Are you a member? Register or Login

  1. Authors
  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.

Art vs. Design: Are They the Same Thing?

Articles / 29 Aug 2012

Art vs. Design: Are They the Same Thing?

Every project is created by design. It is thought out, analyzed and finally, designed and executed.

But is every design project also a work of art? How similar (or different) are the processes and results? You may find that every designer or artist has a different definition. Here I will share my characteristics of each. (Feel free to agree with or even challenge me.)

Seven Online Infographic Builders That You Have to Try

Software / 16 Aug 2012

Seven Online Infographic Builders That You Have to Try

The world is becoming increasingly visual – especially the online world. Thanks to social media and the explosion of sites such as Pinterest, displaying information in a visual way has become even more important. But it can be time consuming and even brain-boggling.

There are a host of tools out there though that can help you turn information into pretty good (and Pinterest-friendly) infographics in a matter of minutes. Here we take a look at some of the top contenders, how they work, what they cost and if they are worth your time (and money).

Think Vertical: The Influence of Mobile Design on Orientation

Layouts / 23 Jul 2012

Think Vertical: The Influence of Mobile Design on Orientation

Mobile design has me sketching more vertically. And I don’t think it is just me.

I am seeing more and more sites across platforms incorporating more vertical components into their overall design. Forget “above the scroll,” let’s talk about going vertical.

Intentional or Not: Mathematical Theory in Design

Articles / 18 Jul 2012

Intentional or Not: Mathematical Theory in Design

Some of the principles may be hundreds of years old, but they are still powering good design today. Time-tested mathematical theories have long-shaped our collective definition of what looks good.

You may plan to use some mathematical theories as part of your design project from the early stages, others can be unintended. Either way, mathematical rules still apply to almost every project, from print to web design. It is important to understand the role of math in design and account for how it can affect the look and feel of your projects.

You’re a Designer and Don’t Have a Website? Get Started Now

Business / 12 Jun 2012

You’re a Designer and Don’t Have a Website? Get Started Now

It is still hard for me to imagine that there are print and even web designers who don’t have their own websites. It is imperative in today’s business climate that everyone has a digital portfolio and that it is up-to-date. The hard part is just getting started.

What you don’t need is a world-class website filled with animations and color and gimmicks. What you do need to have is a clean, easy to navigate site that showcases your work. You can go all out and design a site from scratch or for a quick fix, use one of the many (and often free) host sites available to create get your portfolio and be online by the end of the week.

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.