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This optician's coronavirus safety screen has to be seen to be believed

There are various sights we're all getting used to as part of the 'new normal', from face masks to two metre markings all over shop floors. Speaking of shops, another common feature is protective screens in front of counters. These are usually a simple sheet of perspex, but as one Redditor has shown, safety doesn't have to look dull.

Created for his wife's opticians office in Washington, Alan Brendon's design (below) is based on, you guessed it, a pair of glasses. Hanging neatly above the shop counter, the oversized specs offer protection for two cashiers (one per lens). It's one of the most creative solutions to safety we've seen (check out our guide to where to buy a face mask for more stylish protection).

Needless to say, the 'safety glasses' have proved a huge hit on Reddit. "Awesome design and great execution!" one commenter exclaimed. Others were quick to ask the important questions: "Do customers look all blurry if your wife comes out from behind them?"

The creator has been generous enough to explain the process of making the specs. "After measuring the front desk carefully I created it in Illustrator and sent the lenses and temple detail to a local sign maker to custom cut. I cut the rest of the frame from a piece of half-inch plywood, glued it up and spray painted it black. We wanted to bring a little bit of fun to this very not fun situation." He's even shared the Illustrator file for anyone who wants it. Better get that Creative Cloud plan sorted, then.

If you fancy putting your own creative stamp on the world right now but don't happen to own an opticians' office, don't despair – you can always learn how to make a face mask. And if you want to indulge in the inspiring creativity of others during these strange times, check out the best free resources for creatives stuck at home

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Your Fujifilm camera is now an ultra-HD webcam for video calls

If you've been working from home for the past few weeks, you're probably no stranger to video calls. From straightening the living room to throwing on your best shirt (trousers optional), we've all experienced the frantic rush to look your best for that all-important conference. But if your built-in webcam isn't up to scratch, what's the point?

Enter Fujifilm. The camera manufacturer has released new software as well as a tutorial (below), letting users turn their mirrorless cameras into an ultra-high quality webcam. While we wouldn't for a second suggest buying a mirrorless camera just for video calls (our where to buy a webcam guide is full of affordable options), if you have one lying around, you could be about to seriously up your Zoom game. And if you don't have one lying around, our best camera for creatives guide will soon fix that. 

All you need is a USB cable, and the new Fujifilm X webcam software. Oh, and a Fujifilm camera. The free app is compatible with the X-H1, X-Pro2, X-Pro3, X-T2, X-T3, X-T4, and all GFX cameras. If you already own any of these, then you're now also the proud owner of a very high quality webcam – perhaps even a $10,000, 100MB one if you're lucky enough to own the ridiculously high-spec GFX 100. And why shouldn't your next Zoom catch-up look like a Hollywood blockbuster?

Fujifilm camera

Spot the difference

There is, unfortunately, some bad news – the software is currently only available for Windows. Mac users are currently out of luck, much to the disappointment of the majority of commenters on Fujifilm's tutorial. Hopefully it'll take notice and make the software available to all as soon as possible.

Fancy picking up one of Fujifilm's incredible webcams (sorry, cameras)? Take a look at today's best deals below.

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Get leading design magazines for less than half price!

Now is the perfect time to increase your reading, both for pleasure and to up your creative skills. Creative Bloq is the online presence for two industry leading magazines – Imagine FX and 3D World – we've got an amazing offer that'll save you money on a subscription. 

Not only can you save up to 68 per cent on the usual RRP of a magazine subscription but our code will get you an extra 20 per cent off the sale price, too. There's never been a better time to dive in.

Which magazine is right for you? Well, if you're potty about digital painting and drawing, Imagine FX will be a real treat, while CG artists will love 3D World. Keep reading to find out more about the amazing offers available right now, plus more information on exactly what you'll find in each magazine. 

Below, we've shown the prices for quarterly digital & print subscriptions, which qualify for the 20 per cent bundle discounts, but there are also big savings to be had on digital/print only subscriptions – and yearly subscriptions, too!

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AMD Ryzen 3950X processor review

Prepare to be impressed by the AMD Ryzen 3950X processor. We certainly were when Chillblast sent us a workstation with AMD’s affordable 16-core wonder chip in it. With specs that should make this processor one of the best out there, we couldn't wait to try it out. 

The ongoing rise of AMD technology is the single biggest story in PC hardware right now, which is why we’re looking at yet another workstation with an AMD processor this month. Keep reading for our full opinion.

Need a new laptop primed for 3D work? See our pick of the best laptops for 3D modelling right now.

AMD Ryzen 3950X review: Price

Ryzen 3950X is particularly interesting because it has 16 physical CPU cores and can run 32 threads at once, with an (approximate) UK retail price of £749. That’s well below the level Intel has consistently charged for its most high-end chips for years. Until now, those high prices had ensured workstations with more than eight processor cores were simply out of reach for most of us in the CG industry.

The total cost of the full Chillblast system, equipped with a Quadro RTX 4000 graphics card, 32GB of DDR4 memory, 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD comes to £3,279, which is still £450 less than a rig based around Intel’s 10th-generation platform, which has already had price cuts to make it much more affordable than the previous generation. Intel may lose out on value but one area where it still (just) has a lead is in instructions per cycle, which does affect certain areas of software performance.

