So I was getting a bit frustrated searching for a back to school sign for my son’s first day of school photos. I will be the first to admit, I was being both cheap and lazy! I knew I wanted a sign done digitally so that it would look “chalkboard-like” but still be prettier than an actual chalkboard. But I wanted a file I could use over and over again. That was to prove very difficult!
Over and over I messaged artists who were selling the signs. You’d send them your information, and they would either send you a JPEG with your customized information and color selections, or they would make you an actual print, mounted or unmounted. The problem I had was, I wanted to edit the file myself and then use the same file again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that… like I said, cheap. And I didn’t want to make the file myself… like I said, lazy! I offered several artists several times more than what they were charging if they would sell me the layered PSD instead. All said no.
After creating the file myself, I understand why they said no. It took me hours to put it together and most of that time was spent just searching for fonts and fitting everything on the sign! It also takes at least a half hour, if not longer, to customize the file for a different kid with changing the information, changing font colors and reapplying chalkboard effects.
I chose a custom sign that I really liked and just tried to imitate the layout in Photoshop. My sign is probably similar to a lot of signs that are for sale out there. But I can use it this year, and next year, and for every kid, and even change it to do “last day of school” photos if I want to. The up-front time investment will save me tons of money in the long run.
So for anyone who’s in my boat… you know a bit of Photoshop, don’t want to buy these things every year for every kid, etc: Here is my sign for free! Just download the PDF and the zip file of all the fonts I used (all free fonts from www.dafont.com). Install all the fonts. Open the file in Photoshop and away you go! I’ve also shared my Photoshop action for making the fonts look more “chalky”. This has to be done after your text is all in, as it requires each layer to be rasterized.
So that’s it… I know I’m late, but my kid doesn’t start for another two days. And maybe there’s other parents out there who haven’t started yet either – or maybe you didn’t have a sign when they started and you want to do a fake first day of school! Whatever your situation, ENJOY the freebie. 😀 Happy Photoshopping!