Color Love: Black + Gold

Stars by Seb Lester

Hand lettered poster by Seb Lester

Once again, I find myself neglecting this blog. October was an incredibly rough month for personal reasons. I’m just slowly getting used to November, preparing for quarterly taxes (ugh), tackling a new project (yay), and trying to squeeze in preparations for an upcoming trip abroad (double yay).

Anyway, I just wanted to share some things I saved up for a blog post—namely, the glorious combination of black and gold (foil or metallic ink).

I love this combination; it’s one of the best ways to connote luxury. While it depends on the complexity of the design in question (among other factors of course), print jobs like these are usually not that expensive to produce.

Jeopardy Magazine by Catherine Dimalla

Jeopardy Magazine designed by Catherine Dimalla

Argyll portfolio by Nelson Associates

Argyll marketing portfolio by Nelson Associates

bdebc27c11ee83dcfe95600b641a8bf7

Designer unknown; image found on Pinterest

Manifest Notecard by Eight Hour Day

Manifest Notecard by Eight Hour Day

Free Printable: Interchangeable iPhone Covers

iPhone Covers

I realized that my trusty iPhone case was looking absolutely filthy. It was a really good quality plastic case in a nice darkish color, but if you look closely you could see where the sweat and dirt have gathered. Eww. Nothing I did would restore it to its pristine condition, so off I went to get a new one.

Trouble with owning an older model iPhone is that most shops here seem to have stopped carrying any cases for the iPhone 4/4s. I decided to check out the shops that sold cheaper (though admittedly some dodgy) phone cases. As I was also on a serious budget, it was just as well.

My requirements for a case are: no designer labels (because they are sure to be fake for that price), not the kind that gets dirty easily (so even if I do like white or light-colored cases, I can’t use them), and doesn’t look tacky (no strange “Engrish” phrases, please). Thankfully it took me less than half an hour to choose a case that appealed to me: namely, a bumper case with a clear back, and it also prevents dust from getting into the earphone hole and charger socket. So far I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t dropped my phone in the time I’ve had it, but there’s a first time for everything, and I had best be prepared, right? The bumper case certainly feels a lot less fragile than the case I had. It’s a little thicker than what I normally would go for (I like more streamlined cases), but not intolerably so.

Best of all: I can make custom covers now. 🙂

So I made a few (you can be sure I’ll be making more) and I’d like to share some of these with whoever might want to use them. I’ve made two versions: one each for iPhone 4/4s and iPhone 5. All you need is a case with a transparent or clear (not frosted or matte) back, an X-acto knife or similar, and good quality paper. I used matte paper, but I’ve heard people getting good results on inkjet gloss stock.

If you want to make your own, you can use blank templates. I based mine on the an EPS file from See That There (they have some really gorgeous downloadable covers!) and you can also try this site. The blank templates can be edited in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. The crafty among you can simply print out a blank template and go crazy with say, washi tape and/or glitter. What I like about this particular type of case is the artwork will be protected. No worrying about sweat and dirt ruining your designs. 🙂

If anyone wants to know: I got my bumper cases in Glorietta. This cost P200.00, but because I got two (so if I dirty up the one I’m currently using, I can replace it with a good basic black), I paid P250.00 in all. I’m not much of a haggler so I imagine others can get them at even lower prices. Here in Manila, 168, Greenhills, and Makati Cinema Square are just some excellent places in which to find cheap cellphone cases in air-conditioned splendor.

For those not from the Philippines, you can find similar cases on eBay…and quite a selection they have, too!

Download: iPhone covers for iPhone 5

Note that I didn’t include a camera window in the templates because I notice that camera window shapes vary depending on the brand of the case. My apologies for the additional work.

HOW TO USE THIS PRINTABLE

1) Print out covers onto paper stock of your choice.

2) Cut along the dotted gray lines on the outside edges of the template. When done, place it inside your case; if it’s a tight fit, just trim the edges until you’re satisfied.

3) To cut out camera window: place the cover inside the case, and then place your phone inside so the cover doesn’t move around. Turn the case over so its rear is facing you. Carefully trace the camera window hole onto the cover with a pencil. Remove both phone and iPhone cover before you cut out the traced window on the cover.

One blog I saw had a very useful tip: use small scissors (first cutting a tiny hole in the middle, then cutting out the rest of the unwanted bits), but an X-acto (or similar) knife will do nicely if you’re extra careful. I used the latter and while I know it doesn’t look very neat, it’s difficult to see those imperfect edges once it’s installed.

4) Place cover back in the case, followed by your phone. And there you have it, a custom cover that you can change whenever the mood strikes.

Loot from Inkscribbler.com

Inkscribbler_Loot

The lovely Alexis of Inkscribbler.com celebrated her 25th birthday by letting 25 of her followers purchase some of her stock of essential calligraphy nibs and nib holders. I just got my package today. I love that she even hand-lettered my name and address on the envelope in which these were placed. Thank you, Alexis—I can’t wait to play with them!

Color love: black, white, red

While black and white is a classic look, adding a bit or even a splash of red can bring everything to life.

black-white-red-sample
(Color inspiration: poster for the English National Opera by Carroll, Dempsey & Thirkell)

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Print Techniques: Blind Embossing

One of the reasons why I decided to focus more on print design is simply because I love being able to hold a finished piece in my hand. I’ve long held a fascination for beautifully printed and finished pieces, from business cards to brochures, and this always inspires me to produce functional and beautiful (one can hope) work for my clients.

A favorite print technique I like to employ (where it suits the project, and because I’ve learned it’s not very expensive compared to other types of print techniques) is blind embossing.

With embossing, an image is heat-pressed onto the surface of the paper using a metal die to create a raised impression. There are several types of embossing, but we’ll focus on one that I particularly like: blind embossing. I know some printers who call it “dry embossing” and I think this is a more common term among printers here in the Philippines. Simply put, blind embossing is embossing without any application of ink or foil. Here are some examples of blind embossing:

matthew del degan business card Business card by Tyler Adam Smith

Victionary: Gold & Silver
Victionary‘s Gold & Silver: New Metallic Graphics

stila eyeshadow palette packaging
Stila Backstage Eyeshadow Palette by Jill Tomandl

blind embossing sample

Welcome dinner invitation I designed as part of a conference some years ago.

There are a lot of things one can do with blind embossing, and it works well on any color (white seems to be especially popular). It creates a subtle yet tactile effect, which makes it one way to make a piece look unique—without breaking the bank. 🙂