The 10 best new graphic design tools for August

All the latest patterns, presets and Photoshop brushes for graphic designers - plus a brilliant book to inspire you.

We’re in summer holiday mode, so this month’s round-up of the best new graphic design tools starts with a punch of publishing inspiration. 

The brand new book from designers Craig Oldham and Rick Banks, I Belong to Jesus, is a joy to experience – from the initial unpackaging (and discovery of brilliant bonus items that require your contribution) to the tactile reading process it encourages. 

It’s our favourite book of the summer, so kick back and be inspired by the pair’s passionate tribute to their favourite sport, and impressive attention to detail. 

Of course, it’s not all about sitting in the garden with a good book this month. We’ve also scoured the internet to bring you the best new brushes, patterns and presets for Photoshop, Illustrator and Affinity Designer to help speed up your workflow and keep creative block at bay.

Read on for our collection of August’s best new tools for graphic designers - and if we’ve missed your favourite new resource, let us know in the comments below.

01. I Belong to Jesus book and custom font

Craig Oldham and Rick Bank’s graphic celebration of football’s now-banned undershirt message ritual is a glorious tribute to design – and a masterclass in how to create a winning passion project. 

Packaged with a T-shirt and captain’s arm band, the limited-edition book documents the rich heritage of one of football’s most memorable traditions. The layout, binding and exposed stitching give a nod to the way in which a shirt would be lifted over a player’s head, while carefully curated case studies shine a spotlight on a selection of entertaining, political and poignant backstories. 

Banks has also designed a custom headline font based on Kaka’s trademark ‘I Belong to Jesus’ undershirt message, which the book’s title pays homage to. The font features on the cover, throughout the publication and is available to buy from the site for £10. 

02. 40 retro Photoshop brushes

If you’re looking for high-quality retro and vintage Photoshop brushes, try this handy new list from online design shop RetroSupply, which gathers 40 of the internet’s best. 

Some are free for personal and commercial use; others come bundled with tutorials and freebies at a bargain price. Either way, it’s worth bookmarking for next time you want to add a retro effect to your designs or artwork.

03. Art and scatter brushes pack

Give your illustrations a hand-drawn quality with these 64 hand-drawn art brushes and 40 scatter brushes for Illustrator by Russian creative Serezha Koltsov, aka tuesok digital goods.

Suitable for CS1 and above, they’re a steal at $12. And you can try before you buy, too: Koltsov has made a number of free demo versions and a quick tutorial available.

04. DAUB Concept Tools Pro for Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer

To celebrate Affinity Photo’s one-year anniversary, the creative software firm has teamed up with DAUB brushes’ Paolo Limoncello to give away a free raster brush set containing 16 brushes designed for concept artwork. 

The brushes can be used in both Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo, with full instructions on how to download the set on the Affinity blog.

05. Goldfish Orange task lamp and Bananas Notebook

Top class accessory shop Howkapow has updated its online shop with a range of new products that are perfect for brightening up a new studio space in the run-up to September - including this adjustable, brushed metal Goldfish Orange Task Lamp by British designer WildWood. It’s £69.95, measures 17.80 x 38.10 x 45.70cm, comes in a few differ colourways and is packaged with a UK adapter.

Howkapow has also updated its A5 and A6 notebook ranges. The Bananas Notebook, illustrated by Ruby Taylor and produced by Wrap, is just one of a range of offerings. Finished with a thread-sewn spine and gold foil, it’s perfect for August’s final blaze of sunshine. 

06. Everything Glitschka vector brush collection

American designer and illustrator Von Glitschka and RetroSupply have released everything from brushes to textures to fonts over the last few years. The collaborations are among the site’s most popular, and now you can grab every Von Glitschka-Retro Supply product ever created in one super-cheap bundle that’ll set you back “less than the price of a double date to the movies”. 

All assets are compatible with Adobe Illustrator CC, CS6 and CS5, and come with a handy set of Von Glitschka video tutorials and PDF guides thrown in.  

07. Vintage Engraved Patterns

For a faster way to achieve etched, vintage-looking designs and illustrations, try Artifex Forge’s new set of 15 detailed, engraved repeat patterns. As with pen and ink, you can layer the patterns at different rotations to create a hatching effect and build up shading.

The $15 pattern set is compatible with Illustrator CS1 to CC and comes in black, but you’ll also find comprehensive instructions on how to add colour. 

08. Hand-drawn Vector Design Elements

From posters and invitations to tote bags and other merchandise, this pack of 150 hand-drawn vector elements enables users to decorate products with a variety of daily objects. 

The pack consists of 150 high-res hand-drawn items on a black background, and 150 on a white backgrounds - all AI and EPS files.

09. Cinematic Lightroom Presets Collection

Priced at $29, Creative Preset’s rich Cinematic Film set is comprised of 20 Lightroom presets and 30 Photoshop ACR, all carefully designed to simulate the warm, atmospheric feel of some of the world’s most popular movies. 

They’re fully customisable, and can be used on any file type inside Lightroom 4, 5 and 6, and Creative Cloud.

10. Tattoo Style Art Brushes

Ink up your artwork with these tattoo-inspired Illustrator brushes. Another offering from Artifex Forge, there are two very different sets of brushes in this pack: outline brushes, with a realistic ink consistency; and scatter brushes to add texture and shading. 

Compatible with Illustrator CS5, CS6 and CC, the tattoo-style art brushes cost $12. 


Julia Sagar is a freelance journalist and editor. Formerly a commissioning editor for Creative Bloq, Computer Arts, net, Imagine FX and 3D World magazines, she’s been writing about art and design for 10 years.