How to mask Photoshop layer effects

Have you ever wanted to mask a part of a layer effect, but not the image itself? Here’s a really quick way to do it:

I don’t know in what version Adobe introduced this feature. If you happen to know, please share in the comments. For this tutorial I used Photoshop CC 2017.

The ever evolving logo landscape

I love to talk branding, and consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic. But there’s arguably no greater expert on the subject than Pentagram partner Michael Bierut. This short YouTube video presents four logo structures:

  1. The wordmark
  2. Pictoral
  3. Abstract iconography
  4. The logo system

Mr. Bierut recently recently sat down with 99% Invisible’s Roman Mars to discuss how he employed the logo system structure for the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns, and how the rise of social media and online publishing has made way for widespread criticism of big brands.  Listen here, or download the podcast to your favourite mobile app.

InDesign page numbering tip

An issue I run into when setting up long-form documents in InDesign occurs when I’m establishing sections. The problem being that starting a new section bumps the first page of that section out of its current spread. That’s no good at all good sir (or madam)!

As is normally the case, the solution was quite simple. You need to deselect Allow Selected Spread to Shuffle in the “Page” panel contextual menu. I recorded this wee tutorial that shows how to do just that. Thanks for watching!

Mixed Messages

Thanks to longtime mentor and friend Bramwell Ryan for penning the following post…

Character assassination, justification of a decision, career enhancement, arguing for a new course of action, wooing a new mistress or keeping the current one happy… the truck-load of purposes clients bring to communication projects always amaze me.

Lots of clients forget that the primary reason for communications is to create a message or set of messages in such a way that the end-user is better informed, motivated to some action or that starts stirring the emotional cauldron. Instead lots of clients see communications as a chance to settle a score.

This is especially so when one is a writer and dealing with the client about words. While copy can be bold it can also be subtle and in the space between the two there’s room for lots of mischief. It’s harder to be subtle in design… after all, smuggling a photo of the boss with a bulls-eye on his forehead into a layout is hard to miss, and might be a bad career move. But deft copywriting can peel away a reputation, skewer an idea and inflate an ego without warning flags flapping. But in doing this the writer is only helping the client fail. After all, the place to shred a reputation is in the lunch room; the place to justify a decision is in the boardroom; the place to propel the career is on the golf course; arguing for a new course of action is best done in the bar after the golf game and… the best way to keep the mistress happy is to leave her out of the photo shoot (and that includes her kids too). None of these assignments belong in a communication project and if they are part of it, then the project fails in its primary purpose.

I think small budgets and infrequent communication activity are the reason for clients thinking that projects are personal vehicles of expression rather than corporate efforts to address the world outside the doors of their office. They think the current assignment is their only platform, their only chance to make their mark, their only opportunity to order their world in the right way. This breeds a ‘last chance’ mentality. Do it now or regret it later. Trouble is, aiding and abetting clients in this kind of behaviour always leads to regret later.


Image courtesy jebeld17 via Flickr Creative Commons License 2.0

Logos 2008-2013

A few weeks ago a client asked me if I could send her a few samples of some of the logo work I’d done. I realized at that moment that I’d never collected my logo projects in one presentation. So I did just that. Below you’ll see a collection of logos spanning 5 years from 2008 to current. A few are missing, and a few represent drafts or alternate versions that are not publicly in use, but this is a pretty good snapshot nonetheless.

If you’d like to read my thoughts on branding, follow this link.

Continue reading Logos 2008-2013