Halloween Vector Graphics Collection For Commercial Use

With Halloween right up our alley, it’s crunch time to get the Halloween graphics printed up. To save you time we put together this collection of Halloween vector graphics that are available for commercial use. No need to spend hours looking for the right vector only to come to find out that you can’t use it in your commercial project.

We carefully checked the license on each one of these so that you can download them and get right to work!

Feel free to share your art with us on our Facebook Page or on Twitter (@mmprint).

Pumpkin Vectors

Free Vector Pumpkin Download
Halloween Pumpkin By Vector Open Stock
Free Vector Pumpkins Download
Free Vector Pumpkins Download from All Silhouettes
Mix and Match Pumpkin Faces
Mix and Match Pumpkin Faces from Designus

 

Halloween Banner Vectors

Vector Grunge Halloween Banners
Vector Grunge Halloween Banners by All4Designer

 

Halloween Vector Patterns

Vector Halloween Patterns
Vector Halloween Pumpkin and Skull Pattern VectorPatterns UK

 

Free Vector Halloween Bat Pattern
Free Vector Halloween Bat Pattern by VectorPatterns UK

[note]If your halloween project requires printing, please contact us at 516-334-1603 for amazing quality, super fast turnaround and free shipping![/note]

How To Set Up A Spot UV Business Card Design

The process of setting up a Spot UV business card is different from what you are used to. Since the Spot UV coating is not actually “printed”, the area that is printed and the area that is Spot UV will require separate files.

Areas with UV (Spot) and Areas with No UV

Let’s make it clear, the purpose of spot UV coating is to cover only certain graphic areas on the card, not the whole flat side of the card. Think of it as highlighting the important parts of your business card so that they stand out. Not only that, but you can get really creative with spot UV coating and make a business card that leaves a lasting impression on the viewer.

 

The Printed Area

The printed area of the card doesn’t need any special layers or effects to prepare it for spot UV coating. The only thing you will do special might be to leave out certain objects that you might want to be spot UV only, without any printing under it giving it that “Ghost” effect.

Spot UV Coating Business Card - Ghost Effect

 

In this example, the “m” was left out of the printing, only a solid orange was printed saturating the entire back side. The spot UV coating was applied to render the “Ghost” effect to the “m” and you can only see it in the light at certain angles… this is one of the owner’s business cards, we get WOW’s every time and most customers want it for their business cards.

 Spot UV and Printed Area Demonstration - M

The Spot UV Area

Believe it or not, it’s not that difficult to make a Spot UV file for the business card. Think of it this way, the UV coating is simply a clear color that you can put over any object in your design. Therefore, all you need to do is use black (100% K) representing the areas where the UV coating will be applied. Anything that is left white in the spot UV file will NOT have UV applied to it. Anything that is black (100% K), will. Simple as that.

[note color=”#d1d7c7″]I would not recommend doing this in Photoshop since the layer would be rasterized creating a jagged edge, use Illustrator which creates a vector layer instead for nice crisp clear edges.[/note]

 

Spot UV Coating Layer

The logo on the front of the card is important to us so we wanted it to stand out. How did we do it? Spot UV of course! It just jumps out at you when you’re looking at the card.

 Spot UV and Printed Area Demonstration Logo

[note color=”#FFCC00″] Once you have setup your Spot UV business cards. Give us a call at 1877-mmprint to speak printing professional about your project or visit our Business Card Printing Page for more information and to request a quote. [/note] [divider top=”1″]

Adding Video to your Printed Marketing Materials for Free

 

In this post we will explore in detail how to beef up your printed marketing materials by adding your own custom video and making it easy for your customers to share the video as well.
I am sure some of you reading this right now are imagining small screens, wires and batteries or mini-DVDs glued to the inside of your media kits. Well, that’s not the case, it’s not that complicated and it’s free!

Adding the video to your printed marketing materials is done in 3 easy steps and all 3 tools needed are available freely on the Internet.

Video Distribution Step One

Video Distribution

The first step, assuming you already have a video that you would like to distribute to your customers, is to upload your video to the web. There are quite a few websites that will host your video file for free, some of the most popular being Youtube and Vimeo.

 If you are tech-savvy or have an IT person who handles your website, you can also upload your videos to your own website hosting server.

By uploading your videos to the web, you make them available and easily accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most video hosting sites as you may already know, have a commenting feature where people can leave comments about your video and you can respond to their comments.

 

Link Creation Rope

Creating a Link

In this second step we will create a link to the video. Both Youtube and Vimeo automatically create a link for you and you simply copy and paste it. Most video hosting sites will do this for you as well.

After we have uploaded the video and generated a direct link to the video, we are going to make it a link that we can track to see how many times it has been used, shared and who shared it.

There are many free URL shorteners available that give you free tracking tools that provide basic Analytics with information regarding the use of the link you shortened. Here are a few of the most popular ones, I recommend you create a user account so that you can log in and view your results:

I tend to be partial to bit.ly because I like how easy it is to create a shortened url and the way they present the link tracking information.

