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Tutorial | How To Use Seamless Patterns

How to Use Seamless Patterns

This post contains Affiliate Links. This means that I earn a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you. Please read my Affiliate Policy to find out more.

Seamless patterns are repeating graphics that you can use infinitely on different surfaces in a number of different ways. They are an incredibly versatile resource and can enhance your websites, merchandise and even your home. In this post I show you how to use seamless patterns in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and give examples of where you can apply them.

I have a few seamless patterns available in some of my products. These are normally part of a larger product, but you can find patterns all over. A great place to start is Creative Market.

Patterns can typically be applied to:

  • Textiles (clothing, home furnishings)
  • Digital backgrounds (websites, social media, app design)
  • Merchandise (journals, stickers, mugs, pens)
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How to Choose Your Social Media Accounts

How to Choose Your Social Media Accounts

If you’re just starting out on your creative journey, knowing which social media platforms to use can be overwhelming. There are many options already and more platforms get launched every year, each of them strong in different areas. This post aims to help you decide which social media platforms are right for you and your creative business.

I always recommend picking 1-3 social networks to dedicate the majority of your online social time. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. Trying to dedicate time to too many profiles will spread you thin. It could end up diluting your brand, message and content. Focusing down on the most important tools is key to building a strong presence.
  2. Not all social networks will serve you equally. Relevance is often a factor. If you are a creative, chances are you want to show the work you create. A text-heavy platform like Twitter might not serve you as well as a visual platform like Instagram.
  3. You should limit your time on social media anyway. Too much exposure can be bad for your health, especially if you choose a platform where strong opinions are dominant (i.e. Twitter!).

Saying that, it’s OK to have additional accounts where you can cross-post content and support your engagement and reach. But these should be secondary. Generally people use automated posting services such as Later or Tailwind to populate additional accounts.

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Why It’s A Little Quiet on J. Oliver Designs

Why it's a bit quiet here right now

I haven’t posted much over the last few weeks and I thought I’d update you on why things have gone a little quiet ’round these parts. I don’t talk about my personal life much because this is my creative business space, but because this relates to my recent silence and has an impact on my online participation, I don’t want anyone to think I’m not creating new work!

In September 2018 I began an online Master’s degree in Graphic Design. It’s a part-time degree, so it has been spread out across two years rather than the usual one year. What I love about the part-time MA is that I can do it at my own pace from home while still running my business and working a full time day job (and finding time to dedicate to my family and friends 😊).

The MA ends in October 2020 and I am currently knee-deep in my Major Study, which is the massive project we do in the final semester. Luckily, my Major Study is centered around my freelance business so I can still work on everything at the same time, but it also means that time spent on social media and here on my website has diminished as I give my project a final push toward the finish line.

I’m happy to say that I’m now developing my next design product and I’m hoping to release it before the end of the MA (as I’d like to include it in my project!) along with another freebie. I’ll post an update about this nearer the launch.

I try to check in on social media as much as possible, but my Major Study must take priority at the moment. All I ask is that you bear with me for a little while longer. You can find out when new products and freebies are launched by joining my newsletter group (I never spam and always aim to include relevant design-related content):

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Thank you for your patience! 💛 If you’re new here, why not check out my other blog posts or my shop for digital creative resources.

Freebie | Occulture Mini Graphics

Occulture Mini Freebie

To celebrate the recent launch of my new product Occulture Design Resources I’m giving away a FREE mini-set of graphics for anyone wanting to sample this product before picking up the full set.

Occulture Mini Graphics features 9 stunning vector icons with a mystic theme and 2 seamless patterns. The files come in .ai, .eps, and .png with transparent backgrounds (high-res 300 ppi), giving you plenty of options to use them in your own projects. They’re perfect for sprucing up your social media feeds and stories to give them a cosmic and magical vibe. Or you can use them as decals on your personal items, create gift cards, invitations and labels with them—there are so many options!

Enter your email address to join my newsletter and get your set of FREE Occulture Mini graphics.

The download link will be in your welcome email (if you don’t see it, check your spam folder). Keep scrolling to see previews and ideas for how you can use Occulture Mini. 🖤

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Creative Resource Recommendations | Part One

Creative Resource Recommendations

This post contains Affiliate Links. This means that I earn a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you. Please read my Affiliate Policy to find out more.

As a digital illustrator and designer, part of my job is to keep up to date with trends and products in my industry. I run shops on a few different marketplaces and as a result I get to see many wonderful and unique design resources on a daily basis. I’ve decided to start a series here on the blog: Creative Resource Recommendations, where I will occasionally share links to hand-picked creative products that you might like.

While I can’t personally vouch for every single product, I will only share resources from designers and artists I know of and whose quality I trust. I will also only share resources from the marketplaces where I sell my own products (i.e. those I trust!).

Keep reading to discover my Creative Resource Recommendations (Part One).

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5 Reasons to Take A Break From Creative Projects

5 Reasons to Take A Break From Creative Projects

Creatives often find it hard to know when to take a break. Thanks to fast-paced digital media we’re conditioned to believe that we’re not doing enough if we’re not working our socks off 24/7. We’re prone to comparing ourselves to others who seem more successful, productive and happy. But even those people need breaks from time to time, and chances are they’re successful and productive because they know when to give themselves a rest. Breaks are important for a number of good reasons and burnout is real. If left unchecked, it can be dangerous to our mental and physical health.

