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.





Navigation / 24 May 2017

Design Trend: Side Navigation Is Everywhere, but Does It Work?

There’s a trending topic in website design navigation: sidebar menus. More designers are working with vertical side navigation for projects, with a specific location on the left side for many of these website designs.

And while it looks nice and can help streamline clutter in the overall canvas, does it really work? Will users respond to side navigation? Is it a design trend that you should consider? Today, we’ll try to get to the heart of the questions with some practical and usable answers.

Business / 22 May 2017

15 Skills Every Design Client Expects You to Have

While every design project is a little bit different, almost every client expects you to be a jack of all trades to some degree. Regardless of the project, designers are often expected to provide a complete solution for clients, even though most of us don’t have all the same skills.

In addition to design, clients may ask for expertise in marketing, code, or illustration. It can be a difficult balance at times. But knowing what clients might expect can help you have a plan for how to deal with specific requests, whether it is offering a referral to someone else or adding a new skill to your portfolio.

Most of these examples come from personal experience. And while I didn’t fulfill all the requested needs, seeing what a client expects from their perspective is an interesting exercise!

Business / 17 May 2017

How Many Design Options Should You Show a Client?

You’ve been working on a client project for a little while now. It could be a website design, brochure, or something else altogether — but you’ve spent some time on it. You like the concept. Is that all you need to go back to the client with? Or do you need to create a couple more options for the design review?

There’s a balance of creating enough for a client to choose from, and avoiding work that you know will certainly just get thrown aside. If you know the client well, chances are you can present just one design option. (Seriously!)

Graphics / 15 May 2017

3 Tips for Developing a Unique Logo Design

Every business or website needs one – a logo. A logo is how users and customers will identify your website or brand. And a good logo is identifiable, readable and leaves a lasting impression with users.

Your logo is how people see you across different mediums, from online to social media to printed materials. So how do you develop this key piece of branding if you don’t already have one? (Or how do you rethink the one you have but don’t like?) Here are three tips to help you get started!

Graphics / 10 May 2017

Brutalism: A New Trend in Web Design

Some designs aren’t polished and clean. They are rough, jarring and ragged. Yet they still work and communicate effectively. This class of websites makes up the raw trend called brutalism.

While it is somewhat new to web concepts, it’s been around for decades as a popular technique for posters and art in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Today’s brutalism is starkly different from what you are used to seeing… and that’s why it’s likely to catch your attention. Let’s take a look at what it is (and I’ll share why I’m already over it!)

Graphics / 8 May 2017

How to Start and Promote an Illustration Project

Illustration projects can be tough. But if you are an illustrator, it is your job (duty even) to keep drawing and promoting illustration projects. But how do you do it?

How can you sell a client on the concept of an illustration when it can be difficult for them to imagine? You can do it. Here are some tips for getting started. (Plus, this post includes illustration projects to help jumpstart your creativity.)

CSS / 3 May 2017

How to Add Touches of Magic to Your Interactions

Every time a user does something with your design, an interaction is created. Some interactions, such as clicks, go almost unnoticed by the user. But other interactions include a certain bit of magic that makes the user want to play with the design even more.

There’s a fine line between an interaction that has the touch of magic and one that can be completely overwhelming. The most magical interactions are a bit unexpected, simple, create an emotional response and make the user want to use it again.

Graphics / 1 May 2017

Stunning Examples of White Space… That Aren’t White at All

When you think of white space in web design, examples such as Apple or Google are probably the first ones that come to mind. While these companies do a great job of using white space in their designs, there are plenty of other ways to make the most of space.. even if it isn’t always white.!

White space is an important part of your design plan. Here, we’re going to look at the importance of space as a design tool and five examples of websites that are making great use of white space (that isn’t white at all).

Business / 24 Apr 2017

Every Freelancer Screws Up; Make Sure to Recover Well

It’s going to happen. Every freelancer makes mistakes. Some of them are big and can impact client relationships, while others are more internal and affect your workflow and processes.

There’s one similarity though – how you recover from these mistakes will say more about your freelance career than making them. But how do you recover from the embarrassment of messing something up? Often it requires just a bit of humility.

Reviews / 19 Apr 2017

Meet AIDA: Your Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant

One of the big topics in design right now is artificial intelligence. Can a computer program actually design a website? Can it help a person speed up or improve the process?

Bookmark is taking the theory to a whole new level with its Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant, or AIDA for short. AIDA learns your needs and desires and uses this knowledge to create the perfect website for you. Today we’re taking a look at how it works!

Mobile / 17 Apr 2017

8 Design Tips for a Stellar Email on Small Screens

How many users are opening emails from you on a phone or tablet? It might be a higher percentage than you think. According to Litmus, which provides email tracking software, 54 percent of all emails were opened on a mobile device in 2016.

That means that most of your emails are being seen on a phone. Are you designing an email that makes the most of it? Here are tips to make your email design more mobile-friendly.

Reviews / 12 Apr 2017

5 Benefits of Managed Web Hosting

Managed website hosting can take a lot of the headache out of owning a website. Your host can handle all technical aspects of hosting, including automatic software installs and updates, website themes, and plugin troubleshooting and security.

For most website owners, there are major benefits over using a dedicated server or running a server yourself. Here’s a look at five distinct benefits of managed web hosting, and an insight into our experience at Design Shack of switching over to SiteGround!