Monthly Archives: August 2011


Free Apple iPhone, iPad, iMac and MacBook Vectors

Here are some high-quality free vectors you can download (courtesy of for Apple devices you can use in your designs. The iPhone and iPad are especially useful if you are showcasing mobile site or app designs in your portfolio. Just click on the images below for your free download.

Happy freebie Friday!


Designer QR Codes & How to Use Them

Since opening shop as The Deep End, my first order of business was new business cards.  I knew that this time around I wanted to employ the use of a Quick Response (QR) code.

QR codes are a huge trend in internet marketing. While they are similar to traditional barcodes used by retailers for decades, this new version can hold much more information. When you scan (photograph) one of these codes with your iPhone or smartphone, it automatically links to a website, or activates a phone function, such as calling or text messaging.

How to use them

This is the best part. Its incredibly simple to generate and implement QR codes. There are many sites out there, such as,  that specialize in generating them. You simply choose the type of data you want the code to call up, input the data, and you’re done. You can then use the code on just about any medium you can think of. Business cards, websites, print ads, even t-shirts.


In the case of my new business cards, I could generate a QR code to do any number of things. I could make a code that would automatically open up my website. Or one that would generate a Facebook “like” or Twitter follow. While these actions could be great in the right scenario, I opted for something more old-fashioned—contact info. This way, when a client takes a photo of the code, all my contact info, complete with company name, phone number, email address as well as web address automatically shows up on their smartphone, with the option to save it. I love this idea, because it fulfills the objective of the business card in a big way. The person I give my card to now has my contact info, even if they lose the card.

Square doesn’t have to equal boring

While traditionally black and white, some companies have been playing with incorporating their QR codes into their design. I played with mine a bit to add some white space in the center, along with my squid mascot. There seems to be a margin for wiggle-room with QR codes. They can be played with up to a point without any information being lost. But if you change it too much, it won’t be readable at all. So play around, but test your designs to reach the sweet spot.

Here are some more great creative examples of QR codes:


Notes from The Deep End

Hello fellow graphic and web designers, developers and general creative-types! Today marks the switch-over from one-man show Wes McDowell Creative to The Deep End, my own graphic & web design studio which is more of a collaboration. It also marks my first blog post, but don’t worry, I actually do have lots to say. But for now, I would simply like to introduce myself.

I am Wes McDowell, and I have been a freelance graphic designer for the past 10 years. During that time, I have worked with some great companies, big and small, and the time has finally come to make the dream of my own company official. It’s not just me anymore. I will continue to be lead designer, but I now have some very talented people to turn to for web development, copywriting and illustrating.

As for this blog, which I am calling “Notes From the Deep End,” I plan on posting every single week, covering a broad range of design topics from tutorials, to design inspiration and productivity. Please feel free to comment, share or disagree with anything I say here, it is an open forum. I even welcome the idea of guest bloggers, so if you have a topic you would like to share here, please email me at wes@ My first official post will come this Monday, so stay tuned!

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