Twofish Baking Company Package Design

Beautiful package design for this gourmet granola from Twofish Baking Company (as featured on TheDieline).

Chartwell Font - Automatic Graph Creation

Create your graphs right in InDesign with Chartwell, an OpenType infographic font that converts your data into simple pie graphs, bar graphs and line graphs using ligatures. It's all live text so it's completely editable. Neat!

Minus is My New Plus

I've been looking around for a while for a decent free online file sharing service. I recently got introduced to and I love it! Simple and clean interface, tons of space (up to 10 GB free), easy to specify public or private files.

Camp Mighty

Vintage style super hero design from Camp Mighty.

Don't Fear the Internet

Don't Fear the Internet: Basic HTML and CSS for Non-Web Designers has some good introductory web skills videos geared towards print designers and non-web savvy artists and photographers. By Jessica Hische (from Daily Drop Cap and other projects) and Russ Maschmeyer.

Design*Sponge Book Cover Evolution

Design*Sponge has an interesting post on the evolution of the Design*Sponge book cover through 30+ cover drafts. I like some of the other covers a bit more than the final cover (the bright red one) but it's interesting to see all the different visual directions explored.

Importing InDesign Workspaces and Keyboard Shortcuts from Version to Version

I'm finally setting up InDesign CS 5.5. With some testing and research I've discovered the secret place where InDesign stores your customized workspace and keyboard shortcut files. So now I can easily copy and paste the shortcut or workspace files from InDesign CS 5 to CS 5.5 and be up and working in CS 5.5 in no time.

The location: Users > "Your Name" > Library > Preferences > Adobe InDesign > Version 7.0 (choose your version — 7.0 is equivalent to CS5) > en_US > InDesign Shortcut Sets or Workspaces.

Dana Tanamachi - Chalk Artist

I never thought of something as simple as white chalk on a blackboard as being impressive and artistic but Dana Tanamachi makes it so.

Google Art Project

Google Art Project: It's Google street view for museums! Virtually walk through museums and explore selected artworks at high resolution.

The list of currently participating museums is impressive:

  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin - Germany
  • Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC - USA
  • The Frick Collection, NYC - USA
  • Gemäldegalerie, Berlin - Germany
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC - USA
  • MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC - USA
  • Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid - Spain
  • Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza, Madrid - Spain
  • Museum Kampa, Prague - Czech Republic
  • National Gallery, London - UK
  • Palace of Versailles - France
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
  • The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg - Russia
  • State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow - Russia
  • Tate Britain, London - UK
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence - Italy
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands


I love the title font on this book cover. A very elegant and simple design - understated in a Scandinavian way...

Subtle Patterns for Websites

Subtle Patterns has a collection of free high quality patterns for website backgrounds. The patterns are mostly monochromatic but you can add your own color overlay in Photoshop as desired. The best feature of this site: click the Preview button on any pattern and the pattern will test live—filling the page.

Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition at Nucleus Gallery

Yes, I am a Harry Potter fan. I saw this Harry Potter Tribute Exhibition at the Nucleus Art Gallery and couldn't help choosing my favorite pieces.

I Open at the Close

Whomping Willow

J'ai Deux Amours (painting of Luna)

Hermione Reading

Dreaming Cow Yogurt Packaging

I like the simplicity, elegance and cute illustrations on this Dreaming Cow Yogurt packaging. And I absolutely love the "new zealand style artisan yogurt" text font (which What the Font tells me is Coquette).

How to Generate a QR Code

If you don't know what QR code or if you've seen these around but don't know what they were called, here is a good description from wiki:

A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera telephones. ... The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data.

Here's how to generate a QR code:

  1. Open your web browser and navigate to your favorite QR code generating website. This free QR code generating site from Kerem Erkan came highly recommended. The better sites will allow you to create the file in vector .eps format—definitely preferred!

  2. Select a Code Action which will most likely be "Browse to a Website" but there's a whole drop down menu of options.

  3. Select Code Type: QR Code

  4. Select Output Type: Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) (vector data is preferred because it's crisp at any size)

  5. I left the defaults for the rest. URL Shortening: None, Error Correction Level: Low, Block Size in Pixels: 10, Margin Size in Blocks: 1, Foreground Color: #000000, Background Color: #FFFFFF, Transparent boxes unchecked

  6. Click the Generate Code button and the file will automatically begin downloading

  7. Insert the code into your Photoshop, InDesign or Illustrator document. QR codes will be hard to read at sizes smaller than .59 inches (15 mm). A good standard QR code size is around 1 inch or 25-30 mm.

My Work: Purple Dandelion Card

This purple dandelion card art has been in my imagination for a long time. I finally put mouse to canvas.

Photoshop Smart Object Stacking

There's always another layer to discover in Photoshop! I hadn't used Smart Object stacking before and was recently introduced to it at a conference. The stacking modes have mysterious terms like Entrophy, Kurtosis and Summation (Read Adobe's technical explanation of stacking modes here).

Some of the practical applications of Smart Object stacking:

  • If you take multiple photos of the same road or fountain and then use stacking mode Median, you can remove moving objects like cars and people (layers must be aligned first)

  • If you take photos of the same room with different light sources use the stacking mode Maximum to combine the light of all of these sources (layers must be aligned first)

How to use Smart Object stacking:

  1. Open a new document in Photoshop. Drag in at least 2 images. Select the images in the Layers panel, right click and Convert to Smart Object.

  2. Select Layer > Smart Objects > Stack Mode and choose a stacking mode.

  3. If you don't like the results, repeat the previous step to choose another option. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a keyboard shortcut or simpler way to access these options but you could always create custom keyboard shortcuts if you end up using this feature a lot.

I had fun playing around with these 2 photos and different stack modes as a creativity tool to see the different results.

Stacking mode: Summation

Stacking mode: Range

Stacking mode: Maximum

Note: Once something is converted to a Smart Object there is no way to ungroup it (at least that I could find in my research) and release all of the original layers (the way you can ungroup layers). To get back to the original contents, open the Smart Object and drag all the layers back into your document. Then delete the Smart Object.

Optical Illusion Artwork

As a kid I had a lot of fun with activity and game books with puzzles and optical illusions. I'm sure everyone has seen this classic:

Is it a vase or two faces?

To me these two pieces by ilovedoodle on Etsy have that same playful relationship with the negative and positive space. Charming illustrations and clever!

The Choir of Antarctica

The Pianist

MorgueFile — Free Stock Photos

The main free stock site I've used in the past is Stock.xchng but I've discovered another great free stock site: MorgueFile.

MorgueFile has a large collection of free stock photos, all of which are free for commercial use (see full license details here). The search feature can be a little clunky at first but it's because the site allows you greater search flexibility (search by color, file size, category, etc.). You can ignore the side filters and just search by one or more keywords using the search box on the top right.

I am having lots of fun looking for gems on this new site. A few favorites so far: multi-color, ferns, cherries, red bokeh

Indesign and ePub Resource List

I attended an excellent 1 day seminar on InDesign to ePub recently. Erica Gamet, the seminar presenter, has a great list of ePub resources on her website. It includes lists of:

  • Desktop ePub readers
  • Publishers and aggregators
  • Reference books and websites
  • Software for testing and working with ePub files
  • InDesign scripts and plug-ins
  • Useful code snippets

Great Food Covers by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Coralie Bickford-Smith brings beautiful color, whimsy and patterns to the Great Food series for Penguin books. My favorite things about this series are the colorful spines and the Love in a Dish cover.