Posts tagged vector

The Basic Principles for Great Character Design

Wondering what we’re working on? Well, we’ve convinced the talented team behind Design TNT to offer us an exclusive, discounted version of their upcoming Super Premium product called Characterzilla: Super Premium Character Bundle. Character design is always a lot of fun and its uses are extremely diverse, almost every area of design can benefit from it, so we’ve decided to publish this Basic Guide to Character Design.


-Sample from Characterzilla (Coming Soon to

How to Use the Super Premium Character Bundle

Characters can really represent the “human” element in illustrations. They can add an entirely new way to present your infographics like in the example below –either complementing the background or acting like a virtual guide to the information presented. They are extremely versatile as they fit in in almost any design or illustration. Thus the possibilites are infinite, only up to your imagination.



So maybe you’re wondering how the guys from Design TNT created their amazing character bundle. Read on to find out how character design actually works with some basic information and great guidelines that are essential in the creation of any successful character.

What Is Character Design?

Characters are something we learn to love since we are children, through animations and cartoons. Characters are wild, unpredictable and unrealistic, we grow attached to cartoon characters and most of the time that bond never truly disappears from our hearts. That’s why even as adults we can spot a character that reminds us of ourselves, how we wanted to be or how we are now, and fall in love with it.


Thus creating a good character implies that you must design that character in such a way that people will love and relate to it on a very intimate level. It’s all about the personality that you empower your character with, and that unique personality can derive from the way it looks, talks, walks, thinks, etc. Character design creates lovable or memorable characters, whether they are good or bad, cute or weird, happy or sad.

Simply put, Wikipedia’s definition of Commercial Character Design is ”is the process of creating a character and utilizing it to enhance or publicize a commercial entity through design”.  Designers use characters in commercial settings specifically because of the way people relate to them. By using a well designed character as your brand mascot you are more likely to get people to have an emotional relationship with your products or business. Characters are friendly and appeal to almost all age groups. They attract attention with their wacky behavior and can instantly make your designs interesting.

Basic Principles of Character Design

Taking into account that a character must be designed and not magically summoned into existence, there are a few basic principles or guidelines which one can use as the base for creating a successful character.

1.)    Function

One of the most common theories in design is that form must follow function, and this applies to all areas including character design. A character with a logical, clearly understandable form is more easily perceived and understood by the human brain. Simple shapes like circles or ovals often work best as the wireframe for a character because of their versatility and visual straightforwardness.

Simplicity in the character’s overall shapes is also great if you need to draw your character from various angles. When rotating or viewing your character from another angle, all the planes within the character’s design will change their appearance in proportion to the angle which makes it harder to maintain consistent proportions and scale for each characteristic. Thus starting off from a more basic, generic shape requires less effort in accurately representing the character in different positions.


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2.)    Style / Aesthetic

What can make or break a character is the style or general aesthetic used in its creation. Adding to what we’ve established before about simple shapes as a starting point for character design, the style of a character comes from the way in which the shapes that compose it blend together in a visually stimulating manner. Contrast of shape, form or proportion is a great way to balance shapes and make your character interesting. For example, Wile E. Coyote has a large, long snout, narrow shoulders, thin legs and big feet and hands. Not to mention the large, expressive eyes. Just as how in humans they say the eyes are the window into the soul, characters’ eyes can be essential in defining their personality.


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Because characters are – like I said before – wacky and zany, you have the freedom to play around with proportions and features as much as you want, sometimes the most interesting character designs emerge from extreme visual contrasts. Exaggerating features also adds expressiveness to your character. Tiny eyes, huge ears, just go wild and see what results.


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3.)    Personality

The personality of a character is composed of many aspects but a large part of comes from the character’s physical traits and features since those are the first things you notice when coming into contact with it. Depending on what you want your character to be like you can choose to exaggerate certain features. For example rounded, plump shapes always seem to imply cuteness because of the way they are generally associated with babies in our visual consciousness. Big eyes set very closely together towards the center of the face also enhance this effect. Sharp, hard angles seem harsher, combined with narrow heads or faces.

Whatever character you want to design, always think of its personality in relation to its features. Another defining thing that some designers may forget when creating a character are verbs. Have your character do something, move, dance, have a certain facial expression or a certain posture to add to its personality. In the example above, you can tell that the young apache is a very confident little man from his stance. Below are examples of round shapes and harsher angles to show how they impact the overall aesthetic of the characters in question.


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The Devil’s in the Details

Even if you do intend on animating or drawing your character from a lot of different angles, never forego the details entirely. Like in all aspects of design, the details are what makes characters interesting. A certain type of eyes, shirt buttons, clothing seams, anything can help define your character and make it visually stimulating as well as uniquely designed.