To create a shortened URL, simply paste the video URL into the big blue text box and click shorten. Easy as that.

The Bit.ly analytic panel gives you different ways to look at what happened to your URL throughout its life:

  • A visual chart with the amount of daily clicks
  • Cool feature called Conversations which shows who is talking and sharing the same link on social networks plus a count of how many times it has been shared on various social networks.
  • QR code and a sidebar to share the link on your social networks right from the bit.ly page (go to settings to authorize this).

Being able to analyze the results of your efforts is a very valuable tool. If you can tell what did well and what went wrong with your marketing, you can use this information to improve your marketing and drive better results on your next campaign.

 

QR Code Connecting Print to Video

Code Connection

The final step in adding video to your printed marketing materials is to create the connection between your video and the paper your marketing material is printed on.

Most of you may be familiar with QR codes by now since they have been around for a while. You might see them quite often on catalogs, magazines, postcards and many other direct mail printed materials; not to mention packaging and even in commercial stores like BestBuy use them to show video product demos in the stores.

If you would like to learn more about QR codes, I highly recommend you read my post that contains information about QR codes and a list of Free QR Code readers and generators.

For this specific tutorial we will be using a QR code to direct the user’s mobile smart phone to a video that you uploaded per the instructions in step one. Why use a QR code? Well, how many people do you think would want to type a URL that looks like this – bit.ly/egm7XG – into their smart phone browser? By using a QR code all the user has to do is tap his QR code reader app and scan the code.

Let’s get to it! Creating a QR code is simple. Go to one of the free websites I listed in the blog post about QR Codes. Try them all to see which one you find easier to use and feel free to share with us in the comments below.

For this example I will use the www.BeQRious.com website to generate my QR code:

BeQRious.com screenshot

Simply paste the shortened URL you created in step 2 into the text box labeled “Enter web URL:” and click the Create Code button.

You will see on the right an image of a cellphone with a QR code on the screen. That is the code that was generated by your special and unique URL.

Now, if you are feeling a bit antsy, go ahead and fire up your QR Code reader app on your smart phone and scan the the code right on your computer screen. Make sure it works correctly and directs your smart phone to the video you uploaded in step 1.

If it doesn’t work, go back to step 1 and make sure you used the correct link for the video, in the URL shortener and that you used the correct link generated by the URL shortner, on BeQRious.com (or whatever qr code generator you decided to use).

Wa-la! That’s it. Download the QR code and insert into the design of your marketing materials.

I recommend you download the vector/PDF version of the code (if available) as it is created in vector format and can be enlarged or reduced to just about any size without losing any quality. I personally try to keep it no smaller than 1 inch x 1 inch.

IMPORTANT!!!

Rule #1 : TEST, TEST, TEST.
You must make sure that the code is not too small or too blurry to be read by the cameras on smart phones. You must test the QR code among different phone models and different QR code reader apps to make sure it works appropriately.

Creating Outlines from Type in Illustrator and InDesign


Outlining Type in Adobe Illustrator and Indesign

Why Do We Need to Outline Our Type?

Before sending a file to a printer, there are a few important steps that must be considered.  One of those is making sure that the type in the document is turned into outlines.  If the printer needs to make an adjustment to the file (fix color, adjust bleeds, etc.)  and the type is not outlined, there could be font issues that cause the copy to change or re-flow.  Sometimes these changes may not be noticed until after the job is printed.  It is a very simple process that only takes a moment.  Once it is done, the type is turned from a type box to vector outlines and can no longer be edited.  This tutorial is for Adobe programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Indesign. Always remember to check your copy before converting to outlines, because it can not be edited afterward.

Outlines Versus Type

How to Create the Outlined Type

In the above Image, the top line of text is type while the bottom line is outlines.  As you can see the outlines no longer have editable type; they have the individual vector points of the outlined shapes.  In order to outline the type, one needs to select the type box as a whole so that it looks like the below image.

Selecting a Text Box

Then if you are on a PC, press CTRL + SHIFT + O, or if you are on a Mac, press CMD + SHIFT + O.  The type can also be outlined from the top menu by selecting “type” then selecting “create outlines” from the drop down menu.  Afterwards your type will turn to paths and look like this image below.

Outlined Type

Finished Type Outlines

Now the type is outlined and safe to send to the printer. Remember to check that the other parts of the document are ready to go to pre-press before sending it to your printer.  Outlined type can be helpful when creating typographical designs; it removes the need to work with type boxes and allows direct editing of the shape of the characters directly.

Design Tutorial: Offset Path Tool in Adobe Illustrator

Offset Path Tool for Adobe Illustrator

Using the Offset Path Tool in Adobe Illustrator

This tool is one of my favorites within Illustrator.  It does exactly as the name suggests, it creates a duplicate of an object with the path set off by a specified distance.  It can create replicas of different size with standard distances between the original and replica and easily creates concentric shapes. It is great for creating large or smaller versions of objects or creating outlines that are shapes.  It is also great for creating outlines around large groups of objects and creating shadows that are actual objects that can be edited independently from the object that would be casting the shadow.

