Joshua Johnson

Equal parts editor, writer, designer, & photographer. Hit me up on Twitter, read my Mac tutorials or check out my photos.

Inspiration / 24 Sep 2015

Use Abstract Geometry to Create Stunning Designs

If you’ve ever found yourself in a design rut, wondering how to come up with some fresh ideas, then you’ve no doubt experienced how refreshing it can be to experiment with a new design style that’s completely outside of what you typically produce.

Today we’re going to do exactly that. I’ve been fascinated with a particular style lately and just itching to give it a test drive. We’ll start by analyzing this style’s characteristics through the work of others and then proceed to building something on our own using what we learn. Read on to see the step by step process.

Business / 17 Sep 2015

Are You a Right-Brained or Left-Brained Designer?

Colors, pictures, creativity; designers are quite obviously a group of people that tend to gravitate towards using the right sides of their brains… right? Or is this simply a stereotype that doesn’t necessarily ring true?

Is design exclusively artistic talent put to productive use or is it possible that the industry is equally full of analytical problem solvers? Let’s take a look at how designers think, whether you’re a right brainer or a left brainer, and how I’ve struggled through being a left brainer in an industry of right brainers.

Graphics / 22 May 2015

8 Rules for Creating Effective Typography

Today we’re going to discuss something that is both a hot trend and timeless art: typography. The basic rules outlined below will help you become more aware of how you structure and use typography in your designs.

Being conscious of these rules can improve nearly everything you create that contains a headline or major typographic element. Let’s get started!

Graphics / 29 Dec 2013

6 Famous Logos That Leverage Inconsistent Design

One of the most powerful tools that you can use to improve any design is repetition. Repeating colors, shapes and other visual elements throughout a design increases consistency and familiarity so that the design feels more attractive.

But what about the flip side of this idea? Is it possible to wield inconsistency in such a way that it improves the quality of a design? It turns out that lots of well known logos use this very tactic. Read on to see what they are.

Graphics / 22 Nov 2013

Learn by Example: 6 Lessons for Designing Restaurant & Food Websites

Today’s topic is a delicious one: restaurant and food websites. Small businesses pay the bills for freelance designers and local restaurants can serve as a major source of revenue. If you’re embarking on your first restaurant site design though, there are a few things that you should know.

In this article, we’ll learn by example as we take a look at lots of mouthwatering food and restaurant websites. By examining what these designers got right, you’ll help ensure your own success in this area.

CSS / 15 Nov 2013

Build a Super Easy CSS Slider With Thumbnails

Today’s project is another exploration of the types of practical applications that you can achieve with a little ingenuity and some fairly basic CSS. You’ll be blown away by how much you can achieve with just a few lines of code.

The final result with be a great way to display a strip of small image thumbnails that the user can hover to see larger images. Let’s dive in and see how it works.

CSS / 8 Nov 2013

Build a Freaking Awesome Pure CSS Accordion

Who has two thumbs and loves to push the bounds of CSS? This guy. Let’s jump into a project that does just that. It’s pretty experimental and won’t pass the semantic police, but it’ll teach you a heck of a lot about advanced CSS tactics and will be tons of fun.

What we’re going to build is a pure CSS horizontal accordion slider. You’ll be able to insert as many slides as you want, each with unique content and each accessible via a click event, all without a lick of JavaScript. Impossible you say? Never!

CSS / 1 Nov 2013

How and Why to Build Your Own Design Calculators

Design is a complex beast, web design doubly so. There’s a lot more than visual harmony and balance to consider, it’s often the case that you have to dig in and perform some real life mathematics (gasp!).

Oddly enough, I love thinking about this stuff, so much so that I actually build my own calculators rather than use the tools available from other developers. Today I’ll show you how and why to build your own design calculators so that you can master the numbers behind your designs.

Business / 25 Oct 2013

7 Tips for Becoming a Successful Stock Author

The draw for selling digital stock goods is immense. You make something, upload it to a site, and watch the money flow in again and again through repeat sales. What designer, photographer or developer could resist?

Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that there’s no guarantee that your hard work will yield you a single cent. In fact, it could very likely be a phenomenal waste of time! Today we’re going to discuss some tricks of the trade that will help your foray into this market is a successful one.

CSS / 18 Oct 2013

5 Steps to Drastically Improve Your CSS Knowledge in 24 Hours

You’ve been coding for a while now and know your way around a CSS file. You’re certainly no master, but with enough fiddling you can get where you want to go. You’re wondering though if you’ll ever get past that point where CSS is such a struggle. Will you ever be able to bust out a complex layout without ultimately resorting to trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t?

The good news is that you can indeed get past that frustrating point where you know enough CSS to code a website, but lack the solid foundation that allows you to code without the annoyance of not exactly understanding how you’re going to get where you’re going, and this point is a lot closer than you think. I propose that there are five topics that will drastically boost your understanding of CSS. Spend some time reading about each over the next twenty-four hours and you’ll change the way you code forever.

CSS / 11 Oct 2013

How to Pull Off a Tilt Shift Effect With Webkit CSS Filters

Thanks to mobile image editing apps like Instagram, the faux tilt shift fad seems to be at its height. But why should we let iPhones have all the fun? Let’s bust out a tilt shift effect using pure CSS.

In this tutorial, we’ll learn all about the new CSS filters in Webkit and how to implement an image mask in CSS. We’ll then use these techniques for our final tilt shift effect. We’re going to hit on all kinds of crazy stuff so read on and we’ll have some fun.

Inspiration / 20 Sep 2013

10 Tips for Designing Logos That Don’t Suck

So you’re designing a logo. It sounds like an easy enough task, right? Draw a circle, type in the company name and you’re done (I’ve literally heard a designer suggest that very process). Unfortunately, if you’re really worth the money the client is paying you, there’s a lot more to it than that.

There are a million people in the logo design industry today dishing out crappy logos in bulk for crowd sourcing sites. How do you as a serious professional stand out from the crowd and produce quality logos that don’t suck? Read on to find out.

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