WHAT WE’RE CREATING:
Hello, lovely designers! Renee here, excited to bring you a new tutorial with loads of freebies. And I’ve been listening to you guys — I know we’ve used a lot of Illustrator lately, but this week it’s all Photoshop! We’re going to create a poster that presents (completely made-up) facts about coffee in a fun infographic style. We’ll mix photos of real-world items like coffee cups with vector icons, graphs and timelines.
Follow along with this tutorial: Download the freebies
This week, our freebie pack includes some wonderful photo mock-up elements, a blurred background image, a dotted world map, icons, graphs and a timeline layout, courtesy of our talented designers.
As always, this freebie is just a small sample taken from the amazing collection: The Contemporary Creative Design Collection at just $29 (that’s 98% off). This bundle is full of clean, contemporary resources including fonts, templates, mock-ups, infographics, vectors and more!
Let’s get to it! Open Photoshop and create a new file. We’ll use legal paper size—8.5” x 14”. Set your resolution to 300 ppi and Color Mode to RGB.
A note about file naming: In this filename, I know I’m looking at the Coffee Infographic, a poster (PT – I have two-letter abbreviations for most of the common collateral types I work on), and the size is 8 and a fraction (f) by 14. This gives me all of the information I need to quickly identify a file without having to worry about some of the cross platform issues that can occur when you include periods, spaces or too many characters in filenames. If I’m working with a client, I also add an abbreviation to indicate which round it is. So, this would be CoffeeInfographic_PT_8fx14_r1 (round 1). If I get revisions, I’d update the revised file with r2. This is just my system. The important thing is to find something consistent and easy for you to quickly identify and understand. It will save you a ton of time and frustration!
As always, save your file! Once saved, further saves require nothing more than hitting cmd/ctrl + s. Do that a lot :)
Let’s start by creating a gradient background. In your Layers palette, click on the new layer icon. Name this layer Gradient Background.
Click on your foreground color below your tools and in the pop-up, change the RGB values to 109/52/40. Do the same with the background color, but change the values to 68/25/16.
Select the Gradient tool (or just press g). In the Properties menu at the top of the screen, click the arrow to the right of the gradient and make sure the gradient that goes from foreground color to background color is selected. To the right of the gradient, select the second icon for Radial Gradient.
With your Gradient Background layer selected, drag your gradient tool from the middle of the page to a little past the edge. We want a soft gradient. If you don’t like your first attempt, don’t worry! You can keep dragging over it on the same layer until you’re happy with your result.
Now we’ll create a little texture over our gradient. Create a new folder by clicking on the New Folder icon in your Layers palette. Double click on the name and change it to Textured Background. Go to File > Place Linked. In the pop-up, navigate to the coffee bean image from Unsplash. Click Place.
The coffee bean image will be placed with the transform controls visible. Hold shift (to retain aspect ratio) and drag the corners until the image fills the entire artboard.
Press enter to place. Drag this layer into the folder we created. In the Layers palette, change the blending mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 20%.
Next, we’ll add a little more interest to the edges. Go to File > Place Linked and this time, navigate to the Freebies folder and select Gaussian Blurs_014. Choose Place. Hover over one of the corner transform controls until you see the rotate icon (a little curved line with two arrows). Hold shift (to rotate in 15 degree increments) and rotate the image 90 degrees in either direction. Then, use the transform scale controls (the straight diagonal line with two arrows) to scale up until the entire artboard is covered.
Press enter to complete the Place action. Then drag this layer into the Textured Background folder, above the coffee bean folder.
Since we only want to use this on our edges, we’ll mask out the middle section. With the Gaussian Blur still selected, click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette (third icon from the left). Click on the new layer mask thumbnail (next to your layer thumbnail) to make that the active selection. Click on the layer mask thumbnail will automatically change your foreground and background colors to black and white. Press D to toggle between them until black is the foreground color. Select your paintbrush and choose a large soft brush at 100% opacity. Press [ to make the brush smaller or ] to make it larger. I made mine almost as wide as the artboard. Now paint over the areas we want to hide – the middle of the image, leaving only the edges showing.
If you hide too much, just press D to toggle to white foreground color and brush over the area you want to show. That’s the beauty of layer masks – nothing is ever truly gone!
In the Layers palette, change the Blend Mode to Multiply and our background is done.
