Joshua Johnson

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

Graphics / 20 Sep 2012

How to Design the Perfect Twitter Header Image

Twitter recently rolled out an updated design for profile pages, which allows you to insert a new “header photo” that sits on top of your feed, much like Facebook’s timeline cover image.

Today we’re going to dive in and see some examples of good Twitter profile images and discuss how you can design your own. I’ll even toss in a free template so you can get started right away.

Business / 19 Sep 2012

Compromising With Clients: Play Nice or Take a Stand?

I was recently put in an interesting position where I had to choose between my professional principles and a paycheck. As a designer, you’re probably no stranger to this situation.

What’s the right course of action? When is compromise a laudable action and when is standing firm and refusing a request the better way to go? I’ll share my thoughts through a real and personal story.

Critique / 14 Sep 2012

Web Design Critique #88: SeaWorld

Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well in addition to those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today we have an awesome client that I’m sure we all love: SeaWorld! How cool is that? Let’s jump in and see what we think of their site.

CSS / 13 Sep 2012

Inner Shadows in CSS: Images, Text and Beyond

Shadows in CSS are quick and easy, whether you’re slapping on a box-shadow or a text-shadow. But how comfortable are you with inner shadows? Can you pull off an inset box-shadow? How do you do the same thing on some text?

Today we’re going to learn some really simple inset shadow techniques that you can pull off with just a few lines of code. I’ll walk you through both the box-shadow and text-shadow syntax and how to change them to pull off an inset shadows.

Inspiration / 12 Sep 2012

53 Outstanding Works of Art Made With Paper by FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree has become the reason that I reach for my iPad lately. It’s simply an amazing outlet for creativity that strikes an unrivaled balance between artistic freedom and simplicity. If you haven’t gotten your hands on it yet, you’re missing out.

Designers, painters and even wannabe artists like myself are flocking to Paper and churning out truly outstanding works of art. Today we’re going to take a look at fifty-three of the best Paper sketches and paintings that I’ve seen.

HTML / 11 Sep 2012

Transform Your Designs Into Coded HTML Emails With Mailrox

Coding HTML emails sucks. In a time where we’ve become so ingrained with web standards and CSS-based layout, jumping back in time and coding up table-based layouts with inline styling feels downright icky. In fact, there are tons of web designers who haven’t even been around long enough to be familiar with how to code this way.

Today we’re going to take a look at a new tool that promises to make life much easier for HTML email designers. With Mailrox, you upload your design, slice it up and easily transform it into a working HTML email.

Software / 10 Sep 2012

The Master Guide to the Photoshop Layers Panel

The Layers Panel in Photoshop is one of the single most important aspects of the software’s UI. Odds are, you’ve spent a good chunk of your life staring at and interacting with the Layers Panel, but how well do you really know it?

Today we’re going to take a deep dive into what the Layers Panel has to offer and how to make the most of it in your workflow. We’ll learn about everything from keyboard shortcuts to obscure customization features. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’re bound to learn a few new tricks!

Critique / 7 Sep 2012

Web Design Critique #87: Pacarama Peru

Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well in addition to those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is Pacarama, a website specialized in reservations for hotels in Peru and other South American countries. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

CSS / 6 Sep 2012

Toggle a Page’s Color and Content With Pure CSS

Today’s project is going to be a fun one. We’re going to build a basic HTML/CSS demo page, then add in a button that allows the user to toggle the page’s color scheme between to states: day and night. As the colors switch, so will various other elements on the page.

The really awesome part is that we can pull all of this off using only CSS. Along the way we’ll learn how to create a CSS-powered click event as well as how to wield pseudo elements to manipulate page content.

CSS / 5 Sep 2012

Build a Fun Photo Swap Animation With CSS Keyframes

CSS keyframe animations open up a vast range of possibilities for what can be accomplished with CSS. Much more than simple, one-step transitions, keyframes can be used to achieve complex, multi-step animations that are quite impressive.

In today’s project, we’re going to start from scratch and build a stack of two photos that spread out and swap their stacking order when you hover over them. Along the way we’ll learn all about how to wield keyframes like a pro and juggle all of those head-spinning prefixes!

CSS / 4 Sep 2012

A Beginner’s Guide to Leaner CSS

Don’t repeat yourself (DRY). It’s a simple concept with the ability to completely change the way you write code. If I look back to my early days with CSS though, I don’t think the concept meant much to me. Sure, all right, don’t repeat myself, thanks for the advice. How does that translate to applicable advice though?

Today we’re going to look at the very core concepts for how to rethink the CSS you’ve been writing by trimming the fat and reducing the redundancy. The result will be leaner CSS that’s easier to author and maintain.

CSS / 3 Sep 2012

Code a Mountain Lion Style Notification Window With CSS

This one is for my fellow Mac nerds. Apple’s newest desktop operating system, OS X Mountain Lion, has a built-in notification system similar to what we’ve had on iOS for years. Today we’re going to build one of the notification windows using CSS.

To pull this off, we’ll use some basic HTML and a little bit of fancy CSS3. To finish it off, we’ll add a touch of jQuery magic to allow the user to drag the window around. It’ll be tons of fun, so boot up your favorite coding app and follow along!

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