AMD Ryzen 3950X review: Design and features

Ryzen 3950X

3D software has plenty to gain from processors with more CPU cores. All the popular CPU-based renderers are carefully multi-threaded to offer an approximate linear performance improvement from additional CPU cores. Renders complete twice as fast on an eight-core processor as on a quad-core chip. A 16- core chip is twice as fast again so that extra hardware can mean a final render of a scene with exceptionally detailed lighting and many millions of polygons is reduced by hours.

The high core count is not the only interesting thing about the 3.5GHz (4.7GHz Turbo) Ryzen 3950X processor. AMD is reaping the rewards from the flexibility of its Zen 2 architecture and how manufacturing partner TSMC has managed to beat Intel to 7nm fabrication, allowing them to keep the TDP within a manageable limit of 105W. That’s particularly good news for customers too. The Ryzen 3950X does not require an expensive high-end motherboard with a special chipset. It can be used in nearly all existing Socket AM4 motherboards, although some might need a firmware update.

Ryzen 3950X review: Performance

Ryzen 3950X

As mentioned before, Intel just has the edge in some performance aspects. For the Ryzen 3950X, our results show the 3950X breaking all records whenever software is multi-threaded, but not every application takes advantage of those extra cores.

The 3950X storms ahead in Blender CPU rendering and Cinebench but in SPECViewPerf, which relies on graphics card performance, the Intel Core i9 9900K just edges ahead, even if it’s only by a small margin. But we’d still pick the 3950X every time. Sixteen CPU cores gives you real flexibility to tackle seriously heavy-duty computing tasks. AMD deserves considerable praise for its exceptional technical achievement here.

But before you join the queue of eager buyers itching to purchase this processor, be advised that AMD has further tricks up its sleeve. A brand new Threadripper chip with 32 processor cores is set for imminent launch too and it’s public knowledge that a mind blowing 64-core Threadripper product is coming in the next 12 months.

Ryzen 3950X review: Should you buy it?

Ryzen 3950X

The Ryzen 3950X is the best AMD processor ever, for its efficiency and affordability as much as its capability and puts the company well in front of its arch rival for the first time in over a decade. Based on the 3D performance it offers for the money, it’s instantly become our top recommendation for any workstation.

This content originally appeared in 3D World magazine.

Read more: How to sell your 3D assets online

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Is this the ultimate working from home setup (or the stuff of nightmares)?

If, like countless others, you've found yourself working from home lately, you'll know the importance of getting your workstation right. From the best office chair to the best desk, finding the right kit is essential for your productivity and comfort.

One Apple fanatic has shared photos of his own setup, which has been years in the making. It includes a 43-inch TV (as well as a secondary monitor), Apple's HomePod speaker, various wireless chargers for iPhones and AirPods, and a rather creative neon lighting display. And the whole setup is powered by the tiny Mac Mini – proving that a little can go a long way. Take a look at the full setup below.

Mac setup

The setup belongs to medical student Zach Hicks, who shared it with Cult of Mac. Our favourite aspect of it? No wires. Not a single cable can be seen in Hicks' setup, thanks to some seriously impressive cable management – presumably on the underside of the desk. The real estate afforded of the two screens and the clutter-free desk itself no doubt allows for some serious, distraction-free productivity. If you're after a sweet screen setup like Hicks, check out our best monitors for Mac.

That said, someone needs to tell Hicks to tone down those lights. The green-and-pink neon effect would leave us feeling like we're catching up on emails inside a nightclub. Whether that sounds like a dream or a nightmare is up to you. Thankfully, they're Phillips Hue lamps – so something more tasteful is just a few iPhone taps away. 

Plus, if it's a un-cluttered aesthetic Hicks is going for, we're not sure about the empty Apple boxes adorning the shelves. He calls them a visual reminder of his journey to build this dream setup, but if our own workstation was constantly reminding us how great our workstation was, we're not sure we'd get any work done.

Mac setup

We’d love to know what’s in those plastic boxes

Still, we've no doubt that, in time, the empty packing will be replaced with certificates and awards from Hicks' distinguished medical career. Aside from the boxes and lamps, we're looking at a pretty impressive setup. If you're inspired to fix up your own workstation, our guide to working from home has you covered. 

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9 mindful exercises to do from home

Tired, frustrated, lacking motivation? You’re not alone, especially right now. But mindfulness is a psychological technique that can help. It involves refocusing yourself on the present moment; on what’s happening both inside your body and in your external surroundings. And the aim is to help you feel calmer and more balanced, both physically and emotionally. 

Mindfulness is commonly used in clinical psychology today to help treat depression and anxiety. Mindfulness is not a complete cure for any of these things, but many people find it useful in lifting their mood and providing a new perspective. 

Want to dip your toe in the water? In this post, we suggest some basic mindfulness activities you can do at home, which are easy and risk-free to try. Meanwhile, if you’d like to study mindfulness in more depth, you’ll find information on accredited courses here, and you can also check out our roundup of mindfulness apps

01. Mindful breathing

Woman on sofa breathing deeply

Focus on your breathing and let all other thoughts float away

Mindfulness is all about focusing your mind on the fundamentals, and letting everything else just fade away into the background. So one of the most effective activities you can do is mindful breathing. This involves simply focusing your attention on the air coming in and out of your body as you inhale and exhale. Ideally you’ll be sitting, but if that’s not possible then standing or lying down are also good options.

