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.





Business / 27 Mar 2017

5 Rules for Designing an Effective Ad Campaign

Designers have to wear a lot of hats these days. You might create a website one day, a brochure the next, and an ad campaign for print or social media after that.

And while many of these projects all rely on the same theories of design and an eye for what looks good, there are some differences that can impact the success of certain projects. Designing ad campaigns can be tricky if you haven’t done a lot of it. The canvas is often small and doesn’t give you a lot of room for error. You get just one chance to hook a user with design and information. Here’s how to do it.

Layouts / 22 Mar 2017

Design Trend: Experimental Navigation Patterns

Long gone is the idea that navigation menus must be fixed at the top of a website design. While many designers opt for the safe, consistency of all caps navigation across the top of the screen with sans serif typography, more designs are breaking out of this pattern.

Experimental navigation patterns can be fun and interesting if they are intuitive enough for users to understand reasonably quickly. Different navigation styles can add interest to websites that are small, don’t have a lot of content or want users to move around in a specific way.

While experimental navigation isn’t for every design, it can be a fun alternative for the right project.

Reviews / 21 Mar 2017

Why Use Squarespace for Your Photography Site?

Are you ready for the world to see your stellar photos? You need a portfolio website to help showcase your skills and attract new clients.

It couldn’t be easier than with Squarespace. The website building tool has everything you need to build a portfolio site that’s just as stunning as your images in no time. Here’s how you do it.

Inspiration / 20 Mar 2017

30 Simple, Free Time-Saving Tools for Designers

Smart tools and apps — especially those that save time — are a must-have for designers. And we’ve collected some of the latest and greatest in this list of free tools for designers!

From typography helping elements to code snippets and color palettes you can download, this list is packed with everyday items to make your design life easier. Dive in and find some free, handy tools to simplify your workflow.

Graphics / 15 Mar 2017

4K Video: How to Use It & Where to Find It

Video on the web just keeps getting better. It’s an in-demand feature that everyone wants in their design for good reason. Moving images are engaging, and feel more interactive. A video clip can grab (and hold) the attention of a user quicker and for a longer time frame than just an image alone.

To celebrate a new offering from iStock, we’re looking at the newest trend in website video — 4K. This high-resolution video is a must if you are using video for a website design. Screens are so good and users are so accustomed to top quality visuals that if you aren’t thinking about 4K video, chances are that you might get left behind.

Here are a few ways to use it, and tips for finding great 4K video options to use in your projects.

Business / 8 Mar 2017

5 Tips for a Better Freelance Resume

When was the last time you updated your resume? This is one of those things that freelancers often forget to do when they aren’t seeking a full-time employer.

It’s a lot easier to keep up with your resume all the time rather than rush to update it when the need arises. It’s even becoming more common that clients will ask to see a resume before hiring a freelancer for work. Potential clients will probably check you out online, and your resume needs to be fresh on your website or LinkedIn profile.

Don’t put it off any longer. Try these five tips to freshen up your resume so you can get an updated version ready to go this week!

Graphics / 6 Mar 2017

Design Trend: Innovative Hover Effects

Everywhere you look, there’s a cool new animated effect. If animation was the must-have design element of 2016, then innovated hover effects are the up and coming design trend of 2017.

Thanks in part to the popularity of Material Design and Apple’s animation guidelines with a focus on small movements, hover effects are making a comeback. But instead of the tacky, flashing, bouncing and spinning effects of the past, animations are simple, sharp and delightful. The best hover effects help the user and enhance the experience.

Hover effects can range from motion that has an impact on the entire screen to something as small as a directional cue or navigation element.

Business / 2 Mar 2017

How to Customize an iPhone or iPad Mockup

It’s crunch time, and a client wants to see their design as it would look on an iPhone or iPad. Don’t fret; there are a number of ready-to-use mockups on the market waiting for your customization.

Customizing a mockup is an easy way to show off a design project in a realistic environment that’s sure to impress clients. Using a mockup can help others better visualize how the design will actually look with some idea of scale. (Sometimes it’s easy to forget not everyone sees and imagines a project in the same way you do.)

If you’ve never customized a mockup, it can be a little intimidating at first, but we’ll walk through the process.

Reviews / 1 Mar 2017

Zarget: Analytics for Designers – Settle Design Debates With Data

Do you ever wonder if you are getting the most out of your website design? While asking peers about the design is great, there is a more data-driven, scientific way to evaluate website conversions.

Zarget is all-in-one conversion rate optimization software. It offers a suite of analytics tools that help observe, track and drive visitor behavior on websites to optimize conversions. Tools include A/B testing, heatmaps, funnel analysis, form analytics, polls and feedback. Here, we’ll take a look at Zarget, it’s features and how you can use the tools to more successfully evaluate and shape your website design into something that users can’t help but interact with.

Accessibility / 27 Feb 2017

Attention Spans Are Short: Here’s How to Hook Users

A goldfish has a longer attention span than you do. Let that sink in for a moment. Now, what are you going to do about it?

As a designer, it is your job to create something that people will stop and interact with. It takes a design and user experience that will hook visitors and keep them clicking and tapping. Combat short attention spans with smart design.

Business / 22 Feb 2017

How to Customize a Resume or CV Template

You only get one chance to make a first impression. When you apply for a job, that first impression is often in the form of a resume or CV. The document is a potential employer’s glimpse into your career, and can determine whether you become a viable candidate or not!

That’s a lot of pressure for a single document. It’s important that you have a resume that stands out and shows some of your best assets at a glance. Here, we’ll walk through some resume-building best practices as well as how to customise a resume or CV template in no time.

Graphics / 20 Feb 2017

10 Ways to Simplify Your Design

It’s no secret that simple is often better when it comes to website design. An interface that’s simple to understand and just as simple to use is more likely to turn visitors into active users that will return to your site later.

But how do you simplify your website? Even if you aren’t building something new from scratch, the trick is to set goals and then look at the path to reaching them for users. Anything that gets in the way of that path should be eliminated. Anything that makes understanding what users are supposed to do should be removed from the design.

That’s what we’re going to look at today – a few tricks that you can use to simplify your website design. And these ideas work for existing sites and new builds. (This article features examples of stellar simple designs, visit each site for even more inspiration.)