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Best of the Vector Web - May 2011

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Each month, we search the web for the best vector-related content and showcase it here for you all to enjoy. This month, we showcase high quality tutorials on creating vector portraits, composing character based type illustrations, creating shiny illustrative icons, and more. We have loads of tutorials, in addition to inspiring articles, resources, and useful freebies inside. Dig into May's illustration and design material for vector enthusiasts.

Vector Tutorials

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    Illustrator Tutorial: Designing type art for Haiti

    This case study shows how Chris Leavens and Zutto, worked together to create group artwork for the Renmen Project, which was one of many type art pieces created from members of the international Blood Sweat Vector collective. This process shows how these two artists work together, and mix their work without one overpowering the other's style.

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    Design a Simple index with InDesign

    A publication's index adds a needed usability, as well as a feel of authority. Walk through this restaurant publication example to learn how David Donaghy creates a clean, attractive index in Indesign.

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    How To Create a Grumpy Troll Character in Illustrator

    Chris Spooner shows us how to create a grumpy Internet troll character in this step by step Illustrator tutorial. See how to first create the pencil sketch and then build up the vector character in Illustrator. Learn to design with linework, color fills and basic shading to create a funny cartoon mascot.

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    Create a Line-based Vector Portrait

    Ruslan Khasanov shows how to manipulate vector linework and gradients to bring an unusual sense of movement to your portrait work. While this technique will take a bit of time, it's a very cool style and allows for flexible usage in your work.

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    Photoshop and Illustrator Tutorial: Build a Vibrant, Pattern-Based Isometric Cityscape

    The design agency 2xanadu shows us how to create a complex repeating pattern. It's made up of modern cityscape elements, as well as anime style characters strewn about. The process covers working with an isometric grid, starting with a sketch, creating the linework in Illustrator, and finishing by coloring vibrantly in Photoshop.

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    Create a Fun Scrapbook in Illustrator

    Ainsley Bevis shows us how to create a scrapbook in Illustrator. It's composed of multiple office supplies to make one cohesive design. The background is added in Photoshop and combined with these vector elements.

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    Create a Chalkboard Type Treatment

    In this tutorial Rype shows us how to create a chalkboard lettering style. He uses the bristle brush, gradients and some freebie items to compose the design. The tutorial is relatively simple and can be applied to many other Illustrator projects.

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    How To Create An Espresso Machine Icon Inside Adobe Illustrator

    Ciorba shows us how to create this beautiful icon. For you coffee lovers, myself included, this is a great tutorial to work on your icon design skills. This tutorial uses basic techniques with excellent results.

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    Artistic Printing Inspiration in Illustrator and Photoshop

    Fabio Sasso shows us how to create a vintage style letter press effect using Illustrator and Photoshop. The techniques used in this tutorial are quite simple, such as using blends to add the line effects and the coloring in Photoshop. It's well work looking at the book that inspired this tutorial for more examples of this kind of work, which he links to in the tutorial.

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    Adaptive Web Design book cover

    Veerle Pieters shows how she created a web design book cover. She covers the overall process in this case study. It's intriguing, a colorful blend of illustrative and design work, and well worth the read.

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Vector Inspiration, Articles, and Resources

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    Designing 3D covers for Random House's new Vintage Line of Classic Novels

    Vintage Books, an offshoot of publisher Random House, recently released a new run of classic sci-fi and horror novels. They have beautiful classic type work on them and stunning linework. The colors pop and even more when viewed with 3D glasses, as each is a functioning anaglyphic 3D cover - very cool use of this old tech on a book cover. Random House creative director Suzanne Dean shares some details on how this exciting project came together.

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    In this article Tom Dennis explores how tattoo culture is being used by designers. Major brands are basing ad campaigns that tap into the style, iconography, and grit of tattooing. This article shows how mainstream this opting of tattoo culture has reached, with numerous examples.

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    FreeHand Users Sue Adobe for 'Killing' the Application

    It's about time someone took a stance on this. While I'm not a big Freehand user, I did use it in college and it's an excellent vector app. The fact that Adobe bought Illustrator's rival and has moved it out to pasture seems at best a waste, and at worst dubiously unethical. Free Freehand is a group who have banded together to protect Freehand from extinction. Learn more about the cause and their call to action.

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    Understanding & Using Color in Branding

    Over at GoMediaZine David Murton discusses how we perceive color, it's effect on mood, and how as designers it is imperative that we have a strong understanding of color. We need to learn how colors work together, impact our audience psychologically, and the cultural implications of color as well.

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    50+ Fresh And Useful Adobe Illustrator Icon Design Tutorials

    Noupe rounds up some of the newest and most interesting Adobe Illustrator Icon tutorials, which are great to learn a combination of Illustrator tools, illustration and design techniques, and improve the quality of your professional output. Quite a few tutorials from Vectortuts+ made this list.

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(FREE!) Vector Downloads

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    Free Vector Set 20 Sampler Download

    Go Media puts together some of the highest quality vector graphic sets you can find, and when they drop a new pack they promote it with a handful of samples, grab this vector sampler now.

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    Friday Fresh Free Fonts #101

    Abduzeedo has a weekly series where they highlight high quality free fronts. They crossed the one hundred post mark in this series recently, as Paulo Canabarro shares a few high quality free fonts. Jump over and grab them and follow the series for more free font resources.

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    50 Free and High-Quality Icon Sets

    Freebie design components, especially beautiful icon sets can be found in nearly every designer’s toolbox. While many of these are not vector based graphics, they are all high quality designs that will make a great addition to your resources. Pull them out when you work on your next web design project.

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    40 Multicolored Ribbons Set (Vector)

    This useful freebie set contains 40 multicolored ribbons including some stitch styled ribbons in AI/PDF format. While these were released earlier this year, I just came across them recently, and they are excellent quality ribbons that you could use in design projects, especially web design layouts.

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    Creattica Freebies

    Creattica has a selection of free vector graphics you can grab. Check out the latest this site has to offer. And if you're looking to promote your skills then of course contribute a set of your own. Some of the latest contributions are a Kindle design, guarantee label, holiday illustration and swirls, all 100% vector.

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