Begin by closing your eyes and taking one deep breath, then continue to breathe naturally. Merely observe each breath, rather than trying to control it, and start to empty your mind of all other thoughts. However, if your mind wanders or you’re distracted by, for example, noise from next door, don’t let it bother you but just accept that it’s happening. 

There’s no set time for doing breathing exercises, but around 10 minutes is a good ballpark to aim for first-timers. More importantly, it’s widely believed that making mindful breathing a regular habit makes it much more effective.

02. 4-7-8 breathing

Finding mindful breathing difficult? It's widely believed that spending more time on the out-breath than the in-breath can help relax you. So you might want to try, for example, the 4-7-8 breathing activity. 

This involves breathing in through the nose for four seconds, holding your breath for seven seconds, and then exhaling through the mouth for eight seconds. Do this for up to four cycles, all the while focusing on your breathing and emptying your mind of all other worries. This should help you to get yourself relaxed and 'in the zone', and then try breathing normally after that.

03. The 5-4-3-2-1 exercise

Mindfulness is all about feeling connected to the present moment, and so one of the most popular approaches is the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise, which engages all five of your senses at once. This is a particularly useful activity for when you feel anxious and unable to unwind. 

Begin by closing your eyes, slowing your breathing, and paying attention to the breath coming in and out of your body. Once you’re more relaxed, look around you and identity five random things you can see, whether that be a mirror, a pair of glasses, or a bird at the window. You don’t need to dwell on them, just acknowledge them. 

The next step is to similarly identify four things you can touch, and imagine doing so. This might be something on your body, such as your hair, or something external, such as a table. Again, you don’t actually have to touch them; just acknowledge them. The third step is to think of three things you can hear. Then, two things you can smell. The last step is to thing of one thing you can currently taste. 

04. S.T.O.P.

Man sitting at desk with a relaxed smile on his face

S.T.O.P mean you Stop what you’re doing, Take a breath, Observe, and then Proceed

Anxiety is not the only things that can prevent us from being creative and productive in our work. Other mental states such as being distracted, feeling bored or even being excited can make it difficult to focus and get things done. One mindfulness activity that can help is described by the acronym: S.T.O.P.

  • S stands for 'Stop what you’re doing'. That means not just stopping the action (eg. editing images in Photoshop) but stopping your thoughts and feelings about it too.
  • T stands for 'Take a breath'. That means, as before, slowing your breathing and focusing on the air coming in and out of your body.
  • O stands for 'Observe'. That means noticing what’s going on with your body and mind. Is your fist clenched or relaxed? Is your mood happy or sad?
  • P stands for 'Proceed'. Now your mind and body are focused and aware, you can now turn your attention to the world around you. Consider what you’ve just learned about yourself, and how you can use that information to proceed with the task in hand.

05. Conscious observation

The conscious observation technique is just what it sounds like. You pick an object, any object: it could be an apple, a book, a cup, for example. Hold it in your hands, and then observe its shape, its texture, its weight, and so on. The important thing is not to analyse or think about any of this too intensely: just absorb everything about the object and let it fill your mind.

This activity should give you a subtle but powerful feeling of being 'in the moment'. A related activity is conscious listening, where you observe a piece of relaxing music, or the sounds of nature, in a similar way.

06. Visualisation

Visualisation is about generating images in your mind to influence your mental and physical state. For instance, if you’re struggling with the stress of a three-month creative project, it can be helpful to visualise the day when you finish and hand over your completed work. Visualisation is often used by sports teams to help them focus on winning, by picturing victory in their mind's eye.

To practise visualisation, start by concentrating on your breath and clearing your mind of all distractions. Now start to generate a basic image in your mind. In this case, it might be going for a walk in the sunshine after finishing your creative project and feeling the relief of everything being completed to the client’s satisfaction. Then, with each breath you take, let the image or concept become more detailed. Think about the sights, the sounds and the smells you might experience, and how it will all make you feel.

07. Colouring in

Person using colouring template on an iPad

Colouring can be a mindful activity if approached in the right way

Colouring in is often described as a mindful activity, and it can be… but only if you approach it the right way. For example, if you view it as a task to be completed to perfection, then it may turn out to be the opposite of relaxing (if your hand slips and you accidentally go over the lines, for example). 

If, however, you view colouring in as being purely about the process rather than the end goal, it can be successfully practised as a mindful activity. Indeed, colouring in has long played a key role in the mindfulness movement, such as within the mandala tradition of Buddhism. To give mindful colouring in a try, check out these free colouring templates from Adobe.

08. Mindful eating

Mindful eating basically means eating in a mindful way, and can be especially useful for anyone who suffers from eating disorders, cravings, bingeing, food addiction or any other unhealthy relationship with food. 

