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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.

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.

10 Digital Design Terms You Need to Know

Business / 27 Aug 2013

10 Digital Design Terms You Need to Know

Design jargon is everywhere. And you need to be able to speak the language. Working on digital projects has its own set of terminology. From dither to color values to fluid or fixed layouts, there are a few terms every designer needs to have a grasp of.

So we’ve made it easy for you, and put together a list of digital design terms you need to know. This list started as a top 10, but we added some bonus jargon for comparative purposes. How many of these terms are you already familiar with?

Graphics / 12 Aug 2013

8 Tips for Print Designers Switching to Web & Digital Design

More designers are working across platforms these days, switching back and forth between print and digital projects. Although much of the theory is the same, in practice there are a lot of technical differences when it comes to working on something that will be printed versus a website. It takes a specific set of knowledge and skills to work effectively and efficiently in both environments.

But it is possible. Here we share eight tips for print designers making the switch to digital projects. (And I can vouch for every single tip as a designer who has made the switch.)

10 Printing Terms You Need to Know

Business / 7 Aug 2013

10 Printing Terms You Need to Know

More and more designers these days are working in a variety of mediums — both digital and print. But it can take a different set of specifications to put together a successful project for each. Print design has its own jargon.

Understanding how printing works (and how to speak the language of printers) is important for any designer. Don’t think this applies to you because most of your business is web-based? Consider this: At some point a client will ask for print components to go with the website, whether they are business cards or posters or just a great handout for presentations. Knowing the printing basics and terminology will help you bridge the gap. Here are ten key terms you need to know.

The Importance of Designing for Readability

Mobile / 22 Jul 2013

The Importance of Designing for Readability

Text is not an afterthought in the design process. It should be your first consideration.

Readability should be one of the top concerns when it comes to any design project. If text can’t be read, then why are you designing in the first place? Good design delivers content in a way that is understandable; readability is a big part of comprehension. Today we’ll be discussing how you can plan a design around the words, so that your projects are easy to read.

Understanding Color: Dominant vs. Recessive Colors

Graphics / 11 Jul 2013

Understanding Color: Dominant vs. Recessive Colors

Ever wonder why your colors don’t look quite right in some situations? It could be a simple as the color choice. Certain colors tend to take on the characteristics of other hues, while others always look pure. In addition, the human eye perceives color in different ways based on whether it is in the foreground or background.

This phenomenon can be explained through dominant and recessive colors. Join us as we take a closer look at these two terms today, and delve into deeper understanding of how they can guide your design choices and decisions.