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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.

Think About Images and Text Together

Layouts / 28 May 2012

Think About Images and Text Together

Good design centers on good content. Good content needs good design to survive and stand out among all the other choices out there. The most successful design projects come together because of content-driven design.

It is easy though for designers get stuck in an image or text rut. This frequently happens because people tend think about text and images on their own. What we should be doing is writing copy with images in mind and preparing design projects with the text in mind. Think about how images and text will work together as you plan your next project.

Preparing Your Web Design for Print

Layouts / 11 May 2012

Preparing Your Web Design for Print

When was the last time a client asked you to design something for print? Did you feel comfortable meeting the request? There are a few key standards that you should understand to make the successful jump from online to printed design.

When planning a print project you really have to take the medium, format and printing press in mind when putting together a project. It is also important to understand the differences in how color works, font embedding and other just preparing your flier, magazine cover or business card for print.

Above the Scroll: Does It Matter Anymore?

Articles / 4 May 2012

Above the Scroll: Does It Matter Anymore?

There is an ever-growing argument in the design community about whether designing for the scroll on your website is necessary. The arguments for producing stellar design concepts for the first part of the website a viewer will see and those against are wide ranging and are greatly affected by changes in technology.

Where the scroll lands on the screen is even changing with wider monitors and great variances in the size viewers open their web browsers. How can a designer account for all of it?

10 Things to Learn From Failure

Business / 27 Apr 2012

10 Things to Learn From Failure

We’ve all had them – the dreaded unsuccessful or failed project – and we’ve all had to bounce back. From graphics busts to web disasters, some good can come from projects you’d rather forget. Even big companies, such as Gap with a logo change and subsequent reversal in early 2011, have had to deal with design snafus.

Start the recovery process by taking a minute to figure out what went wrong and then make a resolution to gain something from the process. Learn how to improve yourself, your team and your next project. Although you should not dwell on it too long, here are 10 things you can learn from failed projects.

How to Sell Your Design Idea

Articles / 13 Apr 2012

How to Sell Your Design Idea

Sometimes getting others to visualize your great idea is not so simple and takes some “selling” on your part. It may even take advance (or free) mock-up work to help some of the non-visual people in the room get on the same page with your idea.

Here are a few things you can do to help you get your idea on the fast-track to approval and how to really sell your design concept.

10 Tips for Writing for Designers

Articles / 6 Apr 2012

10 Tips for Writing for Designers

Ever get that feeling that some members of your creative team just aren’t quite with the program? It is entirely likely. Sending out communications and messages that will reach your whole team can be somewhat tricky because of the differences in how people think.

Creatives sometimes tend to be a little more free-thinking and less-structured than some of their office counterparts. Research has shown that people who use more right brain functions, such as designers and creative thinkers, also respond to and process the same information differently than left-brain thinkers, who tend to be more organized and logic-oriented. (Some studies have even shown that the highest rates of dyslexia, which affects reading and comprehension, have been found in right-brain thinkers.) With just a few tweaks, you can more effectively get your message across to everyone.

Have a More Successful Brainstorming Session

Articles / 30 Mar 2012

Have a More Successful Brainstorming Session

One of the most important aspects of the creative and design process is the sharing and development of ideas. Seldom does a first draft of anything — from an ad concept to a new web layout — see the light of day without planning and revision. Jumpstart the process with more productive and creative brainstorming sessions for your team. The concept sounds simple, right?

The best planned brainstorming sessions take some work. As the leader of the group you must decide how many people to invite and what ground rules will be set. Most of all you want to help bring something positive away from the meeting. Try these tips to spice up your next brainstorming session.

Big Design in Small Spaces

Articles / 23 Mar 2012

Big Design in Small Spaces

It’s easy to get caught up in the big picture sometimes – what your whole site looks like or the message it conveys. Just as important though, are the small spaces. The look of your banner, sidebars and even the dreaded-in-some-circles above the scroll presentation can bring people into or turn people away from your site.

Effective design in restricted, and even constricted spaces can be the key to adding just the right flair to your site. Simple design tools such as cropping, color, text display and contrast can make all the difference when planning the design for the boxed-in spaces of your next project.

Photo Effects and Manipulations: Do These Tricks Work?

Articles / 19 Mar 2012

Photo Effects and Manipulations: Do These Tricks Work?

Are you looking to add a little something extra to a photo on your website? Did you purchase new photo editing software and feel the need to use some of the bells a whistles? Don’t get too pulled in by all the photo manipulation gimmicks out there. Typically the best images are those that are composed and shot well, not a bad image with tricks added to it.

There are, though, some manipulations that can benefit your project when used in moderation. But there are many more so-called photo tricks to avoid if you want to produce professional-looking work.

Mastering Multiple Photo Layouts

Layouts / 2 Mar 2012

Mastering Multiple Photo Layouts

Working with multiple photos and images can be a tricky prospect. Done carefully, the use of multiple images can help create an effective and masterful design for both print and web design projects. Some of the best examples of design using multiple photos can be found in the websites of professional photographers.

Consider dominance, number of photos, color, grouping and image quality when working with a variety of photos. Look at details and consider the feel of a project to get the best results when using many images in your project.

Using Pinterest for Design Inspiration

Articles / 23 Feb 2012

Using Pinterest for Design Inspiration

Although Pinterest launched nearly two years ago, it has really hit the mainstream in the last couple months and is cracking top 10 website lists. The site, which allows users to “pin” or save their favorite images and videos on virtual boards by topic, had 40 times the number of visits in December than it did at mid-year, according to Mashable.

The site though can be a great place for designers to organize their thoughts and cobble together bits of inspiration. But you have to have a method to all the pinning so it does not become a time hog.

Developing a Color Scheme and Color Management Tips

Inspiration / 17 Feb 2012

Developing a Color Scheme and Color Management Tips

Building a website can come with a few unexpected hiccups, one of those being color. Understanding color choices, and how colors may render on different computers is the first step to ensuring that your site has the look you intended.

In addition to finding and selecting colors that work for you, it is wise to develop and manage a color scheme for your project. It is simple to create a set of swatches in common image software such as Adobe’s Photoshop or Illustrator and organize colors in such a way that they are easy to find and use.