Will Fritz of Fritz Designs logo Graphic Designer Web Developer Brand Identity e-commerce integration print on demand

Designer Mugs Tutorial by Will Fritz

During this designer mug tutorial, I will show you exactly the steps I take in order to create a ceramic mug design for my website. First off, you should know that I am a professional graphic designer with a college degree in the field.

Before getting started with designing mugs, it is important to think of a concept. Do your research before starting to design ceramic mugs, as this will enable you to see your design come alive. It is very important that one does not just throw together designs all willy-nilly because ultimately, the designer will not learn any design principles, and will just be throwing a dart at a dartboard in hopes of achieving something fantastic... This is not good graphic design principles!

When it comes to designing, it is important to utilize all of the design principles in your design. This goes for all design, it does not have to be restricted to ceramic mugs only. The 7 design principles are...

1. Emphasis - Ask yourself... what should be the main point or attention grabber of my design? This is Emphasis.

2. Contrast - Using colors that are opposite of each other make for great contrasting colors. For example, Orange and Blue, Red and Green.. Utilize Google... Type 'Color Wheel' and pick two colors that are opposite from each other on the color wheel.

3. Balance and Alignment - Making sure your design is either Symmetrical or Non-Symmetrical (referred to as asymmetrical).

4. Movement - Using Movement or Visual Hierarchy is a huge piece to allow the consumer flow from throughout your design. Using objects and typography to allow the eyes to move through the piece smoothly. Imagine creating a poster with an important date, it would be beneficial for the designer to make it so that whomever is reading the poster would gather all the necessary information in order to make it to the event.

5. Proportion - Make it match. If a man is eating an ice cream cone bigger than his head... well the proportion is off... Having proper proportion allows users to visualize what the designer was trying to do. Proportion can also be used to illustrate depth of a design. Imagine a long building. As you look at the building, the windows should be getting smaller the farther away they are.

6. Repetition - Utilizing the same thing over and over again is actually very... pleasing to the eye. For example, if you are designing a coffee mug for a mathematics teacher, you might consider using numbers often. If you are creating a camping mug, then you might consider using tall pine trees and mountains. Repetition is more than just putting the same letter over and over and over and over again. (That is just bad design and bad blogging XD)

7. White Space - I cannot stress enough how powerful white space is. It can also be used as the term 'Balance.' If your design is too dark or too light, than chances are it is not balanced, and you have not used the white space appropriately. It doesn't need to be a 50-50 split, but using the color white in the negative space, is a very tactical approach of design. It can really make or break a design, no matter how good of an artist you are. Balance between colors, and using contrasting colors (black contrasts white) creates good contrast and balance.

Now that we have gone over 7 Principles of Design, let us begin by getting into how I design a coffee mug. So, I start off by visualizing a design concept. It is my job as a designer, to bring that concept alive. So what do I do?

I research typography, and I decide whether or not the font I would like should be serif or sans-serif. Ensure that the color palette I have chosen has a nice use of balance of contrasting colors. I ensure that the colors that I have selected are in CMYK format and NOT RGB. RGB is specifically for web design only, whereas CMYK is for printed products.

I then open up the software of choice, for me it is Adobe Illustrator (linked above). Set the document up for print, select CMYK, make sure it is 300dpi for print, and that the document/artboard size is 9" X 3.5" (9 inches X 3.5 inches) for ceramic mugs. Determine whether your designer mug will either be a black ceramic mug or a white ceramic mug. Upload your main design. I like to use Vecteezy for some of my designs that I do not hand draw. Vecteezy is an online library full of vector ready artwork.

If you are unfamiliar with how vectors work, they basically allow you to scale your image as large or small as you would like without losing any of the quality. It is much more efficient than a rasterized image. Vector images are great for printed products, and Vecteezy has over 100,000 vector images to choose from. Once your final design is ready to go, upload it to your favorite print-on-demand website or print it yourself! You are good to go! Upload it to your very own website and start selling designer mugs!

Post by: Will Fritz

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