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.





Layouts / 27 Dec 2011

Utilizing Grids in Print Design

The basic organization of a design project typically begins with a simple concept – the grid. Whether you decide to work within its constraints or intentionally move away from it, deciding how to use a grid tends to be one of the first steps in the design process.

Print designers have been working on grids since the first newspapers rolled off the presses hundreds of years ago. Most magazines also employ a grid; books are put together using the grid format. The grid can be part of a publication’s identity and helps create a sense of space and organization. Understanding the basics of grid design – from how it originated, to developing your own grid and using it in your workflow processes – will make working within vertical and horizontal constraints a snap.

Business / 16 Dec 2011

10 Tips for Managing Creative People

Today’s workplace is filled with different personality styles. Understanding those differences and how they affect your workforce can make you a more effective manager.

Working with “left-brained” (more analytical) versus “right-brained” (more creative) employees has its own set of rules. Most creative workers use the right-brain style of learning and working, which is a visual, random, emotional and somewhat impulsive style of learning, according to data compiled at Western Michigan University. Right brain people like to work with sound in the background (note all those ear buds around the office), like to move about while thinking about concepts and generally start with a big idea and narrow it to the details. Left-brained workers and more verbal and logical, like things in order and prefer a formal workplace.

Take a look at your staff. How many right-brain workers are in the room? My guess it the number is pretty high among designers. Here are a few tips for managing your creative people in a way they can relate to.

Reviews / 9 Dec 2011

Hands on With the New Twitter Design

Twitter launched a radically new layout to users Thursday. The first to see the new look were mobile users through the Twitter iPhone and Android apps. After updating those apps, the new look of Twitter became active on those users’ computers as well. All other users will begin to see the updated Twitter look over the course of several months.

The results are mixed. The new look and interface is great for mobile users and the sleek interface is cool. Features on the computer version mix the super-sleek interface with a few bonuses but also a few misses. Pages have more pop but still have the look and feel you would associate with Twitter. The site also rolled out branding pages for companies that have a nice look but could change the organic feel that has brought people to Twitter.

Visually, Twitter has reinvented itself consistently across various platforms. Aside from slight, device-specific tweaks the interface looks the same on the website, on a tablet and on a smartphone (no update for the Mac app as of yet). The biggest plus for designers and other visual professionals is an enhanced use of images to push you toward content. Twitter is starting to define itself as more than just a 140-character platform.

Typography / 7 Dec 2011

Typography 101: Understanding the Anatomy of a Letter

Every designer, whether you’re in print or web, should possess a basic understanding of fonts and type. Using the right typeface and understanding how a font will impact your design can add that extra pop to print and digital projects and will set them apart from all others.

One important area to understand is the anatomy of type. Ascenders, descenders and serifs may sound like words from another language but are the basis for understanding the style of a typeface and how if relates to your project. Today we’ll take a brief run through of some terminology that you should know.