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Weekly Design Exercise abbrev. DEX

/‘wiːkli/ /‘dɪˈzʌɪn/ /‘ɛksəsʌɪz/ | noun

noun: weekly design exercise; plural noun: weekly design exercises

1.Activity requiring physical effort occurring once a week, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness of your freakin’ mind.

E.”Weekly Design Exercise improves your Adobe skills and design power"

Feel free to jump into our weekly design brief and produce a mini design project. They are completely free. No catch! These exercises are The Graphic Design School’s contribution to the continuum of the design education of our design graduates, students and the design world at large. Gosh darn that’s nice of us!

Who is this for?

Whether you are a Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced level designer. There is a brief to suit you. Follow the instructions in the brief to the letter.

How do I submit my work?

Once your done upload your image to share. We may upload your image to our new Instagram page, be sure to include your Insta handle (@username) so we can credit you. If you don’t have an Instagram account, you can just type in your name. Leave your details blank if you like.

What is a good size for the images?

Please make sure your image is of good resolution, it shouldn’t exceed more than 5mb or thereabouts. png, jpeg, svg all acceptable formats. By uploading your image you are giving us permission to publish it.

Can I subscribe to this awesome concept?

If you would like to receive an email from us each week with the brief and video. Be sure to subscribe at the top right of this page. We won’t share your information or be spammy.

What if I want to go further?

If you love what we do, and think you would like to try your hand at becoming a designer. Check out our courses here.

Can I contribute?

If you would like to become a regular video contributor, let us know. Even though we offer them for free, we pay contributors. Or if there is a technique that you would really like to learn, email us a visual, and any ideas you may have.

Can I contact The Graphic Design School?

Anything else you need or want to ask contact us at: social@thegraphicdesignschool.com

Can I be a voice of TGDS?

If you want to spread the good word to your design friends feel free to share this page on social media ;)

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Week 13 Using Adobe Dimension for a Perfect Packaging Showcase

Using Adobe Dimension for a Perfect Packaging Showcase
31mins
Design Brief:
Create a realistic 3D mockup with a scene/background using Adobe Dimension.
beginner:
Use one of the scene backgrounds in Dimension, add one pack and add a label/decal to the pack. Make sure the lighting and shadows match elements in the background image. Preview and render your scene.
intermediate:
Use one of the scene backgrounds in Dimension, or a solid colour background, add multiple packs and add a label/decal to the packs, showing colour and/or material variants. Make sure the lighting and shadows match elements in the background image. Preview and render your scene.
advanced:
Use a solid colour background, photographic background or a pattern background, add multiple packs and add a label/decal to the packs, showing colour and/or material variants. Play with packs at contrasting angles and heights. Make sure the lighting and shadows match elements in the background image, if relevant. Preview and render your scene.
Design Constraints:
Use Adobe Dimension to create your 3D photorealistic mockup.
Design Goals:
Create a Photorealistic mockup showcasing a label or decal on an object within a scene or coloured background in Adobe Dimension.
Tools & Techniques:
Adobe Dimension
Total Time Allowed:
30 Minutes for Beginner: add a scene, object and label to your object/pack, make sure lighting is realistic. Preview and render your scene*. 60 Minutes for intermediate: add a scene, multiple objects and label to your objects/packs, make sure lighting is realistic. Preview and render your scene*. 60-90 Minutes for advanced: use a solid colour background or pattern background, add multiple packs and add a label/decal to the packs, showing colour and material variants. Make sure lighting is realistic. Preview and render your scene*. *The preview and rendering stage does not need to fit into the allocated time allowed - a higher resolution image will take longer to preview and render

