphic River.

To get engaged with mock-up creating take photos of a cup and try to use the techniques in the above videos to make your own mock-up and share it with us on Facebook as a message with your name. We will share the best mock-ups on our page.
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Saturday 17 March 2018

Microsoft Surface Book 2 review

Review: Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft has released a new Surface Book device in October 2017 with great features and high specs under the name : Microsoft Surface Book 2 and this device is the best alternative for Apple MacBook if you are Windows user. In this post we are going to review the Surface book 2 as designers and see if it's suitable for our work.

Surface Book 2: Design

From the first look at the Surface Book 2 you will know it's a Microsoft device. It's been designed in a industrial look to showcase the best of Windows in every corner. The cool gray color gives Surface Book 2 a professional sense and you will feel very comfortable using the keyboard because it's wide and the keys size is suite your fingers clicks. The display is adjustable and the windows logo on the back looks very cool in silver shines.

Microsoft has innovate in the Surface  Book 2 to match the Surface Studio in the design in order to do branding for the Surface brand in the market which is a late step to take now, But we can see that the company is creating great stuff in the latest years from devices and softwares following Apple with it's iMac & MacBook brands.

Surface Book 2: Display

Surface Book 2 Display

There is two versions of Surface Book 2 one with 13.5'' screen & another with 15'' screen. Both are touchscreen working with the PixelSense™ technology which gives a higher resolution that the 4K and the same display of the Surface Studio. Designed for the Pen and touch perfectly, Totally removable to work on it as a tablet and flip-able if you want to keep the keyboard below it. And the colors of the display has been enhanced as well to give better experience.

Surface Book 2: Specs

A lot of Surface Book 2 options are available with different display size & specs starting from $1.499 for the minimum specs option which is works with the 7th gen of Intel core i5 processor includes 256GB as storage, 8GB RAM and Intel® HD Graphics 620 integrated GPU. But we are going to review the specs of the highest Surface Book 2 which cost $3.299! which runs:
  • 8th gen of Intel core i7 processor with quad cores power
  • 1TB Storage
  • 16GB RAM
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 discrete GPU w/6GB GDDR5 graphics memory
The GTX 1060 is not the best in the market but is best for laptops so far, because there is no mini card of GTX 1080 yet. But the 1060 still gives great performance and handle the graphic design and even the 3D rendering processes easily. Also we can't forget the Pen and Dial gadgets are giving the Surface Book 2 more power and control when it's comes to editing in Photoshop or doing digital painting because it makes the device works as an iPad Pro or a Wacom. It's not comes with in the box so you have to pay more $99 for it.

The device is great and you can find one with specs that match your needs in good prices offers in Amazon or At the end I will leave you with this video review from Dave Lee. Peace !!

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Friday 2 March 2018

Galaxy Note 8: The perfect mobile phone for a graphic designer

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Just few days ago Samsung the Korean mobile phones manufacture has released the Galaxy S9 a cell phone with excellent features. But as graphic designers we need a phone that can help us do our daily activities fast and easily. So what is the perfect phone for a graphic designer?.

In this article we are going to talk about the Galaxy Note 8 in the features that can help a designer to improve his productivity and creativity. We will cover phone design and built, speed, camera and screen and how it can effect in the graphic designer work.

Galaxy Note 8 Design

Galaxy Note 8 Design

A wide screen with almost no edges and perfect curves that's make the device very comfortable to grip. The buttons locations are reachable and the fingerprint scanner is virtually flush with the back of the device to give better experience. In another point, for a graphic designer this phone is designed to give more space to work on.

Galaxy Note 8 Specs

  • 6.3'' 2k display
  • Dust/Water proof over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
  • S pen
  • Android 8.0 (Oreo)
  • Exynos 8895 Octa - EMEA or Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 - USA & China
  • Internal storage 64/128/256 GB expandable with microSD up to 256 GB
  • 6 GB as RAM
  • Dual 12 MP as primary camera + 8 MP as front facing camera
  • Non-removable Li-Ion 3300 mAh battery
And you can get full Note 8 specification from GSMAreana.

Galaxy Note 8 Display

Galaxy Note 8 Display

A wider 6.3" near bezel-less Quad HD+ (2960 x 1440) Super AMOLED infinity display with 521 ppi. Giving a big space and cinematic view to improve your experience while playing videos, gaming, taking photos and almost while doing everything in this amazing phone.

Galaxy Note 8 Camera

Dual 12 MP telephoto and wide-angle cameras, Work together to give professional photography experience. The telephoto camera has sensor size: 1/3.6", ratio: 4:3 and F.No (aperture): F2.4. And the wide-angle camera has sensor size: 1/2.55", sensor ratio: 4:3, FOV: 77° and F.No (aperture): F1.7 giving the way to use Pro mode, Panorama, Slow motion. Hyperlapse and Food mode. And you can save photos in RAW format.


