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Carrie Cousins

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.

7 Tips to Manage Scope Creep in Design Projects

Business / 11 Jun 2021

7 Tips to Manage Scope Creep in Design Projects

It might be the worst thing to happen to a design budget. Scope creep can bash timelines and obliterate budgets.

The best way to avoid this chaos is to beware of the causes of scope creep so that you can better manage projects.

But we all know that things are bound to go off the rails at some point, and we have some advice for how to manage those scope creep issues when they do happen.

8 Skills Designers Need to Thrive in Today’s Market

Business / 10 Jun 2021

8 Skills Designers Need to Thrive in Today’s Market

This is not another article about how the pandemic has changed the way we work.

The reality is that plenty of creative professionals – especially freelancers – have been working from home and in remote environments for a long time. It’s probably why so many of us were quick to adapt when so many others hopped on Zoom or Slack for the first time.

But there are some skills you need to stay relevant in today’s job market in addition to that adaptability that you likely already have. If you are thinking of advancing your career (and who isn’t) as a freelancer, at your current job, or by changing jobs, keep reading.

50 Best Website Color Schemes of 2021

Trends / 9 Jun 2021

50 Best Website Color Schemes of 2021

Does it ever seem like certain website color schemes just get all the attention? As with every other aspect of web design, there are color schemes that tend to trend more than others. Bright colors, stark palettes, and even some mismatching schemes are elements of color that are trending.

Here’s a look at some of the best website color schemes of 2021 (in no particular order). For each, we’re also sharing the color codes that make up the key elements of the design, so it’s easy to play around with these color schemes yourself too!

One of the biggest trends in color schemes that you might notice are the use of dark blue and navy, particularly as a dominant color, and shades of gold and bright red or pink hues for accents. This dark/light combo is an evolution of black and red in many minimal designs of a few years ago with a more modern touch.

Here are some great examples of color choices done right, to inspire your next project.

8 Design Trends That Are Fading Fast

Trends / 7 Jun 2021

8 Design Trends That Are Fading Fast

Almost every year, we kick off with a list of design trends that we think will dominate projects in the coming year. While we’ve gotten pretty good at identifying hits, there are also some misses.

These trends might fade due to a lot of different factors, but commonly they are just difficult techniques that don’t apply well across different types of projects.

It looks (and works) great in one application but is flat somewhere else.

Here’s a look at some of those trends that are fading fast. (And if you want to see our full list of web design trends for 2021 you can find it here.)

8 Tips for Designing Instagram Stories That Don’t Suck

Instagram Templates / 4 Jun 2021

8 Tips for Designing Instagram Stories That Don’t Suck

Instagram stories are one of the hottest social media formats. The vertical format allows creators to share videos, photos, and mixed media content in a streaming medium, and introduces an entirely novel layout to design for.

The tricky part is creating stories that are enjoyable, shareable, and help people engage with your account, brand, or even get clicks to your website.

Here, we’re going to look at eight ways to create Instagram stories that help you meet goals, and stand out from the crowd.

Bonus: You can apply these design tips to Facebook stories as well.

Userwell: Better Understand What Your Users Want Online

Reviews / 3 Jun 2021

Userwell: Better Understand What Your Users Want Online

Insights into the user journey are a valuable tool for any website designer, developer, or business owner (regardless of industry). The right tool can help you make the right product decisions from real user feedback.

That’s just what you get from Userwell. It is product feedback management software to help you create and build products that users will want and love to use.

Here’s a look at the tool and how you can make it work for you.

2021 Mid-Year Design Trend Report: What’s Still Hot

Trends / 3 Jun 2021

2021 Mid-Year Design Trend Report: What’s Still Hot

At the beginning of each year, Design Shack does a roundup of trends that will likely influence the design landscape for the coming year.

Now that we are halfway through 2021 (can you believe it?) it’s time to look at which of those trends are thriving and which ones you can pass by.

Here, we’ll look at some fresh examples of the trends that are still hot for inspiration in your projects.

How to Create a Disruptive Design (So It Will Get Seen)

Graphics / 31 May 2021

How to Create a Disruptive Design (So It Will Get Seen)

If you really want to create a design that will make people look, it has to be disruptive.

While “disruptive” can be a bit of a hackneyed catchphrase, it is also at the core of what you do when you create something new. The goal is to get people to stop, look, and interact.

Disruption works because it is different from the norm. This can include anything from being at the forefront of a new trend to designing with an interesting font, color palette, or design pattern.

This description from Layla Acaroglu explains it perfectly: “Design is about creating something that adds to or iterates on the existing, and disruption is about creating a disturbance with the intent of changing a system. When combined, the practice of Disruptive Design is to create intentional interventions into a pre-existing system with the specific objective to leverage a different outcome, and more importantly, an outcome that is likely to create positive social change.”

Now how can you do it? We have a few ideas (and examples) for you.

The Golden Ratio in Design: Examples & Tips

Layouts / 28 May 2021

The Golden Ratio in Design: Examples & Tips

This might feel like a math lesson but hang in there. The golden ratio combines a little bit of math, a little bit of nature, and a lot of practical application for designers. Let’s take a look at what the golden ratio means for design, and a few tips for using it in your design projects.

The golden ratio has been used throughout history to create design elements that have an ideal visual appeal. Because the shape is rooted in nature and mathematics, it’s the perfect combination of balance and harmony. And it’s a superb tool to have up your sleeve as a designer.

Pros and Cons of the “No Code” Movement

Business / 27 May 2021

Pros and Cons of the “No Code” Movement

There are a lot of people touting the value of “no code” website design right now.

Some of these people are companies that have built no code or low code website builders that are designed for small businesses and those that want a quick website.

Bigger platforms are starting to show some no code/low code elements. You could even argue that WordPress blocks are in this style of website design. Depending on your needs, you might be aligned with a no-code website build.

Here, we’re going to examine the no code movement and the pros and cons that come along with it.

SlideSalad: A Marketplace for Premium Presentation Templates

Reviews / 25 May 2021

SlideSalad: A Marketplace for Premium Presentation Templates

Why create a PowerPoint from scratch when you can jumpstart projects with a stellar presentation template?

SlideSalad offers a wide selection of premium templates in an online marketplace that you can browse and find just what you need.

Here, we’ll take a look at some of the different premium presentation templates you can find to see if this tool can work for you.

Read on!

8 Ways to Design Clever Error Messages

Accessibility / 24 May 2021

8 Ways to Design Clever Error Messages

Question: What happens when someone gets lost on your website or when someone stumbles upon a bad link or missing content?

Answer: They get to see your 404 page.

Now here’s the real question: Is that 404 page a well-designed Easter egg that will help users on their journey or did you forget to add design or informational elements?

Clever error messages and 404 pages are a website design art form. Some designers sneak these little nuggets in, to surprise and delight users. One thing is common, good error microcopy and design can actually help users connect with the content when they might otherwise bounce, making it important to use this element to your advantage.