Week 12 Create Surreal Compositions in Photoshop

Create Surreal Compositions in Photoshop
23mins
Design Brief:
Creating a striking and unexpected Photoshop composition through the juxtaposition of a food and human/animal element.RESOURCES:INSPIRATION:
beginner:
Use the donut and one of the model images from the link below and create one visual using Photoshop layers and layer masks. Make the donut look like it is a part of the image although there is an unexpected /surreal relationship between the 2 visuals. Add a uniform colour fill background to contrast or complement the composition.
intermediate:
Use 2 or 3 donuts and both the male and female model images from the links below and create two visuals using Photoshop layers and layer masks. You can use images of your choice - there needs to be a food element and a human/animal element to the composition. Make the donuts/food look like they are a part of the image although there is an unexpected/surreal relationship between the 2 visuals. Add a different colour fill background to each of the images to contrast or complement the composition.
advanced:
Create a campaign of 3 visuals using a food element juxtapositioned with an animal or human image. You can use the images supplied in the links or images of your choice. There needs to be an unexpected /surreal relationship between the images in the composition. Add a different colour fill background to each of the images to contrast or complement the compositions.
Design Constraints:
Use Photoshop Color Fill Layers and Layer Masks to create your composition.
Design Goals:
Create an unusual composition of 2 contrasting elements in one image. The contrast in scale, texture or unexpected placement can be used.
Tools & Techniques:
Photoshop Quick Selection ToolPhotoshop Select and Mask ToolPhotoshop Color Fill Layers
Total Time Allowed:
45 Minutes for Beginner: mask model and donut image, create a composition and add a Color Fill to the background. 60 Minutes for intermediate: mask model and donut images (or images of your choice), create 2 or 3 compositions and add a Color Fill to the backgrounds. 60-90 Minutes for advanced: mask model and donut images (or images of your choice), create a campaign of 3 compositions and add a Color Fill to the backgrounds.

Week 11 Create an Asian-inspired vintage style poster/postcard and ink-effect logo

Create an Asian-inspired vintage style poster/postcard and ink-effect logo
28mins
Design Brief:
Create an Asian-inspired Poster or Postcard using techniques to make a modern image look vintage using hand tints and use brushes to give it texture. Add a logo to the poster/postcard and make a modern logo look hand-printed in ink.RESOURCES:
beginner:
Find a black and white image or use the one in the link supplied, and hand tint it using Color Fill Layers and Blend Modes Add new brushes (see link below for free brushes) to your Preset brushes to create texture on the image. Use the image on a poster/postcard for an event or restaurant.
intermediate:
Find a black and white image or use the one in the link supplied, and hand tint it using Color Fill Layers and Blend Modes. Add new brushes (see link below for free brushes) to your Preset brushes to create texture on the image. Use the image on a poster/postcard for an event or restaurant. Add a logo and use the techniques in the tutorial to make it look like the ink has bled and give it a hand-printed quality using masks and brushes.
advanced:
Create a poster/postcard as instructed under Intermediate Level, and then create a series of posters/postcards for the same venue or event using different images or colour palette.
Design Constraints:
Use Photoshop Color Fill Layers to tint a black and white image. Use Brushes to add texture to the image. Make a vector logo look hand printed using Brushes and Masks in Photoshop.
Design Goals:
Create an Asian-inspired vintage style poster or postcard, using brushes and hand-tinting. Make the logo look hand-printed.
Tools & Techniques:
Photoshop Color Fill LayersPhotoshop MasksPhotoshop Brushes
Total Time Allowed:
60 Minutes for Beginner: download image (or use your own), hand tint and add texture using downloaded brushes. Use image on a poster/postcard. 60-90 Minutes for intermediate: download image (or use your own), hand tint and add texture using downloaded brushes. Texturise a logo and add to the poster/postcard image. 60-240 Minutes for advanced: download image (or use your own), hand tint and add texture using downloaded brushes. Texturise a logo and add to the poster/postcard image. Create a series of posters/postcards using different images or different colour palettes.

Week 10 Create Patterns with Photoshop, Pattern Bombing, Apply Patterns to Mockups

Create Patterns with Photoshop, Pattern Bombing, Apply Patterns to Mockups
43mins
Design Brief:
Create and define a pattern in Photoshop and apply it to a mockup or design in Photoshop. Create at least 3 colour variants of your pattern. Note: We used a mockup from Graphic River: https://graphicriver.net/item/tea-packaging-mockup/14187464
beginner:
Create a pattern in Photoshop and apply to a mockup of your choice. You can use the link below to download a mockup or find a mockup of your choice - it can be packaging, stationary, clothing, printed material, etc. Then create 2 other colour variants of the same pattern and apply to the same mockup.
intermediate:
Create 2 or 3 different patterns, with 3-5 colour variants of each, in Photoshop and apply to a mockup of your choice. You can use the link below to download a mockup or find a mockup of your choice - it can be packaging, stationary, clothing, printed material, etc. Apply the pattern to the background.
advanced:
Create 2 or 3 different patterns, with 5 colour variants of each, in Photoshop and apply to a mockup you have created. Apply the pattern to the background.
Design Constraints:
Use Photoshop and pattern definition to create your pattern. Apply it to a Photoshop mockup and also apply the pattern to the background.
Design Goals:
Create a 3D representation of pattern applied to an object, and showing colour variants of the same pattern within the same mockup.
Tools & Techniques:
Photoshop PatternDesign and Define PatternsNew Layer FillPhotoshop Smart Objects
Total Time Allowed:
40 Minutes for Beginner: download mockup, create a pattern in 3-5 different colours and apply it to the mockup and background. 60-90 Minutes for intermediate: download a mockup, create 2 or 3 different patterns, each with 3-5 colour variants, and apply it to the mockup and background. 60-240 Minutes for advanced: Create a 3D mockup in Photoshop , create 2 or 3 different patterns, each with 5 colour variants, and apply it to the mockup and background.

