The recent software update for the iPhone — iOS14 — gives users the ability to add custom widgets to their home screen. Combine this feature with some custom branded app icons to take your mobile personalization and productivity to the next level.

Here’s how to create a custom iPhone home screen tailored to your interests or your company’s brand. Below is a custom screen I made from my Halloween themed app icons.

iOS Halloween Icons by Phillustrations

First, you’ll need some graphics. …

Zoom settings for Virtual Backgrounds
Zoom settings for Virtual Backgrounds

Working from home? With the importance of social distancing dominating the headlines, gatherings of friends and colleagues are now taking place almost exclusively online. Although the new stay-home rules prevent most businesses and individuals from meeting in person, digital tools such as Google Meet and Zoom make it possible to stay connected with your coworkers and loved ones from a safe distance.

Though some businesses have put their operations completely on hold for the time being, many others continue on… thanks to virtual meetings. Zoom is one of the leaders in this tech space.

One unique feature of Zoom is…

Illustration by Phil Scroggs

Everybody has their favorite holiday song. With so many recordings and re-recordings to choose from, top 10 lists are as abundant and diverse as December snowflakes. But I’ve got a different take on the topic. Here is my ultimate list of the best versions of the best Christmas and seasonal songs. Some cover versions improve upon the original. Others, we could do without. Don’t get me wrong — Harry Connick can sing the hell out of Jingle Bells. But, we don’t need any more reimaginings of that old tune. …

Though most of us use it every day, we still have a lot to learn

Illustration by Phil Scroggs

Has a Word document ever done the opposite of what you told it to do? Picture it. You’re on a deadline, typing away at an important report. Things seem to be going smoothly. Words are flowing like a chocolate fountain at a wedding reception.

And then, suddenly, it’s as if somebody dropped a strawberry into the pump. Everything comes to a screeching halt.

“Why aren’t my tabs lining up?”

“How do I make lines so that somebody can sign and date the page?”

“This could really use some graphics. Will a low-res image work?”

As a Microsoft Office user for…

Part two in a series on how to pick great photos and illustrations for your documents and presentations.

I want to help you create great looking stuff, whether for business or personal use. I’ve been a graphic designer for many years. But you don’t have to be a design expert to make your work look professional. Just follow these basic guidelines.

Let’s briefly review a couple of key points I covered in part one. [Click to read part 1 of this story.] The first rule of using stock photos and illustrations is to make sure you’re downloading properly licensed or…

It’s still only August. But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already excited about Halloween.
Since June.

Up the street from my house, there’s a tree whose leaves have prematurely turned orange. I consider it a sign. But, perhaps it’s just our dry summer that is to blame. I mean “thank.” At Michael’s craft store, the shelves have been filled with skulls, ravens, and tombstones since mid-August. I’m trembling. Not from fear. But anticipation.

I’m not a kid anymore. But, I still look forward to Halloween every year. Just like Jack Skellington himself, I start my countdown on…

A how-to series on picking the perfect photos and illustrations for your documents and slide decks

Photo credit:

Each of us has had to create digital documents for work or personal use. And even if you’re not a graphic designer, you should still add visual flair to reports typed in Word or PowerPoint decks. One way to brighten up an otherwise nap-inducing quarterly presentation or status report is to add stock photos or illustrations. But, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about this. With so many choices, how do you choose excellent images that will work well together…

Illustration by Phil Scroggs

Since March, we have been enjoying Daylight Saving Time in most of the US. I love the extra hour of sunlight in the summer evenings. But, I’ve discovered that a large number of people think we’re still in Standard Time. (We are now in Daylight Time until November.) No, they’re not oversleeping because they forgot to spring forward. But, they’re referring to their time zone incorrectly in all their business correspondence. If you’ve been telling your customers your business hours in “EST” or “PST,” then you’ve been an hour off all summer. First, I’ll explain why it’s confusing. …

Do you want to know what sets graphic designers off? Double spaces. I don’t mean the kind that college students use between paragraphs to make their papers appear longer. I mean the tap-tap of the spacebar at the end of a sentence. It’s unnecessary. And to typographers and graphic designers, it just looks terrible. It creates rivers of space through columns of text. Here’s the fastest, easiest way to take all of your communications — both personal and professional — from sloppy to sleek. Scrub the double space.

“But I’ve always double spaced! When did the rule change?”

Illustration by Phil Scroggs — Instagram: @phillustrations

By weekday, I’m a mild-mannered pixel-pusher. I make digital drawings, I format type, and re-touch photos for a living. I follow brand guides. I stick to the rules.

But on weekends, my alter ego takes over. I become a creative superhero. I roam the streets of Seattle in search of visual wrongs to right. My mission: save my fellow citizens from the scourge of bad design. It’s everywhere: billboards and bumper stickers, grocery store signs and sidewalk sandwich boards.

These are my superpowers:

  • Spotting a double space from 1,000 yards.
  • Correcting typos with the flick of a pen.
  • Removing superfluous…

Phil Scroggs

I am an animator / #Illustrator / graphic #designer from Seattle, WA. I write about design and productivity.

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