Carrie Cousins

Carrie is the chief writer at Design Shack, with years of experience in web and graphic design. Sports fanatic. Information junkie. Designer. True-believer in karma.





website-layout-ideas
Layouts / 24 Aug 2016

5 Website Layout Ideas That Never Get Old

There’s always that moment at the beginning of a website design project where you think “where do I start?” You’ll battle the desire to create something totally different and new versus something tested and reliable.

Realistically, there are a few layouts that just never get old. These patterns are generally accepted by users, easy to understand and provide a solid framework for pretty much any design and content type. Here, we’ll look at these five “timeless” website layouts and how to make the most of them for your next project.

site-building-tools
Business / 22 Aug 2016

Pros and Cons of Using Site Building Tools

Everywhere you look, there’s an ad for a different website building tool. These do-it-yourself options can be a quick and easy way to get a website online in no time, but they aren’t for every type of project.

Services such as Weebly, Squarespace and Wix (just to name a few) come with packaged website templates and tools that anyone can use to create a blog, online storefront, portfolio or any other type of website quickly and without having to hire a developer. There’s good reason these tools are growing in popularity, but they are not for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons today!

freelance-negotiations
Business / 16 Aug 2016

5 Tips for Better Freelance Negotiations

Every freelancer needs to master and practice the art of negotiation. From clients that want to haggle over process, to talking someone into a specific style of design or interface style for a project, working on your own involves constant negotiation.

Some of us are more adept at negotiating than others. But even if it is not a natural talent for you, there are some ways to beef up your skills so you feel more confident entering these discussions with clients.

web-design-courses
Inspiration / 15 Aug 2016

10 of the Best Design Courses for Beginners

Today, learning to code is easier than ever, thanks to all the courses you can find online. The problem is, there are so many learning platforms out there, finding good courses can be a little overwhelming! But, don’t worry, we’ve here to help.

One particularly helpful provider is Skillshare — a online learning platform where you can learn to code from high quality instructors, but still on a budget. It’s a community-based learning platform for creatives. With over 1.7 million students and over 7,000 courses, this platform has quickly grown up to be one of the best places to learn new skills in a short time.

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an expert looking to learn new skills, we’ve collected 15 amazing web design courses on Skillshare that you can learn to take your design skills to the next level.

Plus, for a limited time, you can get three months of access to Skillshare Premium for just $0.99

print-design-inspiration
Inspiration / 8 Aug 2016

Find Design Inspiration for the Web… In Print

Design inspiration is everywhere. There’s nothing like subtle tactile elements that just make you want to drop everything and create something. This is true even for designers that only work on web or digital projects.

Replicating the look and feel of something real can provide stellar inspiration for projects. Just think of some of the ways real or printed design has impacted website design recently – material and 3D design styles have direct links.

Today, we’re going to look at things that can inspire you from print as you embark on your next web design project. (And maybe even teach you a few things about your web design projects.)

creating-something-bad
Business / 3 Aug 2016

Have You Ever Created Something Bad… On Purpose?

Be honest. Have you ever created something that was just bad? Now, have you ever designed something bad on purpose? It’s a strange concept, but one that we’re going to be exploring more today.

Sometimes designing something bad can actually yield a positive result. Not sure about that idea? Read on and you just might change your mind. (Then think about each example of a “bad design” and how you could fix it.)

creative-days
Business / 1 Aug 2016

10 Tips for Those Days When You Don’t Feel Creative

Today’s story is personal. I woke up, got ready for work, sat down at my computer and then just couldn’t design everything. I mean nothing looked good. I was embarrassed to even call myself a designer.

The harder I tried, the less creative I felt. Was I a design failure? Was my career over? All these thoughts flooded my mind. And then… I just decided to do something else for a while. Some days, you aren’t going to feel creative. It’s going to happen. Here are a few ways to overcome that “designer’s block” and move on to other projects (and work) until you get your mind right.

astronut
Business / 25 Jul 2016

3 New Logo Trends to Try for Your Brand

We all know the story. You spend a lot of time perfecting the perfectly trendy design element… and then, just like that, the trend is over. And your cool design goes with it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The trick to designing around trends is speed. To make the most of an emerging trend, you need to get from concept to deployment quickly. The second trend trick is to use trends that aren’t “too trendy,” meaning they pull from classical design elements. Today, we’re going to look at three logo trends that you can start using right away. Done well, they should also have a lot of staying power because they use some more timeless concepts from design theory.

gradient
Graphics / 20 Jul 2016

Is the Gradient Making a Comeback?

One of the techniques shunned by designers at the beginning of the flat design era is making a comeback. Almost overnight, it seems that gradients are popping up in website designs everywhere.

From backgrounds to image overlays to subtle textures on user interface elements, the two-color effect is back in a big way. It’s also a little different this time around. Here’s what you need to know before using gradients again (and plenty of examples to spark your creativity).

design-for-speed
UX Design / 18 Jul 2016

How to Design an Interface That’s Built for Speed

Is your website slow? Be honest. Could it be faster? Users demand websites that load quickly and continue to deliver content without lag. If your website falls the least bit behind in meeting this demand users could abandon your site (and they might never return).

Today, we’re going to look at ways to make sure your website interface is built for speed, so you never have to worry about page load times again.

consistency
Graphics / 13 Jul 2016

7 Tips for Designing Consistency

Consistency will make your design better, easier to use, and practically invisible. It gives the user plenty of room to experience the design in the way you intend.

Designing for consistency is a no-brainer in some cases and a little trickier to understand in others. Quite simply, consistency is the thread that ties together elements in a single design. It also ties together designs across a single campaign or brand, creating a product that is distinguishable, usable and effective. Take special note of all the examples below, each brand is a leader when it comes to consistent and usable design.

price-list
Business / 11 Jul 2016

Do You Need a Price Sheet? (Pros and Cons)

One of the biggest questions for any design freelancer is “what should I charge?” The second question is “should I publish a price list for potential clients?”

The answer to the first question includes a lot of variables, and only you can determine what a fair market rate is for the quality and scope of work you do in the market where you do business. In terms of the second question, a price sheet can provide a starting point between freelancers and clients. Today, we’ll look at the pros and cons of publishing a price sheet so you can decide if that’s the right option for you!