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About 67nj

I have been doing graphic design professionally since graduating from UCLA Exts in Multimedia Program in 1994 and 67nj is my design pseudonym since then. I started as a graphics intern and later I’ve employed full-time as a web and desktop designer in the Greater Los Angeles area and then I moved back to Italy where I currently work as a freelance graphic designer. My design experience includes desktop publishing, illustration and web interfaces.

Just announced: TEDGlobal 2017 heads back to Africa

2018-01-14T17:53:49+00:00October 3rd, 2016|Categories: Inspiration, News|

Ten years on, TEDGlobal returns to Africa, and applications are open now to attend. TEDGlobal 2017: Builders. Truth-tellers. Catalysts. happens August 27–30, 2017, in Arusha, Tanzania.

Our conference in Arusha ten years ago felt like history in the making. The ideas and connections forged then have had untold impact. As curator Emeka Okafor says: “At the end of TEDGlobal 2007, we talked about ‘Planting Seeds.’ Ten years later, we will be mapping and imagining new directions. TEDGlobal 2017 will showcase the brave and the bold, the makers and creators, pioneers and builders, the advocates and activists.”

We want to invite anyone passionate about the future of Africa, and the future of the world, to come and be part of something special.

“Our speakers will provoke and confound, illuminate and clarify,” Okafor promises. “Join us in examining this emerging tapestry of activity across Africa.”

TEDGlobal 2017 takes place August 27–30, 2017, at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha, Tanzania. We’re planning pre- and post-conference events as well, including tours of local tech clusters and enterprises, as well as excursions in the legendary Northern Circuit, a collection of parks and lands that encircle Arusha. Learn more and apply to attend >>

PLUS: On Tuesday, Oct 4, we’ll open applications to become a TEDGlobal 2017 Fellow, to attend the conference and join a group of

How To Create a Flat Style Vector Map in Adobe Illustrator

2017-06-07T09:11:31+00:00October 3rd, 2016|Categories: Tutorials|

How To Create a Flat Style Vector Map in Adobe Illustrator

There’s some fantastic examples of flat style map designs out there on the web that depict a city or country with ultra simplified illustrations with basic shapes and flat colours. I really fancied giving the style a try myself, so I thought ‘why not make a tutorial to share my process with others?!’. Follow along with today’s guide to learn how to build a creative vector illustration of a landscape with trees, roads, mountains and towns using a range of tools in Adobe Illustrator. Working in the flat design style involves simplifying an object to its most basic form, so Illustrator’s various vector shape building tools are ideal for crafting your illustrations.

The artwork I’ll be producing in this tutorial includes a range of objects and landmarks that are all depicted by basic shapes while still being recognisable. The key to creating designs in the flat style is figuring out how you can illustrate something using just circles, rectangles and smooth lines. Choose just one or two colours for each object’s fill, without any shading or gradients to achieve the cartoon-like appearance.

Open Adobe Illustrator and create a new document. I’m using dimensions of 1000x1000px with the RGB colour mode.

Draw a rectangle to cover the artboard. Clear out its default stroke styling and switch the white fill for a sandy-brown colour (#ddc19f). Grab the Pen tool and set it up with just a black stroke. Hold Shift while clicking points to form a path that alternates from left to right.

Head to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners and check the Preview option. Increase the Radius setting to turn all the corners into a smooth path.

Increase the stroke weight to around 90pt and swap the default black fill for a grey (#44434b) to form the basis of a road.

Copy (Edit > Copy) and Paste In Back (CMD+B) a duplicate of the road path. Swap the stroke colour from grey to white, then change the stroke settings to 2pt with a round cap. Check the Dashed Line option and add a 10pt dash with a 20pt gap to form the central road markings.

Deselect the road paths and reset the stroke colour to black. Hold the Shift key to draw a straight line with the Pen tool that spans the artboard. Go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Zig Zag and change the settings to Smooth and 5 Ridges Per Segment. Alter the Size to form a series of mountains.

Go to Object > Expand Appearance to permanently apply the Zig Zag effect and to make the path editable.

Select the Pen tool and click the open point at one end of the zig zag line to continue its path. Hold Shift while extending it downwards, then across the artboard and up to join the path at the point on the opposite side.