Mindful eating means eating slowly, in a quiet place that’s free from distraction (so not, for example in front of the TV). It’s also about engaging all your senses, and fully acknowledging the smells, sights and tastes of the food. This helps you to listen to your body’s signals that tell you when you’re full and it’s time to stop eating, preventing you from either eating too much or being undernourished.

09. Naming your emotions

We all experience difficult emotions that can be overwhelming. One technique that can help is to label them, according to the maxim: 'name it and you tame it'. Again, this is best done when you are in a mindful state.

Sit in a relaxed position, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and empty your mind. As you relax, notice which emotions come to the forefront of your mind. Try to identify the most powerful one, and give it a name. Now repeat this name three times in a gentle voice, either inwardly or out loud, depending on what you are comfortable with. For example: 'Sadness, sadness, sadness' or 'worry, worry, worry'. Shift between cycles of breathing and cycles of repeating the emotion until you are more accepting of what you are feeling, and more centred, physically and mentally.

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Tune in to Adobe Live for a daily dose of inspiration

2020 has been a strange and uncertain year, to say the least. But what is sure, is that creativity connects us all and is doing so in ways like never before. Enforced isolation has seen the creative community come out in force online, connecting daily at Adobe Live on Behance – and you can join in too. 

A livestream of creative content, Adobe Live offers artists and designers the opportunity to connect, share ideas, be inspired and celebrate creativity, all in one place. No matter what your creative discipline – graphic designer, illustrator, animator, web designer or photographer etc – Adobe Live has something for everyone.

Adobe Live: Get involved

A treasure trove of creative content, Adobe Live is a great way to hone and learn new skills in popular Adobe apps, including Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Adobe XD. There’s everything from creative daily challenges, like creating logos and posters, to learning to draw lines and shapes and doodle therapy. 

Adobe Live has plenty to keep your creativity flowing, but more than anything, it’s an amazing way to connect with like-minded people at this challenging time. Each day you can tune into a livestream, where you can watch guest artists create in real-time. During the session, artists will take questions, share advice and give viewers valuable insights into their ways of working. A watch-over-the-shoulder experience, Adobe Live gives viewers an authentic experience, both inspiring and helping to ease any sense of isolation at the same time. 

Connect with leading creatives at Adobe Live on Behance

Livestreams in the UK start at 12:00 noon BST each day, with post-event on-demand videos available in English, French and German. If you can't make the live events, don't fret, Discord is Adobe's community chat for when the streams aren't live. Here you'll often find Adobe's guests pop in to to chat after the stream, and viewers asking questions, which you are more than welcome to join in with.  

So what are you waiting for? Join the creative community at Adobe Live on Behance for sessions with creative leaders from all over the globe for your daily dose of inspiration. 

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Darkmode: the typeface you didn't know you needed

You'd be forgiven for wondering why anyone would need to create a typeface which works across light and dark mode – surely it simply involves changing the colour from black to white? But as independent type foundry Dalton Maag's illuminating new typeface reveals, there's a little more to it than that. 

The rise of 'dark mode' across several operating systems and their UIs has created an unexpected challenge for those looking to create a consistent visual identity (don't forget to check out our best free fonts if you're looking for inspiration). According to Dalton Maag, white-on-black text is often subconsciously perceived as larger and bolder than the same text presented black-on-white.

Enter Darkmode, a new typeface using "innovative variable font technology". Dalton Maag calls it the first retail font family to offer a ready-built solution to the problem. Darkmode offers two slightly different variants for each weight, which have been "carefully crafted to give a consistent appearance when switching between normal and inverse modes." In other words, the typeface offers two slightly different thicknesses: DarkmodeOn and DarkmodeOff (below).

Dalton Maag calls Darkmode "a typeface for the UIs of today and tomorrow," which improves digital navigation, on-screen reading and will ultimately help developers to create more reactive and responsive user experiences.

You can currently snap up a free trial of Darkmode on Dalton Maag's website. And if you're inspired by the amount of thought and detail that goes into font design, our font design guide is a great place to start your typographical journey.

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New Scrabble app sparks outrage – and hasty redesign

Alongside the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, Scrabble might not seem like the most dramatic game around. But when it comes to their beloved board game, Scrabble fans are not to be messed with – as one mobile game publisher has found out the hard way. 

Mobile app Scrabble Go was only released in March, but its owner Scopely has already been forced back to the drawing board after fans complained about its flashy and fussy design (that's not how you enter our best iPhone apps list), complete with vivid colours and a treasure-style reward system. Scopely has now announced that these extra features have been toned down in a new Classic mode. 

Scrabble Go

Scrabble Go has not been a hit with traditionalist fans

The war of words began when Scrabble Go was announced as a replacement for the previous, much more traditional app, owned by EA. In a statement on Twitter (below), EA revealed that its own beloved app will be discontinued on 5 June, as Scopely now owns the Scrabble franchise.

Along with countless negative app store reviews, at the heart of fans' assault on Scrabble Go is a petition to keep the EA version alive. "I want to play traditional Scrabble, please," one supporter complained, "I don't want silly graphics and things popping up all over the place." "Scrabble GO has the correct name," said another. "You install it, see that it is junk, and then you GO and uninstall it." Ouch.