Now we’ll start on our title. Create a new folder and name it (surprise!) Title.
Click on your foreground color and change it to 163/58/36. Then, go to your Swatch palette and click the new icon to Create a new swatch from foreground color. Name this color Cinnamon. We’ll use this color for all of our title text.
Select your Type tool (t) and type “coffee”. I just went to Edit > Free Transform and dragged my corners out (while holding shift) to get a size I liked and placed it at the top middle of the artboard. It’s very inexact, but I’ll share my final settings with you if you want to match them.
I’m using one of the awesome fonts in this collection that comes with tons of variations – Tolyer X Vintage No1 at about 236 pt. Although our overall look is clean and modern, I wanted the title to have an earthy feel that reflects our subject matter.
Also note that this particular font is only available in all capital letters. If you’re substituting a different font that has lowercase letters, use the flyout menu on the top right of the Character palette to select All Caps.
Next, we’ll create a new layer and type “8 totally true facts about”. This will be about 39 pt, also in Tolyer X Vintage No1 and centered above “coffee”.
Since these “facts” are not even close to the truth, I’m going to add an asterisk at the end of the title…
and a disclaimer centered at the bottom of the artboard that says “*None of these have any basis in truth whatsoever.” Same font, but fairly small – around 10 pt.
To give the title copy a little more of that earthy feel, drag the Title folder below the Textured Gradient folder.
It’s time for the main layout. Although these steps seem smooth now, it’s important that you know it took a lot of fiddling to get all of the elements in place. So, if you’re working on your own infographic (or any other piece for that matter), remember that no one just sits down and gets it right the first time. Ok… it happens, but it doesn’t happen that often!
From the freebies folder, open Freebies.psd. Click on the folder called Coffee in Black Mug with Plate. Go to Layer > Duplicate Group. In the pop-up window next to Document, select your main layout file (in this case, DC_CoffeeInfographic_PT_8fx14.psd) and click Ok. Now go back to your main layout file and you should see the coffee mug. Make sure the folder is the top group, above Textured Background. With the folder selected, drag the coffee cup to the top left corner of the artboard so it overlaps the C in the title.
Next, we’ll create a dotted line under the title. We’ll use this several times to separate different sections of information. It’s very easy to make dotted lines in Illustrator and InDesign, and usually that’s my preference, but I’m going to show you one way to easily make them in Photoshop.
Select your Brush tool and choose a hard round brush. Open your Brush palette by going to Window > Brush. In the Brush palette, uncheck Smoothing. Set the size to 20 px and change the Spacing to 200%. You should be able to see your dotted line brush form in the brush preview window (the curvy line at the bottom of the palette) as you increase the spacing.
Create a new folder below the coffee cup folder called Dotted Lines. Make a new layer in the folder. With your brush selected and still using the Cinnamon color, click under the last E in the title and hold shift while dragging to the left. Go a little past the midpoint of the coffee cup, but not quite to the edge.
Create a new layer in the same folder and use the same click/shift/drag technique to draw a line from the left edge of our new line up to the coffee cup. If it isn’t perfectly lined up, simply use your Move tool (v) to drag it to the correct location.
Create a new folder below Coffee in Black Mug with Plate and name it Store Cups. Switch back over to Freebies.psd and select Storefront. Go to Edit > Duplicate Layer and choose the main layout file.
Back in the layout file, you should now see your Storefront icon. Drag it into the Store Cups folder. Place the store icon just below our dotted line on the far left.
Repeat this same process for the To-Go Coffee Cup. In Freebies.psd, select the To-Go Coffee Cup layer and go to Edit > Duplicate Layer and select the main layout file. Go to the main layout file and drag the To-Go Coffee Cup layer into the Store Cups folder. Place the to-go cup just below the store and to the left.
We’re going to have a total of six cups. So, with the first to-go cup layer selected, click and hold opt/alt + shift while dragging to the right to make a copy.
Now, select both to-go cup layers and do the same thing again, but click and hold opt/alt + shift while dragging down.
Do this exact same step once more to create our last two cups.
Now select the layers with the store and all six cups and copy them all to the right.
