Articles Archive

Design a Sketched 3D City Map From Scratch

Design a Sketched 3D City Map From Scratch

I’m constantly trying to convince designers that SketchUp is a tool they should have in their arsenal. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about or even have no interest in 3D modeling, SketchUp can plug right into your workflow as a designer in a number of helpful ways. And hey, it’s free!

Today we’re going to use SketchUp to build an extremely simple but stylish city skyline from scratch. The whole process should take you less than an hour and can be mere minutes if you’re already familiar with the application.

February 4th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
An Introduction to Working With Spot Colors

An Introduction to Working With Spot Colors

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Color has always been a popular topic on the web. We used to throw around terms like “web safe colors” a lot more than we do now simply because the computer displays back then weren’t as great as they are now. In place of these discussions, design blogs revert mostly to discussions of color theory and of course, free tools to help you build color palettes.

However, color was a hot topic long before the web was around. Once upon a time, my discussions about color revolved around printing presses and processes for applying ink. I’d wager there are plenty of readers out there who are either interested in learning about print or still work in print today so in this article I’ll teach you all about the magic of ink.

February 3rd, 2011 Posted in Graphics
In Defense of Advertising

In Defense of Advertising

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It’s on our clothes, in our houses and painted on the sides of our buildings. It flies high over our cities and can be found deep below our feet in subway tunnels. It’s so ingrained into the way we live that if it were to cease existing, the global economy and infrastructure would crumble in hours. Of what mystical force do I speak?

Advertising. In many American households this is a dirty word. We’ve come to hate this plague that has taken over our society and fear that it over-saturates our lives in ways that can only be destructive. Today I will cross the line and defend not only the industry as a concept but also those undoubtably evil people that participate in it.

February 2nd, 2011 Posted in Business
Weekly Freebies: 180 Incredibly Useful HTML Email Templates

Weekly Freebies: 180 Incredibly Useful HTML Email Templates

HTML Email has seen mass amounts of debate, not only about how it should be done but even whether it should be done at all. However, the popularity of this medium has shown only growth in recent years. As support from email applications grows, so to does the richness of the designs.

Below we’ve included some of the best and most recent free templates from a number of sources. The templates range from heavily designed to extremely basic so that no matter what you’re looking for, be it a simple layout aid or a nearly finished product, there is something here for you.

February 1st, 2011 Posted in HTML
Pro Techniques for Smarter and Faster Blogging

Pro Techniques for Smarter and Faster Blogging

Blogging is all the rage in our futuristic web 2.0 technology-induced world. Although the term blogging holds connotations as almost simplistic and unprofessional, it doesn’t mean anything different than writing for the web.

As digital writers sometimes tend to glorify the trade, the job may seem cushy and even quite fun. Bloggers understand the web just a little better than most and can provide their knowledge to others in a positive fashion. The profession does offer a great means for practice writing and endows a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.

January 27th, 2011 Posted in Business
Introduction to Developing a Custom Tumblr Blog Theme

Introduction to Developing a Custom Tumblr Blog Theme

Tumblr is the fastest growing blog network on the web today. With the ability to quickly reblog any of your followers’ posts it truly revolutionizes the way we interact with a digtial community. Tumblr has taken the popular dashboard feature and expanded it into a personal blog feed.

Amongst the many popular features of the service is the ability to directly customize the look and feel of your page. Each blog has its own theme which is used to give your page its layout and color scheme. There are plenty of free and paid themes to choose from, but it’s much easier and more fun to create your own.

January 26th, 2011 Posted in HTML
We Design Critique #35: Scentsy Buddy

We Design Critique #35: Scentsy Buddy

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 Scentsy Buddy, a site for scented children’s stuffed animals.

January 22nd, 2011 Posted in Critique
10 Website Background Ideas for Your Next Project

10 Website Background Ideas for Your Next Project

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is a variant of what kind of background someone should use for their site. These designers have the basic content and the layout pretty much nailed down, but the background is either too boring or too busy and they don’t know how to fix it.

Today we’re going to take a look at a few live sites to grab some inspiration on how to effectively add interesting backgrounds to a web page. Bookmark this article and come back to it the next time you’re stuck on a background decision.

January 21st, 2011 Posted in Inspiration
Best and Worst Design: 50 University Websites From 50 States

Best and Worst Design: 50 University Websites From 50 States

If you hail from the U.S., which state are you from and how would you rate the level of design from the schools there? Today we’re going to jump into this topic by examining 50 website home pages, one from a university in each of the fifty states.

We’ve divided the schools up into the best and worst and didn’t pull any punches when it comes to calling out bad design practices. Let’s see how your state fared!

January 20th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
Photoshop Reflections 101

Photoshop Reflections 101

Today we’re going to learn all about how to make convincing reflections in Photoshop. Text reflections, 3D reflections, product shot reflections, all kinds of crazy reflections. We’ll discuss everything from custom transforms to blending modes and beyond. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you’ll probably learn a thing or two.

You might be thinking that reflections were all the rage a few years ago, but are currently losing a bit of steam, and you’d be right. However, you can still see plenty of them in practice on Apple.com and other sites. You should definitely beware of over-using them and adding to bad web 2.0 trends, but also know that once in a while they can add class to a boring item.

January 19th, 2011 Posted in Graphics
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