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  2. Carrie Cousins

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 Make You Stand Out From the Crowd

Business / 7 Mar 2016

7 Tips to Make You Stand Out From the Crowd

The freelance economy is growing every day. In mid-2015 more than 15.5 million people in the United States classified themselves as self-employed, and Fast Company reported that projections show that number could increase to 60 million by 2021.

While these numbers are good for you and show support for freelancing as a career choice, there is a catch: the market is getting crowded quickly. To remain successful (or find success if you are just getting started), it’s important that you find a way to stand out from the crowd.

7 UX Design Tips for Mobile Apps

App Templates / 2 Mar 2016

7 UX Design Tips for Mobile Apps

Do you have a mobile app project in the works? What’s your design plan? Have you jumped straight in, or stopped to consider the experience that the end user is going to have when they first open the app?

It might be worth thinking about an aesthetic featuring carefully considered user experience techniques. Many of the concepts that we’re seeing in website design apply to mobile apps as well, but they might take on a slightly different shape or form to better fit the smaller screen size.

Here, we’re going to look at seven great options and examples that you can apply to your own mobile app design.

How to Organize Complex Design Projects

Business / 29 Feb 2016

How to Organize Complex Design Projects

Not every design project is easy to delve into. Some projects, particularly new branding guidebooks, materials or website redesigns, can take a lot of time. There’s just so much content contained in the project.

Some projects are packed with information, images, video, downloads and other content that must be part of the final design, creating a specific design challenge. We talk about simplicity a lot, but what about those times when the project is anything but simple? Here, we’ll walk through ways to organize, manage and plan complex design projects.

5 Ways to Boost Contrast in Your Web Design

Accessibility / 25 Feb 2016

5 Ways to Boost Contrast in Your Web Design

Is your design project lacking that special pop? It’s likely what you are missing is enough contrast. Contrast provides differentiation between elements, making each one look more individual, prominent and special.

Design contrast is created in a number of ways, and using all different types of elements. From typography to color to space, creating contrast can take a design from bleh to wow. Here are five ways to do it.

How Do You Know When Your Design Is Done?

Business / 22 Feb 2016

How Do You Know When Your Design Is Done?

When you are working on a project, the most-often asked question is “when will it be finished?” This question can be an internal one (particularly if you are struggling), or it could come from a client.

But how do you answer it. When is the design actually done? In some cases that’s easy. With a printed project, it’s done when you print it. But what about digital projects, where you have the ability to evolve as much as you wish?

How Emotion Can Impact Your Website Conversions

UX Design / 16 Feb 2016

How Emotion Can Impact Your Website Conversions

Is there a connection between happy, sad, or funny and getting users to complete an action on a website? You bet there is!

Users connect to websites through branding and personas. This emotional bond happens visually at first but can have deeper linkages when it comes to long-term brand relationships. And elements of the design impact exactly how (or if) these conversions happen. Today we’re going to look a bit more closely at this connection between conversions and emotion, and consider how you can make the most of instilling a positive emotion in your audience.

Learn UX Basics: What, Why, and How?

Reviews / 11 Feb 2016

Learn UX Basics: What, Why, and How?

Before you can become a User Experience (UX) designer, you need to understand the importance of UX, the reason it exists, what the goal of the UX designer is and how they think.

Today we’re featuring a course in which you’ll learn all about UX Design, what it is, what UX designers do, how UX designers think, what tools UX designers use, and how to move forward in the field of UX.

5 Tips for Perfect Forms in WordPress

Reviews / 10 Feb 2016

5 Tips for Perfect Forms in WordPress

Do you ever find yourself filling out an online form and then rolling your eyes? It happens way too often. But it doesn’t have to.

You can create great forms that are easy to use, include security features and that look great with ease right within your WordPress website. Great forms can help users sign up for important features on your website and help you collect valuable user data in a safe and manageable way. Today we’re looking at how to create one, using the popular CaptainForm plugin for WordPress.

How to Create a Design That Lives in Space

Graphics / 8 Feb 2016

How to Create a Design That Lives in Space

When you think of space, the first thing that might come to mind as a designer is “white space.” Today though, we are going to look at outer space and how to design elements that live in the outer realms.

The trick to designing “in space,” as we’ll call it, is to avoid common traps and clichés. But an overall dark and starry aesthetic can be a fun way to do something a little bit different with a project. Join us as we take a look at a few examples, and tips for figuring out how this type of design can work well.

How to Critique Your Own Work as a Freelance Designer

Freelancing / 1 Feb 2016

How to Critique Your Own Work as a Freelance Designer

Working alone can come with a lot of perks, but there are some things that always seem easier when you are in a more structured group environment. One of these things is gathering feedback for your work.

With practice, you can learn to step back and provide a pretty good critique of your own design projects. It will take a little practice to get comfortable with the idea, but plenty of freelancers are quite good at evaluating their own work. If it’s not something you feel good about, this guide can help you learn to better critique your own work as a freelance designer.

How to Design Killer Micro-Content

Graphics / 25 Jan 2016

How to Design Killer Micro-Content

The smallest parts of a design project can be the most important. It’s something we all know conceptually, right?

But do you ever get caught just filling in these details at the last minute? Does your micro-content suffer because you are ready to be finished with a project? Don’t let that happen. Plan out micro-content from the start to create better, more usable pieces that will help make the design better than you had hoped.

3 Typography Trends for 2016 (With Examples)

Typography / 20 Jan 2016

3 Typography Trends for 2016 (With Examples)

Design trends. You can hardly do anything without seeing them, they pop up everywhere, and they can give your design feel “current” when used well.

Today, we’re going to take a look specifically at three typography trends and why we hate to love them. While these three styles – retro, watercolor and all caps – are everywhere, designers just can’t help but love them (even if they don’t want to). Here’s why, paired with some excellent examples of the trends in use.