How to Create Color Palettes in Adobe Illustrator

How To Create Color Palettes

When working in Adobe Illustrator, I find that shortcuts help streamline my process, and make for a more efficient use of my time. I love discovering useful productivity tips, so I thought I would share one that has helped me stay both consistent in my brand and save production time. Here are three essential tips for working with color palettes in Adobe Illustrator.

Create a Color Palette

There are several resources online to help create unique color palettes, including Design Seeds, Kuler/Adobe Color CC and Pinterest. By far, my favorite tool to use is searching through color inspiration boards on Pinterest! They provide a great starting point for developing your color palette.

To create a color palette in Adobe Illustrator, you will first need to create a color swatch for each specific color. Select the color you want to add to your palette, and then select the “new swatch” tool in the swatches panel. After you have added each of the color swatches, you can select all of them at once (by clicking shift or command + clicking the swatch) and then select the “new color group” button on the swatches panel. Now you have your color palette in its own group!

Save the Color Palette for Future Use

Once you have your color palette established, you might want to save this palette and reference it for future Illustrator projects. This is especially handy if you have a blog or a brand that uses the same specific colors throughout multiple projects. I even have a color group of semi-neutral colors that are great for muted background tints. The possibilities are endless!

To save your new color palette, first edit the swatches in the swatches panel so that it only contains your color palette you want to save. Select “save swatch library” from the swatches panel menu, and you are good to go! You can edit this swatch library anytime you want by choosing File > Open, and locate the swatch file in your library (by default this is located here: Illustrator/Presets/Swatches folder). Edit the swatches, then click save.

To reference your swatches in a new file, you click “swatch libraries menu” from the swatches panel, and then select “user defined.” There, you will find the swatch palette you created in any future Illustrator file.

Convert Color Swatches to Pantone

When working with logo files, or large print runs, you might need to convert your color swatches in Illustrator to Pantone swatches. To do this, simply select the objects you would like to switch to Pantone. Then select “edit” > “edit colors” > “recolor artwork”. Select the swatches icon to limit the colors to a specific Pantone color group, and select the specific Pantone color book to limit your illustration to spot colors. Click “ok” to close the dialogue box and convert the CMYK colors to Pantone colors.

Speaking of shortcuts, Ciera and I are both sharing our favorite keyboard shortcuts over on Brigette Indelicato’s blog!

Amsi Pro Poster Style Font

The impulse to draw Amsi Pro, according to designer Stawix Ruecha, was an encounter with the simple, expressive display faces of the early 20th century — in the German style known as Plakatstil, or Poster Style. The Amsi familiy is an ambitious interpretation of the historical Block Berthold Condensed, extrapolating a dark, condensed display style into a huge family. With three widths and eight weights, from Thin to Heavy, and Italics (actually: oblique romans) for all, it totals 48 styles. The Narrow and Condensed styles are good choices for compact headlines; the middle weights of both the normal and Narrow versions will work well in longer text settings.

Amsi Pro Font Sample by Stawix Ruecha

DIY Wine of the Month & Free Printable

This thoughtful wine of the month printable is a great Mother’s Day gift that gives all year!

Champage and Cards for Mother'sDay

Wine of the Month Free Mother's Day Printable

For Mother’s Day a few years ago my sister and I gave my mom a wine of the month gift. But instead of buying it from an online store, we decided to do it ourselves. I designed the card and tags that go on 12 bottles of wine, one for each month. I thought the design was due for an update so I’m here today with this special free download for you!

Wine of the Month Free Mother's Day Printable Card and Tags

If you live close to your mom, it’s fun to hand deliver the bottle and maybe she’ll even share it with you! It also makes for a great last-minute gift since you can just print at home and grab the first bottle at a store that is convenient to you.

So pretty! DIY Wine of the Month (click through for free printable)

Directions

Download and print the pdfs below (available in both the pink shown here and orange incase your mom isn’t into pink). Trim the cards out and then each month you just pick out a wine for her to enjoy and attach the pretty tag for that month. A gift that gives all year!

