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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.

Design Trend: Abstract Art Compositions

Trends / 21 Jun 2021

Design Trend: Abstract Art Compositions

When you don’t know what to use to illustrate a design, the answer might be abstract art.

It’s a growing design trend that – when done well – uses interesting shapes, colors, and combinations to create something that means almost nothing but is visually interesting.

There’s no wonder that designers are using this concept.

For startup websites without photography to designs for companies that aren’t sure how to represent an almost-post-COVID world visually and everything in between, abstract can be a workable choice.

Brochure Design Software: 3 Options Compared

Brochure Templates / 18 Jun 2021

Brochure Design Software: 3 Options Compared

So, you need to design a brochure? Where do you start? We’re comparing three different pieces of brochure design software to see how they stack up.

For web and digital designers creating a printed brochure for the first time, to designers that have been making print pieces for a while, using the right tool can make brochure design a more efficient task.

Choosing the right software, and sticking with it over time, is a sure-fire way to speed up your design workflow.

Adobe tools are the common starting place. Today, we’ll compare using InDesign, Illustrator and Adobe Spark (a free offering) as different options creating a brochure design.

We’ll look at the pros and cons of each (including the cost), and suggest which options are best for different types of brochure design project.

How to Design a Captivating Web Questionnaire

Layouts / 17 Jun 2021

How to Design a Captivating Web Questionnaire

We’ve all run across them – web questionnaires or surveys that were so simple and delightful that they were actually fun to fill out.

Sadly, that’s the exception to the rule. More often than, surveys are clunky and cumbersome.

You can design a captivating web questionnaire with the right thought process. It’s a mix of question planning with visual elements and cues to make the process user-friendly and somewhat seamless.

Here’s how you do it.

How Do You List Freelance Work on Your Resume? (We Have the Answer)

CV & Resume Templates / 16 Jun 2021

How Do You List Freelance Work on Your Resume? (We Have the Answer)

Congratulations, your freelance business is proving successful. But how do you handle talking about it or explaining freelance work to potential employers, or on your resume? It can be a hard subject to explain as a single entry on paper, and you don’t want freelance work to look like an employment gap.

There are some things you can do to on paper (and on LinkedIn) to help present freelance work in a way that is more understandable to others. The key for many freelancers – especially those working part-time – is remembering to include freelance work as part of your resume and design portfolio. Sometimes those jobs can be just the thing you need to help land the next big gig!

An Introduction to Animation in Web Design

CSS / 14 Jun 2021

An Introduction to Animation in Web Design

Animation is not just for cartoons anymore. From full-screen moving images to small hover effects, touches of animation are popping up everywhere. Animation is trendy, fun, and user-friendly.

And the obstacles to using animation have started to fall. With most users on high-speed connections and the ease of creating anything from simple movements or a silly gif to several minutes of action, animations have become practical and useful web design tools.

Let’s dive in!

7 Tips to Manage Scope Creep in Design Projects

Business / 11 Jun 2021

7 Tips to Manage Scope Creep in Design Projects

It might be the worst thing to happen to a design budget. Scope creep can bash timelines and obliterate budgets.

The best way to avoid this chaos is to beware of the causes of scope creep so that you can better manage projects.

But we all know that things are bound to go off the rails at some point, and we have some advice for how to manage those scope creep issues when they do happen.

8 Skills Designers Need to Thrive in Today’s Market

Business / 10 Jun 2021

8 Skills Designers Need to Thrive in Today’s Market

This is not another article about how the pandemic has changed the way we work.

The reality is that plenty of creative professionals – especially freelancers – have been working from home and in remote environments for a long time. It’s probably why so many of us were quick to adapt when so many others hopped on Zoom or Slack for the first time.

But there are some skills you need to stay relevant in today’s job market in addition to that adaptability that you likely already have. If you are thinking of advancing your career (and who isn’t) as a freelancer, at your current job, or by changing jobs, keep reading.

8 Design Trends That Are Fading Fast

Trends / 7 Jun 2021

8 Design Trends That Are Fading Fast

Almost every year, we kick off with a list of design trends that we think will dominate projects in the coming year. While we’ve gotten pretty good at identifying hits, there are also some misses.

These trends might fade due to a lot of different factors, but commonly they are just difficult techniques that don’t apply well across different types of projects.

It looks (and works) great in one application but is flat somewhere else.

Here’s a look at some of those trends that are fading fast. (And if you want to see our full list of web design trends for 2021 you can find it here.)

8 Tips for Designing Instagram Stories That Don’t Suck

Instagram Templates / 4 Jun 2021

8 Tips for Designing Instagram Stories That Don’t Suck

Instagram stories are one of the hottest social media formats. The vertical format allows creators to share videos, photos, and mixed media content in a streaming medium, and introduces an entirely novel layout to design for.

The tricky part is creating stories that are enjoyable, shareable, and help people engage with your account, brand, or even get clicks to your website.

Here, we’re going to look at eight ways to create Instagram stories that help you meet goals, and stand out from the crowd.

Bonus: You can apply these design tips to Facebook stories as well.

Userwell: Better Understand What Your Users Want Online

Reviews / 3 Jun 2021

Userwell: Better Understand What Your Users Want Online

Insights into the user journey are a valuable tool for any website designer, developer, or business owner (regardless of industry). The right tool can help you make the right product decisions from real user feedback.

That’s just what you get from Userwell. It is product feedback management software to help you create and build products that users will want and love to use.

Here’s a look at the tool and how you can make it work for you.

2021 Mid-Year Design Trend Report: What’s Still Hot

Trends / 3 Jun 2021

2021 Mid-Year Design Trend Report: What’s Still Hot

At the beginning of each year, Design Shack does a roundup of trends that will likely influence the design landscape for the coming year.

Now that we are halfway through 2021 (can you believe it?) it’s time to look at which of those trends are thriving and which ones you can pass by.

Here, we’ll look at some fresh examples of the trends that are still hot for inspiration in your projects.

How to Create a Disruptive Design (So It Will Get Seen)

Graphics / 31 May 2021

How to Create a Disruptive Design (So It Will Get Seen)

If you really want to create a design that will make people look, it has to be disruptive.

While “disruptive” can be a bit of a hackneyed catchphrase, it is also at the core of what you do when you create something new. The goal is to get people to stop, look, and interact.

Disruption works because it is different from the norm. This can include anything from being at the forefront of a new trend to designing with an interesting font, color palette, or design pattern.

This description from Layla Acaroglu explains it perfectly: “Design is about creating something that adds to or iterates on the existing, and disruption is about creating a disturbance with the intent of changing a system. When combined, the practice of Disruptive Design is to create intentional interventions into a pre-existing system with the specific objective to leverage a different outcome, and more importantly, an outcome that is likely to create positive social change.”

Now how can you do it? We have a few ideas (and examples) for you.