While fans will be sad to note that the EA version has now disappeared from app stores, they can at least take some solace from the fact that Scopely has heard their complaints. "You asked and we listened!" Scopely announced on Facebook. "We’re introducing a “Scrabble Go Classic” option that puts Classic Mode at the forefront." In this mode, features such as boosts and rewards are disabled.

We're pleased to see Scopely cater for traditionalist fans as well as those who prefer, er, lots of flashing things. As board game designs go, Scrabble is as iconic as it gets, and the busy UI of Scrabble Go is a far cry from the minimalism of of its namesake. Hopefully Classic mode go some way to placate fans who want more Scrabble and less 'Go'.

It doesn't look like Scopely has too much to complain about – according to BBC, Scrabble Go has been downloaded over 10 million times since launching in March. Still, there's no denying that board game fans are a force to be reckoned with – a beautifully minimal UNO concept recently became a reality, thanks (again) to a fan petition. 

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Effortlessly add illustrated elements to any project

Sometimes an illustration is all you need to put the finishing touch on your branding collateral. While finding the perfect graphic may seem like a daunting task (especially if it's not your primary skillset), it can be simpler than you think. Bring illustrated artwork into your projects with the ITG.digital Online Illustrations Builder Pro: Lifetime Subscription, now only $29.99.

Illustrations add an element of fun to invitations, business cards, digital marketing assets, social media content, and more. Creating them or looking for artists to create them, however, is often a full-time job in itself. Stop wasting crucial time on finding the right assets and get beautiful illustrations quickly and effectively with this powerhouse lifetime subscription. Best yet, you don't need to have any design experience under your belt to use the platform. 

See our pick of the best websites for stock art if you want more options. Or why not try making your own vector art?

A mecca for all things illustrated

With nearly almost 700 upvotes on Product Hunt and used by brands such as Mashable and Entrepreneur, ITG.digital Online Illustrations Builder is a mecca for all things illustrated. The illustration builder arms you with a complete library of editable illustration elements, no matter your design needs. With over 1000 predefined vector images, you'll be able to find the right illustrations for any type of project in your queue by using the online builder feature to search for the assets you need. There are more than a million unique combinations meaning you'll be able to change colours, remove or replace elements, edit characters, and more, all while catering to your brand's look and feel. You can even use these elements to create animations, making it a great way to incorporate eye-catching movement into your website or online marketing content.

After you find your perfect combination, you'll simply need to click the download button, and voilà, your new asset is ready to be added into any design – whether it be for digital or print. Available in various high-resolution downloadable formats (JPG, PNG, and SVG), you'll be able to completely customize each asset to the desired size you need and use it for professional or personal endeavours. With no app installation required, you'll have access to the content quickly and be able to download the complete composition or just an element of your illustrated design. 

While a lifetime subscription to ITG.digital Online Illustrations Builder Pro is priced at almost $800, you can start customizing your own illustrations for only $29.99 – that's 96 per cent off. Give your branding materials a memorable update and start your subscription today. 

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Was Volkswagen's racist ad a deliberate act of sabotage?

Voltage, an arm of advertising agency DDB that's responsible solely for Volkswagen marketing, has announced a full investigation will be taking place into the production of ad released on Instagram last week, after it was suggested racist messaging was planted on purpose. 

In case you missed it, VW ran a (now deleted) 10-second clip on Instagram, promoting its new Golf. The ad followed an interracial couple in Argentina and mimicked the style of a recent Tik Tok trend. But the use of a giant white hand flicking a darker-skinned figure away from its car and into a cafe sparked outrage and disbelief – especially because the café name translates into German as 'Little Coloniser'. 

Want to see some truly great ads? Here are best print ads around

Not only that, but the white hand is also seen giving what looks an awful lot like a white power salute. And then the 'Der neue Golf' ('The new Golf') tagline seems to fade to reveal what is all-too close to the N-word in German. It's such a brazen string of messaging, it's no wonder VW's original Instagram response claiming that the public misunderstood the ad didn't wash. 

Now, after a series of apologies from VW, Voltage has launched an internal investigation, with CEO Toby Pschorr asserting in a statement: "If there is any evidence that an employee or supplier deliberately conceived and planted racist or bigoted messages within our communication, it will lead to an immediate dismissal and legal repercussions." The agency's website has been down over the weekend.

VW has started its own investigation into the processes that could have allowed this to happen, with a statement posted on LinkedIn and Twitter taking full responsibility and emphasizing their horror – as well as referencing the "historical origins and the guilt of our company during the Nazi regime,". It then going on to say "that is precisely why we resolutely oppose all forms of hatred, slander/propaganda, and discrimination."

Twitter users are incredulous, both at the initial ad and at the cry of sabotage from VW and partners, with some calling into question the logic of using the word 'sabotage' in the context of a design project this big:

It isn't the first time VW has landed itself in advertising hot water for a potentially offensive tone. In 2013, a Super Bowl advert was pulled for showing a white man with a stereotypical Jamaican accent. Then last year saw two incidents – one for an advert portraying gender stereotypes, and another when the CEO used a phrase reminiscent of a Nazi-era slogan. 