Downloads

Pink Wine of the Month Card & Tags

Orange Wine of the Month Card & Tags

I’d love to hear your Mother’s Day plans and see pictures if you use these!

Free Mother's Day Printable

Not sure which wines to choose? Gloria Ferrer has great options for white, red, and sparkling, as seen here! The sparkling wines of Gloria Ferrer are a perfect match for any occasion and are arguably the most social beverage. Their wines have earned over 400 gold medals and 50 90+ scores in the last 5 years. Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards is Carneros’ original sparkling wine house, owned and founded by the Ferrer family of Spain. Named for José Ferrer’s wife, Gloria, the winery opened in 1986 in the breezy, now-famous region in southernmost Sonoma County.

They are also having a really fun Spring “Be Glorious” Photo Contest! The theme through May 15th is Mother’s Day, so go share your photo and enter for a chance to win an “all about Mom package”!

P.S. Need more gift ideas? Check out My Favorite Gift Ideas for the Wine Lover

This design is © Ciera Holzenthal. All rights reserved. It may not be copied, resold, made available for download, given away or redistributed elsewhere without my written permission. Please link directly to this page if you would like to share these downloads with others. Thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Ricotta Toast with Fresh Berries for Mother’s Day Brunch

Hello, Ciera Design readers! My name is Katie Kosaya, I’m a food photographer from New York City, and I’m really excited to be featured here today!

Fresh Berries and Ricotta on Toast

Here’s a fun, springy recipe for Mother’s Day brunch. I’m a big fan of the fancy toast trend, because it’s such a simple idea that can have infinite interpretations. And there’s  something about crunchy toasted bread that never gets old, especially when combined with fresh, colorful toppings.

Fresh Berries and Ricotta on Toast

While savory toast is always good, after a winter of comfort food, I’m very ready to start eating juicy berries and fruit again. You can use strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, pineapple, or anything else in season. Top it all with sprinkled seeds, such as chia, sunflower, flax, or nuts like toasted walnuts or sliced almonds. I also sometimes finish off the dish with a drizzle of honey.

Fresh Berries and Ricotta on Toast

I love this raspberry-blueberry combination with a pinch of citrus and a hint of mint. It’s vibrant, flavorful and bursts with vitamins! Try my recipe below, but really, it’s more one particular arrangement of tasty ingredients — feel free to experiment!

Ricotta Toast with Fresh Berries

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of a bread of your choice (I use ciabatta)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ricotta
  • 1 cup of mixed berries of your choice, washed (I used raspberries and blueberries)
  • 2 kumquats, washed, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint, washed, thinly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp liquid honey

Fresh Berries and Ricotta on Toast

Assembly:

  1. Lightly toast bread in the oven. Let it cool.
  2. Spread 1 tablespoon of ricotta on each slice of bread.
  3. Add berries, kumquat slices and mint leaves on top of ricotta.
  4. Drizzle with honey.
  5. Serve with a cup of hot coffee or tea for a perfect start to your day!

P.S. If you are hosting a brunch, you should probably set up a Bloody Mary bar or a Mimosa bar!

How To Mock Up Your Work With Free Templates

As a designer, I’m a visual thinker, but that doesn’t mean that my clients are. Sometimes they need help actually visualizing the end result. This is where mocking up my work comes in handy. When sending a design to a client, presentation is always crucial. Mockups are also great for showcasing final work in your portfolio like I have done herehere and here. This is great when you can’t get around to photographing your work.

Stationery Mockup

This process doesn’t have to be difficult or too time consuming. You could always build your mockup files from scratch, but there is not always time for that, so I like to use pre made templates. Remember my post Free and Affordable Stock Photo? Well, I have a new favorite resource to add to that list called GraphicStock! To find mockups like these over on GraphicStock search words like tablet, screen, corporate templates and mockup. Once you find a mock you like, just download and paste your own designs in!

iPhone iPad Mac Screen Mockups

Purchasing individual photos and elements can work for the most part, but if you need multiple resources each month, that can really add up. GraphicStock is great since you can get a year of unlimited downloads for one set price! With a library of over 250,000 graphics, icons and vectors, the possibilities for creative output are endless. And the good news, there is a 7-day free trial, where you can have access to the library of images to discover how easy it is to find necessary graphics and designs for your next project.