We’re going to use the cups to represent numbers of cups that disappear in 50% of coffee shops. So, we’ll want to create the illusion of missing cups on our second group. To do this, create a new folder inside the Store Cups folder and call it Empty Cups. Drag the last four to-go cups into this folder (the bottom four cups on the right side). Now we can apply a layer effect to the folder. Double click on the folder icon next to Empty Cups (or click the fx icon on the bottom of the Layer palette) to bring up the Layer Style dialogue.
Select Color Overlay. Set the Blend Mode to Normal and click on the color swatch to bring up the Color Picker. With the color picker open, use the eyedropper to click on one of the background brown colors. No need to be exact with the color.
With the dialogue box still open, select Stroke. Set the size to 3 px, Position Center. Click on the color swatch and use the eyedropper to click on the grey color in the to-go cup icons. Now click OK.
Select your Type tool (t) and create a textbox by clicking just to the right of the store icons and dragging down and to the right. In the text box, type “50% of all coffee shops gradually replace their coffee cups with the power of suggestion.” Continue to use Tolyer X Vintage No1 in Cinnamon, at about 20 pt with Leading set to 19 pt. In the Options menu at the top of the screen, select Left Align Text.
Next, we’ll do our part to add to the hipster mystique. In Freebies.psd, duplicate the icon called Hipster onto our main layout. Drag the layer into a new folder below Store Cups and name it Hipster Thermos. Position the hipster icon to the right of the stores.
We’re going to be displaying an equivalency, so use your Type tool to add an equal sign next to the hipster icon. We’re continuing to use Tolyer X Vintage No1 in Cinnamon, at 30 pt this time.
In the Freebies file, duplicate the Thermos icon onto the main layout file. Drag the layer into the Hipster Thermos folder. Position the thermos to the right of the equal sign.
Copy the thermos by clicking on it and holding down opt/alt + shift while dragging to the right. Do this twice for a total of three thermoses.
Use your Type tool to create a text box below the hipster and thermoses. Inside the text box, type “it takes nearly 3 thermoses of coffee to produce 1 metric hipster.” in the same font we’ve been using, set to 18 pt with leading of 14 pt, but change up the color this time. Click on the color swatch in your Character palette (Window > Character). WIth the Color Picker open, use the eyedropper to select the orange color in the hipster icon.
In the same text box, hit enter to go to the next line and type “Note: 1 metric hipster is equivalent to 2.27 imperial hipsters.” Use the same font and color, but make it much smaller – 10 pt – and increase the leading to 17 pt to give it some separation from the primary “fact”.
To keep the information separated and easy to follow, let’s add a new dotted line between our store fact and hipster fact. Go to your Dotted Lines folder and create a new layer. Draw a vertical line between the two sections. Use your Move tool to fine tune the position of the line when you’re done drawing it.
On to the middle section!
Let’s bring in another real object. In Freebies.psd, duplicate the group called Coffee in White Mug to the main layout file. Place the group below the Hipster Thermos folder. Position the mug to the far right, under the Hipster fact.
To change up the look a little bit and add more color, we’ll use a solid line with an arrow to divide the next section. This is another thing I might normally draw in Illustrator, but let’s look at how to do it in Photoshop with a handy hidden arrow option.
Create a new folder under the white coffee cup group and name it Coffee Currency. Create a new layer in this folder and name it Arrow Line.
Click and hold the Shape tool (u) in your toolbar to see the flyout menu. Select the Line tool. In the Properties menu at the top of the screen, select Shape for Tool Mode. Change the Fill color to none by clicking on the fill swatch and choosing the white swatch with the red diagonal line through it. Change the Stroke color by clicking on the Stroke swatch and using the eyedropper to sample the teal color from the thermos icon. Next, we’ll want to change something called Path Operations. If you use Illustrator or InDesign frequently, you may recognize these options as being similar to the Pathfinder tools. Click on the little square icon to the right of the Height. In the drop down menu, choose Combine Shapes. This will, like it says, combine the shapes we draw on one layer which will work great for our purposes. If you’re drawing a more intricate shape that needs perfect joints, you may want to draw each line on a separate layer. Lastly, change the Weight to 8 px.
Start your line off of the artboard on the far left and hold shift while dragging to the right until you’re under the white coffee cup photo.
Now draw a line straight down from the end of the first line, just past the handle of the cup.
