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5 favorite tricks for creating stylish graphics you can use for anything

Here we are on day five of a graphic-design-y week! I hope you’ve found beauty and inspiration in the posts so far.

In case you missed any, first I shared a handful of designs from my custom stationery designing days. Lots of cute projects and many examples of great print-at-home invitations, christmas cards and announcements. Next, I shared this adorable set of free clip art for you to download and use in your designs. For those who want more control over color and size of clip art, this video shows just how easy it is to turn a regular image into a vector graphic. Then we talked about selecting the best printer for you and discovering thousands of fonts (can you ever have enough?!).

To wrap this week up, I made another video for you … this time sharing my top five favorite tricks and techniques in Adobe Illustrator. I didn’t begin designing using such a fancy program, but as I have spent the past several years learning and practicing, finding new tools and little tricks to make designing easier, I completely love it. I think you will, too.

So obviously I kinda enjoy designing. I never set out to be a graphic designer (my degree is in child & family psychology!) and even though I am self-taught and often do things the wrong way (did you see how I draw in the video?!) I feel so grateful for the creative outlet it has become. I just adore what I do, am constantly learning and practicing and am so excited to share my knowledge with others.

About seven months ago, I began putting together a graphic design course that would focus on the basics I use for every day designing. No techy language and super-advanced skills because honestly, I don’t think most of us are looking for that. I wanted the class to feel like it would if you came over to my house and I explained in regular terms and simple steps how to design your daughter’s birthday invitations yourself.  A friendly approach to learning a slightly intimidating program. Well, after seven months, it’s finally ready.


So here are the details:

Simplified Graphic Design is a course created for the beginner graphic designer who is new to Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator enables you to create professional vector artwork (images that can be scaled to any size without losing quality) for both print and web graphics. While the program can be intimidating upon first glance, this course will walk you through the most essential and helpful tools showing you how to create your own designs and leaving you with a comfortable understanding and confidence in working in Illustrator.

This is a great class for those who love graphic design and want to learn how to create their own graphics. Whether you have no experience in Illustrator or a basic knowledge of the program, you will finish the course a more proficient designer with a handful of shortcuts that will make the process simple and enjoyable. If you are well-acquainted with Illustrator, a professional graphic designer or looking for tips for creating a graphic design business, this course will not be a good fit for you.

Because most of us learn best by watching a task being done, this course is a series of eleven in-depth videos that cover all of the basic functions, most helpful tools and many tips and tricks in Adobe Illustrator useful for everyday designing. You can watch and re-watch to learn new techniques and then pause the video to practice on your own.

The course covers:

  • familiarizing ourselves with Adobe Illustrator
  • using the most common functions for every day designing
  • how to create, transform and design with text
  • using clipping masks and digital paper to create art
  • turning hand drawn doodles into vector graphics
  • altering images using the live trace & paint functions
  • how to create shapes, templates and tags
  • printing and saving your work
  • the work flow of a start-to-finish invitation
  • the work flow of a start-to-finish web graphic
  • resources for tools, design elements and inspiration

The course and all its content takes place online in a password protected classroom. Go at your own pace, moving from section to section as quickly or slowly as needed. You will have unlimited access to the class so you can always refer back to it as needed.

All questions can be asked in the comment section of each topic. This will act as our forum and helpful troubleshooting for all students.

Adobe Illustrator (free 30-day trial – sign-up here)
Internet access


Due to the digital nature of the course, registration is non-refundable.

Class size is limited.


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