PSDFan Extra

A New Direction for PSDFAN

Hey there PSDFANs!

Today I’m excited, and honestly a little anxious, because I’m revealing some changes that will have a big impact upon this website, and I hope upon your development as a designer.

You see, now that we’re over 5 years old, it’s safe to say that PSDFAN has gone through some major phases in it’s lifetime.

What started as a hobby blog, quickly grew into a respected source for Photoshop tutorials and design information.

Along the way, we’ve continued to publish quality tutorials, but at times these have been drowned out, as we fell victim to the trend of ‘link bait’ articles (I’m sure you’re familiar with the ’50 greatest XYZ ever!’ style posts that have littered the design community).

A look through our archives and you’ll discover some of the types of posts that I’m least proud of having approved.

It’s not that these posts don’t serve a purpose, but I like to think that PSDFAN has a greater goal; one that has true impact upon it’s audience.


It’s that single word that’s driven me to take this site in an entirely new direction, and one that I hope you’ll love.

You see, over the past 5 years, it was easy to attribute our ‘success’ to the 10 million unique visitors that have landed upon our little corner of the web.

In fact, I became obsessed with these metrics. Asked at a dinner party what I did, I felt a need to back up ‘blogger’ with ‘that receives 250,000 visits each month!’, as if that somehow made our content more worthwhile.

Here’s what I’ve learnt…

I’ve learnt that one engaged, eager, creatively geeky reader is worth 100,000 empty visitor statistics.

I’ve learnt that my true love is in helping individuals, not chasing numbers.

I’ve learnt that in digging deeper and going beyond the meaningless, bloated numbers, we have a highly active, incredibly talented core of designers.

As the new year begins, I wanted to write this post to let you all know that it is this core that is my entire focus.

10 million fleeting visitors are worth nothing to me, but 100 fantastic individuals all helping one another, growing creatively and showing talent they didn’t know they were capable of is worth a hell of a lot more.

That’s why I’m so proud of the blossoming forum community we’ve been building at FanExtra. The guys and girls over there are already taking it to places I couldn’t have imagined, and it’s amazing to get back to those roots of helping individuals overcome real problems and develop creatively.

One of our community rockstars Henk, created this piece after just 3 weeks of using Photoshop and working with us to improve. Apparently he didn’t sleep much during this time!

So what will change this year?

Well to start with, you may notice that the blog is looking considerably simpler as of late. I made the big decision to remove all adverts from the site, as they don’t help YOU, the reader.

As well as link-bait posts being long gone, I’m also reassessing the types of tutorials we’re putting out. Sure, some tutorials can be fun to skim through, but my main focus is now helping you to improve your design work.

Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • As well as helpful tutorials, we’re imminently launching quick video tips (packed with value and tips that’ll instantly benefit your work).
  • We also have a soon to launch Podcast, where I’ll be bringing on some very special guests to dig deep into what it takes to become a successful designer (success as measured in progress, not awards).
  • There is a big redesign also in the works, which should launch early this year. Look out for teasers of this soon! I hope you’ll love it.
  • If you want to be part of our core, active audience, then I’m here for you wholeheartedly. Struggling with something? Wanting to achieve a certain effect? Need some motivation to overcome a creative block? Comment or email anytime, and I’d love to help.
  • It is now this core group who defines the future of this site. Your suggestions, ideas and feedback are always welcome, and in fact I’ll be asking you directly about the content which will help you the most.
  • After reigning back our posting frequency to focus on what was really important, I’ve setup a weekly posting schedule, to give you regular content, but the kind that will have true impact on your work, and hopefully be a lot of fun to digest!

If you made it this far, then it’s you who I intended this post for.

No, this post won’t go viral on Twitter. It won’t set the design community on fire. But that isn’t my intention…

If you’re reading this post then it’s about you, and how I can help you as a designer.

If you’re serious about levelling up your design work, then let me know. Leave a comment. Send a tweet. Drop me an email. However you want to get in touch, that’s fine by me. But we’d love to have you, and there’s a ton of creative folk here just waiting to help you.

I can’t wait to share the new PSDFAN with you, and the new posting schedule will begin as of next week.

It’s going to be fun :) .

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. Faith Watson says:

    Hi Tom, I’m not a designer, so you might think this post isn’t about me, but I wanted you to know that as a writer, I really enjoyed reading it. I’m glad I visited and have come to know you to be another business person on the internet who cares about helping people more than having stats. Even though you are clearly great at both. Your readers are lucky, but we can tell by your success that they already know that. Happy New Year!

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks so much Faith! I don’t consider myself much of a writer, but I felt it was important to share this new direction with all our loyal readers and let them know that it’s them that really matter to me. I appreciate the support, and keep up the great work at Pen to Zen :) .

  2. Great new direction. Thanks for the talk the other day and I can’t wait to see your new redesign. Cheers!

  3. hamidreza says:

    hi, i,m from Iran happy new year thanks from your email Good luck….

  4. ricardofx says:

    brilliant post @Tom.

  5. Rik O'Hare says:

    Well said that man! As a beginner to all this design stuff it’s hard to find quality tutorials and help online – especially trying to wade through those link-bait posts that proliferate everywhere.
    Keep up the good work

  6. Laura Best says:

    I am fumbling my way through developing a blog empowering others to honor and celebrate their heritage.

    I appreciate your outlook on not reaching the most viewers possible once, but reaching out to the ONE that relies on you consistently. Excited to follow your new direction with you! Best wishes.