I took a big break from work and social media over the last couple of weeks. I had to step away and allow myself to unwind, remember that relaxing is good and catch up with a few things I wasn’t able to do while working on my business and building my social profiles. I’m making this a regular pattern going forward; as soon as I notice the signs, I’ll step back. And I’m OK with that.

But I wasn’t always OK with it and it has taken me time to understand that it’s perfectly healthy to stop working, stop being socially present online, and understand that my world will not collapse as a result (in fact, it should result in me coming back more energised, productive and focused!).

Below you will find five reasons to take a break, plus a few ways to spot early signs that you might need to take a step back.

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Interview: How to Find Design Clients During a Lockdown

How to Get Design Clients During a Lockdown Header

Creative Market isn’t just a venue for beautiful design resources. They also host a blog packed full of useful design and business tips, advice and information. I was recently approached to take part in one of their thought leadership blog posts: How to Find Design Clients During a Lockdown. The article is now live on the site and I highly recommend reading it if you’re a small business.

In the article, frequent Creative Market blog writer Marc Schenker interviews shop owners to discuss how to get clients and keep your business rolling during adverse circumstances. Many of us are still experiencing partial lockdown, on furlough from our day jobs, or unemployed because of COVID-19. There’s so much uncertainty about the future and this hasn’t only impacted the creative industries, but all industries. Find out how different businesses (including mine) are coping with these changes:

If you enjoy the article, why not check out some of these other insightful Creative Market blog posts:

Remote Design at Creative Market: How We Do It. An insight into how CM are continuing to run the site during COVID-19.

How to Create Your Brand’s Social Media Aesthetic – Useful if you’re just starting out, and features links to invaluable resources.

How to Start a Graphic Design Business in 2020: Entrepreneurs Share Advice. A goldmine of tips and advice from some great designers and companies.

Five Foolproof Steps to Score More Freelance Graphic Design Jobs. Another great article for new designers or small businesses or anyone looking to expand.

10 Files Every Designer Has & Could Start Selling Today. An excellent article if you’re thinking of setting up your own business selling creative assets or services.

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Design Tool | Occulture Design Resources

Occulture Design Preview

I’m delighted to announce that my new product Occulture Design Resources is now available in my shop! I’ve had such a blast creating these graphics in Illustrator and coming up with the different witchy items to include, and I hope you enjoy using them in your own creative projects.

These occult vectors, Photoshop brushes and patterns are great for your creative projects, from greeting cards, home decor, merchandise and apparel, to social media graphics, logo design and brand stationery. File types include .ai, .eps, and .png with transparent backgrounds, making them a versatile option.

I’ve been fascinated by all things mystical and arcane ever since I was a kid. Symbolism is present in our lives every day, but there’s something extra alluring about magic and mystery—the unknown and incomprehensible. This idea pairs well with a cosmic backdrop (what’s more unknown and incomprehensible than the cosmos, after all?).

Keep reading for more preview pics showing you how you can use these graphics.

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Creative Distance Learning Resources

Distance Learning Resources Header

This post contains Affiliate Links. This means that I earn a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you. Please read my Affiliate Policy to find out more.

The wonderful folk at Creative Market have put together a collection of creative resources dedicated to distance learning and homeschooling. This will help teachers working from home and parents taking on the role of teacher during these difficult and unusual times.

What’s on offer? You’ve got a choice of fun characters, diagrams, activities, learning games, printable worksheets and posters that will engage and entertain kids. Some of these graphics also work great in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Canva, giving you a lot of different options to use them (make sure to read the descriptions first!).

There is a huge range of different creative resources available, and everything is organised into sections to make it easier for you to find what you need. Sort by subject or by grade level. I can’t emphasise enough how awesome these products are so why not take a look and see for yourself:

Below you’ll find some of my favourite collections from this range (with preview images), but do explore the Creative Market website to discover everything.

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Why I Love Vectors and Why You Should Use Them

Why I Love Vectors

This post contains Affiliate Links. This means that I earn a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you. Please read my Affiliate Policy to find out more.

Vectors feature in almost all of my products, and while I use them every day for my work I forget that many people might not know what they are, why I champion them and the many amazing ways they can be used.

I’ve only been working with vectors for the last three years; before that I’d never touched Adobe Illustrator and worked exclusively in raster format (.jpg, .png) using Photoshop. It wasn’t until I got an in-house graphic design job where Illustrator was mandatory that I learned how to create vectors and finally understood how efficient and useful they are.

Why Vectors?

Vector artwork relies on mathematical curves, points and lines (or paths) to create polygons and due to its nature it can be scaled up or down indefinitely without losing quality or clarity. This makes it an ideal option for displaying graphics at different sizes across a range of media, from computer screens and mobile devices to flyers and massive billboards. Vectors give you crisp, clean lines rather than pixelated or jagged images.

The other cool thing about them is they allow you to easily edit things like colour and line thickness, and when a vector is made up of many different components you can rearrange the composition with minimal hassle.

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