Clear the stroke from this mountains shape and add a light green fill colour (#97b18f). Draw a rectangle that covers the lower half of the mountains and give it a slightly darker green fill (#539773).

Hold the Shift key in order to select both the mountains and the rectangle, then use the Shape Builder tool to punch out the unwanted portions. Hold the Alt key while clicking these areas to remove them.

Draw another rectangle that covers the entire mountains area, extending to the top and sides of the artboard. Give it a light blue fill (#cef2ee), then repeatedly press the CMD+[ Send Backward shortcut until it sits underneath the mountains to represent a sky.

Select the two paths that form the road. The easiest way to do so is to drag a selection that also captures the sky and background rectangles, then hold Shift and drag a new selection to deselect these shapes, leaving the just the two paths. Go to Object > Expand Appearance, followed by Object > Expand to convert them into outlined shapes.

Add the darker green mountains shape to the selection, then use the Shape Builder to delete the shapes that form the section of the road that extends over the sky.

Elsewhere on the artboard, draw a series of small circles with the Ellipse tool to represent a cloud.

Fill in the bottom area with a rectangle to give it a straight edge, then select all the shapes and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel to merge them all together.

Copy and paste a series of clouds, then resize and position them across the sky.

Select the Pen tool and roughly draw a path that follows the road and continues back to its starting point via the artboard edges.

Replace the fill colour for a slightly lighter sandy-brown colour (#f2e0af). The flat design style doesn’t use gradients, but mixing two shades of the same colour can help add more visual interest to your illustrations.

Use the Pen tool to draw a series of straight edges with a blue fill (#59abc1). This will represent a lake, but to conform to the flat style it has been simplified to the max!

Another technique to round the corners of a shape is to grab the Direct Selection tool and drag the Live Corners widgets that appear on shapes in the CC version of Adobe Illustrator.

We don’t want the two corners next to the artboard edges to be rounded, so click just these individual points with the Direct Selection tool and drag the live corner widgets back to straighten them again.

Elsewhere on the artboard, draw a small circle with the ellipse tool and give it a light blue stroke (#92cddd). Change the stroke settings to 2pt with round cap ends.

Select and delete the top and left points of the circle path with the Direct Selection tool to form a quarter circle, then hold the Alt key while dragging it to the side to make a duplicate.

Go to Object > Transform > Reflect and select the Vertical axis to flip the shape, then snap its position next to the original.

Select both shapes and drag duplicates to form a series of two and three shapes. The Smart Guides under the View menu make it easy to perfectly position these shapes side by side.

Make separate groups of these shapes in sets of two and three, then make copies and position them across the blue lake to depict a series of stylised waves.

Draw a square somewhere on the artboard, then use the Smart Guides tooltip to find the center of the top edge and add a point with the Pen tool. Drag this point upwards with the Direct Selection tool to create a house shape.

Give the shape a light red fill (#e07373), then Copy (CMD+C) and Paste In Back (CMD+B) a duplicate. Fill this new shape with a darker red (#ee483c), then move it upwards and to the left. Use the Pen tool to fill in the gap between the points on the lower edge.

Select this temporary shape along with the darker red shape and unite them with the Pathfinder, then use the CMD+[ shortcut to alter the stacking order so the lighter pink house shape sits on top again.

Draw a small rectangle to represent a window, then drag a duplicate while holding the Alt and Shift keys. Use the shortcut CMD+D to Transform Again to add a third shape, then select them all and drag a copy to add another row.

Duplicate the entire house graphic then change the fill colours and recreate a new window layout. To add more variety, drag the bottom edges of the shapes with the Direct Selection tool to extend the houses.

Position your houses within the artboard to form a mini town in your map design.

Draw a simplified tree by drawing a circle, sample the darker green fill from the mountains, then copy and paste in front (CMD+F) a duplicate and give it the lighter green colour. Draw a temporary rectangle that covers half of the circle, then with the top circle and the rectangle selected, click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel to trim it into a semi-circle.

Add a brown tree trunk by drawing a long, thin rectangle, then a small grey shadow with the ellipse tool to finish off the tree graphic. With all the shapes selected, click the New icon in the Symbols panel.