It's hard to believe that a 10-second clip selling a car could get it so wrong, especially when in the hands of an experienced marketer such as VW. And whether or not there are sinister forces at play for VW in this case, the deleted advert will certainly go down as one of the most controversial moments of branding we've ever seen.

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Push your creative limits with Adobe’s Be Kind challenge

We’re all trying to be a little kinder to each other right now, in big ways and small. And so Adobe has teamed up with hip music producer Marshmello to set a special creative challenge, which lets you show the world an act of kindness you’ve recently bestowed on others. 

Part of this year’s Adobe Creative Tour, the Be Kind challenge involves crafting a 15-30 second video, using Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush or After Effects, that shows how you’re bringing kindness to the world, set to the music of Marshmello’s latest hit. You can see how some other creatives have already responded to the challenge here (scroll down to ‘Submission Gallery’).

But what if you don’t have a Creative Cloud subscription already? Don’t worry: Adobe is generously providing access to its video apps with a complimentary 30-day subscription.

And to help you out further, Adobe has curated a selection of assets for you to download for the challenge. These include fonts and logos; textures, illustrations and 3D graphics; Adobe Stock footage; and the Be Kind song by Marshmello.

To further inspire you to create your entry, Adobe will be livestreaming a special session on Adobe Live at 12noon BST on Tuesday 26 May, in which a famous influencer will show how they’ve interpreted the challenge themselves. 

You can just take part in the Be Kind challenge for fun, but if you’re pleased with what you’ve created, Adobe would love you to share it on Instagram or Twitter. And if you’re a resident of the UK, USA or Canada, you might win one of several prizes as a result. 

Be Kind logo

‘Be Kind’ is the theme of the creative challenge

The creator of the best video uploaded by June 3 will receive a cash prize, an autographed life-sized Marshmello Helmet, a virtual meet and greet with Marshmello himself, and a 12-month Adobe All-Apps Creative Cloud subscription. Nine second-place winners, meanwhile, will each win a cash prize, an autographed Marshmello poster and a three-month All-Apps Creative Cloud subscription.

Finally, these winners and up to 25 other creators will all have their work featured in the official fan video. You’ll find full details of the challenge, and the downloadable assets, here

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8 top social media platforms for artists and designers

Social media platforms are excellent places to showcase your best work and promote yourself as a creative. Your online presence could help you to secure a new job, gain freelance clients or creative collaborators, as well as build your professional reputation.

But with so many social media platforms to choose from, how do you know which ones to use? To find out, we listened to the advice of a range of creative professionals including artists, photographers, designers and filmmakers. We learned what they like about each social media platform and why you might find each one useful for displaying elements of your portfolio (for more portfolio inspo, see our graphic design portfolio post), or maybe something else.

We used their answers to list the most useful social media platforms for artists and designers right now. (Note that we haven't included video sharing app TikTok, but you can read all you need to know about it in our guide to the TikTok app.)

01. Dayflash

Social media platforms: Greg McMillan's work on Dayflash

Greg McMillan’s work on Dayflash

Never heard of Dayflash? You're not alone. But right now, it's rapidly gaining popularity amongst creatives. And that's because the iOS app, launched last year, basically works like Instagram used to. In its own words, there's "no algorithm and no more missing posts from your friends".

Co-founder Rupali Renjen tells us that, in her view, "Photo sharing platforms unfairly use algorithms to dictate which followers get to see a user's posts. And as they push users to spend more time on stories from friends, long-form videos and shopping, all so they can make more money on ads and business accounts, less and less time is being spent on creators, which is taking away visibility and opportunity".

You can post full resolution photos, no algorithms, always genuine engagement, no bots

David Castillo

And creatives do indeed seem to be responding well to the new platform. "I love using Dayflash," says New York photographer David Castilllo. "You can post full resolution photos, no algorithms, always genuine engagement, no bots. And I love the aesthetics of the interface."

Scott Terry, a Chicago-based creator and ambassador for brands, agrees. "It’s pretty great because you can post full frame and high resolution, unlike Instagram," he points out. And there's video, too.

"For me personally, I love being able to show my work as I’ve made it, rather than being compressed like on Twitter or Instagram," says filmmaker Tyler Palmer. "And even with little following, my work still gets seen."

LA-based photographer Torenzo Perry is also a fan. "I personally love the app because it focuses more on the content, and less on the likes and views," he says. While Greg McMillan, an iPhoneographer and co-host of the Tiny Shutter podcast, admires both the app and the philosophy of its makers. "They have it figured out as to what a social platform should be and how it should work," he enthuses. 

And it's not just photographers who are fans. Take Brazilian character artist Danielle Pioli, who uses it to share her illustrations and comic strips. "I really like Dayflash," she says. "Since I began using it, it has improved a lot. Not only the usability of the app but also the quality of the content inside it. I see this app as a new trend for visual artists of all kinds. It's easy to use, pretty straightforward, and fun.

02. ArtStation

Social media platforms: Homepage of Artstation

ArtStation is a must for 2D and 3D artists

Launched in 2014, ArtStation may not have changed a great deal over the years. But it remains the place to post your profile for professional 2D and 3D artists, especially those working in the games, film, media and entertainment industries, or those aspiring to do so.

