Articles Archive

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Pinterest for Designers: Using It to Your Advantage

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Design inspiration is all around us. And every day there are new tools popping up to help us collect and share that inspiration. One of those great tools is Pinterest. The image collection platform is a fantastic source of design inspiration, from typography to print, web or packaging design.

Newer additions to the service, such as boards for business and hidden boards make the tool even more useful. Haven’t gotten on board with Pinterest yet? Not sure how to make it work for you? Read on.

May 22nd, 2013 Posted in Inspiration
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How to Choose Effective and Attractive Icons in Your Designs

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

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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.

May 17th, 2013 Posted in Business
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Design Dilemma: Dealing With Professional Jealousy

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Diane L. Writes: I can’t help but feel jealous of other designers. I feel like they’re better designers, they have better clients, they’ll become famous and I’ll be a nobody forever. Is that wrong?

Yes, Diane, it’s wrong, but human. It’s not a feeling that is limited to just designers but it’s something you really need to overcome. Maybe some real truths about the design industry will help you see that jealousy is not only unwarranted but is getting in the way of your own success. Hmmmm, where do I start? Join us as we delve into another Design Dilemma, helping to answer your questions, queries and concerns about the murky world of design…

May 15th, 2013 Posted in Design Dilemma
brandlede

How to Build a Brand Bible & Visual Style Guide

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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
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40 Awesome jQuery Plugins You Need to Check Out

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The jQuery developer community has to be one of the most generous and hardworking group of people on the web. They’re constantly churning out amazingly useful and completely free tools that they share with anyone and everyone who wants to use them.

The quantity and quality of free jQuery plugins simply never ceases to amaze me. I’ve been keeping a list of some great ones that I’ve found lately and I thought I’d share it with you. Here are 40 awesome and free jQuery plugins that just about every web developer should check out.

May 10th, 2013 Posted in JavaScript
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Trendy Design: Making Emerald Work for You

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Emerald is picking up plenty of buzz this year. The green-blue hue works well in design projects, from backgrounds, to the base color in a palette, to serving as an accent. The color is gaining even more popularity in 2013 because of its designation as Pantone Color of the Year.

Not only are web and print designers jumping on the trend but so are designers in the fashion, beauty and home décor industries. Why? Because Emerald has an almost universal appeal. Here are some ways to make it work for you.

May 8th, 2013 Posted in Inspiration
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How to Code an Expanding HTML5/CSS3 Search Input Field

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A common user interface style for Apple and WordPress has been the expanding search field. Whenever a user clicks to focus, the field will expand wider, then contracts when the user de-focuses. This technique has become popular because it saves room on your page when the search isn’t being used. But it also highlights the search field when it is in use, which catches the user’s attention and lets them know the website is responding.

In this tutorial I want to demonstrate two different methods for building an expanding search field. The first is using basic CSS3 transitions which are only supported in newer web browsers. This works great for simple designs, but there is no way to check if the user has entered data strictly via CSS. In the second field we will use JavaScript to expand, and then only shrink back if the user hasn’t entered any text. It is a small yet fascinating piece of UI which can blend nicely into any website project.

May 7th, 2013 Posted in CSS
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Should You Be Designing With QR Codes?

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QR codes are all the rage… aren’t they? Their presence certainly seems to have increased in recent years, indicating an impressive adoption rate among marketers. But does that mean that you should be using them? If a client asks you whether or not using QR codes is a good idea, what will you say?

Join us as we take an honest and critical look at both sides of the QR debate so you can decide for yourself whether or not you should be designing with QR codes.

May 3rd, 2013 Posted in Business
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How to Build a Responsive Slide-Down Navigation Menu

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After a long period of researching mobile responsive layouts, I’m spent quite a bit of time experimenting with various UI designs. One major hotspot on the page is often the website’s main navigation. Users want quick access to your content pages — and this will always be the case, either on a full monitor or a smaller mobile responsive screen.

For this tutorial I want to demonstrate how we can use a combination of CSS3 media queries along with some jQuery to manage a sliding navigation menu. The links will appear as normal on the frontend but drop into a hidden menu after resizing below 600px. Instead we see a little menu pull-down icon which will toggle open and closed on command.

May 1st, 2013 Posted in CSS, JavaScript
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