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 / 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.)

Typography / 15 Feb 2017

Tips for Using Contrast to Enhance Readability

Good design is readable design. Without a clear message, displayed in an easy-to-digest way, it’s easy to lose the meaning of any piece of design work. That’s why it’s so crucial that any design must be easy to read.

Designing for readability is a lesson in typography, but also in contrast. Contrast is the key to enhancing readability, and helping create a flow through the text in a logical manner so that users understand exactly what you want to say.

Graphics / 13 Feb 2017

How to Install & Apply a Lightroom Preset

Whether you are a photographer or designer with a need to edit photos, Adobe Lightroom can be a great tool. Designed for photo editing, it allows batch work that can be cumbersome in programs such as Photoshop.

One of the most popular elements of Lightroom are the number of presets available. These tools within the tool are super filters that allow you to enhance photos, add creative effects and add functionality to your design workflow. If you’ve used any Adobe product, the feel of Lightroom is familiar and easy to learn. Get started by installing and using a few cool presets. Here’s how to do it.

Graphics / 8 Feb 2017

Designing an Infographic? 5 Elements You Must Include

Designing an infographic is just like designing a website. It starts with a concept, goals and even a wireframe.

The big difference is that all the information for an infographic is contained in one unit, whereas a website has multiple pages and ways to engage users. You can almost think of an infographic as a flat, or static, mini-website. You can also design a one-page website as an infographic!

Here are five essential elements to help you make the most of your next infographic design.

Mobile / 6 Feb 2017

How to Design One-Tap Microinteractions

Microinteractions are the “secret sauce” that make apps and websites shine for users. These tiny details make it easy to set an alarm, press a button or simply better understand how to work with a digital product.

The secret is that the best microinteractions are elements that the user probably doesn’t even think about. They happen in an instant – often with just one tap on a mobile screen. Despite the small nature of the interaction, hence “micro,” the value is immense to users as these engagements become more integrated with daily activity.

How do you design one-tap microinteractions that will delight users? Here are a few ideas.

UX Design / 1 Feb 2017

7 Common UX Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Content

A successful project is a combination of good design, killer content and a little bit of luck. Too often a design is derailed by simple UX mistakes that ruin the content and muddle the intended actions of the interface.

Users can easily lose track of why they are there, and what they are supposed to do. Thankfully, many of these design mistakes are easy to identify and correct. (As a bonus, the examples in this post are doing things right; use them as a guide!)

Business / 30 Jan 2017

What Are Design Ethics? (And Why Are They Important?)

Are you an ethical designer? Is that something you even think about when taking on projects? Design ethics come in many forms – from how you choose projects, to how you work with clients, to copyrights and legal protection.

These written and unwritten codes help shape the way graphic design professionals interact, communicate and do business. It’s something you probably do need to think about, because you know and understand the bigger rules. But any time you stop and ask “should I do this or that?” design ethics are part of the conversation.

Graphics / 25 Jan 2017

11 Handy Resources to Help Build a Website in 2017

Ready to finally tackle that website project you’ve been putting off? This is the year to get that site designed and published! Whether it’s a simple blog or something more complex, all you need to get started are a few great tools.

Here, we’ve rounded up a selection of new, innovative resources to help you get inspired, design and prototype, along with a few elements that will help you better work in WordPress – the most popular publishing platform. What are you waiting for? This is the day you start building a website in 2017!

Business / 23 Jan 2017

Flex Your Design Muscles With These 10 Creative Exercises

Are you already over all those New Year’s resolutions? Now that we are a little further into the year, it’s time to pause and refresh in a way that will last longer than a fad diet or 30-day gym membership. You need to flex your creative muscles.

You might be surprised at the value of simple design workouts. They can help you forget problems you are actually working on (maybe helping you solve those design dilemmas), and even learn something new.

It only takes a few minutes a week to work through an exercise or two, and really stretch those creative muscles. Pick an exercise from our collection below – each one includes just three steps — and make a date to get in design shape!

Graphics / 18 Jan 2017

7 Rules for Creating a Simple Design

Keep it simple, stupid. This concept dates to 1960 when the U.S. Navy implemented the KISS principle, which maintains that most systems work best if they are simple, rather than complicated. The same is true of pretty much any design project as well.

Most graphic designers learn about KISS early in their careers. So how can you do it? Creating a simple design is a little more complicated than you might think. Here are seven rules to design by, that help you cut away all the clutter and create a beautifully simple account.

Reviews / 17 Jan 2017

Build a Website Today With Squarespace

There are a lot of ways to build a website. If you are new to creating and managing a website, a site building tool can be one of the best and easiest ways to get started.

The benefit of a site building tool is that you don’t have to know code to create a beautiful design that works seamlessly across devices. Squarespace is one such option. Squarespace is designed to help you get a professional-looking website online in a short time. It’s a great option for creative professionals with plenty of template options that can make your portfolio shine.

Here’s a look at Squarespace, plus a discount code if you want to give it a try!