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 / 4 Apr 2013

What’s the Deal With Em and Rem?

With all the talk about designing for responsive websites, two little words keep cropping up – em and rem. But what are they?

Em and rem, along with pixels, are units and methods to measure and resize type. Em and rem are relative, rather than static, units and are being used more and more for responsive web design schemes. Let’s dive into this concept today and explain things a little more clearly!

Typography / 19 Mar 2013

Mixing Typefaces: Tips and Techniques

Mixing typefaces can be on of the most rewarding, and trickiest parts of the design process. Creating the perfect pairing of typography can result in a beautiful and perfectly readable outline for almost any project.

But how can you get started? What should you consider when mixing typefaces? While the answers aren’t black and white, there are a few things you can do. Think about contrast, x-heights, shapes and slants and overall mood when combining typefaces for any project. In this article, we’ll be delving into each of these in a little more detail!

Inspiration / 11 Mar 2013

10 Things I Learned About Design From iPad Apps

Good design is all around us. Not just in printed materials or on websites, but also in everyday items. What’s great is that you often don’t notice it — you just enjoy whatever item, tool or website you are using.

Nowhere is this more true than with mobile apps. Most of us use them every day, but do you ever stop to think how much they are shaping the way you approach design? Apps can be a great source of inspiration and also another reminder of time-tested design concepts. Here are ten of the great lessons I have learned (and re-learned) from iPad apps.

Software / 7 Mar 2013

Webnote: A New App for Browsing and Inspiration Clipping

If you’re anything like me, you love collecting visual bits that you find while working online – photos, video, text, gifts, whatever. These little pieces from the web are sources of inspiration that help to shape future projects, showcase trends, and serve as reminders of some of the neat things others are doing.

Creating this visual collection just got a little easier for iPad users with the new Webnote app, which allows you to browse, collect visuals and share all from one app. Here’s a look at how it works.

Mobile / 1 Mar 2013

Zurb Goes Mobile First With the All-New Foundation 4

Planning web projects for a host of devices got a little easier this week with the release of Zurb Foundation 4, a responsive framework with a mobile-first outline.

The follow-up release to Zurb’s Foundation 3 flexible grid is structured to make designer’s think mobile first. With more than 1.08 billion smartphones being used worldwide, it’s a trend that will likely continue to gain popularity. Join us as we take a look at what’s new in Foundation 4, and discover why you should consider using it for your next design project!

Typography / 25 Feb 2013

Is My Type Stressed? a Primer on Stressed Typography

As a designer, either working with a design firm or on a freelance basis, you probably know a lot about stress. From deadlines to redesigns, client relations to cash flow — it is part of everyday life for someone working as a designer in any capacity.

But did you know your typography could also be stressed? Just like in your life, type has certain pressure points, and there are good and bad types of type stress. In today’s article, we’re going to delve into this concept in a little more details. We’ll walk you through exactly what types of typographical stress there are, how you can ensure it doesn’t affect the readability of your designs.

Software / 28 Jan 2013

Top 10 Apps for Designers Right Now

If you are like me, apps are becoming an essential part of your workflow – from mapping out sketches, to gathering ideas, to taking notes and filing invoices.

But there are just so many options out there. How do you filter through them all to find applications that work for what you do?

I have a handful of “old faithful” apps that I use on my phone, iPad and online as well as a few app only tools that are rather new. By using a mix of software applications, I have been able to work more efficiently and hopefully save time. Here are 10 great apps for designers – some may be familiar but hopefully you’ll find something new that you love.

Typography / 2 Jan 2013

Add Flair to Projects With Alternate Lettering

Most typefaces have more than just 52 letters – 26 uppercase and 26 lowercase. They also contain an assortment of alternate characters that can help add flair and interest to your typography.

These special characters have been around since the beginning of type. Renowned typographer Johannes Gutenberg even used them in printing early copies of the Bible.

Software / 19 Dec 2012

No Coding Necessary: Build a Striking Website With Breezi

Breezi is the website design application for beginners. It is a great tool for those who maybe don’t have the coding ability to produce a site that looks like they would hope. The tools are easy to use, there are almost limitless options for customization and even a few templates to help you get started.

Here we look at the web-based tool. And if you think Breezi is for you, you can enter to win one of five pro licensees that the company is giving away to Design Shack readers. (Enter using the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.)

HTML / 6 Dec 2012

Sketchpad to Screen: Testing Your Next Prototype With ZURB’s Solidify

ZURB, the company behind Foundation and apps Notable and Verify, has introduced a nifty new product in Solidify, which allows early-stage prototype testing.

What’s neat about the application is that it allows you to upload prototype images (from almost any stage of a project) and submit them for real user testing. And we’re not just talking finished designs here; you can actually upload and test based on a sketch.

Business / 13 Nov 2012

How to Create a Visual Brand for Yourself

Getting work is about more than your portfolio. Designers must also know a bit about marketing. This is especially true for freelancers. Your marketable self can, and will, help you land (or lose) work before it even hits your radar.

It is important to create a consistent brand for yourself today. Look at the channels you are using and how you are identified online, decide how you want to be identified and what your name and image should be, and then go out and make it happen. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Inspiration / 23 Oct 2012

8 Design Books You Should Own

Think back to when you first learned design. Where did you start? Likely it in some way was connected to a book, whether on your own or in a classroom. And you still need books today. Having a great stack of reference materials on hand as I work is a must.

Need a little inspiration? Grab a book. Looking for a color combo that you have not tried? Grab a book. Need a new way to present some information? Grab a book! Here are eight of my favorite resources – and items that I just could not work without.