Now we get to set up our arrow. In the Options menu at the top, click on the gear icon just to the left of Weight. This is the hidden arrowhead menu. Select End (which is where we’ll want our arrowhead) and set Width and Height to 800%. These are the size of the arrowhead relative to the stroke weight. Set Concavity to 20%. This determines the barb shape on our arrow.
Position your Line tool over the end of our last line and click and drag to the left while holding shift. If you prefer, you can create this section of the line on a new layer and manually move it into place with the Move tool.
Select your Type tool and create a text box that aligns with the to-go coffee cups on the left and the arrow shape on the right. Add “coffee is used in many countries as currency, but frequently jams atms and causes mass inflation.” in Tolyer X Vintage No1 in Cinnamon at 30 pt, with leading set to 24 pt so it fits comfortably within the confines of our arrow line.
Create a new folder below Coffee Currency and name it World Beans. In Freebies.psd, duplicate the world map graphic. This is probably going to be an incredibly useful graphic for you. I’m constantly looking for good world maps and this one is great for any number of business applications.
Place the map on the far left of the file, just below our last textbox.
We’ll need to change the color to match our layout a little better, so open the Layer Style dialogue by clicking on the fx icon in the bottom of the Layers palette and choosing Color Overlay.
When the dialogue box opens, set the Blend Mode to Normal and click on the swatch to bring up the Color Picker. Sample the bright orange-yellow on the hipster icon, then click OK.
Create a new text box in the space to the right of the map and add “If you lay out all the coffee beans ever grown in the world, you will make a rather large mess.”
Too many fonts with this many elements can start to get overly busy very fast, so I think two is a good amount here. For this text, I’m going to use Mairy Regular at 14 pt with 14 pt leading and change the color to the same orange-yellow as the map.
Create a new folder under World Beans and name it 64 Guy. I think my folder names are getting increasingly silly, but the important thing is that I can find things quickly by skimming the names.
Duplicate the Bubbly Human graphic from the Freebies file onto the main layout. Drag the layer into the new folder. Position the bubbly guy centered under the teal section of line with the arrowhead.
Create a text box under the bubbly man and add “Every cup of coffee you drink increases the need for immediate restroom usage by 64%.” In this section, we’ll center the text and use Mairy Regular at 12 pt with 12 pt leading. In the Options menu, select Center Align Text. Change the color to the same teal used in the bubbly guy graphic.
Now that we have a better idea of the space we have, I want to add a payment type icon to the section about coffee as currency. In the Freebies file, duplicate Hand Credit Card onto the main layout. Drag this icon into the Coffee Currency folder. Position the icon in the space between our World Beans fact and the bubbly guy so the teal arrow is pointing at the credit card.
Now go to the Dotted Lines folder and add a layer. Use your Brush tool (b), still set to our dotted line settings, to draw a dotted line from credit hand to just below the bubbly guy text. Don’t forget to hold down shift as you draw your line to keep the path straight.
Create another new layer in Dotted Lines and draw a line starting at the bottom of our last dotted line and running off the artboard to the right.
Next, we’ll insert a super fun notepad mock-up element. I love this thing.
In Freebies.psd, duplicate the folder called Notepad into the main layout file. Back in the layout file, create a new folder called Coffee Diary just below Coffee Currency and drag the Notepad folder into the Coffee Diary folder. Position the notepad on the far left, falling off the edge of the artboard and overlapping our world map.
This fact will talk about a person who kept a diary of each cup of coffee they had, so we want to create a page of that diary on the notepad.
Click on the little arrow next to the Notepad folder to view the layers inside the group. One of the layers is highlighted (4×8.4 notepad). Double click on the thumbnail to open the linked image.
Once that file opens, draw a text box and enter some coffee notations in a handwritten or script font. Change the color to dark gray to mimic pencil lead.
Save (File > Save or cmd/ctrl + s) and close the file. The image will automatically update in our main layout file.
Close the notepad folder (click the little arrow icon next to the folder).
Use your Type tool to create a text box to the right of the notepad. Make sure the layer is inside Coffee Diary. Add “in 1872, John withersby of wailingford, connecticut kept a diary of every time he drank coffee. This was later regarded as a huge waste of time and was of no significance to anyone. Ever.” We’ll return to using Toyler X Vintage No1 in Cinnamon at 14 pt with 14 pt leading.