Now let’s take a look at the characters from the Characterzilla Super Premium Bundle and see how the theory can be applied in character design.


Take one of the doctors for example. The first thing that you might notice about him is that he has a really oversized nose. This big nose adds character and personality to his facial features which without it would be rather generic in appearance. His body is curvy and rounded to seem friendly and flowing. Tiny hands and feet in contrast with these rounded shapes of the body balance it out and add humour. The arm that loops around itself makes him interesting and fun, like I said before characters are zany and wacky, don’t be afraid to add elements like that to your character.


Now let’s have a look at one of the classy business women. I’ve tried to keep a consistent look throughout the character packs in such a way that they look similar but are also unique from one another. The big nose, tiny hands and feet, as well as the looping arms are features that I’ve kept but modified slightly to fit the character. Being a female character, I’ve gone for straighter lines and angles at the waist in order to highlight the feminine hourglass shape of the body.

In both cases, I gave the characters “life” by drawing them in action, in a dynamic position – always remember to use “verbs” in your characters and not draw them just standing still.

About the author: Ioana Șopov is an illustrator and graphic designer with over 4 years of experience in her field. She has worked with brands like Vodafone and collaborated with numerous ad agencies like Ogilvy and Cohn&Jansen JWT. Check out her work on Behance and keep in touch on Twitter.

Giveaway Winners: Win 3 Ginormous Bundles & Get 50 Free Abstract Illustrations

The day has come when we find out who won the 3 free copies of Inky’s Ginormous Bundle: $4,505 Worth of Premium Resources – Only $79! Thank you to all of Inky’s family members who took the time to participate. To share the love, Inky will send everyone who participated 50 abstract vector illustrations worth $200. Keep an eye on your inbox!


Let’s meet the lucky winners:

  1. Applemalc
  2. Katherine Erlikh
  3. Adriancas30

Congratulations to everyone who participated! Inky’s grateful for having you in his design family.

Giveaway: Win 3 Ginormous Bundles & Get 50 Free Abstract Illustrations

To celebrate his great big family of creative professionals, Inky has decided to organize a ginormous giveaway! He wants you to rejoice with him and see that he is grateful to have you by his side. Inky’s here to serve you. So take this chance to win one of the 3 free Ginormous Bundles: $4,505 worth of Premium Resources – Only $79!

And guess what: every single person who enters the contest gets 50 abstract vector illustrations from the Ginormous Bundle worth $200 for FREE!


What can you win?

3 FREE Ginormous Bundles: $4,505 worth of Premium Resources – Only $79, which is Inky’s biggest deal so far and an exclusive one, because you can only find it on Inky Deals.

Even if you’re not one of the 3 winners, you get a FREE pack of 50 abstract vector illustrations from the Ginormous Bundle worth $200 – automatically by entering the contest. This pack will be sent to you by email once the giveaway is over.


How can you enter the contest?

It’s simple: all you have to do is go through Inky’s active deals, choose your favorite deal and let us know which one it is and why through a comment below.

The giveaway ends Thursday September 5th, so the winners will be chosen through and announced here, on Inky’s blog Friday September 6th.


Illustrator Tutorial: How to Create Premium Vector Badges

Have you ever wondered how Inky gets such top quality deals? He has great partners, such as the guys from Design TNT. Actually, due to the fact that their Super Premium Badge Bundle Badgezilla has become so popular, we received many request to show how it was designed. So we thought it would be awesome to give you a little insight into the process of researching and creating this amazing product.

Badges have been around for quite some time now in both digital and print media and they don’t seem to be going “extinct” anytime soon. Since the downfall of the glossy and gradient trends, retro and vintage have settled in the design world and they’re here to stay. Part of the reason behind the omnipresence of badges is their incredible versatility, and this is also the reason they have been used constantly in various ways, long before the Internet even existed.

Many of the elements we see today in the design of badges are rooted in 19th century advertisements. Their “complex simplicity” and visual appeal were widely used to attract attention towards a certain quality of an advertised product. And because of their versatility I mentioned earlier, they were easily translated into the modern design while retaining their retro feel. Badges are used as logos or advertisements, on posters or packaging, in online shops or blogs. Their use is practically unlimited.

We promoted the Super Premium Badge Bundle Badgezilla because although badges are omnipresent, it’s hard to find a set tailored specifically for your needs. And even the good ones come in packs of 5 to10 items, leading you to just buy a dozen packs you’ll barely use. Making them yourself is clearly not an option, that’s the reason you’re looking for templates in the first place. Besides, it takes too much time and effort, and as you know, time spent does not get any refunds.

We searched for all the trends in use of badges, all the categories they are used for – from sales to food and drinks, sports and more –so our product would be the only one you need in order to have a lifetime supply of beautifully designed and useful badges you can customize as you wish.

