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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.

Pinterest for Designers: Using It to Your Advantage

Inspiration / 22 May 2013

Pinterest for Designers: Using It to Your Advantage

Design inspiration is all around us. And every day there are new tools popping up to help us collect and share that inspiration. One of those great tools is Pinterest. The image collection platform is a fantastic source of design inspiration, from typography to print, web or packaging design.

Newer additions to the service, such as boards for business and hidden boards make the tool even more useful. Haven’t gotten on board with Pinterest yet? Not sure how to make it work for you? Read on.

How to Build a Brand Bible & Visual Style Guide

Graphics / 13 May 2013

How to Build a Brand Bible & Visual Style Guide

Every brand, from the smallest website or startup, to corporate giants such as Nike or McDonald’s, need a set of branding guidelines and rules to maintain their identity. This document, which can range from a couple of pages, to several hundred, is the thread that holds together what the public sees from a company.

A brand bible establishes the voice and personality of a company, as well as who the public will see, and it governs every aspect of communication from the company. The brand bible is the basis for all interactions on behalf of a company – personal communications, social media, advertising and design. While a brand bible focuses on many things, we are really going to look at how it affects design.

Trendy Design: Making Emerald Work for You

Inspiration / 8 May 2013

Trendy Design: Making Emerald Work for You

Emerald is picking up plenty of buzz this year. The green-blue hue works well in design projects, from backgrounds, to the base color in a palette, to serving as an accent. The color is gaining even more popularity in 2013 because of its designation as Pantone Color of the Year.

Not only are web and print designers jumping on the trend but so are designers in the fashion, beauty and home décor industries. Why? Because Emerald has an almost universal appeal. Here are some ways to make it work for you.

Simple Tips for Designing a Newsletter Template That Stands Out

Business / 29 Apr 2013

Simple Tips for Designing a Newsletter Template That Stands Out

Almost every business has an email newsletter these days. From retailers promoting sales, to organizations showcasing information and events, the email newsletter is one of the most popular marketing tools out there. And for it to really be effective, it must look good.

An almost unlimited number of free email templates can make it easy to just download something and send out an email, but you should really take the time to create a custom template for communications that represents your business and who you are. Your newsletter represents your work just as much as a website or printed product. Although getting started can be intimidating, it’s fairly easy to create a newsletter template, choose software for distribution and send your first group email. It is important to keep in mind that most people get a lot of email every day, so you must work to make your newsletter stand out.

Design a Business Card That Won’t Get Thrown Away

Business Card Templates / 10 Apr 2013

Design a Business Card That Won’t Get Thrown Away

It’s an almost unavoidable part of doing business – the business card. While more people are beginning to ditch traditional paper cards for digital counterparts, the business card is still an integral part of doing business.

Cards are almost as commonplace as the handshake, and it’s something you’ll always want to have ready to hand when you meet a potential new client.

So what makes your card stand out from the pack? How can you design a card that won’t get thrown away minutes after the meeting? And how can your card best illustrate the style of your work?

Let’s delve into some suggestions and tips today.

Mixing Typefaces: Tips and Techniques

Typography / 19 Mar 2013

Mixing Typefaces: Tips and Techniques

Mixing typefaces can be on of the most rewarding, and trickiest parts of the design process. Creating the perfect pairing of typography can result in a beautiful and perfectly readable outline for almost any project.

But how can you get started? What should you consider when mixing typefaces? While the answers aren’t black and white, there are a few things you can do. Think about contrast, x-heights, shapes and slants and overall mood when combining typefaces for any project. In this article, we’ll be delving into each of these in a little more detail!

10 Things I Learned About Design From iPad Apps

Inspiration / 11 Mar 2013

10 Things I Learned About Design From iPad Apps

Good design is all around us. Not just in printed materials or on websites, but also in everyday items. What’s great is that you often don’t notice it — you just enjoy whatever item, tool or website you are using.

Nowhere is this more true than with mobile apps. Most of us use them every day, but do you ever stop to think how much they are shaping the way you approach design? Apps can be a great source of inspiration and also another reminder of time-tested design concepts. Here are ten of the great lessons I have learned (and re-learned) from iPad apps.

Webnote: A New App for Browsing and Inspiration Clipping

Software / 7 Mar 2013

Webnote: A New App for Browsing and Inspiration Clipping

If you’re anything like me, you love collecting visual bits that you find while working online – photos, video, text, gifts, whatever. These little pieces from the web are sources of inspiration that help to shape future projects, showcase trends, and serve as reminders of some of the neat things others are doing.

Creating this visual collection just got a little easier for iPad users with the new Webnote app, which allows you to browse, collect visuals and share all from one app. Here’s a look at how it works.

Zurb Goes Mobile First With the All-New Foundation 4

Mobile / 1 Mar 2013

Zurb Goes Mobile First With the All-New Foundation 4

Planning web projects for a host of devices got a little easier this week with the release of Zurb Foundation 4, a responsive framework with a mobile-first outline.

The follow-up release to Zurb’s Foundation 3 flexible grid is structured to make designer’s think mobile first. With more than 1.08 billion smartphones being used worldwide, it’s a trend that will likely continue to gain popularity. Join us as we take a look at what’s new in Foundation 4, and discover why you should consider using it for your next design project!

Is My Type Stressed? a Primer on Stressed Typography

Typography / 25 Feb 2013

Is My Type Stressed? a Primer on Stressed Typography

As a designer, either working with a design firm or on a freelance basis, you probably know a lot about stress. From deadlines to redesigns, client relations to cash flow — it is part of everyday life for someone working as a designer in any capacity.

But did you know your typography could also be stressed? Just like in your life, type has certain pressure points, and there are good and bad types of type stress. In today’s article, we’re going to delve into this concept in a little more details. We’ll walk you through exactly what types of typographical stress there are, how you can ensure it doesn’t affect the readability of your designs.

Top 10 Apps for Designers Right Now

Software / 28 Jan 2013

Top 10 Apps for Designers Right Now

If you are like me, apps are becoming an essential part of your workflow – from mapping out sketches, to gathering ideas, to taking notes and filing invoices.

But there are just so many options out there. How do you filter through them all to find applications that work for what you do?

I have a handful of “old faithful” apps that I use on my phone, iPad and online as well as a few app only tools that are rather new. By using a mix of software applications, I have been able to work more efficiently and hopefully save time. Here are 10 great apps for designers – some may be familiar but hopefully you’ll find something new that you love.

Add Flair to Projects With Alternate Lettering

Typography / 2 Jan 2013

Add Flair to Projects With Alternate Lettering

Most typefaces have more than just 52 letters – 26 uppercase and 26 lowercase. They also contain an assortment of alternate characters that can help add flair and interest to your typography.

These special characters have been around since the beginning of type. Renowned typographer Johannes Gutenberg even used them in printing early copies of the Bible.