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.





Business / 2 Aug 2017

15 Must-Ask Questions When Taking on a Website Project

The beginning of any new website design project can be a little nerve-wracking. Trying to determine if your style will match the client’s demands is often a challenge.

Add on trying to decide what to charge, and taking on a new client can be a freelance web designer’s biggest nightmare. When you do it right, the relationship and the project can be rewarding, but a miscue can make your life pretty miserable for the duration of the project.

Doing your homework at the start can help. Do you know what questions to ask a client to get the best information you need for a project? Don’t worry if you said “no,” we’ve got a checklist here for you!

Graphics / 31 Jul 2017

7 Tips for Creating a Website Header That Wows

A website header is often the first thing that a user sees. It can make or break the user experience, your branding, and much more!

To help retain users and keep them moving through the design, you need to create a website header that wows. And not just on the homepage. On every single page of the design. (Remember, a significant number of users don’t go to your homepage first.) Here’s how you do it.

UX Design / 27 Jul 2017

7 Ways to Adapt Content for Better Mobile UX

The beginning of a great design starts with content. To make the most of a stellar mobile UX, the content might need to undergo a few tweaks and changes.

But where do you start? How should content be adapted to work seamlessly on mobile devices? It starts with thinking about the way users interact with smaller screens, and how that impacts what (and how much!) they’ll want to read.

Typography / 24 Jul 2017

Tiny Text: 6 Ways to Use It Effectively in Web Design

One of the biggest trends in web design right now is super small. “Tiny” text elements have become a popular idea, but it’s a design trend that has spurred some debate.

There’s no doubt that small text sizes can cause some readability concerns. But when done well, a small block of tiny text can actually help create a point of visual emphasis and draw users into certain parts of the design.

Join us as we take a look at the tiny text trend, with examples to provide some design inspiration.

Inspiration / 18 Jul 2017

30 Stunning Desktop Wallpapers From Unsplash

Need a little extra design inspiration? Start with your Mac or Windows desktop background. A stunning desktop wallpaper can provide an extra little spark every time you fire up your computer, and browsing through great photos is a sure fire way to get the creative juices flowing.

Unsplash, a free stock photography website, is packed with amazing images that you can use in any way you want… including as a desktop wallpaper! Here’s a list of our favourites that we’ve put together to help you feel a little more inspired. Whether you like a minimal, patterned, or stunning photographic wallpaper, we’ll have something for you!

Inspiration / 10 Jul 2017

Top 5 Design Trends of 2017 (So Far!)

If you take a close look, you can almost see the evolution of web design happening. A few design trends have emerged as the must-have elements of 2017 (so far) with interesting typography, color and navigation patterns leading the way.

So now that we are midway through 2017, let’s focus a little on design inspiration, and take a look at of the top trends of the year so far. Should you incorporate all these? Absolutely not! But one of two, chosen carefully, can really help give your design a current, up-to-date feeling.

Software / 5 Jul 2017

10 Design Tools You Aren’t Using (But Should Be!)

It seems like a flood of new design tools hits the market almost every day. How many times have you downloaded software with promise only to find you quit using it after a couple of logins?

That’s not the case with the tools in this list. We’ve collected some of the best design tools around – some free, some paid – that you’re going to love to use. And we’d bet good money that you’ve never heard of several of them!

Typography / 3 Jul 2017

Back to Basics: Beautiful Typography in Web Design

A great website starts with beautiful typography. And while breaking the occasional rule is great, sometimes it’s good to get back to the principles of what makes great typography — and how to create it.

It’s a vital refresh that can help you rethink projects, consider a new approach or just get back to a simpler, more streamlined design.

So today, we’re ignoring trends and ways to break the rules to focus on typography theory and how the “rules” can be a great guideline for creating phenomenal type.

Accessibility / 29 Jun 2017

Neon Colors in Web Design: The Do’s and Don’ts

Neon colors are tough to use without clashing with the rest of your design. They work great for signs and lights in real-world applications, but can present major issues in web design, unless carefully implemented.

Today, we’re going to look at ways to effectively use neon colors in your design work, with a list of do’s and don’ts to help you make the most of bold, bright color choices. You’ll be a neon ninja in no time, weaving it through your design work!

Graphics / 26 Jun 2017

Design Trend: Waves and ‘Soft’ Lines

There’s a softer design trend taking over website projects – waves and soft lines. Where backgrounds have been dominated by single “flat” color, we’re seeing a shift toward curved lines and waves.

The elements are lighter, softer and evoke a different overall feel for the design. What’s especially nice is that waves and softer lines can be used a lot of different ways so that each design feels totally different. (It’s one of those trends that can almost sneak up on you because it appears in so many forms.)

Here’s a look at the waves and “soft” lines trend in website design.

Business / 19 Jun 2017

7 Ways to Save Time as a Designer

“If only I had more time!” Do you hear yourself saying this about projects from time to time? (I know I’m guilty.) Time can be one of the biggest obstacles to getting more done as a freelance designer.

But you can find more time and get more done — and that’s good for your bottom line. We’re not going to bore you with theoretical advice. This is a set of practical tips and suggestions you can start thinking about right now!

Graphics / 14 Jun 2017

Flat Design: An Evolving Trend

Is the flat design trend finished? We don’t think so. It’s not dead yet. But the trend has evolved to be less stark and more engaging for users.

The early days of flat design were marked by a complete lack of design elements such as shadows, gradients, or realistic elements with texture. Many of those design elements are back, but are being paired with the overall idea of flat design to create a website user experience that’s both simple and easy to engage with. Depending on what side you are on, it might be a better version of flat design.

Here’s a look at the flat design trend evolution, and where we are today.