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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.

3 New Logo Trends to Try for Your Brand

How to Design a Logo / 25 Jul 2016

3 New Logo Trends to Try for Your Brand

We all know the story. You spend a lot of time perfecting the perfectly trendy design element… and then, just like that, the trend is over. And your cool design goes with it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The trick to designing around trends is speed. To make the most of an emerging trend, you need to get from concept to deployment quickly. The second trend trick is to use trends that aren’t “too trendy,” meaning they pull from classical design elements.

Today, we’re going to look at three logo trends that you can start using right away. Done well, they should also have a lot of staying power because they use some more timeless concepts from design theory.

Is the Gradient Making a Comeback?

Graphics / 20 Jul 2016

Is the Gradient Making a Comeback?

One of the techniques shunned by designers at the beginning of the flat design era is making a comeback. Almost overnight, it seems that gradients are popping up in website designs everywhere.

From backgrounds to image overlays to subtle textures on user interface elements, the two-color effect is back in a big way. It’s also a little different this time around. Here’s what you need to know before using gradients again (and plenty of examples to spark your creativity).

How to Design an Interface That’s Built for Speed

UX Design / 18 Jul 2016

How to Design an Interface That’s Built for Speed

Is your website slow? Be honest. Could it be faster? Users demand websites that load quickly and continue to deliver content without lag. If your website falls the least bit behind in meeting this demand users could abandon your site (and they might never return).

Today, we’re going to look at ways to make sure your website interface is built for speed, so you never have to worry about page load times again.

7 Tips for Designing Consistency

Graphics / 13 Jul 2016

7 Tips for Designing Consistency

Consistency will make your design better, easier to use, and practically invisible. It gives the user plenty of room to experience the design in the way you intend.

Designing for consistency is a no-brainer in some cases and a little trickier to understand in others. Quite simply, consistency is the thread that ties together elements in a single design. It also ties together designs across a single campaign or brand, creating a product that is distinguishable, usable and effective. Take special note of all the examples below, each brand is a leader when it comes to consistent and usable design.

Do You Need a Price Sheet? (Pros and Cons)

Business / 11 Jul 2016

Do You Need a Price Sheet? (Pros and Cons)

One of the biggest questions for any design freelancer is “what should I charge?” The second question is “should I publish a price list for potential clients?”

The answer to the first question includes a lot of variables, and only you can determine what a fair market rate is for the quality and scope of work you do in the market where you do business. In terms of the second question, a price sheet can provide a starting point between freelancers and clients. Today, we’ll look at the pros and cons of publishing a price sheet so you can decide if that’s the right option for you!

How to Design a Minimal Logo That Works

How to Design a Logo / 5 Jul 2016

How to Design a Minimal Logo That Works

It doesn’t get much more minimal than that classic Nike Swoosh. The design is simple, iconic and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t know what it stands for. The logo is the company.

And it’s so minimalistic. That same concept is trending again in logo design. Minimal logos are the “in” thing from brand marks to badges on website home pages. Whether you have a logo or not, there are plenty of great ways to incorporate this minimal logo style into your design work.

Don’t Make These 10 Mistakes in Your App Design

Mobile / 4 Jul 2016

Don’t Make These 10 Mistakes in Your App Design

No matter what type of app you are creating, have created, or plan to create, design mistakes can be lethal when it comes to adoption and usage. Users want to download apps that are fun, functional and offer value during multiple uses. Users also want apps that are aesthetically pleasing and don’t require a lot of effort to interact with.

The problem for designers is that sometimes we are so close to a project that we miss glaring mistakes in design and usability because we know how it works. Today, we’re going to help you make a mental checklist of mistakes to look for and avoid in app design.

Stay Completely Organized With Rindle

Reviews / 28 Jun 2016

Stay Completely Organized With Rindle

Designers and freelancers of all types often have one thing in common: the need for tools to streamline workflows and stay organized. So there’s always a bit of excitement surrounding new tools that can help you do just that.

Rindle, which is currently in private beta, is one of those tools. What sets it apart from the pack is that it is built to work with many of the apps you are already using to streamline daily tasks and keep you on track. Here’s a look at how it works.

Design Trend: Incorporating Whimsy

Graphics / 27 Jun 2016

Design Trend: Incorporating Whimsy

Whimsy: capricious humor or disposition; extravagant, fanciful, or excessively playful expression. Adding a touch of whimsy to a project is an easy, and fun, way to lighten up the mood of the design.

From small elements to a full-scale whimsical design, these touches can draw in users because of their simple charm. Whimsy is most often associated with more feminine projects and common for designs that focus on children, but that’s not always the case. Many of the trendier retro styles that have been growing in popularity also incorporate a distinct sense of whimsy. Here are a few ideas to help you incorporate whimsy into your projects.

Bushel: A Better Way to Manage Your Apple Devices

Reviews / 24 Jun 2016

Bushel: A Better Way to Manage Your Apple Devices

Managing devices is one of those business problems that you don’t hear a lot about. But how do you keep up with all your Apple devices across your agency or business? Do you know which users have what equipment and apps?

Bushel is a tool that makes this inventory process that much simpler. It is a cloud-based Mobile Device Management solution for the iPads, iPhones and Macs in your workplace. Bushel makes device management accessible and affordable for everyone, so businesses can support their users without help from IT. Here’s a look at how it works.

How to Become a Faster, More Efficient Designer

Freelancing / 21 Jun 2016

How to Become a Faster, More Efficient Designer

It seems like the demand to get more work done (and in less time) is a constant battle. For freelancers, juggling client needs and deadlines can be tough. It can make you question whether it is possible to become a faster, more efficient designer.

Chances are that you can. There are time sucks lurking around every corner when you work as a freelancer and identifying these traps can help you avoid them and work more efficiently. You can also learn to better use available tools and shortcuts to maximize your time. Here are a few ways to do it.

7 Things You Didn’t Learn in Design School (But Use Every Day)

Business / 13 Jun 2016

7 Things You Didn’t Learn in Design School (But Use Every Day)

So many of the skills that get you through a day on the job weren’t things you necessarily learned in the classroom. From working with other people, to tools, to listening to your gut, there are a lot of skills that you develop along the way.

Whether you came up through design school or are more of a self-taught designer, there are a lot of things you probably didn’t formally learn (but know and use every day). If you are still in school or thinking about going into a design-related field, you’re in luck because you can start thinking about these things now. It’s never too late to learn and expand your marketability. (As a bonus, this post is filled with every day projects from the Design Shack Gallery; go check them out.)