Carrie Cousins

Carrie is the chief writer at Design Shack, with years of experience in web and graphic design. Sports fanatic. Information junkie. Designer. True-believer in karma.

Business / 24 Nov 2015

Women in Web Design: A Personal Essay

Look around the room where you are sitting right now. How many women are in your design meeting? How many women are on your design team? How many women are working on web design projects?

We have an industry problem. Web design, particularly, is a quite distinct boys club. But why? It doesn’t have to be. Today, I’m doing something a little different, and writing a personal essay about my feelings as a woman in this business. I hope you’ll read along and join the conversation.

Reviews / 23 Nov 2015

How to Create Instant Mockups With PlaceIt

There’s nothing like a good mockup to help you showcase a design with ease. From realistic iPhone and iPad mockups to desktop computer screens, a mockup makes it easy for you to showcase a website or other digital design to clients in a realistic way. A mockup makes it a lot easier for someone to visualize exactly what the final product will look like.

Mockups can be used in project presentations, and for website or app coming soon or launch pages. And PlaceIt makes it easy for you to find exactly the mockup you need without spending a ton of time creating it yourself. Here’s a look at how PlaceIt works.

Graphics / 18 Nov 2015

The Evolution of Flat Design: Muted Colors

Today, we’re taking flat design to the next level. Not every project works with some of the bold, bright color choices that are commonly connected to flat design.

So don’t get stuck using them. Kick up your flat design scheme a notch with a more muted color palette. The subtle change can help give your site a trendy overhaul and help it stand out in the flat design crowd. Here we’re going to pick apart a few websites that are using this style exceptionally well to help you create a site using flat design and a muted color palette.

Inspiration / 16 Nov 2015

The 2015 Designer Gift Guide

Happy holidays! It almost seems too early to think about holiday shopping, but the season is already upon us. It pays to plan ahead with your holiday gifts, and make sure you’re not part of that last-minute rush! Have you made your list yet?

We’ve gathered some of our favorite new tools and toys to give – and get. So grab a pen and starting making your list, and checking it off with items from our 2015 Designer Gift Guide.

Freelancing / 9 Nov 2015

10 Freelancer Habits You Should Break Today

Bad habits can break your freelance career before it even really gets off the ground. You’ve heard the saying that it takes 90 days to create a habit? It’ll take you at least that long to break a bad one.

So don’t let any of these career-killers sneak into your work (and if you are dealing with one of these bad habits, make a point to break it now). Today we’re delving into a collection of hang-ups and habits that you’re definitely best off leaving behind!

Graphics / 4 Nov 2015

Design Trend: Using Watercolor Patterns in Web Design

Add a little art to your web design with the watercolor trend. Watercolor techniques are a popular design option because they are fun, easy to use and work with a variety of different types of content.

Watercolor styles can be used in a number of ways to emphasize your content. Whether you are considering a watercolor look for your website framework or just want to experiment with the style, we have a collection of ideas, examples and resources to help you get started.

Typography / 2 Nov 2015

What Comes First? The Copy, or the Typeface?

We have a sort of chicken and egg dilemma today: What comes first? The copy, or the typeface? There is a fine line between designing with or without the words.

Typography and design can alter what you think about when you read words. Think back to the process. Do you pick a typeface first or wait for the copy? (Without giving too much away, the secret is collaboration. If you don’t work together, you’ll only end up with a blank canvas.) Here are a few different scenarios and suggestions.

Business / 28 Oct 2015

10 Tools for Collecting Your Design Inspiration

As a designer, you likely have a closet of finished projects and another equally massive digital file. What do you keep? And what do you do with all that stuff?

The answer is not easy but there are plenty of available tools that can help you manage your design files. Good work practices, multiple filing options and a little bit of keep and toss mentality can go a long way. Here, we are looking at a handful of tools that can help you collect, manage and store your design files.

Typography / 26 Oct 2015

Web Design Debate: Do I Really Need to Use Sans Serif Fonts?

There’s long been a theory that serif typefaces are for printed projects and sans serifs are for website design. But with more high definition screens and great type options available, that rule just isn’t so much a rule anymore.

Whether you prefer serifs or sans serifs (or a combination of the two), the main objectives when choosing typefaces for digital design projects should be readability and legibility. Simple, you need to pick fonts that are sharp and easy to read on the screen. Part of this is related to usage, such as size and placement of text, and then to the style of typeface you choose.

Graphics / 22 Oct 2015

Detox Your Design: 8 UI Elements to Eliminate

Is your design starting to look old? Old and out-of-date user interface elements can make a site feel much more dated than it actually is.

Here, we look at eight UI elements that you should eliminate from your design plan. But that’s not all; each “don’t” comes with a suggestion for modernizing your website. We’ll get that design looking up-to-date in no time!

Inspiration / 19 Oct 2015

12 Tips for Creating Captivating Photography in Design Work

Great photography can be the visual that makes a good design project a great one. And it is up to you to ensure that your images are practical, usable and captivating.

As a designer, it is your job to provide art direction before, during and after the photo taking and editing process so that you get a collection of images that work for your brand and your projects. Today, we’ll look at 12 ways to help you make the most of those images for any project type. (You might want to bookmark this guide so you can refer to it next time you are ready to think about getting new images.)

Business / 16 Oct 2015

How to Hold a Meeting That Gets Everyone Excited About Design

The dreaded project kickoff meeting. It’s on your calendar. You can’t avoid it. But you can make it a more memorable event that helps generate creativity among the members of your team.

The start of every project should be marked with excitement and anticipation. It’s the time when you and your team get to learn about a new client or idea and really get to go back to the basics of brainstorming and idea generation. It can, and should, be one of the most important parts of a design project and it needs to be anything but boring.

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