Select the Symbol Sprayer tool from the toolbar, then click and drag across the artboard to quickly draw a series of tree graphics.

Switch the tool selection to the Symbol Sizer tool, then click and drag over the trees to alter their sizes. Hold the Alt key while clicking to make them smaller.

Use the Symbol Shifter tool to move the trees around to ensure they’re all positioned within the artboard and no trees are growing out of the lake, houses or road.

The final result is a cute map design that depicts a range of landmarks in a flat illustrative style. My aim in this tutorial was to cover a range of techniques that you can use to construct illustrations of anything you might need to include in your own landscape designs. By simplifying the objects down to basic shapes, you can illustrate anything with just a few circles, rectangles and vector paths!

Download this file

The post How To Create a Flat Style Vector Map in Adobe Illustrator appeared first on Spoon Graphics.

50 Best Premium WordPress Themes – September 2016 Update

2017-06-07T09:11:32+00:00October 3rd, 2016|Categories: Tutorials|


You’ve heard this a thousand times – WordPress is the most popular content management system (aka CMS) in the world. W3Techs reports that 59% of sites using CMS are built on WordPress. It’s so successful that it’s almost become a synonym for CMS!

The WordPress community has hundreds of thousands of designers and developers all contributing to pushing WordPress forward. Users love WordPress themes because it is painless to set up and can be used to create a business, personal, blog, corporate or portfolio site (to name but a few) and there are countless WordPress tutorials online. So how do you cut through the tens of thousands of themes available to find the best one for you?

Every month we showcase the best in WordPress Themes, as judged by sales from ThemeForest:

Top 1 – 10 themes, September 2016

1. Avada

“Avada is the swiss army knife of WordPress Themes – it does everything!” Collis Ta’eed (Envato CEO)

Avada is a versatile, easy to use and multi-purpose WordPress theme. This premium theme has been the #1 seller on ThemeForest for 4 years – can it ever be trumped?

2. X Theme

X Theme was built with the input of industry-leading experts with the goal of being on the cutting edge of WordPress development. Numerous individuals were consulted and asked what sort of features they wanted to see in a theme from an SEO, design and feature-set perspective. The proof of success is obviously demonstrated in sales. Did we mention that X customers can choose between Cornerstone, X’s own front-end page builder, or the very powerful Visual Composer? Both plugins are included with each verified purchase.

3. Enfold


Enfold Theme describes itself as clean, super flexible, fully responsive and suited for business and shop websites alike as well as for users who want to showcase their work on a neat portfolio site. The theme is built on top of the Avia Framework and offers support for the WPML multi language plugin – who doesn’t want to internationalise their site?

4. BeTheme


BeTheme is another long time best seller on ThemeForest. With an advanced options panel combined with a drag & drop builder tool there is unlimited possibilities with this WordPress theme. BeTheme also comes with a HUGE range of pre-built websites so you can easily import any demo website with one click. Be’s catalogue of ready to go demos include everything from themes for accountants, ad agencies, bands, bars, carpenters, charities, freelancers, hotels, jewellers and record stores.

5. Bridge


Bridge is another WordPress theme that comes with a one click import feature for their demo themes. Choose your favorite design or style, import pages and settings and in moments you can have a fully equipped website up and running. Bridge is also built on the flexible QODE framework.

6. Jupiter


Jupiter WordPress theme has 28,000 active users worldwide – an impressive endorsement!

Jupiter’s creator Artbees describes the theme as the fastest and lightest business WordPress theme on the market which is super important in an age when search engines will rank or not rank your website over page load time.

Jupiter is a great option particularly for small businesses, enterprises and online shop owners and comes equipped with the WooCommerce plugin.

7. Flatsome


Flatsome is a best selling WooCommerce integrated theme which can create super fast websites with unlimited options using a very neat responsive page builder. This them also comes with 500+ Google fonts built in!

8. Uncode


Uncode is the result of many years experience creating beautiful web designs by a team of designers and developers who dedicate themselves to creating visually stunning websites. Based on Visual Composer and designed with terrific attention to detail, Uncode launched in November 2015 and has already secured a top 10 place in ThemeForest’s best sellers, can this theme usurp Avada?

9. Newspaper


Supporting YouTube video integration and YouTube rating system, Newspaper is the top selling WordPress theme specifically for content, articles and blogging.

