Free Thanksgiving Vectors & Images

Tis the season to be thankful. So below are some free resources from us and our affiliates of free Thanksgiving graphics and images. Enjoy!

Field of Pumpkins
by Design Theory Photography

Field of Pumpkins by Design Theory












Happy Thanksgiving Day Vector

happy thanksgiving  day with sticker

















Thanksgiving Day Background Vector illustration

FreeVectors - Thanksgiving-Day-Background-Vector-illustration-452x336












Thanksgiving greeting card PSD

GraphicsFuel - Thanksgiving-card

Designers: Jack Of All Trades, Master of None?

Web design wordsThis topic is one that I must say is a bit close to home. Maybe its a bit of therapy to say some things out loud, and maybe its a cry for help. Either way, it’s something I felt I should bring up to get you (our readers) to comment on. When I got into the web design or design industry, I had taken no prior classes, courses, lessons, drawing, nada. My background was in IT. Break just about any device and I could fix it. Now when I decided to walk into the design field, I jumped all in. Pestered my friends to let me use their computers to try out Photoshop. Bought really old versions of Macromedia desktop publishing software. I tried to get my hands on all the tools I would need to be a success.

After attaining all the things I needed, I really got involved in learning. However the more I learned the more I learned I had a lot to learn. So then I started to learn less new things, and develop skills in the things I knew or wanted to be better at. And that’s when the problems started. I became pretty good in creating wireframes and websites, basic business logos, flash animations, and more. However when opportunities came to me for more complex jobs, I shied away from them.  Sure I would take some but most I wouldn’t because I knew I’d be getting in over my head. What I should have done was take all that as a sign to become a master at one thing at a time.

When you’re a solo-preneur in this industry, you almost don’t have a choice but to try to learn and do everything yourself. My advice is to learn a trade at a time. Get to be great at design, then move to web. When you’ve conquered those then move to mobile. But being “ok” in all of those and more will end up hindering you on seeing big picture and acquiring bigger clients. I mean that’s the goal isn’t it? To get bigger contracts that allow you to continue to do what you love. Now if you don’t have time to learn more, hire someone who already does know more than you. In fact surround yourself with people who know a heck of a lot more than you. It helps you stay humble, but also makes you aspire to be a greater designer.

Design Firm Tip: Industry Targeting

Industry TargetWhen I first started Design Theory, it was in 2008. I remember my first client like it was yesterday. Yea, it was a client from hell. I’m being honest. Instead of backing down, I made self assessments and made sure to learn from mistakes and vulnerabilities right out of the gate.  The ironic thing about that first client is that I never ended up doing something in that industry to date.

Target Tip #1 – Gathering more information on a clients industry. This is probably a basic marketing 1o1 tactic, but since I didn’t go to school for marketing, I learned it in the real world. Each client that you have is probably in business for a completely different industry than your other clients. One of our “theories” is to take time to understand our client and their business as if we work with them. We ask about your business, what makes your products special, understand your pricing models and workflow. Essentially we try to look at it the way you look at it, and then use that to offer great ideas to create or improve your website.

Target Tip #2 – Identifying the industries you understand best. If going through your portfolio you realize you have a few sites or designs that all are from a specific industry like models, industrial, real estate, etc; look for some similarities. Are the layouts similar? Are the fonts close in likeness? Is the content familiar? Chances are you have a good idea of this business. Maybe good enough that you could start your own business in it. That’s a good thing because it shows you really grasp the economics of the industry. So take that knowledge and create a package that speaks to prospective clients of that industry. Visualize yourself pitching them a sale, and use your experience and portfolio as your reputation.

Target Tip #3 – Use Linked In. At once considered the #2 social network, Linked In is still a powerhouse of networking opportunities for freelancers and job seekers. Chances are you may have a connect that is or directly connected to some franchise owners. Get a referral connection or reach out to them if you’re already connected and ask for a meeting.  They’ll be a little less reluctant to talk to you if you’re somewhat familiar to them or have a warm introduction from a mutual friend or connection.  Same rules apply here as in the second tip; express how familiar you are with their industry and tell them how you’d like to take their business to the next level of service. Do some homework and see if their website is on par with their parent company or other franchise owners. Nab this one, and you can go after the other franchise owners too. If you approach it the right way and deliver all that you promised, there’s no reason why you can’t have a large percentage of that franchise as your client.

