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Creative Spotlight: Brian Yap on Designing Grovemade iPhone/iPad Cases with Adobe Touch Apps, Creative Cloud

When we found out that Grovemade – a mobile device product design company based out of Portland, Oregon – tapped designer, illustrator and all-around creative, Brian Yap (@BrianKYap) to create a design for their iPad and iPhone cases, we knew everyone would be in for a treat. We caught up with Brian to get the inside scoop on his approach to designing the cases, and how Adobe Touch Apps, Creative Cloud and various Creative Suite 6 products simplified his creative workflow and more. Check out our Q&A below to see how these stunning cases came to be.

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Adobe: How did this design opportunity with Grovemade come about?

Brian Yap: I was recently asked to be part of the Grovemade case artists’ series because of illustration work I have done on the iPad. Since I use the iPad so much, I bought a case from them online and used artwork I did for a poster series for the Adobe Ideas marketing team. As a smaller craft dedicated company, Grovemade likes to invite artists to create special custom artwork that can be etched or laser engraved. After seeing the first piece I sent them for my own case, I was asked to submit a design for the series.

Talk us through your creative workflow on the Grovemade iPhone/iPad design project.

I started with an idea for a personal piece I was working on, an illustration of a vulture. As a symbol, I thought there were some cool aspects to the duality in vultures: death vs. change, patience and knowledge, as well as an older interpretation of the vulture as a navigator. I found an old image and did a few sketches, but mostly went directly to using it as the bottom photo layer in Adobe Ideas. Once the line work started developing in Ideas, I could start to see how the overall design would play out. Knowing that it would be used for both the iPad and the iPhone case meant creating something I knew I would have to crop in different ways.

How did working with Adobe Touch Apps and Creative Cloud simplify your workflow?

I’m a restless creature. The truth is, sitting down at a desk always makes me antsy. Adobe Ideas on the tablet frees me from that. I work when I’m traveling, catching up on TV, and when I have free time at work. It helps the drawing aspect of my style work in shorter timeframes than what I can usually set aside. That, and my self-inflicted need to do detailed work means, what would normally take a lot longer, I can now complete quicker. The app also makes detail work easier for me. The instant pinch and zoom feature helps me quickly move from working on small areas, to moving out and seeing the whole piece. It may be saving my eyesight, as I used to use tiny pens and scan the drawings in before working in Adobe Illustrator.

Along with using Ideas as the basis of my illustrative technique, the Creative Cloud is quickly becoming my storage and share option along with the ability to jump directly into Illustrator when I’m finished with the drawing to polish the color and overall design.

What inspired you to create this design?

There is something about the detail in animals that always attracts me. I like Symbology a lot and try to incorporate it into pieces I do, especially when I get an assignment to do something like this.

What advice would you give Adobe Touch Apps users?

I’ve had the fortunate chance to really play with a lot of the Adobe Touch Apps. I think as an artist and designer, I appreciate the time that goes into these apps and how simple and user-intuitive they are. For advice, I would say keep digging – features, combos and ways of working lay just under the surface of these apps. I always looked at it as, “can I use this professionally like the Adobe Creative Suite?”, but keep finding new and fun ways to use them.

Final Thoughts?

Besides the great profile of Grovemade and their dedication to sustainable bamboo and handcrafting their items, I thought it was an interesting to create art that would be laser etched onto device cases. Also, it’s cool to open the case and show people the original Ideas file it came from.

Find out what’s next for Brian and check out more illustrations he has created with Adobe Touch Apps, Creative Cloud, etc. at his website.