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The Big Guys


  • ThePowerXChange sells XTensions, Plug-ins and Xtras of all kinds. Their website has a useful search engine with descriptions and prices for all products.
  • XChange International is the leading European source for XTensions, Plug-ins, graphic design and Web design applications, clip art, stock photos, and groovy accessories for design professionals. Their website also has a useful search engine with descriptions and prices for all products.
  • Alien Skin makes plug-ins for Photoshop that drive the creative edge in the graphic arts industry. Need fur? Fire? Constellations? Your art as a rippling flag? We used their remarkable Eye Candy plug-in to create the puffy transparent effect in our logo.
  • Badia Software has several tremendously useful XTensions. One adds essential features to the Print dialog box, and another lets you change dozens of often-used item properties from the Measurements palette. We think Quark should include these features in QuarkXPress.
  • Em Software specializes in industrial-strength XTensions and plug-ins for mortals that automate the creation of catalogs and other structure-heavy documents.
  • Nik Software has professional-quality plug-ins for photographers. They're unique and useful.
  • onOne Software has time-tested, quality plug-ins for Photoshop, iPhoto, Aperture and QuarkXPress.
  • Meadows Publishing Systems develops productivity-enhancing plug-ins and XTensions such as Batch Print and DesignMerge.
  • Markzware makes plug-ins that let InDesign open QuarkXPress documents and vice-versa.
  • Rorohiko thinks outside the box when creating plug-ins for InDesign. Go see what we mean.
  • i.t.i.p. develops outstanding InDesign plug-ins for creating mathematical expressions, measuring readability, and proper hyphenation.
  • Woodwing Software specializes in plug-ins for InDesign that automate the formatting of pages.
  • Zevrix Solutions has unique, helpful plug-ins for InDesign.

Recommended Training

  • American Graphics Institute (AGI) offers training on Adobe products, and creates the Digital Classroom books as well as Adobe Creative Suite for Dummies.
  • The Art Institute Online offers accredited degree programs in several creative fields. It's a convenient way to advance your career opportunities in graphic design, interactive media, game art, animation and more.
  • CreativeLIVE provides worldwide broadcasts of free training by world-class instructors. Catch them live or pay a nominal fee to watch at your leisure.
  • Dan Margulis teaches 3-day seminars on how to absolutely, positively create the best photographic images, and how to truly understand color adjustments, highlights and shadows, etc.
  • Graphic Communications Institute Workshops are offered by the specialists at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo, California. They specialize in real-world printing and publishing applications.
  • I.D.E.A.S Training teaches Adobe, Quark, FileMaker, Apple, Markzware and Enfocus products in the San Diego, Orange County and Phoenix/Scottsdale areas.
  • Lynda.com — when you'd prefer to learn on your own time, their online and disc-based training is world class and affordable.
  • The National Association of Photoshop Professionals has traveling seminars on Photoshop, as well as semi-annual conferences.
  • Noble Desktop has been offering professional training in desktop publishing and Web design since 1991. Classes are held in New York City, and are taught by working professionals in their field.
  • Sterling Ledet & Associates provides professional training classes in Adobe, Quark, Macromedia and Apple products, at locations in Atlanta, Chicago, San Diego, New Orleans, Denver and Washington DC.

Website Design

  • DigiSlate: if you like this redesign of our website, these are the guys who did it. We think of them as "Web designers for designers," because they're very affordable and can implement your design vision. If you mention Design Tools Monthly, they'll give you a 10% discount.

Royalty-free Images

  • GoGraph provides inexpensive royalty free stock photography, illustrations, and footage.
  • iStockPhoto is a good example of a new kind of website for stock photos and illustrations. Images cost as low as $1. Any artist may apply to be approved for submission, and once approved may submit photos and artwork for approval. When members download those images the photographer/artist receives payment. The quality of the images are fantastic. Check 'em out!
  • Can Stock Photo and Fotolia are other good sources of "microstock" images, with thousands of photographers submitting content.
  • Jupiter Images specializes in commercial stock imagery (especially model-released "Lifestyle" and "Business" imagery). In addition to representing the work of some of the finest photographers in the world, much of their imagery is produced in-house and is therefore wholly-owned content.
  • Fotosearch.com is a meta search engine for more than 35 major image providers, including Comstock, Corbis, PhotoDisc, PhotoSpin, Stockbyte, and others. Save time by searching all of these image providers at once!
  • PunchStock.com is a royalty-free stock photo company in London whose images are evocative and unusual. A few of the more than 100 collections include: Business Hands, Business Metaphors, Conceptual Landscapes, Eat Natural, Fame, Tecno Teens, and Wicked Women.
  • MapResources.com is a remarkable source for maps. Not only are they attractive, you can easily alter them for your use, since each kind of feature is on a separate vector-based layer.
  • PhotoDisc is the leading provider of high quality digital stock photography, both online and on CD-ROM. Their online collection has over 50,000 images to choose from, with thousands more being added every month. And their search engine is unusually helpful. You can even get free comps.
  • PhotoSpin has very high quality, unusual images, with objects that include clipping paths and drop shadows. They also have a unique, affordable, yearly subscription that lets you download any of their images.
  • Stockbyte has a unique perspective on high quality digital stock photography. Based in Ireland, Stockbyte creates all their own photos, from casting and location to drum scanning. Now owned by Getty Images.
  • The iSpot describes itself as "the world's premier illlustration website", with illustrations from hundreds of prominent artists in dozens of countries. It's a fabulous collection of top-quality work.

Other Information Sources

  • Brenner Information Group has the world's largest collection of current rates for graphic design, DTP, and website design and development services.
  • Creative Business focuses on running a creative business, including job pricing, client relationships, hiring, firing, and everything else. Their newsletter will make you more profitable.
  • CreativePro is an online magazine with articles by design experts.
  • Font Geek: Benjamin Levisay's www.fontgeek.net is a valuable collection of advice, information, fixes, and news about using fonts in Mac OS X and professional graphic design applications.
  • Icograda is the world body for professional graphic design and visual communication. It unifies the voice of designers worldwide and promotes their dynamic role in society and commerce. Founded in London in 1963, Icograda has members in 56 countries worldwide. Sign up for their free electronic newsletter.
  • InDesign Secrets has the best tips and advice about using InDesign anywhere. Its writers are brilliant.
  • Marketing-Designers and Copywriting-Designers, by Shaun Crowley, provide clever ways to make your design business more successful. Check out his free tips & articles.
  • PaperSpecs is a tremendously powerful, independent online paper specifier, featuring more than 4,200 papers  — think of it as an all-in-one online swatchbook. It's filled with essential information about everything related to paper. They also have a useful free electronic newsletter.
  • Planet Quark runs daily stories about using QuarkXPress and other Quark products. If you're interested in QuarkXPress, this is the place to go.
  • Pros & of Franchise Ownership is full of useful information about what owning a franchise really means.


  • World Label makes affordable labels in all sizes and configurations. You can buy Avery®-compatible labels for less than half the price of Avery labels.
  • Maverick Label can make any shape or size label from your original artwork. Materials include the usual papers and vinyls, and also clear vinyl (for static-cling decals), repositionable vinyl, silver holographs, and some that you can print in your desktop printer. They're happy to produce any quantity you like, from one to a zillion, and prices are reasonable.
  • Bargain Printing is one of the largest sellers of custom-printed labels on the Web.


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