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I created a few new vector shapes to add to my Custom Shapes collection for Photoshop. If you are a shipping box designer, no doubt you need my free .csh download.

I didn't design these icons -- they are industry-standard symbols for "Keep Dry," "Handle With Care" and "This Side Up"-- but I converted them into scalable and editable vector formats for large-format design. You may have seen other variations, since they are in fact symbols, not logos. My version uses a bubbly style because it was appropriate for my client's box design. I used the Pen Tool to trace a low-resolution jpeg and added a rounded box to enclose the symbols. There are some jagged anchor points, but works fine as is.

On the other hand, the JAWA, VIA and JWL symbols are logos and not to be used unconsciously. I am not accountable for the brand guidelines, so beware of your usage of the Japanese certifications and marketing trademarks (source: Japan Light Wheel Alloy).

NOTE: Box designs are typically created in Adobe Illustrator because of the large-format requirements. However, the artwork provided to me was in Photoshop format and I finished the design in Adobe Photoshop CS4 where I created these vector shapes.

For help on using Photoshop's custom shape tool, refer to Adobe Design Center.

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packaging_symbols_by_dsine.csh
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My first boss at my first real job out of college for a multi-million dollar computer manufacturing company once said to me, "Donya, I can tell that you work very hard. But you don't work smart." I had just graduated in the top 6% of my top-tiered university, having always put in extra work to ensure I got my A++'s. For someone to tell me I wasn't smart really stung. I slouched in the cushioned chair in my boss' office on the opposite side of her executive desk, wondering how she could fault me for working hard. She explained that the perfume box-sized model I built as miniature sample of my package design had excelled her expectations, but that I had put in more hours than the value of that project.

She was right! Over time I've learned that, even we designers shouldn't design everything from scratch because, in addition to hiring us for our knowledge of design applications and quick turnarounds, clients actually pay us for our collection of tools.

Over the years, I have downloaded a lot (thousands, if not millions) of fonts, photos and brushes that others were nice enough to share with me to make my job more efficient. I want to give back, so I'm going to start posting custom shapes (.CSH), actions (.ATN), and brushes (.ABR) -- tools for professional and amateur graphic designers alike -- that made my last job quicker and easier to carry from concept to final output.

Some will be my personal presets, and some will have been originally shared by fellow designers. These downloads and download recommendations won't always be free, but any tool that I purchase myself would never cost an arm or a leg. This is just a test, so the ABR's below are in a simple list, but I'll display the downloads in a much more functional presentation in the future.

Me ke aloha,
~d*



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grungebrushes_via_dsine1.zip
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grungebrushes_via_dsine2.zip
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grungebrushes_via_dsine3.zip
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grungebrushes_via_dsine4.zip
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View Imagery in Various Preset Manipulations

I was trained to develop concepts to be followed by digital recreation. You should almost never start a design project by playing with software filters in hopes that you accidentally create something you respond to with "Hey, that looks pretty cool!" Effective artwork starts in your medulla oblongata -- not on your computer screen.

I stand by that. In fact, never, never, never use a Photoshop filter on an entire photo as a finished product. It's not just a waste of time on browsing, it's cheesy. Adobe developers created Filters (aka mathematically generated fills and fractals) because they could. It doesn't mean you have to use them.

But every once in a while, you get a client that doesn't know what they want, so YOU don't know what  they want. This is one of the rare cases I would use color manipulation presets in order to present some comps without wasting time going in the wrong direction. Start with carefully selected images (most likely from the client), and apply ATNs to generate a few options to quickly display for your client. You should be able to narrow down the scope of the need for that project. Refer to Photoshop Support if you're new to action scripts.

I recommend these basic Photoshop Actions:
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FREE DOWNLOADS AT NIGHTFATE GALLERY
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FREE DOWNLOADS AT MUTATO-NOMINE GALLERY

At this point, you are still far from done. But at least you will save yourself from designing something that the client would never want. This is not to say that all projects are going to be dictated by what the client feels they want -- because sometimes, what the client thinks they want isn't necessarily what they actually want. Tip: If you're planning on going with a "comic" theme, don't use the Action for the final product. These are for quick idea comps only. Be sure to explain this to your client. Besides, you wouldn't use a downloaded Action that you couldn't create on your own, would you!

Remember that some Actions generate 100+ steps -- too many to undo with Command+Z (Ctrl+Z) -- so be sure to save Snapshots and create presentation comps on a separate canvas. Every image is going to be work differently, so apply Actions wisely. There is no substitute for the creative process.

Me ke aloha,
~d*
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    The Designer
    I am Donya -- my friends call me "d." I'm 31 years old, from the suburbs of Southern California. I used to want an office on the 42nd floor somewhere in Midtown East. After graduating and working at three multi-national corporations, I got laid off in 2008 like everyone else did. I then started d*Sine Lab as my freelance alter ego. It's been an eye-opening four years for me, including having  two kids and moving from California to North Carolina...far, far away from NYC.

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