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.





Graphics / 18 Sep 2017

5 Tips for Designing the Perfect eBook Cover

People are going to judge your eBook by its cover. The cover is the first impression and first chance you have to hook a reader. It has to be visually appealing, include lettering that’s easy to read and entice users to download (and read) your book.

The perfect eBook cover stands out from all the other books available, communicates what the book is about and sells a benefit to readers for downloading.

That’s a pretty tall order for a design that users are likely to only see for a few seconds (if that) when deciding to make a purchase. But there are design elements you can use to help encourage downloads. Here are five tips to help you design the perfect eBook cover.

Business / 14 Sep 2017

5 Tips for Working With Squarespace as a Designer

Squarespace isn’t just for non-designers and small business owners. Regardless of your skill level, the platform can be a quick and easy way to get a site online in a hurry. The website builder is packed with tools and integrations so that everything you need is right there from the start.

But the biggest complaint from designers is that while the templates look good, there’s just not enough flexibility. You just have to dig a little deeper. Squarepsace offers options so that more advanced designers and developers can do even more with the tool.

Business / 13 Sep 2017

How to Start Small & Scale Up a Design Project

Sometimes the hardest part of starting a new design project is… getting started! The best way to tackle a new project is to start small and scale the project up as you go.

Think about it in a series of small steps that build into a final product. This concept can make projects easier to manage and help you build a more predictable timeline as well.

The ability to scale is important because a lot of projects aren’t do-it-and-forget-it; websites, in particular, evolve and change over time. Not sure where to start? Here are some practical tips for graphic and website design project management so you can scale as you go.

CSS / 11 Sep 2017

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.

Reviews / 7 Sep 2017

Free Photos, Vectors, Icons, Videos & Fonts From Stockio

There’s nothing like a good resource of stock images, vectors, icons and fonts to jumpstart your creative projects. Almost every designer needs a creative resource to fill image gaps from time to time.

Stockio is one of those resources. The site is packed with free image assets, including photos and video; vectors; icons and fonts that can be used for personal and commercial projects without attribution. Plus, all the resources are top-notch, high quality files.

What can you do with Stockio? We’ve got plenty of ideas to help spur a little creativity (and every example you see is from the Stockio database).

Business / 6 Sep 2017

10 Simple Steps to Refresh Your Instagram Account

Taylor Swift did it. She deleted her Instagram account before re-emerging with a newly refreshed persona. The tactic was part of a campaign for her new album release, but shows a good point: sometimes your accounts just need a refresh.

You can learn more about how Swift did it, or take on a personal challenge to refresh your Instagram account. It’s easier than you might think. (Once you get over the mental block of changing the way you post photos, anyway.)

Here’s how you can refresh your Instagram account in 10 simple steps (and maybe even feel as diva as Taylor Swift in the process).

Inspiration / 4 Sep 2017

Design Inspiration for Scroll Actions

Scrolling is a key component of any website design that extends beyond a single landing page. Anyone who thinks the scroll is dead needs to jump out of 2005!

Scroll actions move users through content vertically or horizontally and are a commonly accepted user pattern. The scroll is alive and well thanks to plenty of interesting design techniques and a shift toward accessing full websites on smaller screens. Let’s take a look!

Business / 28 Aug 2017

How Much Should You Charge for Design Services?

It might be one of the most asked questions among freelance designers: what do you charge clients?

There can be so many variables in setting rates that you can stick to, and you have to make a choice between hourly and fixed options. Either way, a good pricing strategy can help you get the clients you want and earn a solid income from freelance work.

After you figure out pricing. Which is a challenge for almost anyone!

Business / 23 Aug 2017

How to Upsell Freelance Design Services

Every freelance designer wants to hang on to their best clients, and maintain a meaningful business relationship. Working with the same team for a long period of time has some direct benefits — particularly that you and the client know each other and have a good feel for how the partnership will work.

But how do you keep those clients? After the initial website is built or the logo is completed, what comes next? The answer is simple – an upsell. You want to provide additional value for clients so that they continue to work with you after the initial project. Here’s how you do it.

Typography / 21 Aug 2017

20 Must-Know Typography Terms for Beginners

No designer wants to look like a rookie. Crafting projects with beautiful typography is one way to look like a pro every time.

Today, we’re going to delve into the language of typography. It’s a great guide for beginners and a refresher crash course for more seasoned designers. Either way, understanding the language of beautiful typography – from pairing fonts to communicating with the team – is a vital design concept.

And rather than packing this article with descriptions of every term … we’ve included beautiful examples of typography to inspire you.

Reviews / 17 Aug 2017

What Is IconShock? (& Get a Free Icon Set!)

IconShock has provided a great collection of unique virtual and augmented reality icons. Perfect for use in projects that relate to this new and growing industry, so we’re excited to bring you this exclusive, free icon set for you to download today, courtesy of their design team.

Join us as we take a look at some of our favourite icon sets from their collection, and grab your exclusive download of a virtual and augmented reality icon pack!

Graphics / 16 Aug 2017

Design Trend: Using Authentic Imagery and Photos

The virtual world has to be authentic to captivate users. Childish imagery or clip-art just won’t cut it. But there are still so many websites out there that use over-the-top stock photos, or images that don’t resonate with readers. It’s a problem.

To connect, you have to feel realistic and use authentic imagery and photos, so that users feel something when they interact with the website. It has to feel real. Join us as explore this trend, and share how you can use it to best effect!