Articles Archive

Designing in the Dark: 10 Dark Sites and Their Color Schemes

Designing in the Dark: 10 Dark Sites and Their Color Schemes

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What goes well with a black website? Today we’ll find out but taking a look at some excellent examples of dark web design along with their primary color palettes.

Each website will have a screenshot along with a brief description, a visual representation of the color scheme, and a link to download the Photoshop color swatches from Pictaculous.

August 13th, 2010 Posted in Inspiration
Using Less.js to Simplify Your CSS3

Using Less.js to Simplify Your CSS3

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LESS is an amazing little tool that extends CSS with the addition of variables, mixins, operations and nested rules. What this means is that you can write leaner code very quickly. And with the recent rise of complex CSS3 properties, we have a few glaring examples of code that could definitely stand to be simplified a bit.

Today we’ll take a look at how to use the newest JavaScript implementation of LESS to simplify lengthy CSS3 markup. One of the key features we’ll be looking at that I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere is how to deal with multiple variables in mixins. It’s fairly simple but can be confusing if you’ve never tried it.

August 12th, 2010 Posted in CSS
Dribbble Shots of the Week #2

Dribbble Shots of the Week #2

Because we have come to love bite-sized inspiration, each week we feature ten Dribbble shots that we found to be particularly excellent.

We have no real guidelines for who makes it and who doesn’t, just pure off the cuff judgement based on aesthetic quality. We’ll also pick a VIP that represents our top pick of the week.

August 11th, 2010 Posted in Shots of the Week
Battle of the Burgers: American Fast Food Sites Compared

Battle of the Burgers: American Fast Food Sites Compared

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Today’s post will be an intense battle as we compare the design and usability of nine major American burger joints.

These corporations pull in millions making me obese with their irresistibly tasty grilled double heart attacks with cheese and should have plenty of revenue to invest into solid web designers. Let’s see how they fare against my inscrutable eye for ugly web design.

August 10th, 2010 Posted in Graphics
How Persuasive Is Your Website’s Copy? A Simple, Five-Step Checklist

How Persuasive Is Your Website’s Copy? A Simple, Five-Step Checklist

As a web designer, you’re probably accustomed to obsessing over the layout and visual appearance of your designs. And if you’re like most, a site’s content is something you’d rather not worry about. But being able to identify weak web copy allows you to offer greater value to your client. By spotting major problems and helping him to solve them, you can position yourself as an expert who works with him…rather than as a labourer who works for him.

And if you know some basic principles for identifying and fixing weak copy, you not only increase your value to your clients—you increase your chances of getting them. Your own website will have stronger copy; more likely to persuade prospects to hire you.

August 9th, 2010 Posted in Business
An in-Depth Guide to Working With Typography in Illustrator

An in-Depth Guide to Working With Typography in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a fantastic application for crafting typographical masterpieces. However, whether you’re creating a simple paragraph for a print ad or a complex typographical piece of art for a website, there are several tips and techniques you should know for how to manipulate type within the program.

Below you’ll find a brief overview of some of the basic commands you should familiarize yourself with as well as some must-know keyboard shortcuts and even a few obscure features that you may not even know exist. Let’s get started!

August 6th, 2010 Posted in Graphics
25 Brilliant Uses of Colorful Spectrums in Web Design

25 Brilliant Uses of Colorful Spectrums in Web Design

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I’ve noticed a recent trend in web design that involves the use of colorful spectrums as a main design element. The uses are widely varied but almost always quite beautiful.

Today we’ll learn how to build amazing spectrum-based artwork in Photoshop and then take a look at 25 brilliant examples of spectrums being used in real websites.

August 5th, 2010 Posted in Inspiration
Web Design Critique #11: Scott Block

Web Design Critique #11: Scott Block

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 as well as those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is the personal portfolio of Scott Block, a web designer from Maryland.

August 4th, 2010 Posted in Critique
How to Get Your Site Featured in Our Web Design Gallery

How to Get Your Site Featured in Our Web Design Gallery

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Here at Design Shack we love good inspiration and seek to provide you with daily bits of visual sustenance that will help you become a better designer by expanding your horizons and opening your mind up to different styles of design.

We’d love to feature your work in our gallery and want to make sure you fully understand the process so you can effectively decide whether or not you should make a submission. The following will serve as a basic guide for anyone interested in submitting a site. It will delve into our goals for the gallery, who should submit designs, some tricks to getting in and even how to handle a rejection notice.

August 3rd, 2010 Posted in Design Shack
Dribbble Shots of the Week #1

Dribbble Shots of the Week #1

I’ve definitely become quite sucked into the strange exclusive designer club that is Dribbble.com. Too often “design inspiration” implies ripping off the entire concept of someone else’s work. With Dribbble it’s really easy to find tiny bits of inspirational art that will spark a design idea where the final result is completely different than the work of the artist who provided the inspiration.

I’ve been so inspired by this bite-sized digital art museum that I decided to start a new series where I will hand pick 10 Dribbble “shots” to share with you. To make the selections, I’ll use no other criteria aside from my own off-the-cuff judgement. As a bonus, I’ll pick a “VIP” each week that showcases my favorite shot and what I liked about it.

So here we go! Please enjoy this week’s top ten shots.

August 1st, 2010 Posted in Shots of the Week
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