This theme also integrates easily with bbPress Forum, BuddyPress and WooCommerce, plus responsive Google Ads and AdSense.

10. Salient


With over 50,000 total sales to date, Salient is definitely a deserving best in any WordPress theme list. Salient is designed to support any blog and website and is unique in it’s beautiful ability to display videos as backgrounds. The Salient team have also taken the time to build very easy to use shortcodes that new and experienced WP customisers alike will enjoy.

Top 11 – 50 themes, September 2016

  1. The7 – Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme
  2. Impreza – Retina Responsive Theme
  3. Fevr – Creative MultiPurpose Theme
  4. Brooklyn – Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme
  5. Shopkeeper – eCommerce WP Theme for WooCommerce
  6. Total – Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme
  7. Kalium – Creative Theme for Professionals
  8. TheGem – Creative Multi-Purpose High-Performance Theme
  9. Kallyas – Responsive Multi-Purpose Theme
  10. Stockholm – Multi-Concept Theme
  11. Education – For Educational Web and LMS Theme
  12. Porto – Responsive eCommerce Theme
  13. Consulting – Business & Finance Theme
  14. Massive Dynamic – Business Theme
  15. Houzez – Real Estate Theme
  16. Oshine – Creative Multi-Purpose Theme
  17. Ronneby – High-Performance Theme
  18. Photography – Responsive Photography Theme
  19. Kleo – Community Focused, Multi-purpose BuddyPress Theme
  20. Listify – WordPress Directory Theme
  21. Voice – Clean News/Magazine Theme
  22. Magone – Responsive Magazine & News Theme
  23. WPLMS – WP Learning Management System Theme
  24. XStore – Responsive WooCommerce Theme
  25. Magneto – Multi Concept Newspaper & Blog Theme
  26. REHub – Directory, Shop, Coupon & Affiliate Theme
  27. SEO WP – Online Marketing & Social Media Agency Theme
  28. Sahifa – Responsive News/Magazine Theme
  29. Newsmag – News Magazine Newspaper Theme
  30. Startit – Startup Business Theme
  31. Pillar – Multipurpose Multi-Concept Responsive Theme
  32. WP Pro Real Estate 7 – Responsive Real Estate Theme
  33. Listable – A Friendly Directory Theme
  34. BoomBox – Viral & Buzz Theme
  35. Basel – Responsive eCommerce Theme
  36. Nitro – Universal WooCommerce Theme
  37. JobCareer – Job Board Responsive Theme
  38. Unicon – Design-Driven Multi-purpose Theme
  39. Real Homes – WordPress Real Estate Theme
  40. Jobify – WordPress Job Board Theme

The post 50 Best Premium WordPress Themes – September 2016 Update appeared first on Envato.

Artist pushes paper to its limits to create mesmerising 3D sculptures

2017-06-07T09:11:32+00:00October 3rd, 2016|Categories: Inspiration|

Paper is an extremely versatile material, offering endless creative possibilities to artists and crafters alike. Gunjan Aylawadi is a particular fan, transforming thousands of strips of paper into striking 3D sculptures.

The process begins with the sections of paper being cut and then curled around thin wire to create paper strings. Each string is then glued on top of another to build depth and texture. The colourful results could be mistaken for woven fabrics.

The two designs are inspired by Japanese Zen Gardens, and are entitled Blissful Mountain and Blossom. Discover more on Instagram.

Via Bored Panda | All images copyright of Gunjan Aylawadi

Sugu:N puts a contemporary spin on the traditional women’s magazine

2017-06-07T09:11:33+00:00October 3rd, 2016|Categories: Inspiration|

This beautiful publication entitled Sugu:N is the handiwork of the Estonia-based AKU Collective. The concept behind it is to provide a publication for every woman, offering a contemporary spin on the content you might expect to find in your average glossy.

The team explains: "This is a magazine for anyone who reads women’s magazines, writes for them or is on the cover of one. This is a magazine for anyone who hates women’s magazines from the bottom of their hearts. Sugu:N is a vision of a contemporary women’s magazine."

Recently, the publication also accompanied a theatrical performance of the same name. For more details, visit aku.co.

Via Behance | All images copyright of AKU

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