As you might expect in the month that plays host to CES, January’s round-up of the best new graphic design tools features some killer new hardware for creatives. From Dell’s cracking new Precision 5520 laptop to Wacom’s workflow-disrupting Intuos Pro Paper Edition, we’ve covered some of the most exciting new design tools below.
It’s also been a good month for software. Corel led the charge with its powerful Photoshop brush plugin ParticleShop, but you’ll find all sorts of handy plugins, actions and Illustrator brushes (opens in new tab) to aid your creative process in this month’s collection of the best new tools for graphic designers – plus a brilliant new book and two high-quality fonts. Read on to speed up your workflow…
Dell’s updated its Precision 5510 laptop with Intel’s 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors and architecture. The 15.6-inch ultra-sharp touchscreen is made for designers looking for an Apple alternative, with a 3,840 x 2,160 upgrade option that’s capable of outputting the full Adobe RGB colour gamut. There’s currently a 30 per cent discount on the Dell Store, putting pricing at £1,628/$1,399.00 for a non-customised model.
Designer Joe Andrus’ new custom layered font Parts & Labor ($29) pays homage to vintage sign-makers. With four different weights, it’s incredibly versatile: you can use the retro display font on its own; or add depth by experimenting with any combination of the three supporting 3D, shade and shadow weights. Stacked in the perfect combination, you’ll produce a retro 3D, extruded effect.
You can change the colours of any layer, and the font comes with a set of stylistic alternate characters and glyphs to add a custom feel, plus a free Parts and Labor Illustrator action that promises to make any font 3D in seven seconds (worth $17 alone).
Corel has released a new version of its Adobe Photoshop brush plugin ParticleShop, which gives designers, photographers and artists access to some of Corel Painter’s powerful brush technology.
With 11 new brushes available in the Core Pack – including Dynamic Speckle brushes and living grab-and-go Particle brushes - and six new brush packs, giving Photoshop and Lightroom users access to over 100 new brushes to create realistic and organic images. (Registered owners can grab the plugin as a free update, as we reported [http://www.creativebloq.com/news/create-one-of-a-kind-effects-with-powerful-new-photoshop-plugin]last week.)
The Designers Foundry has released the final draft of Austrian graphic designer David Einwaller’s striking transitional serif typeface Morion, three years since its first draft in 2014. With wedge-shaped serifs and floral terminals, Morion has a playful, calligraphic look that functions especially well in decorative, larger applications. It comes in two weights – bold and regular – with alternatives and ligatures.
Sydney-based designer and illustrator Jeremy Mura’s set of 80 realistic chalk and charcoal brushes is built from real materials to give your vector illustrations a high-quality, authentic look. Inside the $12 pack you’ll get 30 thin pressed art brushes, 20 thick textured shader brushes, 15 rough scribbled brushes, 15 no-stretch pattern brushes and 10 bonus chalk dust TIFF textures.
Finally available on Amazon in the US this January, Steven Heller’s latest essay anthology Graphic Design Rants and Raves covers the spectrum of graphic design, and related art and culture. From a look at the letter K Brand design utilised by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump early in the 2016 Presidential race to the Charlie Hebdo massacre and far beyond, Heller explores how visual design has arrived in the twenty-first century. It’s a fascinating read, and highly recommended.
CES saw Wacom announce two new pen and touch tablets (opens in new tab) earlier this month: The Wacom Intuos Pro, and Intuos Pro Paper Edition. The Intuos Pro boasts a wealth of new features and is more compact than the previous version, while the Pro Paper Edition includes the same features – but, interestingly, also lets users incorporate paper into their digital workflow.
This is great news for designers and artists who prefer to start in pencil. By capturing digital versions of sketches as they’re drawn, the Intuos Pro eliminates the need to scan in sketches, which should save a fair bit of time.
Quickly simulate retro print effects in your designs with the Mid-Century Print Pack Mega Bundle. The $49 pack includes seven best-selling actions – including registration errors, ink roughening, monotones, halftones, ink starve, illustrative photograph effect, and press effect – to add an authentic vintage feel to your work.
The bundle also comes with 11 informative video tutorials, 25 brushes, nine retro paper textures and 20 bonus pieces of authentic retro stock art from the 1940s and 50s. Bargain.
For a whole library of handmade marker brushes, try this set of 84 pressure-sensitive thick and dry marker brushes. Created for Illustrator CS5 and higher, the collection offers a quick way to add a hand-drawn feel to your work, with marks ranging from clean to grungier and drier lines.
Layerform’s new design tool lets you create subtle texture effects in Illustrator. The rolled ink text effects are fully scaleable, and the pack come with an action so you can achieve grainy-looking text at the click of a button.