Target Tip #4 – Rinse and Repeat. I don’t know that you’ll ever exhaust an industry dry, but in case you get bored or want to try something else, go back through all of your work and find another popular industry you’ve been working with and modify all of your marketing materials to speak to this new industry. The good thing is that you don’t have to recreate the wheel. Your first efforts can be redefined or “remixed” and be just as effective.

Target Tip #5 – Think big. At the risk of sounding cliché “You never know until you try.” It’s true. All you need is confidence in your work and a good number of clients who honestly appreciate your level of service. If you don’t have a marketing agent, hire one. Don’t have the right printed marketing materials, design them and get them printed professionally. Do your homework on the businesses you want to target and expose their weak points. Chances are they know them, so it won’t come as a surprise, but the fact that you noticed it will resonate on an appealing level for them in considering you for business. Shake some tall trees in your community and bid for their business.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it is to implement these tips in the month of June. I’d love to hear back from you on your progress in the comments below.

Image Optimization And Why It’s Important

Have you ever been to a website that loaded very slowly? Did that website have some images that loaded abnormally slow, even though they weren’t that large in size? The reason for that may be that the images were re-sized improperly, most likely with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) webpage editor such as Adobe Dreamweaver. This problem could have been avoided if the images were optimized.

Adobe Dreamweaver is a very powerful webpage editor that can be used to customize just about everything on your website, including specifying or adjusting the resolution of your images. When you click on an image you have inserted into Dreamweaver, you get the properties window, which allows you to specify the size of the image (resolution) and a host of other options.

Dreamweaver image properties

Notice in the the above example the image file size is 4162K. That means it’s about 4162 kilobytes (or about 4 MB) which is very large. Also notice that the W and H (width and height) values are both in bold. That means that the current size of the image (266 x 140) is not the actual size of it (4096 x 2160). If you click on the refresh button next to the image size Dreamweaver will resize the image to the proper size (4096 x 2160).

If you change the size of an image using Dreamweaver’s image properties tab, you will just be changing the image’s resolution and not the actual file size. Using this method to downsize large images will make the images load very slowly.

 This is NOT a good method for re-sizing an image for a webpage! 

Dreamweaver wasn’t designed to be used for editing images. The purpose of the width and height boxes in the properties tab is to specify a resolution (size) for the image or object you have selected if there are no dimensions specified. A much better way of optimizing images is with Adobe Photoshop.

Using Photoshop to Optimize Images

If you have Adobe Photoshop, then you have the perfect tool for optimizing your images to display on your website. Here are some quick and easy steps to optimize your image in Photoshop:

1. Open the image (File > Open)

2. Re-size the image with the image properties window (Image > Image Size)

Notice at the top of the window where it says “Pixel Dimensions:” that the file size of the downsized image is now 109.3K which is a whole heck of a lot smaller than the original image file size of 25.3 MB.

3. Instead of “Save” or “Save As” use the “Save for Web & Devices” option (File > Save for Web & Devices).

If you look at the top right corner of the Save for Web & Devices window you will see these options:

Most of the time, I alternate between the 70 and 60 quality setting depending on the size of the image. I have set this image to the JPEG High preset, which gives the image 60 quality by default. If you are re-sizing an image for a thumbnail (320 x 240 or below) 60 is a great setting because you won’t see any degradation in quality from the original. I use the 60 quality setting most of the time, unless the image is very large (1024 x 768 or larger).

Original quality vs 60 quality

The original on the left is full quality (no compression) and the optimized on the right is 60 quality. At this smaller size, it’s hard to see any degradation in image quality at the 60 setting. As you can see, the optimized image on the right has an estimated load time of 3 seconds for a 56k dial-up connection. Of course, most users today have cable and other much faster connections, but it’s nice to know that even on the slowest connection, the image still won’t take too long to load.

4. Upload the new and improved image to your website!

Now you’re ready to load the optimized image(s) into Dreamweaver or whichever editor you use for your website.

Video of Image re-sized using Dreamweaver vs. Photoshop Method

As you can see in this video, the image that was optimized using my Photoshop method (on the left) loads a lot faster than the image that was re-sized using only Dreamweaver (on the right). The optimized image loads almost instantaneously!

If you don’t have Photoshop, there are several other free tools you can use to optimize images for your website such as’s Online Image Optimizer, which uses the same quality settings as Photoshop’s “Save for Web & Devices,” or RIOT (Radical Image Optimization Tool).

If you know of any other tools or methods you can use to optimize images, let us know in the comments!