    • Tom Ross says:

      Damn, you said it so much better than me Laura :) . I love that phrases (and make have to steal it, crediting you of course).

      Your blog looks great btw, some really creative work on there. I’m dropping you an email and would love to help you develop it further.

  7. Diego.M Saravia says:

    Hello Tom:
    It was quite interesting to read to your post and look forward to what this site has become, as a designer it’s always really helpfull to read and watch tutorials or resources to help to make a better and quality work, hope this and i’m sure it’ll be a greater step to make this a way much bigger comunity and it’s to us to keep on moving forward, keep in touch and keep the good work!
    regards from South America

  8. Very well said, Tom! I’m looking forward to what you have in store for us and also hoping to stretch my creative wings more and more with your help. Happy 2014!

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks Peggy! Awesome to have you as an active community both here and at Design Cuts. I’m here for you, and I’d love to help you progress as a designer this year. Happy new year :) .

  9. Barry Cheeseman says:

    Hi Tom,
    I am new to your site having only just found it and subscribed in December 2013. I applaud you for the new direction and decisions you have made and look forward to the new format. I have decided to take my photography in a new direction in 2014 and look forward to learning new processes from far more experienced and talented than I.

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks so much Barry. Great to see that you’re joining our community at FanExtra too (I’m just about to reply to your email). Looking forward to working with you mate.

  10. noeline says:

    I volunteer in our local community teaching the arty side of a computer.
    Please remember to do some exciting but simple tutorials as those I am teaching r between 65-80 and I have to change the tutorials to suit the different programs they use. Over the last 7 yrs I have been making up my own but it takes so much time that I now find I am not doing anything for myself. My creativity has gone out the door. Help

    • Tom Ross says:

      That sounds like awesome work Noeline, thanks for commenting. This year we’re taking things back to basics, so that should suit you well. I’m talking about actionable, quick tips that have big impact upon your work. Look out for our first tutorial of 2014 coming this Tuesday.

      • noeline says:

        i emailed some of my work to u, and u were going to help me. I have now registered and would like u to contact me with regards to this
        thanks noeline

  11. Su Hall says:

    To All Readers of This Post: This is why I love this site so much! I don’t think I have ever had so much contact and help from an owner of a site in the entire 6 years I have been learning PS. We are lucky!!

    I hope there’s another ‘special’ on a subscription soon, but, if not, I will gladly pay full price! It is so worth it!

    Check out the forums, too! You get to meet like-minded folks and they are so supportive and helpful!

    Tom, this sounds so like you! You are one helluva good guy! Luv ya!


    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks Su! It’s been my pleasure helping you these past few years, you’ve been a wonderful community member. No deals on subscription, and my focus is more bringing you guys the most possible value I can, rather than discounting those efforts. Look out for our big relaunch soon though, I hope you’ll love it.

  12. I’ve been a member for a year. I’m a writer, but I do my own book covers and I enjoy the tutorials.


  13. Preston says:

    Best of luck, Tom! Looking forward to seeing where you take the blog next!

  14. I have been engoying your tutorials for some time and it has help me in many situations just wann say that i love what you are doing and i hope it continues. Thank you.

  15. Eric Vasquez says:

    As a designer and just as a curious reader I can say that I truly appreciate the genuine candor of your post. Having worked with you for several years I can honestly say that I have seen great improvements in my work and it has been a great journey so far. I know I am not the only one who is looking forward to seeing where the site will go, but more importantly it is about the people in the community. The people who are here to learn and to help each other and grow with one another are what makes it different from most of the competition. This is so much more valuable than anything else and I think you really spoke to that point in a very honest way. Thank you for all of the hard work!

    • Tom Ross says:

      You’ve been SUCH a huge part of the journey Eric, so thank you man. Can’t wait to share a beer and record this first podcast with you at the weekend. :)

  16. Stephanie Thompson says:

    Now you have me excited as well! I will patiently wait for the post though because i know it will be worth it! Thanks for thinking about us, your readers.

  17. Nitin kolmi says:

    Hey I am from India,Firstly thanks for the mails,it really helped me a lot and eager to learn new things,i will try to share my designs one day and lovely message :)
    Happy New year :)

  18. Mateus says:

    Nice. Let’s Rock!!!!

  19. Jared says:

    Hey Tom! Thanks for the post. I’ve been a long-time fan and several years ago, when I was a broke college kid, started my own 100% free stock photo site (no credits, no royalties, just download and use) because I had similar goals as you- just make awesome resources for the design community to help out other broke college kids :) I have a lot of work to do on it still, but I get no small satisfaction from seeing people use the images. Check it out at (yes, I am a geek) and let me know what you think!

  20. Nikki says:

    As a self taught coder (who occasionally get money for code) and digital artist person, I pride my self on creating my own graphics usually from scratch. I can honestly say that the journey would have been a lot tougher without PSDFAN. Over the years I have gone back and forth from your site to my own work with new tricks I have learned to help amplify the level, as well as the cleanliness of a graphic. I am happy to have finally given your site my email, and I look forward to see the direction PSDFAN takes. KEEP UP the great work you have been doing!

    • Tom Ross says:

      Amazing comment. Thanks Nikki, you’ve made my day :) . I’ll continue working hard to help you, and please let me know if you’re struggling with anything, I’m here for you!

Leave a Comment:

Related Posts

Your Design Work, But More Awesome:

Do you know the basic tools in Photoshop but feel that your work is still looking average? Join our creative community at FanExtra and get the direction you need to take your work to the next level.