As we reported in our article how to get a job as a video games artist, recruiters nowadays don't just encourage you to post your work on ArtStation; they expect it. Some artists still hold back from doing so, because they don’t want to engage in what they see as a popularity contest. But by and large, recruiters don’t really care how many likes or followers you have; it's purely about whether or not they like your art, and if it fits what they're looking for. 

“We’re interested in artists who produce the sort of work that we can use; that’s it," says Kevin McDowell, art director for Creative Assembly's Total War series. "So make sure it’s visible to us, and don’t worry about the numbers.”

03. DeviantArt

Social media platforms: Katy L Wood's work on DeviantAt

Katy L Wood’s work on DeviantArt

Launched in 2000, DeviantArt has more of an amateur, hobbyist feel to it than ArtStation. And so while you're less likely to get commissions directly through it, it's a better platform for putting your art in front of your peers and getting feedback.

People tend to come and go from DeviantArt over time, and author and illustrator Katy L Wood is no exception. "DeviantArt was the first social media site I joined, about 13 years ago, when I was a teenager," she recalls. "It was a huge part of my growth as an artist, due to all the amazing free resources it had, from tutorials to brushes to stock. Plus, back then, DeviantArt had a great community. People really talked and interacted and had fun."

Eventually, though, she felt the community had started to wane and turned her attentions elsewhere. "However, in the last year I've been working my way back into using DeviantArt, especially with its delightful rebrand," she says. "I came back primarily because DeviantArt is straightforward. There are no algorithms to game, it's well organised, and it's supportive of every type of art and writing I do."

04. The Dots

Social media platforms: Work by Joanna Kosinska on The Dots

Work by Joanna Kosinska on The Dots

Launched in 2014, The Dots is an online professional network that aims to be "LinkedIn for creatives". And it's had a fair amount of success in doing so, attracting companies such as Google, Burberry, Sony Pictures, Viacom, M&C Saatchi, Warner Music, Tate, Discovery Networks and VICE to use it as a recruiting tool.

There are lot of other things you can do on the platform besides just waiting to be offered a job, though. These include connecting with other creatives in your field, checking out people's side hustles, responding to requests for collaborations, keeping up to the latest events and more. 

It's very much a case, then, of what getting out what you put in. And unlike LinkedIn, every page you interact with is beautifully designed.

Currently, most creatives seem to use The Dots as part of a self-promo mix, rather than focusing on it exclusively. Yorkshire-based freelancer Joanna Kosinska, for example, says: "I will post my work pretty much anywhere where I can gain traction, including The Dots, Behance, Dribbble, and Creativepool. 

"As a graphic designer and photographer, I have to put my name out there. So any platform that makes it easier to find my work is my friend, and I'll gladly invest time to create a profile and share projects."

05. Dribbble

Social media platforms: Work by Laundry on Dribbble

Work by Laundry on Dribbble

Launched in 2009 by Dan Cederholm and Rich Thornett, Dribbble was never intended to be a straightforward portfolio site like Behance. Its specific angle was about teasing out small glimpses of what you were working on, when you were unable to share the whole project.

Dribbble has since evolved beyond web and mobile app design to take in icon design, branding, animations, prototypes, illustrations, graphic art and other disciplines. But there's still a focus on informally sharing small screengrabs (known as 'Shots'), rather than setting out big and detailed images in an organised and carefully annotated way. As Albuquerque-based web designer Jack Harner puts it: "Dribbble feels more like a community than a portfolio site."

That doesn't mean it's just designers talking to designers, though. The platform now actively helps companies such as Apple, Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Dropbox and Slack to hire designers, and many clients use it to find people to commission.

"Dribbble has been a great platform for us to generate new business especially within the tech industry," says PJ Richardson, partner at Los Angeles design studio Laundry. "Very graphic and illustrated work seems to play the best, but we've also gotten new clients because of what we post there as well."

For others like Nicola Jones, aka Hello I'm Nik Design, Dribbble is a place for posting work that doesn't fit in your main portfolio. "This is where I put my personal project illustrations, which is something I’d like to do more, so if I ever get any illustration enquiries I point them there. Illustration is more of a side thing for me, as I do brand and marketing design before all that for clients."

06. Behance

Social media platforms: Work by George Kofi Prah on Behance

Work by George Kofi Prah on Behance

Behance is the closest thing on this list to a pure portfolio platform, but with a social aspect plugged in. Founded by Matias Corea and Scott Belsky in November 2005, the company was acquired by Adobe in 2012, and its reach has since become enormous.

Unlike, say, Dribbble or Instagram, Behance offers a way to show more of your work than just a single, eye-grabbing image. As motion designer and 3D generalist Jesus Suarez explains: "Behance is great for sharing the making of and behind the scenes aspects. It allows for more complete look at the project."

Of course, you could do all that on your own website, but the social aspects of Behance means that it's worth posting stuff there too, if even you're just duplicating the same content. 

It is an ideal place for us to share the behind-the-scenes and case study aspects of our projects

PJ Richardson

And that's exactly the approach Laundry takes, says Richardson. "Our Behance basically mirrors our company site," he explains, "but because it is so shareable and other creatives go to Behance for creative inspiration, it is an ideal place for us to share the behind-the-scenes and case study aspects of our projects."

