Icons can be considered one of the universalities of web design; almost any website benefits from the addition of at least a few of them. So it’s tempting to assume that if you sprinkle in a handful of these little pictures, your job is done. But there’s a lot more to it than that: good icons should feel like they’re visually integrated into the group of images that they’re in, as well as into the site design as a whole. They need to have a conceptual clarity and purpose that goes beyond being mere eye candy. Any icon that doesn’t serve a stated purpose, or doesn’t convey the right concept in its imagery, is one that needs to be reconsidered.
Of course, there’s room for interpretation and generalization with any kind of imagery, but icons are not mere illustrations that are used purely to break up space and add interest: they’re visual metaphors that can invest meaning into a subject at a single glance; and as such, they’re a powerful tool for improving user experiences.May 20th, 2013 Posted in Graphics
Every brand, from the smallest website or startup, to corporate giants such as Nike or McDonald’s, need a set of branding guidelines and rules to maintain their identity. This document, which can range from a couple of pages, to several hundred, is the thread that holds together what the public sees from a company.
A brand bible establishes the voice and personality of a company, as well as who the public will see, and it governs every aspect of communication from the company. The brand bible is the basis for all interactions on behalf of a company – personal communications, social media, advertising and design. While a brand bible focuses on many things, we are really going to look at how it affects design.May 13th, 2013 Posted in Graphics
Web apps are becoming ever-more prevalent on the internet. Some may argue that they are simply more complicated websites. Regardless of their definition; what happens when you are designing for large amounts of constantly fluctuating data?
There are a few examples of data driven interfaces and they all have to handle a lot of varied data that is constantly changing. The most common are admin areas and analytic dashboards. The data can take many forms; graphs, charts, tables or text. Each can be displayed in a variety of different ways depending on the context and meaning you are trying to convey with the data. One thing to remember is that you can rarely be sure of the length or amount of data you need to cater for; so think simple to start…April 15th, 2013 Posted in Graphics, Layouts
Most people who need to create an exciting presentation are not design experts. Fortunately, there are a number of really neat tools and websites that can assist you in creating a captivating, professional look for your slides.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at five such tools. While I can’t promise that these tools alone will turn you into a design professional, they will certainly point you in the right direction.February 20th, 2013 Posted in Graphics
American Airlines has had the same logo for forty-five years. That’s definitely a pretty impressive stretch! They’ve decided to hang up their Helvetica though and look to not only a new typeface, but a new eagle and even a new livery design.
Read on to see the logic behind the new design and whether or not I think it’s another chapter in a long line of recent brand redesigns gone bad.January 23rd, 2013 Posted in Graphics
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.September 20th, 2012 Posted in Graphics
You’re a web designer living large in the 21st century. Your job is defined by screens and software. What in the world could you possibly learn about design from a bunch of old dusty print ads? The answer of course, is “a ton.”
Today we’re kicking off a new series that examines some of the most famous print ad campaigns of all time. First up is my personal favorite, the Volkswagen “Think Small” campaign. How did a funny looking car that was named after a bug, known for being slow and manufactured in factories built by Nazis ever become iconic to a generation of post-war Americans? Great design and fantastic marketing.August 23rd, 2012 Posted in Graphics
Consistency in UI design is an old school principle and somewhat forgotten in some of today’s web and application designs. It seems like designers are choosing to omit consistency from their interfaces.
In the case of mobile application design, some designers are choosing to re-invent, re-create or even completely break the hardware standard interactions with their own unique interface patterns. While breaking the consistency between the hardware UI rules and your apps experience may not be a bad idea, breaking your own apps consistency can be.August 3rd, 2012 Posted in Graphics
Fast food restaurants are notoriously bad with web design, but the emerging market of “fast casual” eateries thus far is proving to be much better in this area.
Today we’re going to look around the web at the websites for some of the most popular fast casual restaurants to see who is doing the best work and what we can learn from them. Warning: this post will make you hungry!August 2nd, 2012 Posted in Graphics
You don’t want to talk about this topic, you don’t even want to think about it. That’s because, like most of us, you’re probably guilty of using quite a few “crutches” to get you by. Those little things that you default to in almost every design with almost no thought.
Let’s bring them to light. Let’s talk about what I see designers doing again and again and what I struggle with myself. Let’s stop hobbling along and start running towards great design.July 12th, 2012 Posted in Graphics