Stationery Mockup

Features to love:

• Unrestricted usage rights for personal or commercial projects
• Keep what you download and maintain usage rights forever
• Start a 7 day free trial – download up to 140 graphics from the library during your trial

 

If you find you don’t get any use out of GraphicStock, be sure to cancel your account before the end of your 7-day trial to avoid subscription charges.

Now, get creating!

That’s A Wrap: March and April

Let’s start with the cutest news first shall we? I got a puppy!! Her name is Scrappy and I love her so much! This may seem crazy, but it is my first dog ever. It was very spur of the moment and it has not been the easiest transition trying to train her (I literally just had to go stop her from chewing the couch apart)  but I am so happy we adopted her.

Overall, the past two months have been super exciting, especially on the conference front, we now have a name (Pursuit, The Creative Conference), a date (October 3) and are currently accepting applications for our first round of key volunteers! You can check out all the details at our website!

I’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as possible, as you can see from my Instagrams below, before it gets unbearably hot here in New Orleans. In other news, you may have notices that I’ve been slowly introducing some new contributors around these parts, what do you think?

New Orleans Outdoors on Instagram

 

IN THE STUDIO, SHOP & BLOG

  • Did y’all know that I sell some of my photos on Creative Market as stock photography? AND for the month of May I’ll be donating 50% of my proceeds to support those impacted by the devastating earthquake in Nepal.
  • I’ve been working on a few brand identity projects, which I love and can’t wait to share.
  • I have also been working on some larger campaigns for local agencies which is a nice change every once in a while.
  • We hosted another great Made In Mind event
  • So happy with how the New Orleans Film Society Gala invitation came out
  • My wedding save the dates went in the mail yesterday! One thing at a time.
  • Need a Mother’s Day Card? Why not print your own?

 

ELSEWHERE

P.S. I love to collaborate with brands and other bloggers, find out more here.

Graphic Love: Glitter Mania

Hello Internet, I’m so excited to join the Ciera Design blog as a contributor! My name is Ashley O’Neill, a New Orleans native and current PR student at LSU. I spend my days working and playing between NOLA and BR. My creative team and I are planning to bring you one photo series a month inspired by a graphic or images found in the depths of the world wide web.

The inspiration for this Graphic Love series came from one of my favorite bloggers, DESIGNLOVEFEST. I love her Hand Drawn Love series, in which one of her contributors finds an image and creates a graphic based off of it. I wanted to do the same, but with photography using physical models, objects and other elements rather than graphic design.

We hope you enjoy!

Graphic and Glitter Inspired Mood Board

After seeing the top right image of Italian brand Erika Cavallini’s Fall 2015 couture show, my mind immediately started brainstorming ways to incorporate the color scheme and two main elements into a photoshoot. Inspired by sequins, glitter, 70’s waves and Twiggy’s lined-eyes, I imagined a blonde girl with these features in a long purple sequin shift dress.

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-1 Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-2

Location scouting led us to Fleur De Lis Pizza, a cocktail bar turned pizza parlor. The coloring and shape of the building were a fantastic compliment to the rich purples and muted tones of our model’s hair.

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-3 Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-5Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-4

To connect the two ideas of glittered/painted fingers and a pizza parlor, I decided to get a little quirky and imaginative. I ordered a pizza, let it dry out, and spray painted it lavender. Shortly after we drowned it in glitter!

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-7 Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-8

Here you have it! Our blonde bombshell—the anti-prom-queen—gorging herself on pizza and cocktails to cure her never-ending teen angst.