Adobe Illustrator Offset Path Tool Dialog Box-Miter Limit Join Offset

How to use the Offset Path Tool

The offset path tool can be accessed from the Adobe Illustrator Menu from Object >> Path >> Offset Path. It will open the offset path tool box that asks what distance to offset the path, what type of joins for the corners and the miter limit. The distance used in the Offset field can be entered as a positive or negative which will make a shape that is either larger or smaller than the original.

Multiple Examples of the Offset Path Tool

Different Offsets

In the above image the offset path tool is used to create multiple concentric copies of the original shape in different sizes.  In the purple example I created a smaller concentric copy by using negative values, while in the blue example I used the a positive value to create a larger concentric copy.

The offset tool can even be used to create multiple copies that can sit within one another.  This effect is achieved by applying the offset tool twice as shown in the red and black example.

Illustrator Offset Path Tool Join Options Bevel Round Miter Ends

Different Join Types

The joins field in the offset path tool box modifies the type of angles the ends of the offset will have. There are three types, the miter which is a pointed corner, the round which is a rounded corner and the bevel which is a squared corner.

Differences between Miter Limits

 

Miter Limit

The miter limit is how far the points can extrude from angles in the shape. Below there is an example of a high and low miter.  The  default is “4” which isn’t always the best for more acute angles.  The second example with a miter of “20” actually allows for it to be much larger than what is displayed, so it is a bit of overkill.

 

Difference between Stroke and Offset Path in Adobe Illustrator

The Difference Between Offset Path and Strokes

A similar effect can be created by applying a stroke to an object but a stroke and offset path are not the same, although they can look similar. The offset path is a replica that is evenly distanced from the original all around while the stroke is just an outline of a path. Also while resizing an object, the offset path will keep the proportions while the stroke will keep the same stroke size regardless of object size. Above we have an image of a stroke and an offset path around a line of text that has been reduced in size.  Originally when the object was much larger they looked identical but as the object size changed more dramatically the stroke slowly became more out of place while the offset path still looks right. The stroke would have to be constantly adjusted or it would have to be outlined so that it can allow for size adjustments.

Creating Shadows with the Offset tool in Adobe Illustrator

Using the Offset Path to Create Shadows

Creating an offset path of an object is a very handy way to create a shadow for that object. In the above graphic I created a shadow for the word tool by offsetting the graphic and then expanding it slightly. Afterward I used the feather on the offset and matched the color to the background. It isn’t hard and can create a nice shadow that is fully adjustable as an independent object.

Down the Right Path

The offset path tool is one of those tools that you do not hear much about but packs a big design punch when it comes to usefulness. Beyond the basic utilization illustrated in this post, the offset path tool can be used to create unique effects that can vary depending on the shape or object.

Please share any tips or tricks you may have discovered while using the offset path tool in the comments section!

Typography: Appropriate Typefaces – Serif vs. Sans-Serif

Typography Appropriate Typefaces - Serif and Sans-Serif

When working with typography, it is necessary to implement the most appropriate typefaces in order to correctly convey an idea.  The wrong typeface can create the wrong mood and mistake the purpose of the design.  In the most extreme case, the wrong typeface can even ruin the design. That being said, there are quite a few factors that need to be considered before deciding which typefaces to use. When deciding which typeface is needed to properly accentuate a design, one must properly categorize and then use process of elimination. The two largest classifications of typefaces would be serif and sans-serif fonts.

Serif Font Typography

A Little Bit of Serif History

Serifs are decorative accents on the end of strokes that make up each character. Serif fonts found their origin with the brush strokes used for creating early typefaces and eventually became standard.
Below is an example outlining the two defining characteristics of serif fonts: the decorative accents and the changes from thick to thin strokes throughout the individual characters.

Serifs are Decorative accents in Typefaces

Serifs: Good for the Eyes

Serif fonts can sometimes be referred to as Roman fonts because the Roman Engravings and writings often have serifs. Serif fonts are more common in print and smaller sizes.  The serifs are easily read and have been the standard for editorial copy. Serif fonts also are good for creating decorative designs or designs that need an older or more regal feel.

Sans-Serif Fonts are Easy to Read on Screen

The Sans-Serif fonts have better readability on screen.  Serif fonts have thick and thin strokes that can display unevenly on the screen causing parts that seem disproportionate and the readability in turn becomes impaired. Sans-serifs were traditionally used for accentuating type that needed to stand out because the strokes on sans-serifs are even while serif fonts have the thick and thin variation.  Sans-serif fonts have had many names through their existence.  The most common that still can be seen in some font names are “Gothic” and “Grotesque”.

Helvetica is a very popular Sans-Serif Font

Choosing between a serif and sans-serif is an important decision, but also is usually a simple one.  If the designer knows how they want to convey an idea and where it will be displayed, they have already decided if the font should be a serif or sans-serif.

After reading this article you are going to be very conscious of your choice to use serif or sans serif today, which will you be using?