Category Archives: Graphic Design

Represent.Us Faux Newspaper

Check it out:

I spent the last two days putting together this fake newspaper for Represent.Us
I’ve been volunteering in the 435 Project, an activist movement to fight the corruption in the U.S. Congress.

I’m part of the MA District 7 team (including Cambridge) and we put together this hilarious satirical newspaper for an event on April 12th called “Representation Day.” The idea is to question where our tax dollars go, and whether our Representatives work for us, or for large corporations who donate billions of dollars to election campaigns.

And you all know how I feel when the little people get screwed! Small business power!!

Presenting, The Washington Roast!

The Washington Roast satirical newspaper for Representation Day - by 9000things

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DIY Quick Hand Drawn Lettering / Typography

Hand Drawn Typography : Hand Lettering - 9000things

I use a lot of hand lettering both in my design work and on my blog.

It’s easier to control the mood when you DIY it, rather than trying to scour the web for hours looking for the perfect hand drawn typeface. Plus, I just can’t keep up with all the copyright options and when I can and can’t use a font for private versus public use… etc etc…….

And it takes way too much time to formally translate your handwriting to a useable font – one that you can type with in Illustrator or Photoshop.

SO, I have this quick and dirty method which I’ll share with you here! First, you should have a rough idea of the wording you want:

DIY Typography draft - 9000things

Looks terrible! I know! But at least I have an idea of what I want to say.

Now break out the iPad or other tablet, stylus ($10 – awesome investment) and a drawing program. I use neu.Draw, but I’m sure there are a lot of great options out there. You’re going to want a program that can save a vector drawing or pdf. If you don’t have a tablet, you can use your smart phone! If you don’t have either, then you may be able to get away with the brush tool in Ai, but it’s not going to be as easy.

Hand Drawn Typography in progress - 9000things

Here’s the fun part: Start writing out your text and repeating letters over and over until you think you’ve got one or two of each character that will look good. It looks weird – like how a ghost talks. “Disssplaaayyyyy!”

Now export that file as a pdf and get it over onto your computer and into Adobe Illustrator.

DIY Typography import - 9000things

Hello Ai! In Illustrator you can see all of the points that make up your vectors. These are very easily manipulated which can be fun, but mostly I just want to smooth out my lines a little bit.

See how many anchor points there are? Neu.Draw does this for some reason.

DIY Typography vector points - 9000things

Let’s simplify! From the top menu bar: Object > Path > Simplify

DIY Typography object path simplify - 9000things

You’ll come up with a couple of sliders, and you can push the curve precision to 98 or 99% and still cut the number of anchor point to about one third of the original.

DIY Typography simplify - 9000things

Those steps are optional. I just prefer the way that the smooth lines look and with fewer points, it will be easy to make small corrections in curves.

So now that we have nice looking single letters, making words is as simple as dragging the letters together! I kern by eye as I go – nothing special, just whatever looks right.

*Note that at this point that letters are probably made from more than one line, and each line is an individual object. To get the lines to bond together, select each linein the letter (“E” is made from 4 separate objects) and group them with the shortcut ⌘ + G.

DIY Typography nudge - 9000things

The word “JEWELRY” has two “E”s in it, so I used the same character twice. The shortcut to do that is hold Shift+Alt and then click and drag. That will make a copy and pull it over, keeping it in line with the rest.

Ta da! I didn’t bother normalizing the text sizes because I actually like the way it looks!

DIY Hand Lettering Tutorial - 9000things

Cool, no?

With this next one, we’ll even out the sizing. Here, I used hand drawn bubble text. It can be really difficult to maintain consistent line widths in bubble text. Here’s the cheat: In neu.Draw, first draw out your letters. As you can see, I’ve been using a thin and elongated alphabet. Next group the objects and lock the layer. Now you can trace the outside of the letters and when you’re done, delete the locked layer!

Back to it! Here all the letters have been dragged roughly into place:

DIY Typography normalizing size - 9000things

Looks sloppy, doesn’t it?

You can resize by eye, but you’ll likely end up with graduated sizes, either getting smaller or larger as you approach the end. Bad bad! Instead, drag down two guidelines to use as the upper and lower bounds for your letters.

To pull a guide line, click on the ruler at the top of the window in illustrator and drag your mouse down. A thin cyan line will appear. It’s perfectly straight and can be locked, unlocked and cleared in the “View” menu. If you don’t have rulers at the top and left of your screen, ⌘ + R should do the trick!

DIY Typography guide lines - 9000things

If you want to get fancy, switch the settings to “Snap to point” in the “View” menu and then stretch or shrink your objects one by one until they click into the guides.

Or you can eyeball it… I did this one freehand.

