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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.

What Are Dark Patterns? (And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

UX Design / 28 Jan 2019

What Are Dark Patterns? (And Why You Shouldn’t Use Them)

Dark patterns are website interfaces that cause users to interact with a website in a way that isn’t what they intended. They cause users to click through to a page, or even add an extra item to a shopping cart, without intending to.

From sneaky clicks to straight-up poor website practices, dark patterns are in more places than you might expect. Today, we’ll look at what dark patterns are, how to identify them and why you shouldn’t use this technique in your website or app projects.

If you think a dark pattern is a cute background image, you need to keep reading.

Brochure Design Software: 3 Options Compared

Software / 23 Jan 2019

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.

Pitch Deck Design: 10 Tips to Stand Out

Business / 21 Jan 2019

Pitch Deck Design: 10 Tips to Stand Out

A good pitch deck is designed for specifically one thing – to help your startup get funding from investors. But how do you stand out from the crowd, and make a memorable impression?

There’s a delicate balance to creating a deck with just enough slides to entice potential funders, without providing so much information that they are overwhelmed.

Most pitch decks contain less than 20 slides. So how do you create a pitch deck design that stands out? Here are our ten tips to help you get started.

How to Use the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year in Design Projects

Trends / 16 Jan 2019

How to Use the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year in Design Projects

It might be one of the best public relations moves in the design world. Pantone releases an annual color of the year that sets the tone for color trends for a 12-month cycle.

This year’s selection – Living Coral – is representative of many of the color trends we’ve seen heading into 2019. Bright hues are a popular choice and this color is certainly a bright option.

Here’s a look at Living Coral and how the color – and similar colors – as inspiration for using the color (or not) in design projects this year.

Brochure Design Ideas & Inspiration for 2019

Trends / 14 Jan 2019

Brochure Design Ideas & Inspiration for 2019

Almost every designer has created a brochure at some point. And there’s a strong possibility you’ll be asked to design another! Whether it’s for a client or to promote your own business, there’s an art to designing a brochure.

And then there’s an added challenge: brochure design isn’t just for print anymore. Digital brochures are just as popular as the hard-copy versions. It’s quite common for clients to request a printed brochure with a digital shareable file of the same design.

Don’t sweat this design challenge though. We’ve put together some classic and modern tips so you can create a brochure design that looks great, and is easy to read.

How to Use an Instagram Template

Graphics / 7 Jan 2019

How to Use an Instagram Template

An Instagram template is a kit of pre-made designs to help you share different types of content on the highly popular social media channel.

While there are plenty of Instagram templates out there – for individual posts or to create stories – getting started can seem intimidating. How do you most effectively use an Instagram template to create engaging content?

Here, we have a guide that breaks it all down so you’ll be creating Instagram posts like a pro in no time.

Indigo.Design: One Tool for Design, Prototyping & App Development

Reviews / 4 Jan 2019

Indigo.Design: One Tool for Design, Prototyping & App Development

Designers, rejoice! There’s now one tool that can help you create a visual design, do the UX prototyping, generate code and develop apps. And it all happens in one environment.

Indigo.Design, from Infragistics, is made so that you can take designs from Sketch and get Angular apps to create modern and fast mobile experiences. Here’s a look at the tool to help you decide if it is right for your projects.

20+ Best Illustrator Logo Templates

Inspiration / 2 Jan 2019

20+ Best Illustrator Logo Templates

So you need a logo right now? That’s where an Illustrator logo template can come in handy. A logo template is often a kit of pieces to build a vector logo with a few tweaks—such as changing colors or fonts. These are our top picks!

Some of the better logo template options might include multiple elements in a file that you can piece together for a design that’s a little more custom.

Logo templates are best for small, quick projects that need something cost-effective and visually pleasing. While a logo template won’t give you all the flexibility and design choices as a custom logo, they create a significantly less expensive option. (Which can be great if you have some design skills and an idea of what you want your logo to look like.)

Just make sure when you are hunting for that perfect logo template, that you find a vector set to work with. Adobe Illustrator files are the most common and will give you the tools you need to create a design that will work at any size when you are finished making the logo design.

Here are 20 fun Adobe Illustrator logo templates that we love.

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Designers in 2019

Inspiration / 31 Dec 2018

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Designers in 2019

Happy New Year! Today, we’ve got a nifty guide to resolutions that are specifically for designers. What changes do you hope to make in 2019?

Did you know that people have been making resolutions to improve themselves and their lives since the time of ancient Babylonians? I’ll admit to making a few of these myself… now if I could only manage to keep them all year! Good luck with your resolutions and have a wonderful New Year.

20+ Creative Project Ideas to Get You Out of a Design Rut

Inspiration / 26 Dec 2018

20+ Creative Project Ideas to Get You Out of a Design Rut

It happens to everyone at some point – creative block. You know you’re in a design rut when nothing seems to work as you expect. Designs aren’t coming together. You’re frustrated and un-energized.

While these stages are completely normal, it’s important to have a few tools at hand to break out of a design rut. Here, we’ve gathered a list of creative project ideas to re-engage your brain and get you thinking more creatively again.

Graphic Design for Kids: Tools, Games & Ideas to Get Them Excited

Graphics / 24 Dec 2018

Graphic Design for Kids: Tools, Games & Ideas to Get Them Excited

Do your kids ever ask about your work? How do you explain graphic design to them? Why not take it a step further and try to get them excited about graphic design?

Creative thinking is a skill that anyone can use. There are plenty of tools, games, and ideas in this article to help you start those conversations with your kids to help create another generation of design thinkers.

Background Design Trends & Styles for 2019

Trends / 19 Dec 2018

Background Design Trends & Styles for 2019

One of the most important early design decisions you will make is what kind of background will carry a project. Should it be a single color, colorless, use trendy elements such as geometric shapes, gradients or wood grain patterns? Or would a solid background design can help make a project shine?

Staying on trend with background design styles is important as well. A trendy background choice shows that a website design is modern and the content is new. A modern visual framework can even signal a user that you are thinking about their needs and making the most of the tools that will make their experience better.

So how do you do it? Here’s a look at ten background design trends and styles for 2019, with a great option to try from each style.