Week 9 Layered Effect With Illustrator & Photoshop

Layered Effect With Illustrator & Photoshop
23mins
Design Brief:
Create a layered effect and sense of depth using a Photoshop element that overlaps and goes behind the same Illustrator typographic element.
beginner:
Using a single vector word or logo in Illustrator, combine it with one photographic image. Deep-etch the image in Photoshop and use layers and masks in Illustrator to show part of the photographic image overlapping one or more of the letters.
intermediate:
Using a vector word or logo in Illustrator, combine it with a more than one photographic image. Deep-etch the images in Photoshop and use layers and masks in Illustrator to show part of the photographic imagery overlapping the letters. Add drop shadows to imagery on top of type.
advanced:
Using a vector word or logo in Illustrator, combine it with a more than one photographic image. Use layers in Illustrator to show part of the photographic images overlapping the letters. Add drop shadows to imagery on top of type. Create a textured background in Illustrator as part of the design.
Design Constraints:
Use Illustrator for vector work and Photoshop for image deep-etching. Final artwork to be in Illustrator using layers to show depth.
Design Goals:
Create a layered effect in Illustrator by combining vector typography and bitmap imagery.
Tools & Techniques:
Photoshop Pen ToolPhotoshop Layer MasksIllustrator LayerIllustrator Blending Options
Total Time Allowed:
40 Minutes for Beginner - source and deep-etch imagery, create typographic element, and combine these in Layers in Illustrator. 60-90 Minutes for intermediate - source and deep-etch imagery, create typographic element, and combine these in Layers in Illustrator. Add drop-shadows to imagery on top of type. 60-120 Minutes for advanced: source and deep-etch imagery, create typographic element, and combine these in Layers in Illustrator. Add drop-shadows to imagery on top of type. Add a textured background.

Week 8 Gold Typography in Illustrator

Gold Typography in Illustrator
11mins
Design Brief:
Create a gold foil or glitter finish to type or a logo on a textured background.
beginner:
Use typography that would work well in gold (like “shine” or “sparkle”) and add a gold foil or glitter finish using one of the 3 methods shown.
intermediate:
Create a logo or use an existing logo and create a gold finish to the logo. Set it as a business card front on a textured background.
advanced:
Use your logo and create a business card with gold type, and make it look 3D. Try all 3 methods for different effects.
Design Constraints:
Use Illustrator, final logo or type needs to show one of the 3 methods of creating gold foil or glitter.
Design Goals:
Create a believable gold foil or glitter finish in Illustrator.
Tools & Techniques:
Compound Paths and MasksGradientsImage Trace ToolIllustrator
Total Time Allowed:
60-90 minutes deciding on the design and finding the right photo and 1 hour execution.

Week 7 Stamp Tool & Clipping Mask in Photoshop

Stamp Tool & Clipping Mask in Photoshop
16mins
Design Brief:
Design your own unique mock-up from scratch in Photoshop, with the stamp tool and clipping mask.
beginner:
You found this great photo online to show your design, but it already has a logo on it. This DEX will show you can often still use that photo and create it into a great visual to show your design. Pick a logo (already designed by you or design something new specifically for this DEX!) and try to find a great photo to show your design to the world.
intermediate:
Go a step further and try finding a photo in which you can place several designs, eg. repeat your logo a few times or maybe adding other brand elements as well.
advanced:
Also, apply other PS tools in order to create a perfect mock-up and let us know how you did it!
Design Constraints:
Use Photoshop. Create your own mock-up from scratch, use the stamp tool to clean up the photo from other design elements.
Design Goals:
Take your design into the real world with a self-created mock-up.
Tools & Techniques:
Stamp ToolMock-upClipping MaskPhotoshop
Total Time Allowed:
60-90 minutes deciding on the design and finding the right photo and 1 hour execution.