London-based illustrator, designer & photographer Tim Easley takes a similar view. "I use Behance for full projects alongside my website, because there’s a decent chance of being featured there, which brings in a lot of views," he says. While Cliff Nowicki, a web designer based in Michigan, USA says. "I use Behance because it's super easy to just put something up online."  

07. Instagram

Social media platforms: Tim Easley's work on Instagram

Tim Easley’s work on Instagram

The rise of Dayflash (number one on our list) is a sign that a few people's love affair with Instagram is waning. But overall, Instagram remains far and away the most popular visuals-based social media platform today, and for most creatives, a presence of some sort on the image sharing platform remains a must.

"While, Behance is great for sharing and getting your work in front of professional eyes, I tend to use Instagram mostly," says George Kofi Prah, designer at New York and LA branding agency loyalkaspar. "It's the perfect tool for creatives in the way that Spotify is for musicians. 

"It provides access to a much wider audience than any other platform and allows me to engage with literally anyone. Using hashtags makes being discovered and finding new and interesting things a lot easier."

Ease of use is also an important factor for many. "I use Instagram, followed by The Dots, because these platforms are easier and more accessible in terms of commitment per post," says Welsh/Sri Lankan artist Murugiah. "Behance has too many fields to fill in per post!"

We need to promote our work where our audience lives

Amy Kilner

For Amy Kilner, freelance designer and founder of inspiration blog The Design Fix, using Instagram is a no-brainer. "You have to remember we're designing for our clients' objectives, not other creatives," she points out. "So we need to promote our work where our audience lives. Don’t get me wrong, I love creative sites – I run my own, after all – but it’s not where my clients are!"

Laundry follows the same logic, says Richardson. "Artists and clients alike all seem to go to Instagram for design and animation inspiration, which is why we use it," he reasons. "We've even landed projects from it and clients increasingly ask to track our work there. It's also the easiest to share and always has been. Additionally, it is easy to schedule posts without formatting problems."

Luke Manning, creative director of Pencil Studio, is primarily interested in getting work shared amongst the creative community, and for that it’s been Instagram and Twitter that have been the most effective, he says. "Our own posts have been picked up shared by popular design blog sites and we’ve even had direct contact by brand owners via sharing our latest projects," he explains. "I like Behance and how it works, but for us it is yet to be fruitful beyond having a place to store projects." 

And if you're wondering how to be successful on Instagram, we've got a guide packed full of pro tips on how to increase Instagram engagement.

08. LinkedIn

Social media platforms: Work by Ben the Illustrator on LinkedIn

Work by Ben the Illustrator on LinkedIn

Even though it's had a total rebrand, LinkedIn doesn't immediately grab you as being a useful social platform for creatives. But art, design and filmmaking are businesses like any other, and many creative pros say they're making good use of LinkedIn regardless of what it looks like.

Take Frank Suyker, aka Mr Sugar, an art director based in the Netherlands. "I use LinkedIn to get recurring revenue out of my existing clients," he explains. "By posting my blog posts on LinkedIn, I'm kept top of mind. And when they do have work that needs to be done, they come to me."

Laundry has also made a shift to LinkedIn recently, which it has been actively using for the past year. "Facebook used to be a great place to share work but it became cluttered with ads and not design-focused posts," says Richardson. "in contrast, the very work-focused and curated nature of LinkedIn has made it a forum to share design, animation, and behind-the-scenes content, which has garnered a lot of great attention for us."

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Source: codebloq design

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You can now get retro iPhone app icons – and you'll want them all right now

If, like us, you've found yourself looking back on simpler times lately, a new web-based app is almost guaranteed to raise a smile. It isn't quite a time machine, but will at least take you back to the early days of app design. 

Visit Icon Rewind on your iPhone, and you'll be greeted with what looks like an iPhone homescreen from around a decade ago, complete with retro icons for all your favourite apps (including Instagram, Netflix and YouTube) in all their 3D glory. It almost feels strange to recall a time before flat design became the norm.

iPhone app icons

Which icons look more iconic?

But the nostalgia trip doesn't end there – by tapping one of the icons, you can even save it to your own iPhone. It won't replace the existing icon, but instead create a shortcut to the app. Still, if you're so inclined, you could bundle the contemporary icons into a folder and banish it to some distant area of your homescreen. 

It isn't the most straightforward solution, but we're just here for the nostalgia. The old icons might look a little clunky and inconsistent against today's uniformly flat designs, but it's strangely comforting to see all that skeuomorphism – you can almost feel the texture of Instagram's 3D instant camera or YouTube's old TV.

Instagram icon

The Instagram logo has undergone one of the biggest transformations

Icon Rewind is the 22nd "drop" from the mysterious MSCHF, which specialises in absurd and yes, mischievous, products and designs. Other drops have included Jesus shoes for "walking on water", and a rubber chicken-shaped bong (complete with squeak).

And if you find today's flat design trend a little dull, you might be in luck – it's neumorphism that's got everyone talking in 2020. Perhaps in another 10 years we'll find ourselves fawning over a similarly retro collection of today's flat icons – and remembering simpler times. 

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Source: codebloq design