So, it all starts like this: I like computers, I like pictures, I like not moving. I also happen to like burritos, and DIY (once upon a time). Drop all this into one cauldron – add bat-wings for double-jointedness – and brew 12 years… POOF! out comes a Graphic Designer. Apparently. (Hey, this story needs to be in my LinkedIn profile. *goes and adds*)
A fortnight ago, Dell threw a two-day workshop shindig around the adept new Dell XPS – sessions that were fine-catered to productivity and professionalism for influencers, and I was graciously invited to lead a one. One might note, that by this point in time I was determined, if not hell-bent, on starting a serious conversation with my fellow online publishers regarding branding and professionalism in the industry. So I accepted. Gladly. Twitter conversations are SLOW, what we need is a round-table discussion.
Photos 1,3,4 courtesy of The Apartment
Between the inappropriate/dad jokes, I cautiously raised what it is to be a blogger in this day and age, how we are – so to speak – dime a dozen, and why branding is perhaps the single most important thing we need to invest in. As a matter of fact, what I really wanted was to be frank, pound the podium, beat the gavel. Alas, what authority did I have, other than some pixel shifting know-how?
But what I didn’t realise then was how crucial this #WeLoveYourWork Dell XPS event was to be for those participated. My gig ran after a VAT & tax 101 class, and then was succeeded by panel discussion session on Influencer professionalism & growth the following day… guys, sign me up, I think I’m ready for another degree. No cauldrons – I do it right this time.
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One of the easiest branding tools happens to be integrating your own personal handwriting into content. Give it a go yourself, the tutorial is available below.
Some paper (I keep a cheap sketchbook aside), scanner or smartphone, A brush, ink or paint, Adobe Photoshop (Pixlr is a good online alternative). Any other writing tools such as coloured pencils, markers, pens, watercolour… etc.
Clockwise from top: Watercolour, marker, ink – all three have slightly different textures
Write repeatedly until you have a few potential candidates, work on letters separately if you’d like – everything can be pieced together later. Try different writing/drawing tools, and brush size. Try wet/dry application.
Once the ink is dry (and do make sure it is fully dry, especially if you opted on using the scanner, as the some ink can dirty and even stain the glass surface).
Alternatively, you can simply snap the page with a smartphone. NOTE: For maximum results, make sure to snap on the highest resolution possible, under brightest light – watch out for shadows. Using flash also helps.
Open Adobe Photoshop CC. By clicking File > Open, open the image you want to work on (you can choose to work on a blank canvas too, in which case, click File > New and set your canvas size). Open the scanned files as well.
Using the lasso tool (shortcut ‘L’ on Photoshop), roughly select the version that looks best.
Copy (Ctrl/Cmd + C) the selection, and paste (Ctrl/Cmd + V) into the working canvas, or drag the selection over.
Repeat for the rest of the words.
Working on the typography layer that was just pasted in, click Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and pull the Saturation all the way down. (Or Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+U shortcut)
Click Image > Adjustments > Levels (Ctrl/Cmd + L) to clarify the image – play with the three arrows to make the white, whiter and black, blacker.
* For white font, invert the colours by clicking Image > Adjustments > Invert (or Ctrl/Cmd + I). The font should appear white on black.
On your layers panel (bottom-right of screen), change the blend option for the typography layer to ‘Multiply’. For white font, select ‘Screen’.
You may need to adjust the Levels again (as above) to clear away any ‘dust’ in the white. Alternatively, use the Erase tool.
Resizing should always be done at the very end, (for more than one layer, select multiple by holding down the Ctrl/Cmd key while selecting) click Edit > Free Transform to resize and adjust your handwritten elements.
Experiment with the best placement for the text (generally white font looks cleaner on busy backgrounds). Handwritten elements look handsome mixed with other typography.
Save for Web by clicking File > Export > Save for Web. (Or save normally as a *.psd if you’d like to revisit the work.)
Think outside the box, consider scanning in your own doodles, sign-off signatures, patterns… the possibility is endless. Good luck!