Free Tutorials
on Design & More

Want to learn how to create halftone effects in Adobe Illustrator — or brush up on ways to clean noise out of images in Photoshop? Envato Tuts+ hosts a treasure trove of free online tutorials designed to answer your most pressing (and even your most obscure) design and illustration questions. Step-by-step instructions and screenshots are thorough, accurate, and easy to follow. Paid subscription options include online courses, downloadable ebooks and videos, and more. Additional content categories include web design; photo & video; and music & audio. Over 20,000 free tutorials available. Start at tutsplus.com/tutorials.

Captivate Your Audience

BK_ParrPublishers compete for attention in an era of overstimulation and distraction, making publishing more challenging than ever. Into that environment, Ben Parr has written a thought-provoking challenge to the accepted wisdom around audience creation and engagement in his new book, “Captivology.” In this highly-engaging narrative, Parr describes the science of how we pay attention and why it hasn’t changed in millennia. He reveals why we pay attention to some events, ideas, and people and not to others.

Parr then outlines seven “captivation triggers” that spark the brain’s attention response by appealing to the fundamentals of human behavior. His “Disruption Trigger,” for example, uses a combination of surprise, simplicity, and significance to disrupt people’s expectations. This approach aims for a “What the heck?” attention grab followed by an elegantly simple idea that’s easy to process. Parr’s suggestion is that we have to violate an audience’s expectations (without alienating) in order to capture their attention — to get people to “turn their eyes up a bit.”

Ben Parr is the former co-editor of Mashable and co-founder of DominateFund. We found “Captivology” positively captivating and suspect you will, too. tinyurl.com/Captivology


Hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists, The Journalist’s Toolbox (journaliststoolbox.org) curates online resources for journalists, academics, and students. It is a one-stop shop with links to fact- checking resources, stock photography, grammar guides, headline writing tips, and much more.

The site was originally founded by Mike Reilly, former reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times and a founding member of chicagotribune.com. Search the website by content category and tune into Twitter for regular updates, @journtoolbox.


FREE High-Res Photos

Unsplash offers small, curated collections of photos that AREN’T small. How not small? Try 13″ x 19″ at 300dpi. Unsplash releases 10 new photos every 10 days under the creative commons public domain license, meaning you can copy, modify, distribute, and use them for free, even for commercial purposes. unsplash.com


Take Advantage of USPS Mail Promotions

Are you considering making your publication more interactive in 2016? The Postal Service wants you to. It is offering three promotional programs that provide discounts to mailers who include interactive elementsin their Standard mail pieces. What exactly does interactive mean? Well, there is a surprisingly long list of qualifying features. “Emerging & Advanced Technology/Video in Print” includes digital-focused features such as prompting an app or video to run on a smartphone when the reader hovers over a printed element. “Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Engagement” covers the use of specialty inks,  specialty papers, and interactive inserts (like 3D folding projects) to make your publication more interesting to touch and feel. “Mobile Shopping” provides discounts for linking directly from your publication to purchase featured items on a mobile device. For complete details on each promotion, visit tinyurl.com/usps-promotions-2016.


Market Directly

Publishers are marketers – and marketers need insight that drives customer action and profitable revenue. A great resource for getting the right mix of data, strategy, and technology: Direct Marketing News (dmnews.com, @dmnews).