Deck the Calls! Design Unique Hand-Lettered Wallpaper for Your Smartphone

Create tech-friendly, sharable holiday wallpaper using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator with designer and letterer, Lauren Hom.

Deck the Calls! Design Unique Hand-Lettered Wallpaper for Your Smartphone
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The holidays are here, and to help get us all in the holiday spirit, we reached out to Detroit-based designer and letterer Lauren Hom.

Lauren is known for making things fun. Her stock and trade are bright colors, playful fonts, and a quirky wit. But she’s no lightweight — she’s worked for clients like Starbucks, Google, and AT&T, and she’s known widely as the irreverent author of the binge-worthy blog Daily Dishonesty, as well as a book by the same name.

Lauren loves to share her thoughts and ideas about design.

Follow along to learn how to craft a beautiful custom phone design or download Lauren’s free premade holiday wallpaper templates, and start getting inspired!

Step 1:​​ Letter a phrase surrounded by complementary line art illustrations, trying to create an even amount of drawings around the lettering. Draw these illustrations as outlines with closed shapes because these lines will act as the glittery outlines for your wrapping paper design. Ideally, you’ll end up with a balanced, rounded shape to your entire composition like mine. Scan or upload it onto your computer to be turned into vector art.

Open up Adobe Illustrator. Using your preferred method, refine your artwork in Illustrator. I like using Adobe Capture to turn my drawings into quick vector art and then refining the linework using the Pencil + Smooth tools in Illustrator. Click here to see a more in-depth tutorial on this process, but feel free to vectorize & refine your artwork however you feel most comfortable.

Step 2:​​ Open up Adobe Photoshop and create a new document that’s the size of your phone screen (I have an iPhoneX and the dimensions are ​1125px × 2436px). A quick Google search of your phone model + ‘wallpaper dimensions’ should give you answer.

Go back to your Illustrator document, select all of the artwork, and press Command + C to copy it.​ Press Command + V to paste your artwork from Illustrator into your Photoshop document. You’ll be prompted to select how you’d like the to artwork be imported. Select ‘Pixels’.

Step 3:​​ Duplicate your artwork, naming the bottom layer ‘Fill in color’ and the top layer ‘Glitter outlines’ so you know which layers you’re working with. Turn off the ‘Glitter outlines’ layer and lock the transparent pixels on the ‘Fill in the color’ layer.

Fill this layer with a gold color (or the approximate color you want your glitter outlines to be) and then unlock the transparent pixels on it. This will be your placeholder glitter outline simply for color matching purposes. Fill the background with a color of your choice.

Step 4: ​​Using the Paint Bucket tool, fill in your illustrations. This tool will fill the enclosed shapes you drew with the colors you select. Repeat all over the design.

Step 5:​​ Once finished coloring in your illustrations, find an image of a glittery gold texture and bring it into your file. I found mine on Adobe Stock and dragged it in directly from my Library. Make sure to scale this image up to fill the entire page.

Making sure your gold glitter texture image is directly above your ‘Glitter outlines’ layer, turn on your ‘Glitter outlines’ layer and hold down the Option key while you hover between the two layers in the panel. You should see a little arrow pointing downwards. While still holding the Option key, click between the layers to mask the glitter to your type…creating the beginning of your glitter outlines! This will probably look too light and hard to read though, so we’ll need to make some adjustments.

Step 6:​​ At the bottom of your Layers panel, click on the icon for ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ and select ‘Hue/Saturation’. Now hold down Option and click between this layer and your gold glitter texture layer to make sure it only affects your glittery type, not the rest of your piece. Go into your Hue/Saturation panel now and toggle the sliders until you get a darker gold color that you like.

Select your gold glitter texture and your Hue/Saturation layers in your Layers panel and press Command + E to compress them. Hold down the Option key and click between this layer and your ‘Glitter outlines’ layer to unlink them. Your now darker gold glitter texture should be its own layer.

Step 7:​​ Using the Rectangle Marquee tool, select the entirety of your darker gold glitter texture and then go to Edit > Define Pattern to turn this texture into a useable pattern.

Step 8:​​ Select the ‘Glitter outlines’ layer and then go to the icon for ‘Add a layer style’ at the bottom of the Layers panel. Select ‘Pattern overlay’. Select your darker gold glitter texture that you just created as the overlay. Then, go to Bevel and Emboss in the left-hand menu bar and toggle the settings like mine or until you get the raised-look that you want.

Step 9:​​ Create a clipping mask on the layer ‘Fill-in color’ and then using a textured brush at about 50% opacity, add + subtract some texture into the colored parts of your drawings until you get a distressed printed look that you like. Repeat all over your illustrations.

Step 10:​​ Group all of your layers together except for the background. Now, duplicate that group, select it, and press Command + E to flatten it. Turn the other group off and place it at the bottom of your file (just in case you need it later).

Select and scale down your flattened artwork and then holding down Option, click and drag it to duplicate it in a column. Then select the layers in that column and hold down Option and click and drag to duplicate them two more times on each side.

Step 11​​: Select all of these new duplicate layers and press Command + E to flatten them into one pattern now. Then, using your Lasso tool, select an illustration and hold down Option and click and drag a duplicate of that illustration to fill out a blank space in the design.

Repeat this with various elements throughout your design until it’s filled to your satisfaction.

Step 12: Double-click on the colored Background layer. Find an image of a white paper texture and drop it into your file. I found mine on Adobe Stock. Select your colored layer and turn the blend mode to ‘Multiply’ to give your design a subtle paper texture. Export, and done!

Now it’s your turn! Share your designs with the Lauren using #HOMfortheHolidays and tag Adobe Creative Cloud on Twitter or Instagram. Adobe Creative Cloud is ready and waiting to help you bring all your ideas to life.

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