Week 6 Envelope Distort in Illustrator

Envelope Distort in Illustrator
12mins
Design Brief:
Design a word or logo in Ai, using the 'envelope distort' effect.
beginner:
Choose any word. Combine it with a shape that matches the word.
intermediate:
Design a logo for a brand. Use one shape and one font.
advanced:
Design a logo for a brand. Combine various shapes and/or fonts.
Design Constraints:
Work in Illustrator. Colour use is limited to black and white only.
Design Goals:
The shape used for envelope distort adds meaning to your word or brand logo.
Tools & Techniques:
IllustratorEnvelope Distort
Total Time Allowed:
1/2 hour research, 1 hour and a half execution for beginner and intermediate, more for advanced.

Week 5 Paper 3D Collage

Paper 3D Collage
29mins
Design Brief:
Develop a poster or past card, with a visual that looks like a 3D cut and paste paper collage.'
beginner:
Limit yourself to a few shapes to create a visual for your poster or card.
intermediate:
Add text to it that that matches your communication goal and design.
advanced:
Turn it into an advertisement that pulls your target in. create a mockup to show your design.
Design Constraints:
Work in Illustrator, you can't use Photoshop ;). Limit yourself to 1 main colour (eg. for me that is white but you can pick any colour) for the majority of the visual.
Design Goals:
Create a visual that looks as if the paper is popping out of the poster.
Tools & Techniques:
IllustratorGradientsShadows
Total Time Allowed:
1/2 hour research, 1 hour and a half execution for beginner and intermediate, more for advanced.

Week 4 Polygons Mosaic

Polygons Mosaic
28mins
Design Brief:
Make a photo of your fave food for break or lunch. Take it into Ai and turn it into a polygonal vector image.'
beginner:
Choose one food item to start with.
intermediate:
Choose 2 or more food items, and add a background.
advanced:
Design several food items, also create a reflection.
Design Constraints:
Use the Pen tool to draw the polygons. Pick the colours from the original image and adjust to create colour harmony.
Design Goals:
Create a polygonal vector mosaic, still easily recognisable as your favourite food.
Tools & Techniques:
IllustratorPolygonsPen ToolEye-dropper
Total Time Allowed:
1/2 hour research, 2 hours execution for beginner and intermediate, more for advanced.

Week 3 Mockup

Mockup
13mins
Design Brief:
Pick one of your designs that you are very proud of/love and create a mock-up to present your design 'to the world'. There's many mock-ups available online (free and paid), try to find one that matches your work and really gives it the credit it deserves
beginner:
Pick a 'basic' mock-up with just 1 or 2 layers that you need to adjust, to get yourself familiar with it.
intermediate:
Pick a more complex mock-up with 3+ layers you need to adjust.
advanced:
Challenge yourself. Can you create your own mock-up?
Design Constraints:
Use Photoshop and create a mock-up for work you designed yourself. Adjust your design where needed to match the mock-up and make it look correct and as real as possible.
Design Goals:
Bring your work to life and make it look like reality
Tools & Techniques:
PhotorealismSmart Objects in Photoshop
Total Time Allowed:
1/2 hour research (and get familiar with the offer of mockups), 1 hour execution for beginner and intermediate, more for advanced.

Week 2 Head icons design

Head icons design
21mins
Design Brief:
Design a flat icon in Ai with a long shadow and a paper cut-out look
beginner:
Design 1 icon.
intermediate:
Create a series of 3 icons.
advanced:
Create a series of 5 icons
Design Constraints:
Use Illustrator. The colour palette contains max 5 colours. The icon should show a head (animals or persons, that's up to you).
Design Goals:
Flat Design with 3D Effect
Tools & Techniques:
Blend toolShadows in Illustrator
Total Time Allowed:
1 hour sketching, 2 hour execution.

Week 1 Hand Lettering in a Shape

Hand Lettering in a Shape
17mins
Design Brief:
Type becomes an image in this DEX. Draw an animal or object (we did a furry bunny for Easter) and find a nice quote that fits the shape.
beginner:
Focus on the shape and letter.
intermediate:
Add texture and background.
advanced:
Add texture and a background to create a mock-up of your final piece.
Design Constraints:
Start with pencil and (tracing) paper, before taking to Adobe Illustrator
Design Goals:
Shape, proportions, legibility
Tools & Techniques:
Hand letteringImage traceTracing in Illustrator
Total Time Allowed:
1/2 hour research, 1 hour sketching, 2 hour Adobe execution