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Brush up on your brushes

Posted on May 28, 2015 by

Designers, let me lay out a hypothetical situation for you and you let me know if it sounds familiar: You find the perfect photo for a horizontal ad, you layout your ad perfectly, and it looks great. Then suddenly that ad size gets revised to vertical. You might think this is no big deal at first but when you look at the photo you chose, you realize you don’t have enough height on the photo to balance the ad, and that the top of the model’s head is cut off and she has really curly hair, at which point you realize you’re now basically living in a nightmare.

But don’t worry guys, you don’t have to be haunted by the lost hours you spend trying to draw out every errant hair to fill your photo. There’s a better way, which is to download a whole bunch of awesomely well-crafted Photoshop brushes.

Marvelous fellow designers all across the Internet have developed beautiful brushes that you can use to fill in hair, skin, and basically anything else you need. Here’s a few that I love to use for all sorts of different projects. Use them to fix, paint, or add a little spice to your photoshopping life:

Water Colour Brushes: Great for painted effects for illustrations.

Skin Brushes: I know – sounds kind of serial killer-y, but great for touching things up.

Hair Brushes: Perfect for the aforementioned nightmare scenario.

Smoke Brushes: Great for cool type effects.

Butterfly Brushes: Because they’re so pretty!

| May 5 | Design
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I’m Like the Cookie Monster of all Food

Posted on March 4, 2015 by

I’ve always found March to be a bit of a bummer. It gets kind of windy, things melt, then freeze, then melt again, then freeze again, and you comically slip and fall while running to work because you didn’t realize it was daylight savings time and now you’re late, and, judging by the smirking construction worker putting away his phone, you’re probably on YouTube too. What I’m saying is that March is a drag.

Luckily, there is a really good way to combat the March blahs: eat great food until you can’t feel your toes anymore. And boy does Edmonton have some great places to eat yourself into atrophy at. As I was checking out Avenue’s 4th annual Best Restaurant Issue it struck me how awesome it is to live in a place with such a great selection of high-quality dining, and how incredibly lucky we at zag are to be neighbours with many of the amazing restaurants featured this year.

It’s a pretty unique thing to be able to walk ten steps out of your office and
grab a Cappuccino at Credo (1st – Best Café),
a lemon tart at 
The Dauphine (2nd – Best Desserts),
some post work appetizers at 
Tzin (2nd – Best Small Plates),
and then meander down the street to 
Rostizado (1st – Best New Restaurant, 2nd – Best Latin) for some the most amazing roasted cauliflower you’ve ever tasted in your life.

So if you’re having trouble shaking away the clingy winter blues, come meet me #on104th street and we’ll eat until it’s summer again.

Gift Giving For Weirdos

Posted on November 27, 2014 by

Some people are really good at giving gifts. I am not one of those people. Nope. I am one of the people that fills with a crushing seasonal, existential dread at the casual dropping of the phrase “Secret Santa” by a co-worker that doesn’t understand what panic they’ve just put me in (I’m looking at you Michelle).

Why do I get so anxious about gift giving? My current theory is that I tend to be a bit of an over thinker. You might think this is a good thing as good gifts require planning and forethought about the receiver as a person. This is all well and good right up until you find yourself sweating bullets in Winners ten minutes before they close, being stared down by a teenage cashier while you struggle decide if your coworker would like the dark red scarf that would go great with this nail polish you saw her wear twice last month, or the extra dark red scarf because she likes red wine and at this point that seems like a good enough reason to buy anything.

I am positive I can’t be the only person with this problem. Luckily, as with most problems, the solution is on the Internet. Go to get some great ideas before you head out to shop and put that gift giving anxiety to rest.

Boldly Going

Posted on September 18, 2014 by

I love our cozy office. Its homey atmosphere has been a great place to share a cup of coffee and great ideas with a great team.

But, our ideas just got too big for 107th street, so we’re moving them to an awesome new space in the heart of downtown. I’m super excited about the new home we’ve found down 104th – one of the coolest streets in the city!

Our trendy new space has all the personality and heart of our old office, but with a little extra space for us to think even bigger (not to mention a secret passage leading to our new boardroom.) That’s right, our new office is basically Hogwarts.

I look forward to seeing you all in our new space, and maybe even meeting across the street for some of Blue Plate Diner’s legendary mac and cheese.

I should also mention that if you’re looking for a great office space downtown, our old office is now available for rent. Just shoot us an email if you’re interested.

| September 9 | News,Who we are
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Posted on February 3, 2014 by



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Baby Got Back Problems

Posted on September 27, 2013 by


Brands Doing Good

Posted on July 5, 2013 by

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
Lately, I feel that we Albertans should adopt the unofficial creed of the postal worker as our own personal mottos. From the May snowstorms, to the sweltering heat, to the torrential downpours, the weather has hit Alberta hard this year. Though in general we pride ourselves on being able to carry on with our lives despite it all, sometimes we need some help to get by. Luckily, when things like the flooding of Southern Alberta happen people always seem willing to lend a hand. And that includes companies like Tide, who are ready to put the force of their brand into action to aid in relief efforts.

Tide’s Loads of Hope initiative was started in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast, leaving many without basic necessities. To date, the program has washed over 55,000 loads of laundry, helping give back some basic dignity and comfort to more than 40,000 families affected by disasters. This week the Loads of Hope truck rolled into High River to lend a hand to the efforts there.

It’s great to see a brand directing it’s power towards helping those struck by such a devastating event.

Learn more about the Loads of Hope program here

Striking a Balance

Posted on April 18, 2013 by

Work in the creative industry always requires a unique balance between subjective and the objective. It’s always a mistake to put too much of your personal preferences into a collaborative process, but at the same time if you don’t bring a strong piece of yourself into the picture the project will lose some of the passionate spark that could take it from standard to spectacular.

Last week I had the opportunity to see Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic speak at Grant MacEwan University. He talked about the history of The Designers Republic, from their humble, counter culture beginnings to their rise to working with huge brands like Coca-Cola. What was fascinating about seeing the process and progress of The Designers Republic was how effectively they managed to capture the voice of the brands that they were working with while retaining their commitment to their rather anti-establishment style they have established.

It was refreshing to hear Ian Anderson talk so frankly about his design philosophy, and I think I can take a lot away from his absolute confidence in the power of a distinct vision.