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.





10 Tips for Writing Great Microcopy
UX Design / 30 May 2018

10 Tips for Writing Great Microcopy

The tiniest bits of text on your website can have the biggest impact. Microcopy includes all of the instructions, labels, navigation, tooltips, error messages and call-to-action language that helps users actually use a design.

Microcopy can aid navigation, and be the final element a user reads before clicking a button. (It’s easy to understand why these words are so important.)

Microcopy is often neglected though, in the website design process. Often “click here” is just slapped on a button and it’s done. But well-thought-out microcopy can make your website better. Great microcopy can even help boost retention and conversion rates among users—and that’s something every website owner can appreciate.

So how do you do it? Here are ten tips for getting started down the road to writing great microcopy.

Isometric Design & Illustration: An Eye-Catching Trend
Trends / 28 May 2018

Isometric Design & Illustration: An Eye-Catching Trend

Icons form an integral part of any website design. From use in informational and navigational elements, to eye-catching parts of a larger design, icons and icon-based elements can be an attractive and interesting way to draw in users.

While icons have used a dramatically flat aesthetic for a while, more projects are shifting to isometric icon usage. This trend is appearing on websites and print projects across plenty of different industries.

It’s gaining popularity because isometric icons have a more realistic look while still using flat layers. It’s an almost perfect mix of flat and depth. Here’s a more in-depth look at this design trend and how you can make the most of it.

What Is Holistic Web Design?
Trends / 23 May 2018

What Is Holistic Web Design?

Google “holistic web design” and you’ll see a lot of results that encompass health and wellness. But that’s not really what designers and developers usually mean when they mention holistic web design.

In the most simple of explanations – we’ll dig deeper after this – holistic web design is a process of thinking about all the parts of a project, and understanding and accounting for how they connect. Great content will fall apart if the visuals are poor. And equally, the best-looking website in the world doesn’t do anything if it isn’t highly usable. These are the issues that holistic web design solves before they even become problems.

Here’s how it works (and can work for you), with examples from the Design Shack Gallery.

Choosing the Best Font for PowerPoint: 10 Tips & Examples
Typography / 21 May 2018

Choosing the Best Font for PowerPoint: 10 Tips & Examples

There’s a fine art to creating a great PowerPont presentation that wows. With so many tricks and features in this little bit of software, it’s more likely to see a bad presentation than a good one (and you don’t want to be that person!)

While there are a lot of factors that contribute to the overall design, choosing a suitable font for PowerPoint is near the top of the list. The audience needs to be able to read the words on the screen with ease, to ensure that your presentation is as effective as possible.

So how do you do it? Where do you start when choosing a font for PowerPoint? We have 10 tips for you with a few examples of PowerPoint slides (and templates) that will impress your audience.

What’s the Best Font for Your Resume or CV?
Typography / 16 May 2018

What’s the Best Font for Your Resume or CV?

It might sound a little silly at first, but the typeface you select for your resume design can speak volumes to potential employers. The font represents your design style and professionalism. It can also impact how the person looking at your resume perceives the information at hand.

The typeface you select makes a first impression with every person you might meet in the interview or hiring process. (They’ll likely see your resume before they ever meet you.) Make sure to set the right tone from the start.

Here are a few top-notch font choices that are resume-ready.

5 Signs You Need to Fire Your Client (And How to Do It)
Business / 14 May 2018

5 Signs You Need to Fire Your Client (And How to Do It)

Nothing can make your life miserable like a bad client. From scope-creep to those that never pay on time, sometimes you just have to let a client go. It’s a tough decision and you don’t want to burn any bridges, but often it’s best to dissolve the relationship and move on.

When do you know it is time? Today, we’ll look at five situations when it’s time to fire a client with some ideas on how to do it tactfully.

Top 10 Podcasts for Designers and Creatives
Inspiration / 9 May 2018

Top 10 Podcasts for Designers and Creatives

Ready for a good listen? A great podcast can provide inspiration as well as a mental break while you work or relax. There’s no shortage of outstanding podcasts for designers and creatives, covering web design, creative life, and much more!

Today we’ve gathered a collection of great podcasts for designers and creatives, to give you a quick start with filling up your podcast player for the next commute!

Design Trend: Dark & Moody Designs
Trends / 7 May 2018

Design Trend: Dark & Moody Designs

Good design can really get you in the mood. Today, we’ve got a collection of dark and moody website designs that will help inspire you to create a distinct atmosphere in your design work.

While most dark collections have a bit of a “downer” vibe, not all of these designs have that feel (although color has a lot to do with how you feel when you look at them). This showcase is more than a gallery, we hope it inspires you to create a dark, moody design of your own.

How to Customize a Website Mockup Template
Graphics / 2 May 2018

How to Customize a Website Mockup Template

A website mockup template can be a design life-saver. It makes it easy to show off a website design concept in a setting that represents actual use (on many different devices). But how can you customize a website mockup template and drop in your own design? Here’s how.

There are two ways to get started. You can either create your own website mockup template to use in projects or download one to get started quickly. The great thing is that there are so many template options out there to help clients visualize a new design in real-time.

Here’s everything you need to know about customizing a template (as well and finding a great template, to begin with).

10 Tips for Using Text Effects That Don’t Suck
Typography / 30 Apr 2018

10 Tips for Using Text Effects That Don’t Suck

Adding effects to typography can be a source of heartache for designers. Clients demand a drop shadow or embossing, and you’re stuck with text effects that threaten to ruin a project. What you need is an arsenal of text effects that don’t suck so you can help the client pivot to something a little more classy.

The trick to all of these effects is using them with purpose. Good typography doesn’t need “help.” If a font isn’t working alone, it’s not going to work with a bunch of techniques added either. (You’ll only make something bad even worse.)

The best text effects are nearly invisible to non-designers. Or text effects are used to add meaning to typography or lettering. Here are a few tips for using text effects that don’t suck with some pretty cool examples.

10 Tips for Perfect Flyer Design
Graphics / 27 Apr 2018

10 Tips for Perfect Flyer Design

If you aren’t a print project regular, designing the perfect flyer can be somewhat nerve-wracking. But it doesn’t have to be. With a solid content plan and a great designer (that’s you), crafting the perfect flyer that will entice and engage users is simple.

There’s a wonderful feeling to designing something, then having it printed and feeling it in your hands. This is one reason flyer design can be rewarding and a lot of fun. Here’s how you do it.

10 Examples of Timeless Apple Design
Inspiration / 25 Apr 2018

10 Examples of Timeless Apple Design

When we set out to create a list of ten historic Apple products that feature timeless design, it seemed a little daunting. The reality is that it was anything but.

Apple has been at the forefront of design and product design innovation since the Apple I in 1976. (Yes, Apple really has been making computers for 40-plus years.) There are so many products and designs that continue to shape the way we think about creating things today. Wikipedia has a pretty impressive timeline that shows every release – good and bad.

Let’s take a look at ten of our favorite examples that stand the test of time!