We have a big open space that’s perfect for another photo. In the Freebies file, duplicate the group Coffee Beans in Case to the layout file. Drag the folder below Coffee Diary. Position the bowl of coffee beans in the big open space between the diary fact and the bubbly guy.
We’ll add one more dotted line here to separate our map and diary fact. Create a new layer in the Dotted Lines folder and draw a dotted Cinnamon line from the notepad to the coffee bean bowl.
We’re in the final stretch – last section!
In the Freebies file, locate the Timeline and duplicate it to the main layout file. Create a new folder called Timeline and place the layer in it. Position the timeline graphic below our existing facts in the space to the right of the notepad.
I want to add a little more color here, so click on the fx icon and choose Color Overlay. Set the Blend Mode to Normal and change the color to the same teal as the bubbly guy (by using the eyedropper from the Color Picker pop-up).
I primarily want to use this timeline layout as a guide for creating our own timeline, so we’ll mask out the things we don’t need.
With the Timeline layer selected, use your Rectangular Marquee Tool (m) to draw a rectangle around the section we want to keep – the line with the triangles. With that selection in place, click the Add Vector Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. This will automatically mask off everything outside our selection.
Now we’ll add our own years above the triangles. Select your Type tool and click above the first teal triangle on the timeline. Type “957 AD” in Toyler X Vintage No1 at 18 pt and change the color to the same orange-yellow we’ve been using from our hipster icon. In the Options menu at top (or the Paragraph palette), choose Center Align Text and use your Move tool to center the copy above the triangle.
We’re going to copy this text layer 4 times by clicking on the text with our Move tool and holding opt/alt + shift while dragging to the right and positioning over each triangle of the timeline. Use your Type tool to change the years once they’re in place. I used 1278, 1484, 1649 and 2015.
We’ll use the same basic technique to create the facts under each year on the timeline.
Create a text box below the first triangle and add “Herders notice energizing effect of coffee berries on goats”. We don’t have much room, so our text will be a little smaller. Change it to Mairy Regular in Cinnamon at 11 pt with 12 pt leading. I also set the tracking to -20 to conserve space. Center Align the text and use your Move tool to center the text box below the triangle.
We’ll copy this text box 4 times like we did with the years. Hold opt/alt + shift while dragging your mouse to the right and centering the text boxes under each triangle. Change the copy after everything is positioned.
I used “Scholars and mystics use coffee to increase focus “, “Bathroom Break”, “Several attempted bans on coffee fail as popularity soars” and “Coffee and design collide to create a coffee infographic”.
We’re down to the last row of information!
In the Freebies file, duplicate the Circle Graph into the main layout file. Drag it into a new folder named Circle Graph below the Timeline folder. Position the graphic on the bottom left of the artboard.
We don’t need the part that says 1st, 2nd and 3rd, so we’ll mask that off. Use your Rectangular Marquee tool (m) to draw a rectangle around the things we want to hide (1st, 2nd, 3rd). In the top menu, go to Select > Inverse. Now click the Add Vector Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Draw a text box starting below the 59% of the circle graph. Add “Coffee drinkers who favor the color teal are able to complete 59% of a circle before being distracted by something shiny; compared to 43% by those who favor yellow and only 27% by purple lovers.” Set the font to Mairy Regular in bubbly guy teal at 12 pt with 14 pt leading and -5 tracking.
For our very last info section, duplicate the Test Tubes layer in the Freebies file onto the main layout file. Drag it into a new folder called Science below Circle Graph. Position the test tubes to the right of our circle graph text.
Create a text box to the right of the test tubes and add “during the process of instant coffee crystal refinement, the base components are red and blue. An accidental spill onto a scientist’s glasses led to the discovery of 3d technology.” in Tolyer X Vintage No1 in Cinnamon at 12 pt with 14 pt leading.
Positioning of the folders is pretty important so nothing overlaps where it shouldn’t. Here’s a final look at my layers.
We are done!
We have a modern Coffee Infographic that combines completely silly “facts” with incredible graphic elements for a poster that’s easy to read and fun to look at. Or maybe that’s fun to read and easy to look at…?
Please remember to share your designs on the Facebook page too. I can’t wait to see what kind of ridiculous facts you make up!
Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions. I’m more than happy to help and/or learn something new!
Remember there’s just a few days left to grab The Contemporary Creative Design Collection for just $29 (that’s 98% off).
Until next time – happy designing!