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How Persuasive Is Your Website’s Copy? A Simple, Five-Step Checklist
Business / 9 Aug 2010

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.

An in-Depth Guide to Working With Typography in Illustrator
Graphics / 6 Aug 2010

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!

25 Brilliant Uses of Colorful Spectrums in Web Design
Inspiration / 5 Aug 2010

25 Brilliant Uses of Colorful Spectrums in Web Design

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.

Web Design Critique #11: Scott Block
Critique / 4 Aug 2010

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.

How to Get Your Site Featured in Our Web Design Gallery
News / 3 Aug 2010

How to Get Your Site Featured in Our Web Design Gallery

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.

Dribbble Shots of the Week #1
Inspiration / 1 Aug 2010

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.

27 Utilities for Saving and Sharing Code Snippets
CSS / 30 Jul 2010

27 Utilities for Saving and Sharing Code Snippets

You’ve got countless bits of HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and PHP rolling around in your head and on your hard drive that you are forced to try to recall each time you start a project. It’s time to get organized.

This post will briefly point you to 27 great utilities that not only help you store your favorite snippets both locally and in the cloud, but also make sharing with others a breeze. Enjoy!

The Designer’s Guide to Taking Better Photos
Graphics / 29 Jul 2010

The Designer’s Guide to Taking Better Photos

I’ve mentioned several times before that photography is one of the most natural complements to your skills as a designer. We designers are in constant need of very specific imagery and this can and does lead to hours of searching, unnecessary stock fees and ultimately the use of imagery that has a high likelihood of being found on the projects of countless other designers.

Becoming a decent photographer can save you time and money and provide you with a serious competitive edge in the form of truly unique imagery that no one in the world possesses but you.

Web Design Critique #10: Creative Ad Awards
Critique / 29 Jul 2010

Web Design Critique #10: Creative Ad Awards

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 Creative Ad Awards, a showcase for well designed advertisements.

Tips for Designing for Colorblind Users
Accessibility / 28 Jul 2010

Tips for Designing for Colorblind Users

It’s estimated that about 8% of males and 0.5% of females are born colorblind. That may seem like a low number but if you’re designing for a large audience, having a site that’s unusable for eight out of every hundred males is definitely less than desirable.

Fortunately, you can fairly easily make sure that your site is colorblind friendly by always keeping in mind the information below. We’ll take a look at what colorblindness really means and how you can tweak your designs based on a few simple principles.

Web Design Critique #9: Wallpapa
Critique / 24 Jul 2010

Web Design Critique #9: Wallpapa

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 Wallpapa, a site offering free desktop wallpaper downloads.

50 Fantastically Clever Logos
Graphics / 23 Jul 2010

50 Fantastically Clever Logos

I know everybody and their brother does logo roundups so you’re probably sick of them, but I don’t believe I’ve ever done one and there is a particularly impressive brand of logo design that I wanted to point out.

Today we’ll look at 50 logos that are the result of going beyond the typical thought process and injecting a little wit and hidden symbolism into the design process.

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