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-10

woman eating puple glitter pizza

Graphic-Love-Glitter-Mania-9

Creative Direction/Styling: Ashley O’Neill | Photography: Malarie Zaunbrecher | Make-up: Meghan Magee | Model: Lacey Berggren | Clothing: Time Warp

DIY Morse Code Garland

DIY Morse Code Garland On Wall

Garlands are such a fun way to dress up a space. Although traditionally reserved for parties, garlands can add a touch of whimsy and childlike fun to any space. Lately, I’ve spotted them popping up in home designs, especially children’s rooms. My home is no different, I’ve fallen in love and I can’t stop making them. Currently, my hallway, office, kids room, and master bedroom all have at least one. This particular garland is extra fun since it contains a secret message.

By combining different colors of ‘beads’ for dots, dashes and spaces, you can create a garland that spells out a surprise message. I made mine to say ‘Love You’ and hung it in my kiddos’ nursery. This is a quick, simple and affordable project that makes a big impact.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

1. Before you get started, choose the phrase you’d like to spell. Keep in mind morse code makes a long garland for even the shortest of phrases. Then, map out your garland. You will need one ball for each dash, dot and space – I used 30.

Painting styrofoam ball for secret message garland

2. Once you know how many you need of each color, skewer the balls carefully on to your wooden skewers. Make sure to leave a large enough gap between the balls to be able to paint all around. I put two to a skewer.

styrofoam balls for secret message garland

3. The type of paint you use will depend on how many coats you need to do. I did three coats on mine using a Multi Surface Acrylic Paint. The colors I chose were from Americana in Satin: Chartreuse, Overcast and Turf Green. The more paint you put on in each layer, the better it will hide the bumpy texture of the styrofoam balls. I should mention that this is a little time consuming. Spray painting was my first thought, but spray paint and styrofoam do not like each other! The spray paint caused the foam balls to shrivel up (not the look I was going for). A foam block (I used floral foam) can be used to keep the skewers standing while your paint dries.

threading styrofoam balls for secret message garland

4. When they are completely dry, take them off your skewers carefully. I found the best way to do this was twist. Since there will be a build up of paint around the skewers just pulling caused paint to pull up.

styrofoam balls and yarn for secret message garland

5. To thread your styrofoam balls on to your string (I used a gray craft yarn), I cheated and used a bobby pin. I like to use bobby pins in place of a needle for some projects for a few reasons. The most notable is that I don’t poke myself! But also, it’s much easier to ‘thread’ and is long enough to grab from the other side of the styrofoam ball. Just pop the thread in between and bend it flat.

DIY Message Garland For Childs Nursery

Now you’re ready to hang it! It’s really simple and it’s light enough that you can hang it with a fun washi tape (no nails in the wall makes my hubby one happy guy). I love that you can have a sentimental or fun message on your wall without having to explain it to everyone that walks by, plus it sure cheers up my kids’ space! What message would you make with yours?

Garland Hanging in Childs Room

DIY Morse Code Garland Hanging

Hollyhock Messy Calligraphy Font by Angie Makes

Meet Hollyhock, a modern and messy calligraphy font with wild, tall letterforms that refuse to be tamed. Inspired by calligraphy the breaks the rules and hollyhocks that grow rebelliously where they please. This calligraphy inspired font is just begging to get used over and over this spring, don’t you think?!

This font includes two full sets of capital letters… a set that is tall, energetic, and wild as well as a set a bit more tame and subdued. Open type features in this font include contextual alternates, fractions, ordinals, discretionary ligatures, and swashes. Use contextual alternates to add subtle swashes to the beginnings and ends of your letters. Use your open type swashes panel to use the many and various doodles, swirls, and swashes to manually add flare and flavor to your text. Or, install the separate Hollyhock Ornaments font to access the swashes and doodles more easily.

Hollyhock Type Sample by Angie Makes

P.S. I love all fonts by Angie Makes – she also designs gorgeous stock graphic elements.

7 Tips for Making Laundry Easy & Fun

7 Tips for Making Laundry Time Easy and Fun Laundry is seriously one of the worst chores. It seems like by the time you’ve gotten all of the dirty clothes washed, dried, folded, and put away, there are five new loads to get started on! It is never-ending. But that’s why it’s important to make laundry an entertaining chore, so that you don’t hate yourself every time you step into your laundry room. If you want to crawl into a hole each time you see an article of dirty clothing, check out these 100% guaranteed-to-work tips for making laundry time easy and fun.

