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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.

This Week in Design: July 18, 2014

This Week in Design / 18 Jul 2014

This Week in Design: July 18, 2014

Well … duh! (Insert eye roll here.) That might be a bit of an exaggeration when you hear things like “user experience is integral to design” or “testing is important.” But sometimes we need the reminder. That’s what this week in design is about – refreshing our collective design brains about things we should be doing and thinking about, that have maybe been forgotten.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

10 Things the World Cup Taught Me About Design

Inspiration / 14 Jul 2014

10 Things the World Cup Taught Me About Design

For the last month, most of the world has been enthralled by the World Cup, which concluded Sunday in Brazil. (Germany won the title, 1-0, if you missed it.) The world’s largest sporting event made me think about the lessons football (or soccer for those of us in the USA) can teach us about design.

Sport is a lot like design. It’s competitive. It’s timed with deadlines. It leaves a lasting impression. The similarities are quite fantastic and here are 10 lessons I learned while watching the World Cup this month. (As a bonus, you’ll find World Cup design goodies featured with this article.)

This Week in Design: July 11, 2014

This Week in Design / 11 Jul 2014

This Week in Design: July 11, 2014

One of my favorite design gurus relaunched his site this week and it’s got me thinking about good design practices. This week, we’ll look at that site “reboot” and other things that make good design.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

How to Create an Emotional Connection With Design

Graphics / 9 Jul 2014

How to Create an Emotional Connection With Design

Every project you complete connects with users in some way. The design communicates a message and a tone. The emotional tone is what we are going to take a deeper look at and try to better understand.

Emotional connections fall into four basic category pairs – joy and sadness, trust and disgust, fear and anger, and surprise and anticipation. Understanding this range of emotion and how it relates to a visual message is important so that your design projects are received as they are intended. As you read through this post, take a look at the featured websites and think about how each one makes you feel and what parts of the visual aesthetic contributes to that emotion.

Using Lines and Curves in Design Projects

Graphics / 7 Jul 2014

Using Lines and Curves in Design Projects

Some of the most subtle parts of a design can be the most important. Think about some of the details in design projects such as lines and curves. These simple shapes can be used in the foreground, background lettering or as a dominant art element.

Not every line is created the same. From thickness to orientation to amount of curvature, these simple shapes can have quite a bit of meaning. So before you draw that first line, here’s a primer and tips for using lines and curves in design projects.

This Week in Design: July 4, 2014

This Week in Design / 4 Jul 2014

This Week in Design: July 4, 2014

Beauty, browsers and design clichés. We’re talking about all three this week. And, of course, the World Cup. (We’ve got a little design goodie for that too.) The underlying theme that connects these elements this week is web and digital design. It’s an increasingly important part of the life of every designer, with very few people just working on print anymore.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

The Science Behind Color and Emotion

Graphics / 30 Jun 2014

The Science Behind Color and Emotion

Color resonates with people in different ways. We all have a favorite color or color that we use more during specific periods of life. But the color you use in a design project can say a lot about the work itself. That’s a scientific fact.

The science behind our emotional connections to color is a complicated one. But it is becoming more clear through anecdotal knowledge and scientific experimentation. Here are five hypotheses and a fifth-grade level experiment you can try to help us better design with color and understand its emotional impact.

This Week in Design: June 27, 2014

This Week in Design / 27 Jun 2014

This Week in Design: June 27, 2014

This week in design an unofficial theme came together by chance – illustration. From hand lettering to an illustration design winner to drawing versus taking photos, creating something with your hands is an important part of the design process. At some point almost every one of us draws something by hand. (Although if you are like me, many of those sketches never leave the safe-haven of your notebook.)

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

This Week in Design: June 20, 2014

This Week in Design / 20 Jun 2014

This Week in Design: June 20, 2014

This was a big week for users of Adobe software, with a new major release. It’s packed with goodies that may take weeks to fully figure out. The only question is how will you use the new tools? (And we have a few bits of inspiration to get you started there, too.)

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Design for Everyone: Considering Accessibility in Visual Projects

Accessibility / 19 Jun 2014

Design for Everyone: Considering Accessibility in Visual Projects

Because design is such a visual concept, we don’t always stop to think about how design can impact users with certain disabilities. From vision to hearing or even touch impairments, how you design a website, brochure or even package can look or work a different way to different people.

And while you can’t design so that every element is perfect in every condition for every user, there are some things you can do and think about to make your design projects more accessible to a larger number of people. Simple techniques such as color choice, texture, shading and sound effects can make a difference to users.

Design Science: What Is Gestalt Theory?

Inspiration / 18 Jun 2014

Design Science: What Is Gestalt Theory?

If you are like me, it’s been a while since you finished you last formal design class. (And some of us never had any formal design classes.) So a refresher in some of the science behind design seems important. What is gestalt theory and do I really need to understand it?

Today, we’ll focus on one of the guiding principles of design. Gestalt theory is something you likely encounter and use almost every day. But do you understand the theory behind your actions? And how can you make even better use of this concept in your design work?

This Week in Design: June 13, 2014

This Week in Design / 13 Jun 2014

This Week in Design: June 13, 2014

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” ― Vincent van Gogh

We all dream as a part of the process of creating. And the creation is the realization of that dream. But where do the first inklings of thought come from? It’s all of the different places where we find inspiration, from chalk on a sidewalk to conversations at the coffee shop to brainstorming with coworkers. This week, we’ll look at different sources of inspiration to help you think about projects in new and interesting ways.

Every week, we plan to a look at major product releases and upgrades, tools and tricks and even some of the most popular things you are talking about on social media. And we’d love to hear what’s going on in your world as well. Have we missed anything? Drop me a line at [email protected].