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.





Typography / 24 Jul 2017

Tiny Text: 6 Ways to Use It Effectively in Web Design

One of the biggest trends in web design right now is super small. “Tiny” text elements have become a popular idea, but it’s a design trend that has spurred some debate.

There’s no doubt that small text sizes can cause some readability concerns. But when done well, a small block of tiny text can actually help create a point of visual emphasis and draw users into certain parts of the design.

Join us as we take a look at the tiny text trend, with examples to provide some design inspiration.

Inspiration / 18 Jul 2017

30 Stunning Desktop Wallpapers From Unsplash

Need a little extra design inspiration? Start with your Mac or Windows desktop background. A stunning desktop wallpaper can provide an extra little spark every time you fire up your computer, and browsing through great photos is a sure fire way to get the creative juices flowing.

Unsplash, a free stock photography website, is packed with amazing images that you can use in any way you want… including as a desktop wallpaper! Here’s a list of our favourites that we’ve put together to help you feel a little more inspired. Whether you like a minimal, patterned, or stunning photographic wallpaper, we’ll have something for you!

Inspiration / 17 Jul 2017

Logo Design Trends of 2017

Logo design can be one of the most fun (and frustrating!) design tasks you encounter. But watching the key logo design trends each year can help you ensure your logo design is current and relevant.

Every person and every client has a different style that you’ll want to put front-and-centre in your design. But many popular, on-trend styles have a simple style with clean lines, minimal color and focus on typography rather than art elements.

Let’s take a look at four stellar logo design trends of 2017!

Inspiration / 10 Jul 2017

Top 5 Design Trends of 2017 (So Far!)

If you take a close look, you can almost see the evolution of web design happening. A few design trends have emerged as the must-have elements of 2017 (so far) with interesting typography, color and navigation patterns leading the way.

So now that we are midway through 2017, let’s focus a little on design inspiration, and take a look at of the top trends of the year so far. Should you incorporate all these? Absolutely not! But one of two, chosen carefully, can really help give your design a current, up-to-date feeling.

Software / 5 Jul 2017

10 Design Tools You Aren’t Using (But Should Be!)

It seems like a flood of new design tools hits the market almost every day. How many times have you downloaded software with promise only to find you quit using it after a couple of logins?

That’s not the case with the tools in this list. We’ve collected some of the best design tools around – some free, some paid – that you’re going to love to use. And we’d bet good money that you’ve never heard of several of them!

Typography / 3 Jul 2017

Back to Basics: Beautiful Typography in Web Design

A great website starts with beautiful typography. And while breaking the occasional rule is great, sometimes it’s good to get back to the principles of what makes great typography — and how to create it.

It’s a vital refresh that can help you rethink projects, consider a new approach or just get back to a simpler, more streamlined design.

So today, we’re ignoring trends and ways to break the rules to focus on typography theory and how the “rules” can be a great guideline for creating phenomenal type.

Accessibility / 29 Jun 2017

Neon Colors in Web Design: The Do’s and Don’ts

Neon colors are tough to use without clashing with the rest of your design. They work great for signs and lights in real-world applications, but can present major issues in web design, unless carefully implemented.

Today, we’re going to look at ways to effectively use neon colors in your design work, with a list of do’s and don’ts to help you make the most of bold, bright color choices. You’ll be a neon ninja in no time, weaving it through your design work!

Graphics / 26 Jun 2017

Design Trend: Waves and ‘Soft’ Lines

There’s a softer design trend taking over website projects – waves and soft lines. Where backgrounds have been dominated by single “flat” color, we’re seeing a shift toward curved lines and waves.

The elements are lighter, softer and evoke a different overall feel for the design. What’s especially nice is that waves and softer lines can be used a lot of different ways so that each design feels totally different. (It’s one of those trends that can almost sneak up on you because it appears in so many forms.)

Here’s a look at the waves and “soft” lines trend in website design.

Business / 19 Jun 2017

7 Ways to Save Time as a Designer

“If only I had more time!” Do you hear yourself saying this about projects from time to time? (I know I’m guilty.) Time can be one of the biggest obstacles to getting more done as a freelance designer.

But you can find more time and get more done — and that’s good for your bottom line. We’re not going to bore you with theoretical advice. This is a set of practical tips and suggestions you can start thinking about right now!

Graphics / 14 Jun 2017

Flat Design: An Evolving Trend

Is the flat design trend finished? We don’t think so. It’s not dead yet. But the trend has evolved to be less stark and more engaging for users.

The early days of flat design were marked by a complete lack of design elements such as shadows, gradients, or realistic elements with texture. Many of those design elements are back, but are being paired with the overall idea of flat design to create a website user experience that’s both simple and easy to engage with. Depending on what side you are on, it might be a better version of flat design.

Here’s a look at the flat design trend evolution, and where we are today.

UX Design / 12 Jun 2017

What Is Anticipatory Design, and How Do You Use It?

Do you ever get overwhelmed by the number of choices you have to make in a day? It’s a pretty common phenomenon. The same can happen when a user visits a website. Too many choices can fatigue the user and totally overwhelm the senses.

The solution is up to the designer – to create a design that seems to anticipate user needs and helps move people through the design with ease.

UX Design / 7 Jun 2017

Are You Mentally Overwhelming Users? (And How to Stop Doing It)

The internet is a tangled mess that’s visually overloaded. There’s so much to look at… and read… and comprehend, that it can be difficult to find focus and figure out what is important.

If your design is visually overloaded, chances are that you are overwhelming users and they are leaving your website or app. So how do you know if you are doing it? We’ve got a list of warning signs for you, plus a few ways to strip some of the weight out of the design and make it more manageable for users.