1. Blast music at volume level 57

Although, if you live in an apartment or townhouse like I do, and are in close quarters with your neighbors, I would suggest moving it down to maybe…32 or so. Just loud enough so that anyone who can hear the music, can’t also hear you singing loudly (and if you’re anything like me, very, very badly). Playing music, dancing, and singing can make any chore go by in .2 seconds, so this is a must for laundry time.

2. Color-code your laundry baskets

Sorting your clothes at laundry time is a pain in the butt and makes your laundry room an absolute mess. Save yourself the hassle and keep two separate laundry baskets in your room–one for whites/lights and one for darks/colors. Problem solved! Now, you take one basket at a time to the laundry room, dump it right into the washer, and viola! you’ve just completed the wash step in lit’rally 45 seconds tops. Now you can go sit on your butt for thirty minutes until the next step. Yes, I know, I’m a genius. You can thank me later. (We still have 5 more tips to go!)

3. Set an alarm for laundry time

Better yet, set your ringtone for that alarm to “Happy” by Pharrell, because that song can do no wrong. Schedule out time for laundry each week (for me, Sundays are my laundry days!), set a happy alarm so that you can’t forget about it, and get pumped up to wash some clothes!

4. Try the one-minute rule

What is the one-minute rule, you ask? Well, my friend, prepare to have your mind blown. Whenever you’re getting dressed in the mornings or throwing your clothes around your room as you prepare to hop into the shower, just think about how much time it would actually take you to put those clothes into their designated hampers. I’m guessing it would be about 15 seconds. That’s less than one minute. The one-minute rule states that anything that you can do under one minute, you need to do right then, rather than putting it off. Because if you put off twenty things that you could have done immediately in less than a minute, you’ll end up wasting twenty minutes of your time later when you’re picking up after yourself. Don’t waste twenty minutes of future you’s time. Put your clothes in the hamper right after you take them off, instead of scattered all over your floor.

5. Use detergent pods

I am a klutz. I am clumsy and I drop things and I spill things and I break things. No matter how careful I am, these things just happen. If you’re anything like me, I do not recommend trying to carry twelve bags of groceries at once, including a bottle of liquid detergent, because you will drop said detergent and it will explode everywhere. So, if you are anything like me, there are all free clear pods. Small, easy-to-use and impossible-to-spill packages of detergent that you can toss right in with your clothes. Perfection. Organized Laundry Room

6. Wear clothing more than once

Obviously you need to toss your underwear into the laundry after one day. But there are some articles of clothing that can get worn two or three times without needing a wash. Jeans, for example, don’t need to be washed after every wear. (In fact, Levi’s CEO hasn’t washed his jeans in over a year! I don’t recommend going that far, but at least there’s a credible source telling you that you shouldn’t wash jeans after every wear.) And do you remember that shirt that you wore for about two hours at the bar last weekend? There are still several hours left of wear in that shirt before it needs to go into the wash cycle (DISCLAIMER: If you were in a smoky bar for two hours, put that shirt in the wash NOW.)

7. Turn folding clothes into binge-watching hour

Gather all of your newly-cleaned clothes together, sit them in front of the TV with you, and turn folding time into your favorite Netflix show marathon time. If you don’t get much time to watch TV anyways, this will be an especially nice treat, causing you to enjoy laundry time even more! If you do watch Netflix regularly, then you need to reevaluate your life choices. (Kidding! I’m watching Parks & Rec for the second time as I write this.)

Bonus tip!

Having a little puppy around always makes laundry everything more fun! Brown Puppy Dog in Laundry Basket With Towels   The all free clear line, which also includes laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets, helps simplify your laundry regimen and take care of any sensitive skin worries so you and your family are free to be! Free from the irritants and allergens that get in the way of living life. Photos by Ciera Holzenthal.