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Carrie Cousins

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.

Looka: An AI-Powered Platform to Design Your Own Logo

Reviews / 24 Jun 2021

Looka: An AI-Powered Platform to Design Your Own Logo

Using artificial intelligence, Looka is an online design tool that can help you create anything from a logo to a full branding suite.

It’s designed to use keywords and a little machine-learning magic to help jumpstart your creative process when you are ready to launch a business or brand now, but don’t have the materials to get started.

Here, we’ll look at Looka and the set of tools that make it a pretty robust platform for quick brand building.

Design Trend: Abstract Art Compositions

Trends / 21 Jun 2021

Design Trend: Abstract Art Compositions

When you don’t know what to use to illustrate a design, the answer might be abstract art.

It’s a growing design trend that – when done well – uses interesting shapes, colors, and combinations to create something that means almost nothing but is visually interesting.

There’s no wonder that designers are using this concept.

For startup websites without photography to designs for companies that aren’t sure how to represent an almost-post-COVID world visually and everything in between, abstract can be a workable choice.

Instagram Grid Templates: 10 Examples + Tips

Instagram Templates / 18 Jun 2021

Instagram Grid Templates: 10 Examples + Tips

A secret used by some of the boldest visual brands on Instagram is to use a grid or puzzle template. What this style of template does is create 12 cohesive panels that come together as a single image when someone visits your Instagram profile page.

The trick here is that the panels have to work equally well as single image posts and together as a whole. It can be difficult to pull off if you are not careful.

A template can make it a lot easier to figure out and manage. You can create one yourself, or download a ready-made option (best if you are looking for quick and easy). Here, we are looking at 10 great Instagram grid templates with tips for how you can take the inspiration from each and use it with your images on your social media account.

Brochure Design Software: 3 Options Compared

Brochure Templates / 18 Jun 2021

Brochure Design Software: 3 Options Compared

So, you need to design a brochure? Where do you start? We’re comparing three different pieces of brochure design software to see how they stack up.

For web and digital designers creating a printed brochure for the first time, to designers that have been making print pieces for a while, using the right tool can make brochure design a more efficient task.

Choosing the right software, and sticking with it over time, is a sure-fire way to speed up your design workflow.

Adobe tools are the common starting place. Today, we’ll compare using InDesign, Illustrator and Adobe Spark (a free offering) as different options creating a brochure design.

We’ll look at the pros and cons of each (including the cost), and suggest which options are best for different types of brochure design project.

How to Design a Captivating Web Questionnaire

Layouts / 17 Jun 2021

How to Design a Captivating Web Questionnaire

We’ve all run across them – web questionnaires or surveys that were so simple and delightful that they were actually fun to fill out.

Sadly, that’s the exception to the rule. More often than, surveys are clunky and cumbersome.

You can design a captivating web questionnaire with the right thought process. It’s a mix of question planning with visual elements and cues to make the process user-friendly and somewhat seamless.

Here’s how you do it.

How Do You List Freelance Work on Your Resume? (We Have the Answer)

CV & Resume Templates / 16 Jun 2021

How Do You List Freelance Work on Your Resume? (We Have the Answer)

Congratulations, your freelance business is proving successful. But how do you handle talking about it or explaining freelance work to potential employers, or on your resume? It can be a hard subject to explain as a single entry on paper, and you don’t want freelance work to look like an employment gap.

There are some things you can do to on paper (and on LinkedIn) to help present freelance work in a way that is more understandable to others. The key for many freelancers – especially those working part-time – is remembering to include freelance work as part of your resume and design portfolio. Sometimes those jobs can be just the thing you need to help land the next big gig!

An Introduction to Animation in Web Design

CSS / 14 Jun 2021

An Introduction to Animation in Web Design

Animation is not just for cartoons anymore. From full-screen moving images to small hover effects, touches of animation are popping up everywhere. Animation is trendy, fun, and user-friendly.

And the obstacles to using animation have started to fall. With most users on high-speed connections and the ease of creating anything from simple movements or a silly gif to several minutes of action, animations have become practical and useful web design tools.

Let’s dive in!

7 Tips to Manage Scope Creep in Design Projects

Business / 11 Jun 2021

7 Tips to Manage Scope Creep in Design Projects

It might be the worst thing to happen to a design budget. Scope creep can bash timelines and obliterate budgets.

The best way to avoid this chaos is to beware of the causes of scope creep so that you can better manage projects.

But we all know that things are bound to go off the rails at some point, and we have some advice for how to manage those scope creep issues when they do happen.

8 Skills Designers Need to Thrive in Today’s Market

Business / 10 Jun 2021

8 Skills Designers Need to Thrive in Today’s Market

This is not another article about how the pandemic has changed the way we work.

The reality is that plenty of creative professionals – especially freelancers – have been working from home and in remote environments for a long time. It’s probably why so many of us were quick to adapt when so many others hopped on Zoom or Slack for the first time.

But there are some skills you need to stay relevant in today’s job market in addition to that adaptability that you likely already have. If you are thinking of advancing your career (and who isn’t) as a freelancer, at your current job, or by changing jobs, keep reading.

50 Best Website Color Schemes of 2021

Trends / 9 Jun 2021

50 Best Website Color Schemes of 2021

Does it ever seem like certain website color schemes just get all the attention? As with every other aspect of web design, there are color schemes that tend to trend more than others. Bright colors, stark palettes, and even some mismatching schemes are elements of color that are trending.

Here’s a look at some of the best website color schemes of 2021 (in no particular order). For each, we’re also sharing the color codes that make up the key elements of the design, so it’s easy to play around with these color schemes yourself too!

One of the biggest trends in color schemes that you might notice are the use of dark blue and navy, particularly as a dominant color, and shades of gold and bright red or pink hues for accents. This dark/light combo is an evolution of black and red in many minimal designs of a few years ago with a more modern touch.

Here are some great examples of color choices done right, to inspire your next project.

8 Design Trends That Are Fading Fast

Trends / 7 Jun 2021

8 Design Trends That Are Fading Fast

Almost every year, we kick off with a list of design trends that we think will dominate projects in the coming year. While we’ve gotten pretty good at identifying hits, there are also some misses.

These trends might fade due to a lot of different factors, but commonly they are just difficult techniques that don’t apply well across different types of projects.

It looks (and works) great in one application but is flat somewhere else.

Here’s a look at some of those trends that are fading fast. (And if you want to see our full list of web design trends for 2021 you can find it here.)

8 Tips for Designing Instagram Stories That Don’t Suck

Instagram Templates / 4 Jun 2021

8 Tips for Designing Instagram Stories That Don’t Suck

Instagram stories are one of the hottest social media formats. The vertical format allows creators to share videos, photos, and mixed media content in a streaming medium, and introduces an entirely novel layout to design for.

The tricky part is creating stories that are enjoyable, shareable, and help people engage with your account, brand, or even get clicks to your website.

Here, we’re going to look at eight ways to create Instagram stories that help you meet goals, and stand out from the crowd.

Bonus: You can apply these design tips to Facebook stories as well.