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.





The Complete Guide to Special Characters
Typography / 21 Apr 2014

The Complete Guide to Special Characters

Not everything is as easy as ABC or 123. Sometimes your copy might require a character outside of the basic alphabet. That’s where special characters and glyphs come in. (Look around, they are more common than you might think at first.)

Depending on your workflow, inserting a glyph can be as simple as a keystroke or a multi-step process. Much of it depends on the software you are using, typography palette and how the final product will be published. Here, we are going to take a look at special characters, examples of use and tips for success.

This Week in Design: April 18, 2014
This Week in Design / 18 Apr 2014

This Week in Design: April 18, 2014

I am going to confess right now. I am a little obsessed with typography this week. And there’s been plenty happening in the world of type, making it the theme of this week in design.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Paper 101: Quick Start Guide for Print Projects
Graphics / 15 Apr 2014

Paper 101: Quick Start Guide for Print Projects

While most principles and tenets of design are pretty universal, printing is not. For anyone jumping to a different medium (online to print) or even one medium to another, it is vital to know just what you need and will get when working on a print job.

Elements such as paper stock, paper size, coating and fold can significantly impact how a design is put together for a printed project. Here’s a guide to help you get started and better understand the ins and outs of printed projects.

This Week in Design: April 11, 2014
This Week in Design / 11 Apr 2014

This Week in Design: April 11, 2014

What do the Webby Awards, a mix of art and architecture, and a colorization tutorial have in common? They can all be sources of design inspiration. This week we look at some great work, from websites to photos to art, and tools to help you feel more in control of your design life.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Glossary of Design Jargon – New & Old (Part 2)
Business / 9 Apr 2014

Glossary of Design Jargon – New & Old (Part 2)

While some design jargon is fairly new, other terms date hundreds of years. While meanings may not have changed that much, some applications have. In order for designers and clients to communicate effectively everyone needs to understand the lingo.

We are going to break down some of the terminology, by design type, in hopes of making it easier for both designers and clients to communicate more effectively. Here’s a guide to what it all means with 12 terms each in the categories of print design and type design. Go back and read Part 1 for terms related to general design and web design.

Glossary of Design Jargon – New & Old (Part 1)
Business / 7 Apr 2014

Glossary of Design Jargon – New & Old (Part 1)

Ever get confused about some of the designer lingo? (It can happen to designers and non-designers alike.) The jargon of design has evolved over the years, no doubt leaving some of you shaking your heads!

We are going to break down some of the terminology, by design type, in hopes of making it easier for both designers and clients to communicate more effectively. Here’s a guide to what it all means with 12 terms each in the categories of general design, and web design. Come back later this week for terms related to print design and type design.

This Week in Design: April 4, 2014
Typography / 4 Apr 2014

This Week in Design: April 4, 2014

From a teen who made headlines about saving millions of dollars with a font to some of the most impressive design names of our generation, this week in design featured people who make an impact. Whether you like or agree with a theory sometimes does not mean as much as the simple idea that it gets people thinking about something new.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Intro to Gridgum: The Responsive Theme Marketplace
Business / 2 Apr 2014

Intro to Gridgum: The Responsive Theme Marketplace

Later this month a new theme marketplace website is launching. What’s neat about Gridgum is that it offers themes for a variety of platforms and every theme on the site will be responsive.

A responsive theme is a must-have in today’s web landscape and the idea of a one stop shop is a good one. Gridgum is a marketplace for both buyers of themes and theme designers. And right now, theme designers can submit themes for a chance to win $2,000 in prizes before the full site launch.

Todoist: A Simple and Powerful Tool for Designers
Software / 31 Mar 2014

Todoist: A Simple and Powerful Tool for Designers

There are so many apps and productivity tools out there, making it hard to find things that fit your needs the best. Some tools are packed with too many gimmicks, which can make it hard to be productive. Others are difficult to use or understand.

Enter Todoist. This tool is simple and powerful. After only five minutes, I was beginning to feel like a super-user. And what’s even better is that it is designed well. Not only does this tool work beautifully, it looks great at the same time. Here’s a look at Todoist, how it works and how you can use it in your workflow.

This Week in Design: March 28, 2014
Business / 28 Mar 2014

This Week in Design: March 28, 2014

It’s that time of year when there is something fresh and fun and clean in the air. And this week in design mirrors that feeling. From a short film about type, to 60 years of iconic logos to dirty designer phrases, this week is all about fun.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

How to Find or Create Your Brand Personality
Business / 27 Mar 2014

How to Find or Create Your Brand Personality

What is the personality of your brand? No, it’s not a trick question. Is your brand formal or spunky or socially conscious?

Identifying and defining the identity and personality of your brand is crucial. Even if you don’t define it, some sort of personality (even of the multiple variety) will come through. So it’s best to think about it now. Who do you want your brand to be?

Good Writing and Editing Is Part of Great Design
Business / 26 Mar 2014

Good Writing and Editing Is Part of Great Design

Good writing is arguably the most important piece of a design project. Yes, writing. It happens before the first sketch. And then it continues to happen throughout the design process as text is written, rewritten and edited multiple times.

A stellar design will only get you so far if the content is lacking. Clunky, mistake-laden, or even just plain boring copy will almost certainly ruin any project. Great copy will help a design shine. Here, we are going to look at what good writing and editing can do for your design projects. (Make sure to note the visual examples as well, and how the text and design work together seamlessly.)