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.





Radiant Orchid Named Pantone Color of the Year: Now What?
Inspiration / 19 Dec 2013

Radiant Orchid Named Pantone Color of the Year: Now What?

Unless you have been hiding from the design community for the last few weeks, you know that Pantone released its annual color of the year: Radiant Orchid.

The reviews are mixed. But there really are a lot of ways to incorporate this color into design projects if you want to be on-trend, and enjoy the challenge of crafting a design around a specific color!

Gift Guide for Designers – the 2013 Edition
Inspiration / 11 Dec 2013

Gift Guide for Designers – the 2013 Edition

What do you get for the designer who has it all this holiday season? The options are almost limitless with so many cool items out there for work and play.

From items under $10 to some rather pricey toys, Design Shack has the perfect gift ideas for every creative on your list this year. There are also plenty of digital options that are great if you have waited until the last minute to start shopping. (The hardest part will be not buying everything for yourself.) Happy holidays… and happy shopping!

Was My Design Plagiarized (Or Is That Just Flattery)?
Business / 3 Dec 2013

Was My Design Plagiarized (Or Is That Just Flattery)?

Is nothing original anymore? It’s a concept we designers talk about all the time. All original ideas “have been used already”. But is that true? (I, for one, am not sure I actually believe it.) And if it is true are we all plagiarizing other designs on a daily basis?

All of these are ideas that are thrown around loosely, but have quite serious implications. So how do you know if your design idea was plagiarized? Or is a similar concept just the most sincere form of flattery? Let’s dig a little deeper today…

10 Tips to Gain More Confidence as a Designer
Business / 25 Nov 2013

10 Tips to Gain More Confidence as a Designer

Sometimes when a project fails, it can be hard to get back on your feet again. We all take the occasional confidence knock from time-to-time. But to see continued success in this tricky industry, it’s important to be able to regroup and recover gracefully.

Here, we’ll look at ten things you can do to gain confidence as a designer. These tips can work for experienced designers after a troubled project, or new designers looking to break into the market. It’s advice worth taking to heart.

10 Crucial Elements for Any Website Design
Layouts / 19 Nov 2013

10 Crucial Elements for Any Website Design

While every designer may have a different plan when it comes to building a website, they do have a common checklist. No matter how you try to avoid it, there are a few elements every website should (and usually does!) include.

From plenty of whitespace and great images, to search functionality and clear calls-to-action, these common elements are the things that users expect when it comes to using a site with ease. Today we’re taking a look at ten elements you should prioritise on your website, perfectly designed examples of each, and tips on how to use each in your next website design project. As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details.”

Food-Based Web Design Tips to Make Visitors Hungry
Business / 7 Nov 2013

Food-Based Web Design Tips to Make Visitors Hungry

It’s the same routine every date night: “where are we heading for dinner?” To the web we go, looking for restaurants around us that whet our appetites. And the places we always seem to hit after this dinner search are the locations with websites that just make us hungry.

Certain techniques, from color to photos to imagery, are common among the best food-based websites. These sites employ a specific strategy designed to make you hungry. Today we’ll look at how photography, colors, shapes, vivid copy and simple design are used to make mouths of website visitors water.

The Design Process: How Do You Get Started?
Inspiration / 22 Oct 2013

The Design Process: How Do You Get Started?

Sometimes the toughest part of a new project is actually getting started. In fact, just this small step can be a process in itself.

As designers, we all have different processes and habits, but there are a few common things that everyone can do to make getting started that much easier (and hopefully result in more efficient use of time, and a better end result).

E-Commerce Website Design: 10 Interesting Examples
Inspiration / 8 Oct 2013

E-Commerce Website Design: 10 Interesting Examples

E-commerce design is one of the most common – and sometimes most overlooked – types of design project. Just think of how often you click “buy now” on a website.

But what makes it work? Of utmost importance in e-commerce design is user experience and the purchase flow, but more and more sites are also beginning to develop awesome design schemes as well. Here, we’ll look at ten e-commerce sites that function well, and also look fantastic.

Designing With Circles: Tips and Advice
Graphics / 3 Oct 2013

Designing With Circles: Tips and Advice

Once shunned by designers, circles seem to be making a comeback. The perfectly round shape – and its oblong counterparts – can be difficult to work with. The shape does not stack as well as the more standard rectangle and creates a much different overall feel.

The circle is a perfect shape, meaning that it is the same no matter how you look at it. It is complete and in harmony with nature – consider how many natural elements are circle-based. So, as a designer, how can you make circles work for you?

Pros and Cons of Working With Design Kits
Graphics / 23 Sep 2013

Pros and Cons of Working With Design Kits

Design kits seem to be everywhere these days. From UI kits, to templates and grids, to complete design kits, what makes these tools so popular (and what are the disadvantages)?

Today we’re going to take a look at the pros and cons of using different types of design kits, and even show you a few kits in the examples that might be worth trying out for various purposes.

10 Popular Trends in Modern Web Design Elements
Inspiration / 9 Sep 2013

10 Popular Trends in Modern Web Design Elements

Trends in web design can change and fade almost as quickly as they become fashionable. But so far in 2013, a handful of trends have really seemed to take web design by storm, and seem to be sticking.

Today, we’re going to examine ten trends in modern web elements and showcase some great examples of each — everything from vintage typography and circles, to vibrant colours and handy vCards. Even better for you is that all of the examples below are available for download (some free, some paid).

Do You Need a Style Guide?
Business / 2 Sep 2013

Do You Need a Style Guide?

It’s a simple question: Do you need a style guide? And it has a simple answer: Yes. Any brand, company, blog or webpage that wants to create and maintain consistency and a professional feel should have a style guide.

Style guides are a must for any publisher with multiple employees. This is especially important if more than one person will work on any brand elements (from the website to printed materials), and to ensure that transitions between employees are seamless in the eyes of users. Today, we take a look at well-documented style guide from MailChimp, and highlight things you can take away in creating your own document for the first time.