Layer Styles

Layer styles are one of the most useful tools ever created. No matter what kind of a graphic you are creating, layer styles will make your text much better. You simply create a text (or any other object) and apply the style to your layer one by one until you find the perfect fit. They instantly change any text into a much more professional-looking design.

Photoshop comes with about a dozen layer styles already installed, but the nice thing about layer styles is that you can find lots of them free online. There are thousands out there, downloadable and easy to install. You just put all of your layer styles into one folder and then you can upload them all at once. Also, you can export your entire collection of layer styles – you will then have everything you need in one small file even if you reinstall Photoshop.
More info: Photoshop layer styles


Shapes are another great thing to download. Photoshop has some shapes already available, but unless you are okay with a circle, square and arrow shape, you should consider some more. This will allow you to choose from your entire collection of shapes whenever you need to create something that you would normally have to draw manually.

Shapes are also very easy to find online and download for free. To install them, download them somewhere on your hard drive, go into Photoshop and choose the custom shapes tool. After this click on the shape picker, press the little play button to the right and choose LOAD SHAPES when the dialogue box pops up. Finally, find your shape file and upload it.
More info: Brusheezy

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This may seem like an obvious one, but many people fail to download new fonts because they already have a few dozen to choose from as a part of Windows and they don’t think they need any more. But there are lots of cool fonts out there and you might be surprised at just how much better you can make a graphic if it has the right font.

One of the most popular places to get free fonts is, which by now has tens of thousands instead. You can download them for free one at a time or the whole collection for a small fee. You should also be aware that some fonts cannot be used commercially so you might want to search for a commercially licensed free font for each new project you do.
More info: 1001 free fonts


The last useful tool that we are going to discuss isn’t actually a Photoshop asset – it is simply a tool that makes working in Photoshop a lot easier. Pixie is a tool that tells you the exact Hexadecimal or RGB of any color that you place your mouse on.

This is extremely useful when you are trying to design a graphic that will match the look of your blog or website. You can manually set the RGB on the color picker and get the exact color that you are trying to match in Photoshop.
More info: Pixie

This is a guest post by Emily Miller.