The dual cameras allow you 4K video recording at 30 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps or 720p HD video recording at 30 fps. Also the Note 8 camera has VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization), Optical zoom at 2X, Digital zoom up to 10X, High CRI LED flash, Slow motion video support for 720p at 240 fps, Hyperlapse video with stabilization and Continuous auto-focus video.

Galaxy Note 8 Special Features

For sure now you are expecting me to talk about the best feature of Note 8 for the designers which is the S Pen, An amazing tool that's will really improve your productivity specially if you sketch a lot like what I do for logo designing and digital drawing & painting. Once you have an idea in your head directly take out your Note 8 from your pocket and start to visualize your idea using the S pen in professional sketch that's you can take easily to Adobe Illustrator to work on it. Enjoy watching this video below from TechRadar for speed sketching with Galaxy Note 8.

Video Review

Here is a video review of Note 8 from my favorite YouTube reviewer MKBHD.

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Tuesday 27 February 2018

Freelance vs full-time graphic designer job

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Freelance designer vs full-time

Between the freedom of freelance designing and limits of a full-time job, Having peace and comfort making living is a long story for a graphic designer. In this post I will talk about the advantages and dis-advantages of office work and freelance.

First: The full-time designer

Let's say you already finished a design program in a collage or an online course, And ready to get in the market and take a position as a designer, In this level the full-time job is the best step for you to start your career. Usually you will get a junior position but it has a lot of benefits.

Advantages of office work

The office working environment is a great society to meet people and seniors to start professionally and take the right directions to know your career market. In full-time job you will get :

Stable Salary

Yeah, Annually, monthly or weekly you will get a fixed stable salary to secure the full-time job employee life. So you will not be worry about your bills and living costs.

The full-time position benefits

A full-time job employee enjoy working with people and office benefits like getting the right tools for his job, taking experience by dealing daily with senior designers and he has the chances to get more project to enhance his skills.

Career developing

In office environment you can develop your position from being a junior design to reach senior or even an art director position and that position will effect in your next job and how the next employer will evaluate your experience and skills. And it's a benefit that freelancers don't get.

End of service gratuity

Gratuity is real assist if the full-time designer is leaving his position or moving to another job after years of service. However, the indemnity amount is different from country to another depending on the labors law. But usually it's fair enough and helpful until getting a new job or starting new work.

Dis-advantages of office work

Stability is limits

The income of full-time job designer is fixed, A salary with some benefits. So whatever big project he has he still gets his same payment.

Working Hours

Most of full-time jobs attached employees to long working hours. From 6 to 10 hours and 5 to 6 days a week. Putting the designer life in limited daily routine which can effect negatively in his productivity and his relationships with family and others.

Full-time is not a permanent!!

I really don't know how employers write (Permanent / Full-time) when they are advertising for a new positions. Because in any day you may lose your job for more experienced designer or get terminated for any simple problem in the work.

Second: Freelance designing

They say "Life is too short to be working for someone else's dream". Starting freelance to make living is a hard decision to take. The market is big but there are too many freelance designer offering their services. But that doesn't mean freelancer aren't getting a lot of projects. The successful freelancers get so much projects and earn a lot of money.

Advantages of freelance designing


Freedom is the key of happy life, The freelancer has the flexibility to sleep, wake up and work at anytime he wants. And having peace and comfort while designing is positive factor to be more creative, and that's why we see very fresh ideas from freelance designer all the time.

The Sky is the limit

Not like the salaried jobs the freelance graphic designers have no limits earning money. They can meet clients locally, get jobs online and having their own passive income. There are so many platforms to sell your artworks or to get jobs as freelance designer such as Freelancer, 99designs, Graphicrevier and CreativeMarket.

Being the boss of yourself

A freelance designer hasn't to report for a higher position or a manger. He do his own business for himself. Freelancers report directly to their clients and that's allow them to earn the powerful to own and manage a business and understand the sales niche instead of just designing.

Dis-advantages of freelance designing

Non-stable income

It depends on the project that's freelance designer gets and the quality of his clients. In the starts freelancer will face difficulties on getting projects. That's why you should make sure you can survive at least 6 months before you leave your job and shift to freelancer.


Being in office allows you to meet people and engaged with the society and you will miss this as a freelancer.

