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Design Tutorial 1: Black and White Flyer Design using Vectors and Pixels

Recently updated on November 15th, 2017 at 09:33 pm

Black and White PSD file


I needed to create a different looking club flyer design for a nightclub owner who didn’t want the typical “sexy-girl” look. The club in question played a lot of ambient, jungle, and dub-step stuff – the kind of dance music for the student and musically-sophisticated club crowd in Miami. This is not the version that was used in the final version. I created a similar design for this tutorial, with the same look and feel, using the same techniques.

This tutorial outlines a few easy-to-do Photoshop effects and simple Illustrator shapes that combine to make a really effective “spacey” looking black and white design.

Time Needed

2-3 hours


  • Pathfinder cut-out
  • Integrating 3d vector elements into Photoshop
  • Using mezzotint and other filters/effects
  • Working with black and white palette

Resources Used:

Girls Profile Stock

Spirals and halftone brushes

Tree Brushes


01___Firstly, we start out with this fantastic piece of stock from TwiggXstock on deviant art (see resource link at the beginning of this article.) Cut the path out of her face and neck. When cutting out paths, don’t try to cut single strands of hair. It will drive you crazy. Especially for the purposes of this design, in which we are going to build a lot of textures and other elements around the girl’s hair and face. Follow the natural line of the hair, eliminating the straggly hair bits and creating a “cleaner” look.

02___Cut and paste the girls head into a new document (for quality color and print purposes, ensure that your new PSD document is at 300 dpi and in a CMYK color profile format.)

03___Create a black background layer. Then use the desaturate function in the adjustment menu to strip the color from the girls head layer (since this design will be black and white.)

04___Open up curve options in the adjustment menu (ctrl+m). In the CMYK channel, adjust the curves to bring more definition to the girls face.

05___Copy and paste the girls head as a new layer. Turn off the original girls head layer. In the filter menu, choose the gaussian blur option and set the radius for the blur to approximately 39 pixels.

06___Turn your original girls head layer back on and bring the opacity down from the Gaussian blur layer to around 60%. This creates a rather pleasing “ghostly” and “enigmatic” look!

07___Switch to Illustrator to start creating your 3D textures. Draw some simple rectangle and triangle shapes and make them into 3D elements by using the extrude and bevel feature in the effects menu. Add a perspective value to this menu to create depth.

08___ Experiment a little with this fun tool to get a variety of shapes; create some with a stroke and some without. Rotate them and place them at odds with one another to create a swirling mass of interesting floating elements.


09___Copy and paste these shapes as a pixel layer into our main Photoshop document, rotating and resizing as you go.

10___Repeat this process – adding shape layers behind the face layers.

11___Paste larger versions of the 3D Illustrator shapes as background items. Bring the opacity down on these layers to about 20%.

12___Create a black layer on top of your background shapes. Open your filter menu and choose pixelate > mezzotint. Make sure the mezzotint is set to “fine dots”. Turn the opacity on this layer down to 35%.

13___Now it’s time to add some brush elements to the piece. Select brushes from the Spirals and halftone brushes pack (see resource links at the top of this article.) Apply each brush as a new layer, so that each brush element can be edited individually.

14___Add brushes on top of the neck, and around the head. Play with the opacity of these and experiment with the warp tool (edit>transform>warp) to bend the shapes to fit the composition.

15___Once happy with the spiral brush textures, it’s time to add some of the tree textures from the other tree brushes pack (see resource links at the top of this article). Make a new layer for the tree brush textures before adding them to the document.

16___After putting a few tree brush textures down, go to filter>distort>wave and play around with the variables to create a wave effect. The wave filter can be temperamental, so we need to experiment with the variables until we’re happy with the result.

17___Create a few layers with this same effect. Again, there’s a bit of experimentation involved in overlapping these layers before placing them in our document and merging into one layer. Once happy with the effect and the positioning, grab the circular marquee tool from the tools menu and draw a circle over a selected area that you like.

18___Invert the selection (shift+ctrl+i) and delete the outside wave area.

19___Repeat steps 15 through 18 to create more of these waveball effects. Place the wave balls around the edges of our document. Add a drop shadow effect to all the wave balls (layer>layer style>drop shadow.)

20___Around the girls hair, add more tree brushes and wave effects, experimenting with the circular marquee tool to cut simple hole-spaces out of the brush texture – following the natural flow of the girls tied-back hairstyle.

21___Let’s hop back on Illustrator and create a simple concentric circular pattern using black-to-white colors. Copy, paste and resize this shape selection into Photoshop, placing it as a pixel shape.

22___In the filter menu, choose the gaussian blur option and set the radius for the blurring of our circular shape at approximately 17 pixels. This action turns the crude vector shape into a smooth 3D circle shape.

23___Add a black stroke effect to the 3D circle (layer>layer style>stroke) to add definition. Set the stroke to 5px with 44% opacity.

24___Copy and paste the ball shapes, resize, and place around the document. Experiment with different opacities to create “bubble” style effects.

25___Create a white rectangle shape. Go to filter>pixelate>mosaic to add a simple multiplied image effect.

26___Rotate the rectangular shape at an angle and place into the corner of the document. Copy, flip, and paste another rectangular shape in the opposite corner. Bring the opacities of these layers down to about 70%.

27___Add some lighting effects to the design by selecting the gradient tool and choosing the “white-to-clear” effect from the gradient menu. Make sure the gradient is set to a circular pattern. Add touches of light gradient to select areas of the design, pulling light from the edges of the document to the center.

28___Nearly at the finishing post of this design. Just a few finishing touches to add contrast and depth. To get rid of the bluish tint on her face and to transform your design into a true black and white image (if designing for print, I always design in CMYK mode before converting to another file, even if it’s a black and white document) select the mode menu and change the document to grayscale.

29___Once the file has been converted to grayscale, we need to add some final touches of deep contrast to the design. Add a curves adjustment layer to the whole document (click on the half-moon icon at the foot of the layers menu and select curves) drag the curve pointers until you are satisfied with the richer black and white contrast that is produced.


There you have it! A sophisticated black and white flyer design for your classy club flyers. I hope this tutorial was helpful to you and you have fun creating this image. I have included the original PSD with this tutorial to use as your guide.

9 thoughts on “Design Tutorial 1: Black and White Flyer Design using Vectors and Pixels

  1. Thanks, Nio. I appreciate your comments. I will be posting more tutorials on this blogsite. Check back for lots of useful design resources and information! Linked to your portfolio site – great work!

  2. Thanks, Kevin! Just seen your portfolio site. Saw your website. Your work is excellent!

  3. Great tutorial! Very informative, I can Definately see how you can use some of the tricks on other designs. Looking forward to seeing more tutorials from you.

  4. I was expected more post on this site. Probably This really help me to add some techniques in the future visual treatment.

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