Friday, February 25, 2011

Wrap Labels

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I came across these images on the blog Yes, Please. They were from a wedding planning event called Hitched. All the images are beautiful but I picked the ones above as my inspiration for this design recipe. It looks like such a fun event- wouldn't it be fun to be invited to a table set up and decorated like the one above? I thought it'd be nice to make some wrap labels to accompany the table.

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For this recipe you'll need:

• Flower clip art- I found this one free [HERE].
• Horse clip art- free [HERE].
• Chevron/Zig-Zag pattern- I drew my own but found a pattern tile [HERE].
• Scalloped label shape- I drew mine (secret: it's just keyboard brackets joined together & filled a solid color).
• Serif Font- I used Bernard MT Condensed already on my system but found a version [HERE].
• Color palette based off my inspiration images.

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Set up your document size. Most of the wrap labels I found were sized around 8 x 2 inches so that's the measurements I used. Next, set up your guides depending on the size of your envelope and how much you want your design to wrap.  I set mine up so that the main design and address area would be 5 inches and the amount the wraps to the back would be 3 inches.

I noticed from the images that there was a lot of neutral tones, tans, golds, whites, and yellows.  From there the table was accented with the turquoise blue and pinks and other colors. I decided to use the same color distribution for my labels. Using the yellow color to represent the amount of neutrals and using the other brighter colors as an accent.

I filled my whole canvas with the yellow color then started layering the different clip art elements. I screened back the opacity of the flowers then added the chevron pattern in a thin stripe on top, reminiscent of the folded napkins of the image.  I used the scalloped label shape to mimic the scalloped plate and put a little horse on it, just like the place setting.

I added the recipients address to the panel under the horse and my return address to the solid color panel that wraps to the back.

When you have your design just the way you want it, you could set up multiples on a single sheet. This would allow you to print them on full sheet sticker paper then trim them out to apply to your envelopes. This design fits five to a sheet.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Master Masking

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An ongoing design trend is the use of watercolors, gradients, and rainbows in art. Inspired by this look, I thought I'd put together an ABC poster for the kids' room.

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1) Interesting font.
I downloaded the font Kilogram from here.

2) Colorful Photograph
This carousel image is from iStockPhoto. It was a free, high-res download that I got about a year ago.

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1) In Adobe Illustrator, create your document with your final print size in mind. I plan on printing this at Costco, and the largest poster size available is 20 x 30in.
2) Typeset the alphabet. This can be aligned left as in the ABC poster example above or centered. I went with centered alignment.
3) When you're happy with how the type is laid out, outline the font by selecting it and choosing from the menu Type > Create Outlines.

4) Keeping all the type selected, go to Object > Compound Path > Make. This outline is now going to be our mask. I like to color my mask black so I can see what I'm working with. It should look like this:

5) Next, place the photograph in your file (File > Place). Optional: Before placing in Illustrator, you may want to blur the photo in Photoshop by applying the Lens Blur filter to obscure the image and give it a painterly, dreamy effect.
6) Move the photograph behind the mask. Select the mask and choose from the menu Object > Arrange > Bring to Front. Deselect.

7) Select both mask and photo. Go to the menu and choose Object > Clipping Mask > Make. Now the photo shows only through the alphabet mask. (I rotated and nudged the photo around until I was satisfied with how the colors peeked through the mask.)

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This method is a great way to design greeting cards, baby shower invites, or creating fun prints for your home. Below I used the same photograph, but with different masks:

Happy masking!

(Additional resource info - 'Love Fool' set in the typeface MaSexy and vector bike image downloaded from here. Both free.)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Free Compliments Poster

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This charming Free Compliments Poster from Kind Over Matter caught my attention right away! What a fun way to be creative and make someone smile at the same time. This could be pinned to a bulletin board in offices, restaurants, coffee shops or right in your kitchen.

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  • Rounded corner rectangle and a label shape. Most image editing programs have these custom shapes built in.
  • Masking Tape Brush or other graphic file. I found this Photoshop tape brush set at ThinkDesign.
  • Typewriter font and handwritten font. This typewriter font is called Another Typewriter and is from dafont. The handwritten font is CAC Pinafore also from dafont.
  • Dotted line graphic which can easily be created in any image editing software.
  • Background pattern. I used a 12x12 background paper from the Eco Friendly Collection Mini at Scrap Girls.
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Create a new 8.5x11 document in your image editing software. Fill the top of the page with your chosen pattern. Next, place your rounded corner rectangle shape in the center of your patterned background. Now add your text on top of the rectangle. Create your label shape for the upper left hand corner of the rounded rectangle background. I did this using a standard custom shape in Photoshop.

Now you add your own fun saying on the label. I also added two pieces of tape using the Photoshop brush that I found at ThinkDesign. The next step is to create a dotted line for the cut lines between the compliments. I did this using circle brush in Photoshop. I simply increased the spacing of the brush. I duplicated that layer several times to create the multiple dotted cut lines at the bottom of the page. The last step is to fill your unique compliments and you are all done!

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Here is the finished product! I chose a happy color palette and pattern to add even more playfulness to the concept. I plan to print this out and put it in my kitchen to serve as a reminder to my family that they are loved and appreciated. 

Have fun brightening someone's day!

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