DIY Typography resize - 9000things

Looking better! The beauty in hand lettering is that it is implicitly imperfect, so you don’t have to fuss over the flaws. They add character!

When everything is resized, get rid of the guides, and voila!

DIY Hand Drawn Typography Tutorial - 9000things

Awesome handmade typography for any project!

Of course you can always do an entire alphabet so you have it on hand to use in the future, but I rarely think that far ahead…

At this point, if I’m using the lettering over a photo, I drag the vector into Photoshop and continue there. Add some stars, a few curvy things and you’ll end up with something like this:

DIY Hand Drawn Typography - by 9000things

For my Facebook logo, I used hand drawn 3D bubble lettering. Whoaaa… This is advanced stuff!

DIY Hand Lettering Logo - 9000things

And here’s a sign that I made for my SoWa booth last summer:

Shop Handmade | hand lettered signage | 9000 things

That’s all! If anything needs clarifying, or you have any questions, leave me a comment!

*This hand drawn typography lesson comes from an actual DIY Jewelry Display post on my blog that you can see here.

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New Geometric Instagram Edits

Working on some new instagram edits from photos of taken in Tahoe and San Francisco :)

Lake Instagram Edit Geometry - by 9000things      Mountain Lake Instagram Edit Geometry - by 9000things

Skyline Instagram Edit Geometry - 9000things      Purple Mountain Instagram Edit Geometry - by 9000things

Some people have asked how I make these, or which apps I use. First I take a photo and filter it through instagram a few times. After that I transfer the image to my computer and do the rest of the work in Illustrator and Photoshop. The finished images are a composite of altered photos and geometric vector drawings.

I’ll be putting these on my Society6 page!

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Back To Work

After the craziness of my first serious holiday season as a business owner (that shi- is FOR REAL), I’ve really been enjoying taking a break. Enjoying it a little too much, really. Time to stop slacking and get back to life things.

Winter Vacation is OVER - instagram photo collage by 9000things

Spent at least two hours making this image about procrastinating as an act of procrastination.

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Laser Cut Wallpaper

Just got a bunch of pieces of beautiful wallpaper back from the laser cutter. They do my skyline cut for me so I don’t die of finger blisters.

I used to hand cut the skyline myself. There are a few originals out there that were done by hand. But it takes so long to do one cut that working a full day, I wouldn’t be able to make more than 2 finished pieces. Plus; what if I make a mistake, or slip and slice off half of the Hancock Tower? Disaster.

And seriously. The blisters.

Laser Cut Wallpaper Skyline of Boston - 9000things Laser Cut Wallpaper Skyline of Boston - 9000things

This is much better. I cut the wallpaper down to the exact size I want and give it to these awesome guys in north east Mass who run the cutters at Boston Lasers. I love the intricacy and detail that is allowed with laser cutting.

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Dinosaur Chasing Wedding Party

Sometimes I use my photoshop skillz to make something special for people I love.

Recently there has been a trend of (SPOILER ALERT) photoshopping a dinosaur into the background of wedding photos where the wedding party is running around screaming.

My dear friend recently got married. It was a dino themed wedding, she loves this trend and I was in the wedding party……….

how my photoshop really skillz look | 9000things

 

BIG FAN.

But seriously, we have fun :)

Dinosaur Chasing Wedding Party Photoshop | 9000things

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Shop Handmade, Shop Local

Hanging out at a show in Boston on a really hot day, I made this hand lettered sign to encourage everyone everywhere to support local, handmade small businesses rather than large (probably evil) corporations.

Feel free to share :)

Shop Handmade | hand lettered signage | 9000 things

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Boston Postcards Rough Draft

I’m working on a collection of Boston postcards from photographs that I’ve taken from around town. The inspiration comes from the instagram free-for-alls that I did a few months ago. (see those here and here and the precursor instagram hacks here and here)

Here are a few of them, still in progress:

Copley Square Boston Postcard - 9000things Swan Boats in the Boston Public Garden Postcard - 9000things Charles River and Boston City Skyline Postcard - 9000things

Let me know what you think :)

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To Vacation Or Not To Vacation

I’m so torn between getting a million things done or just ditching and going to the beach. Though going to the beach often leads to thing like this:

Vacation means something different to a compulsive designer - 9000things

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Awesome Instagram Throw Pillows

I just opened a store on Society6 with my instagram hacks!
Check out this collection of graphic throw pillows made from instagram photos edited in Ai.

Cactus Throw Pillow | 9000things Wildflower Throw Pillow | 9000things Poppies Throw Pillow | 9000things Hike Throw Pillow | 9000things

 

Check out my Society6 store here or click the images above.

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