Needless to say, after acquiring this product you will never have to buy another set of badges EVER. But you’re probably skeptical about this and think this is just another average product, nicely wrapped up with beautiful images, just to please the eye. NO. This is not an average product! Read further and see the entire process a badge goes through before ending into your gallery.

The process of designing a badge for whatever purpose can be broken down into two big sections: typography and shape design. Both have to be carefully considered in order to create a badge that conveys its message with ease.


Choosing what typefaces to use depends on the style or personality of your badge. If you want to go for an all-out retro look, a script or slab-serif font will do wonders. But you don’t have to limit yourself to these, mixing and matching retro and modern fonts can create a very interesting design as well. What you should always keep in mind is visual hierarchy. Choosing a heavier font weight or a larger size for the most important words in your badge will make them pop out. In order for those words to maintain that position, use neutral typefaces for the other words (e.g., for radial texts).


Badges aren’t all about text, else they wouldn’t be badges at all. They come in all shapes and sizes, and most are based on circular designs, but polygonal ones are common as well – pentagon, hexagon, etc. Shield-shaped badges are also trendy, inspired by heraldic design elements. Other elements such as stars, circles and lines are used to complete the typographic part and give them that “something” extra.

Let’s take one of our badge designs and retrace the steps taken to create it.

Difficulty: Beginner

Requirements: Adobe Illustrator CS2 or newer

Estimated Completion Time: 15 minutes

Step 1: Open a new file in Adobe Illustrator. To get to the desired result above we start off with a simple star-shape. You can play around with the number of points and size of the radius, but for this example I used a number of 37 points, and 42pt and 38pt for the radiuses.

Step 2: After we have our basic star-shape, we’ll need another one with a slightly larger inner radius and of a lighter blue color.

You should now have these two basic shapes that you need to align both vertically and horizontally, and bring the first star on top of the second.

Step 3: Afterwards, select the lighter shape underneath and rotate it -5 degrees.

Step 4: The next step is to give our first star-shape a bit of roundness to its points so with it selected go to Effect>Stylize>Rounded Corners and go for value around 2pt. Apply Object>Expand Appearance to it.

Step 5: Create an inner circle with no fill and white 1pt stroke. Align it horizontally & vertically to the two shapes and then copy it to the front(CTRL+C, CTRL+F) and give it a slightly smaller stroke weight (0.5pt).

Step 6: Now let’s add the inner radial text. Create another copy of the smallest circle and select the Type on a Path Tool. With the tool selected, click on the new circle and type in your text.

I used the font Geared Slab, with a size of about 6pts and leading of 100pts, and then rotated the path so that my type covers the upper half of the badge. Open the tool options by double clicking on the icon or by pressing Enter with the tool selected and use these settings so that your text is aligned to its center.

Step 7: Now copy the text and rotate it so that it covers the bottom half. The only problem is that our text is mirrored, so to fix that, open the Type on a Path Options again and check the “Flip” checkbox. Then rotate and adjust the position of both paths with text in order to align them perfectly.

Step 8: Next we need to add the central type, I used Mission Script, to create a contrast between the typefaces used. I also added two white circles at each end to complete the structure of type.

Step 9: Our badge looks pretty good already, but it’s still missing something. Let’s add some little stars above and below our central text.

Resize the star to fit your needs and copy it two times like in the image below. Group them (CTRL+G), copy the group and move the center star below the other two

Step 10: Almost done, now just add two line segments of 0.75 pt above and below “Premium”, for a better definition of the word and we’re done.

You can now use this badge in any way you want, either in web or print. You can change the text to suit your needs or add graphic styles to create an even more detailed badge. Or you can go ahead and get the Super Premium Badge Bundle Badgezilla and never have to do this ever again.

About the author: Ioana Șopov is an illustrator and graphic designer with over 4 years of experience in her field. She has worked with brands like Vodafone and collaborated with numerous ad agencies like Ogilvy and Cohn&Jansen JWT. Check out her work on Behance and keep in touch on Twitter.

Inky’s New Website – Discounts & Surprises

Good news, guys! Today is a big day for Inky and his team – we’ve just launched the new and improved version of Inky Deals. We’ve also prepared some amazing surprises for you this week – to be honest, Inky’s behind all of them. You can’t help but love that cute little blob! The only one I can tell you about is this $10 discount coupon: 10gift, available for only 48 hours!



So hurry up and take advantage of this added discount to check out some of the awesome new features:


You can now create your own account where you can see all your purchases and bonuses from Inky. You can take a look at what other members are saying about a deal by checking the user ratings and express your needs through the “Suggest a Deal” section. You can navigate easier through the live deals section via filters – this means a lot more deals, too. You can enjoy the easier, more intuitive checkout process and get a better overall experience on the website with a more user friendly design.