Character design

2012: Computer Arts' Best Bits [and Sagmeister & Walsh's too]

New Year hangover getting you down? Don't worry. We're here to remind you that it was all worthwhile, courtesy of the top 10 most popular posts on the Computer Arts website - as chosen by you

10. 10 ways to work more efficiently in Photoshop

10 ways to work more efficiently in Photoshop

Follow these top tips and you'll not only be able to work smarter and faster in Photoshop, but you'll also become infinitely irresistible to members of the opposite sex, members of the same sex and even passing dogs. You have been warned.

9. Create retro graphics in illustrator

Create retro graphics in Illustrator

Coming up with awesome T-shirt designs is something we all love to do, so it's no surprise that this tutorial from Ryan Brinkerhoff proved so popular.

8. Bind your own books

Bind your own books

We may live in the age of the eBook, but there's something about the look, feel and smell of a real book made of paper and print that simple sends sensual shivers up and down your spine. But if there's one thing better than experiencing a book, it lies in the experience of creating the book. And in this tutorial, Bristol-based designer Karen Lewis shows you how.

7. Create a 3D custom map in Illustrator

Create a 3D custom map in Illustrator

Conversely our seventh most popular post couldn't be more digital. In it, South Africa-based illustrator, iconographer and designer Radio takes you step-by-step through the process of creating isometric icons using a grid and the 3D Extrude tool in Illustrator.

6. Micro trends: graphic design aesthetics

 graphic design aesthetics

One of our most popular posts from 2012 was a report commissed by Computer Arts Collection from creative consultancy FranklinTill, which explored the seven major visual directions in graphic design were expected to manifest themselves during the year. "It’s also an identification and celebration of the key designers and studios responsible for driving these emerging visual landscapes,” FranklinTill co-founder Kate Franklin said.

5. Design a killer logo

Design a killer logo

Every designer needs to know how to create a killer logo - but putting the theory into practice isn't always easy. We asked David Azurdia, owner and creative director at Magpie Studio to share his top seven tips to help you get your project under way.

4. 5 of the best Google doodles

5 of the best Google doodles

We asked the talented creatives behind Google Doodles to name five of their personal favourites and to explain the inspiration behind the designs. The choices and written responses resulted in one of our most popular posts of the year, taking in the ZX Spectrum, Freddie Mercury and Grandparents' Day along the way.

3.Sagmeister and Walsh join forces

Sagmeister and Walsh join forces

When legendary designer Stefan Sagmeister and ADC Young Gun Jessica Walsh announced they were teaming up in May they did so in spectacular style - circulating a Two Virgins-style photo of them both naked. The aim - and result - of course was tons of publicity for the new Sagmeister & Walsh studio, echoing successful self-publicity campaigns from Sagmeister's past. Commenter Salop Creative summed it up best: "Insanely brave, insanely effective. I don't think anyone at our agency will be doing this anytime soon. Maybe after five years of gym (and a lot of alcohol)."

2. Add depth and colour in Illustrator

Add depth and colour in Illustrator

Although it was only published in September, this Illustrator tutorial from Jeffrey Bowman proved to be one of Computer Arts' most popular. In it, Bowman explains how you can use grids, gradients and textures to add depth to images in Illustrator: "Adding extra depth to an image can be a quick process that utilises some simple tools... using the Grain effect you can add a retro texture, which, combined with some halftone patterns and simple brush strokes, can turn a flat-looking illustration into a rich texturised design."

1. 50 ways to design better branding

50 ways to design better branding

Branding is a perennially popular topic on Computer Arts, so it's no surprise to see this story at the number one slot in our 2012 round-up. In '50 ways to design better branding', we asked leading creatives from across the industry how they meet the day-to-day challenges of digital branding and logo design. As we said at the time: "These pro tips will provide you with a unique insight into one of the most imposing, yet rewarding areas of design." Hurrah!

What were your favourite stories of 2012? Let us know in the comments below...

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