Joshua Johnson

Equal parts editor, writer, designer, & photographer. Hit me up on Twitter, read my Mac tutorials or check out my photos.





CSS / 28 Aug 2012

Semantic Grid Class Naming With Placeholder Selectors in Sass 3.2

CSS frameworks are known for taking a club to the idea of semantic HTML. This is such a problem that developers everywhere have entirely sworn off the idea of grid-based frameworks solely on the principle that it leads to non-semantic class names.

With Sass, it becomes quite easy to work around this problem and use a predefined grid without resorting to wonky class names. In fact, the latest version of Sass (3.2) has a new feature that makes this task easier than ever. Read on to see what it is and how it works.

Inspiration / 27 Aug 2012

25+ Awesome Responsive Blog Designs

One of the very first steps that you should take in any major redesign is to get a feel for the state of the industry by taking a look around at what others are doing. When used properly, good inspiration drives you to your own unique ideas.

This is especially helpful when embarking on your first responsive design project. Today we’re going to hone in specifically on blogs and take a look at how some of the early adopters in responsive blog design have approached the challenge. If you’re thinking about taking your blog responsive, you won’t want to miss these 25 sites!

Critique / 24 Aug 2012

Web Design Critique #86: WPMU

Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well in addition to those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is WPMU.org, a site for WordPress enthusiasts. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

Business / 21 Aug 2012

How to Find Work When It Doesn’t Find You

Freelancing for a living is flat out nuts. Some days you’ll be so buried in work that you never think you’ll see the sun again. Other days will make you wonder how in the world you’re going to make rent this month.

This article will focus on the latter situation. You’ve reached the end, you’re finished. There’s no more work, the economy sucks, no one’s calling, now what?

CSS / 13 Aug 2012

Master Responsive Web Design With Gridset

Let’s face it, responsive design is hard work. Web design was difficult enough when we were only considering desktop platforms, but the challenge of seemingly infinitely varying screen and viewport sizes has really added to the complexity of website layout.

Whether you’re completely new to responsive design or consider yourself an expert in the area, the tool that we’re going to look at today will blow you away. It’s called Gridset and it’s amazing.

Critique / 10 Aug 2012

Web Design Critique #85: Sonic Electronix

Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well in addition to those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today’s site is Sonic Electronix, a consumer electronics company. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

CSS / 9 Aug 2012

5 Design Lessons That I Learned From Writing 85 Web Design Critiques

Here at Design Shack we offer a simple but useful service called a web design critique. It’s basically a consulting service that you can take advantage of for a mad cheap price in exchange for letting us post it on the site as an educational tool.

I’ve personally written up a whopping eighty five of these things thus far (#85 will be posted later this week). That’s a whole lot of design advice! Read on to see what I’ve learned about web design in the process, both from the good examples and the bad.

CSS / 8 Aug 2012

Which Is Right for Me? 22 Responsive CSS Frameworks and Boilerplates Explained

CSS frameworks have been around for years now, but the arrival of responsive design practices has rendered many of our old favorites useless. Fortunately, lots of really talented developers have jumped in to fill the gap with the next generation of CSS frameworks and boilerplates.

There’s already a ton of these things floating around. Everyone has a list, but no one really walks you through how each framework and boilerplate differs from the next so that you can make an informed decision. That’s our goal today. Follow along as we take a look at what makes each of these 22 responsive CSS frameworks and boilerplates unique.

Accessibility / 7 Aug 2012

The Designer’s Guide to Bartering

Never work for free. It’s a moto that will get you far in an industry overflowing with bottom feeders who want something for nothing. That being said though, money isn’t the only thing in the world for which you should consider busting out a few hours of design work.

Countless designers have found that they can get far in life through the age old practice of bartering. Read on to see how to barter like a pro.

Freebies / 6 Aug 2012

25 Unbelievably Awesome Design Resources From Creative VIP

Did you know that Design Shack has a sister site called Creative VIP? It’s one of the best sources around for design resources and it’s growing every day!

No matter what type of PSD you’re looking for, Creative VIP likely has you covered. Today we’re going to jump in and take a look at 25 of my personal favorite files available. They’re too good to turn down!

Critique / 4 Aug 2012

Web Design Critique #84: RoyalSlider

Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well in addition to those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.

Today we’re going to be looking at the site for RoyalSlider, a popular JavaScript content slider. Let’s jump in and see what we think!

Graphics / 2 Aug 2012

Good Design Taste Test: Three Fast Casual Restaurant Websites Compared

Fast food restaurants are notoriously bad with web design, but the emerging market of “fast casual” eateries thus far is proving to be much better in this area.

Today we’re going to look around the web at the websites for some of the most popular fast casual restaurants to see who is doing the best work and what we can learn from them. Warning: this post will make you hungry!