Graphic design depends on creativity, that's why many designers prefer to work freelance to feel more flexibility and freedom. And also the passive income is a high target that most of the graphic designers try to reach. At the end taking a decision of being a freelancer or a full-time designer is up to your experience, relations and finical situation. Let me know what you prefer. Peace !!
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Friday 23 February 2018

Review : Microsoft Surface Studio the best PC for graphic design

Microsoft Surface Studio

We are in 2018 and the technology today reached very far points in computers manufacturing in many sides. As graphic designers we always look for a device that can handle our heavy processes we are dealing with everyday in our job. However, We always look for a fast processor, more RAM and big graphics card. But what if we find a computer made specially for designers. Yes, This is Microsoft Surface Studio the best Windows PC until this day for graphic design.

In this post I will review the All-In-One Microsoft Surface Studio in design, specs and value for money. And we will cover how it's useful for designers.

Surface Studio Design

With very clean design, A piece of art in your office makes you feel like every edge in this PC looks just perfect.

Unique industrial design with luxury gray color touch makes Surface Studio the king of your desk. And the adjustable screen gives you the freedom to create in a comfortable way. It's a 28'' display working with PixelSense technology which make in a higher resolution than the 4k screens.

This giant screen provide 3:2 Aspect ratio, 192 PPI (4500 x 3000 resolution) and multi-touch with 10 touch points. And so bright, comfortable on the eyes and the black is perfectly black on it.

Surface Studio Specs

This machine is so powerful to handle your work with high specs options :

1. Intel Core i5 processor option :
  • 1TB Rapid Hybrid Drive
  • 8GB RAM
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 965M 2GB
Starting from $2,999 and suitable for designers who depend on Adobe In-design in their daily work.

2. Intel Core i7 processor first option :
  • 1TB Rapid Hybrid Drive
  • 16GB RAM
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 965M 2GB
Starting from $3,499. Suitable for normal graphic design processes (Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop).

3. Intel Core i7 processor pro option :
  • 2TB Rapid Hybrid Drive
  • 32GB RAM
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 980M 4GB
Starting from $4,199 suitable for heavy uses like 3D rendering and animating. And for Gamers :) .

Surface Studio Value for Money

The prices of Surface Studio are huge between $2,999 to $4,199. But it worth, One you sit in-front of this PC you feel the quality from the first look on the 28'' screen, And with the pen provided you will save the cost of buying a Wacom. Also, there is another gadget call the Surface Dial which gives a new way to shortcut functions in simple moves.

The value of the Surface studio is very big even it expensive, Because it will take your creativity to another professional level.

Surface Studio for designers

As a designer you will feel the big passion for Surface Studio from the first look, It has been designed for you. A wider high resolution screen that's shows the size of the A4 paper as it is in real life to give you a real visual look of what you will create. A pen that's every artist need it to digitize his creativity perfectly. And the new Surface Dial the tool to make your work more fluid and smooth. It is latterly named to be a studio in your small desk.

If you are a Windows user, Surface Studio is the best designing PC for you until this moment. It will make your work easy and professional and the screen will give you the freedom to create however it makes sense to you.

Share your thoughts about Surface Studio, Let me know what you think about it, Peace !!
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Saturday 17 February 2018

Logo usage guidelines

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logo usage guidelines

Branding process is a long journey that's start with small important things like choosing colors, fonts and patterns to be as a clear guidelines to save time through that journey. However, As a logo designer you need to make your work professional by giving your client a guidelines to use their logo in the right positions and areas.

To create logo usage guidelines you need to focus first in logo spaces, colors, backgrounds behind the logo and patterns that include the logo of part of it.

1. Colors

Of course you already chose the colors of the logo when you created it, But wait, What colors library  book you are using ? PANTONE+ solid coated is perfect color book to use because it's well known in the printing and digital fields and the manufactures around the world are creating many materials in the colors of that color library. So your client will not find and difficulties to find his logo colors in the market. In your guidelines you should provide the colors PANTONE, the CMYK and the RGB values.

2. Backgrounds

For the visually terms of the logo, background should match the logo colors perfectly. The white color background is exist at many places so it should be a basic thing in your logo usage guidelines. Then one dark color background to reflect the view of the logo .After that you need to look at the colors that may give more meaning to the brand to put in your guidelines.

3. Patterns

Patterns are those graphics that give branding powerful impact and luxuriates. Imagine a white coffee cup with only logo and another cup with a pattern that include the logo or part of it. Which one will you recognize next time you will see a part of that cup? Giving one or two patterns with logo will make your work professional.

The logo usage guidelines is just a simple thing from the full brand guidelines which include everything that the brand maybe on one day like : Signage, vehicle wrapping, wall & glass branding, fonts families and more. And usually designers provide this kind of full guidelines as a separate service not included with logo design.
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